Recapping the story, Satan saw Job, the righteous man. In fact it was God who brought it up “Have you considered my servant Job? There’s nobody like him on earth. He’s blamess, upright, fears Me and turns away from evil.”
Satan said, “Of course he does, because You have blessed him and made him rich and prosperous. Try taking that away and see how faithful he is!”
God gives him permission to do so but with limitations, ie he can’t harm Job himself. So in the course of a day Job loses all his livestock (his wealth) and all his children. Of course he is in shock and sorrow but he still acknowledges God as sovereign and the source of all, and worships Him.
God again points out to Satan that Job remains faithful and righteous despite undeserved misfortune. Satan asks to touch him physically, sure that he will curse God. God again grants permission, with limits – he cannot take Job’s life. So Job gets covered with boils.
Lesson 1: God puts limits on what Satan can do to us.
Lesson 2: Suffering is not just about us. There is a cosmic aspect to it.
I once had a large twin boil in a place where those who need to sit a lot can least afford it. I can testify to the exquisite pain. But to have them from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head????!!! Job is in such a state that his wife advises him to curse God and die. Yet Job says we should accept all that God gives us, not only blessing but also adversity.
Lesson 3: All that happens, good and bad, is allowed by God.
Job’s three friends come to comfort him but they are so appalled at his condition that they weep and tear their robes and throw dust in the air. They sit there in silence for a week. Then in chapter 3 Job begins to speak. He is in despair, in pain, despairing of life itself. His friends begin to answer him one by one. At first they gently remind him of God’s justice and how He punished evil. Job answers that he is innocent.
They come back a bit stronger and say that God knows all and is just and He blesses the righteous and punishes the wicked. Job agrees that God is just but still declares his innocence and wants to defend his case before God.
The friends get more annoyed at his protestations of innocence and come back accusing him of wrong doing and saying he needs to repent. Job again protests that he is innocent and goes over how good his life was before and how he lived upright before God and men and how humiliating it is now. He again longs to be able to present his case before God.
So Job’s three friends were no help. Their answer was that God punishes evil. Therefore Job must have done evil and should repent of it.
Lesson 4: Man thinks suffering is punishment from God. (but that’s not the whole picture – see below.)
There was also a fourth guy present, Elihu, who seemed not so well known by Job and his friends. So he waits patiently until the others have had their say. Elihu gives a long rebuke to Job and his friends. He says that it is wrong to blame God for being unjust. God is compassionate. In fact He uses pain and suffering to warn men, to keep them back from the pit. He chastens men with pain, He reminds men what is right.
Lesson 5: God is just. He is also compassionate. He uses suffering to warn us and to remind us of what is right so that we will not go to eternal destruction.
And the God speaks. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? … Are you able to command the lightening? … Are you able to lead the constellations in space?”
Who can answer back to God? Who can instruct Him? Can we tell HIm a better way to run things? His ways are unsearchable. His knowledge beyond our ability to grasp.
Lesson 6: God is totally and absolutely beyond what man can comprehend. “Sovereign” does not begin to cover it!
Lesson 7: We are to trust in WHO God is, and not trust in blessings or experiences – nor are we to trust in our own perspective of things.
Lesson 8: Even when you think you are innocent, you don’t have the whole picture. Remember that before accusing God of wrong-doing!
God restores Job’s fortunes – doubled them in fact.
Lesson 9: God is good. God is just.