How did Job define himself?

Job Sees The Light - Fourth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 3:1-3 Although we do not know how long it took his friends to hear of his plight and travel to his home, an adequate time has passed for despair to take up residence in Job’s heart. A crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Prov 17:22) Spiritual desiccation affects ones entire outlook and health.

Job 3:4-10 A time of testing is marked by two distinct phases: Phase one initiates the test, and is usually brief. It encompasses the event of the disaster, sudden death, or news of an illness or other setback. Phase two is a lengthier time of adjustment to the news or event and living through the time that follows. During this phase one may tumble downward into bitterness and illness or grope upward to seek God's help and to discover why he has caused or allowed the trial. Most Christians probably go in both directions.

Job 3:11-12 Why was I born? What is the point of my life? Everything seems a waste. It’s meaningless, pointless!

Is Job searching for answers or only bemoaning his lack of control over events. Both?

Job 3:13-16 The prospect of resting among others who lived pointless lives seems good to Job.

Job 3:17-19 No man can trouble another in that place.

Job had previously seen black and white—white being himself with material blessings, and black, the have-nots for whom he cared we later will learn, but now he sees gray. The lines of demarcation between the well off and the poor have blurred.

He formerly had a clear understanding of his identity, but now he is confused. Without his possessions, he feels vanquished and empty. He had felt defined by and in them, and now he struggles to evaluate the meaning of his life.

Intellectually, we know that what we own, oversee or are responsible for does not amount to who we are. Yet, it is a common experience of unemployed people to feel hollow— as though others can see straight through them— and for poor people to feel unimportant or disconnected. Likewise, those with seemingly secure rank and wealth often identify with them and feel buttressed.

There is great temptation and tendency to define ourselves by a career, job or bank account. But we are not the sum total of our achievements, much less our possessions or wealth. No, whatever self esteem we have must be based on our oneness with the Lord: Our core identity is that we are his sons and daughters, made in his image, made to love and be loved by him.

Had Job not been stripped of all in which he defined himself— his wealth and servants, his children, his position— could he have had his spiritual eyes opened? Could he have seen God through so many layers of human identity?

Job 3:20-23 Job was a man of God who showed wonderful character and reserve in the first phase of his tremendous test. But in the second, the greatest man of the east (Job 1:3) is revealed to be a saint in need of learning greater perseverance.

Job 3:24-26 Perhaps Satan had been attacking Job’s mind long before he attacked his belongings. Though Job appeared to be completely blessed, underneath —in his heart— the greatest man of the east was troubled with fear and dread. Intellectually he understood he owed everything to God, but he lived as though it all rested on him. The Lord saw he was unhappy under the crushing weight.

You have an adversary

Job Sees The Light - Second in a series

Job 1:2-3 Hover over this Bible passage to read how blessed Job was.

Job 1:4-5 Job saw himself as righteous— He stood before the Lord in the place of his children to make atonement for them.

Job 1:6-7 The Lord knew that Satan, his son who turned from righteousness, had been surveying Job and his possessions, and begrudging him for his privileges. Perhaps Job reminded the Adversary of the riches and honor he had enjoyed before his fall.

Job 1:8 The Lord saw Job as perfect and upright, as one who feared God and turned from evil. But Job was blind to God’s immense glory and did not fathom the depth of his wisdom, mercy, power, love and sovereignty. We discover this in the book’s final chapter as Job confesses:

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:6)

Mission accomplished! As we will see in this blog series, the Lord, by taking his son, Job, through a severe and inscrutable trial, brought him to a new birth. And since the journey began when Job was self-deceived, it was an especially laborious and painful task. The self-assured man is practically unbendable.

We can only hope the Lord will do the same for us, realizing it is the nature of man to be foolish, self-absorbed, prideful, short-sighted, and never aware of the magnitude of distance between the creature and the Creator.

