Often our faces glow with awe when we remember the story of Job especially when we are going through a rough time.
But why did it take too long for the Lord to come to the aid of Job?
Have you ever noticed that Job made a mistake?
Job was a true servant of God. When he mysteriously lost his family, he immediately came to terms with the reality. Despite the pain, Job remained focused on the Lord. He prayed without ceasing.
But there was a problem that we’re going to point out as we progress.
That is what we Christians call the testing period.
The story of Job is a true representation of victory after suffering for a long time.
However, we need to look at Jobs's contribution to his lengthy pain. Only then can we know how to behave when we are in a similar situation.
Let’s divide the story of Job into seven phases.
7 Phases in the Story of Job
- Satan tests Job.
- Job Complains to the Lord.
- Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar Come in, to comfort Job.
- Elihu – The Saviour in the Story of Job.
- God Turns Up to Rescue Job.
- Job Repents.
- God Blesses Job.
Satan tests Job (Job Chapters 1 & 2)
It’s funny how God would allow Satan to test His obedient servant! We wouldn’t even imagine the same happening to us.
Many times we assume we only suffer when we have sinned. But the story of Job teaches us that God can allow Satan to inflict pain on us to test us!
What runs through your mind when you hear that?
It's evident God commands the devil and of course, that’s good news!
Here’s the conversation between God and Satan:
God asked Satan, “what have you been doing?”
Satan answered, “I have been walking here and there, roaming around the earth.”
God asked Satan again, “Did you notice my servant Job?” God went ahead to tell Satan there was nobody as faithful and good as Job as he was careful not to do anything evil.
Satan replied, “Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it?”
Surprisingly, Satan knew God had treated Job and his family so well. It reminds me Satan understands our relationship with God!
Satan confidently told God Job would curse Him if He took away everything Job had!
God immediately granted Satan permission to do whatever he wanted with everything Job had! However, he cautioned Satan not to touch Job.
A happy Job was probably going about his normal duties when the news of the loss of his children hit him hard! It looked like God had turned His back on Job. Job, however, remained steadfast in his relationship with God!
As if that was not enough, God allowed Satan to inflict sores on Job’s body to test his further.
At this point, his wife tried to convince him to curse God and die! Her impatience could not match Job’s resilience. In fact, he told his wife she was talking nonsense!
Three friends of Job showed up. They were astonished at Job’s condition but took some time before they spoke up.
Job Complains to the Lord (Chapter 3)
I read Job’s complaint to the Lord repeatedly. Trying to put Job in my shoes, I would feel even worse than he did!
Job was very close to giving up. His only hope (God) was not responding to his plea!
Looking at the way events unfolded in the story of Job, God was most likely seated on his throne waiting to see if Job would fall for the devil’s trap!
I don’t even want to imagine sometimes God does the same to us!
Instead of God healing Job, He, first of all, brought three close friends to comfort Job. Well, God knew what He was up to! Job was already helpless and likely to accept anything that would change his situation.
But did his three friends have a solution?
Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar Come in to comfort Job (Chapters 4 – 31)
Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar only wanted Job to forget about God!
Then what next!
They couldn't understand why the God of Job was quiet on him!
At the same time, they did not have a solution to Job’s problem. They had some love for Job though. That’s why they spent seven days with him before they got some courage to speak their minds.
But when they spoke, they were full of discouragement. They thought Job was not reasoning!
Now, this is where Job played his cards the wrong way. In the whole story of Job