The Trial Begins

Job 1:9-11 The Accuser challenges the Lord of Hosts. He would like for Job to be tested. Much could be written about this passage and the prospect of Satan demanding to sift God’s children, but for now we will only point out that God is not the accuser. Though He sees all our shortcomings, he never accuses us about them, but only gently brings them to our minds.

Job 1:12 God grants permission to Satan to decimate Job.

Job 1:13 Satan chose the birthday of the oldest son to begin his rampage (Job 1:4). "That son is the first sign of his father's strength." (Deut 21:17) That day symbolized Job's blessedness and hope for the future. One of Satan's goals in attacking us as well, is to make us feel cut off from our future hope and doubtful about our claim to it.

Job 1:14-15 His destruction of Job’s possessions and family begins with the creatures that help to manage his ranch and their overseers. Satan uses neighboring tribes to do his work. This deflects the blame from himself and his minions.

Job 1:16-17 Next the sheep so needed for food and raiment and the camels for their services in travel and their overseers are killed. "Fire from heaven" is blamed. Satan wants man to blame the Lord for his losses.

Job 1:18-19 Finally, Job’s children are destroyed by a tornado or twister, on the day of the oldest son’s birthday. Satan can control the weather if the Lord allows.

Job 1:20-22 Despite everything, Job does not question nor blame the Lord.

Job: In a class with Noah and Daniel

Job Sees The Light - First in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

The Book of Job is a steep climb and broad crossing from wonder at the inscrutable trials of a godly man— to the Lord’s complete deliverance of him from spiritual darkness.

In this blog series we will travel verse by verse or by passages with Job and his friends, up the rocky face of God’s permissive will and across endless miles of mental darkness to the glorious new birth that was the appointed end.

Job 1:1

The meaning of his name

Scholars have concluded that the name, Job, could mean “hated” or “turn,” connoting repentance, or “where is my father?” or that it bears no literary significance.

Where he lived

Job lived in Uz, perhaps so named for a great-grandson of Noah. Noah’s middle son. Shem had five sons: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. (Gen 10:22) Aram fathered Uz. (Gen 10:23)

AN ASIDE: Arphaxad was the grandfather of Eber who was the progenitor of the Hebrews: Eber > Peleg > Reu > Serug > Nahor > Terah > Abram. So maybe Job and Abraham were distant cousins.

Historians say the land of Uz may have been in Bashan, or east of the Sea of Galilee or on the edge of the Arabian desert.

When did he live?

Some reasons for viewing Job among the ancients include:

  • According to rabbinical tradition he lived in Abraham’s times. Some view him as Melchizedek to whom Abraham tithed.
  • There is no reference in Job to the book of the law, nor of the levitical institutions, priesthood and sacrifices. Sacrifices are mentioned in the beginning and the end of the book. But no priest is indicated. It is the primitive way of approaching God by a sacrifice.
  • Nothing is said of the history of Israel, nor is there a quotation from the writings of the prophets.
  • We move evidently in this book in a time before the law was given and before Abraham’s seed constituted a nation. (Arno Gaebelein)
  • He lived while God was known by the name of God Almighty more than by the name of Jehovah for he is called Shaddai--the Almighty, more than thirty times in this book.
  • He lived while divine knowledge was conveyed, not by writing, but by tradition for to that appeals are here made, xxi. 29 xv. 18 v. 1. And we have therefore reason to think that he lived before Moses, because here is no mention at all of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, or the giving of the law. (Matthew Henry)

Was he a real or fictional man in Scripture?

Real. Scripture says “this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.” (Job 1:3)

Job is cited in the book of James as an “example.” James wrote, Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:11)

Would James have instructed the brothers in long suffering or any vital trait based on a fiction? Would he have classed Job among God’s prophets (Jas 5:10) if he were merely a book character? Would he have said that these brothers had seen what the Lord finally brought about if God actually did nothing?

Ezekiel, too, mentions Job and classes him with Noah and Daniel. (Ez 14:14-20) That is something to ponder: The saints will be preserved. (Ps 41:2, Psa79:11, Psa 86:2, Psa 121:7, 2Ti 4:18 et al)

Attention Readers

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Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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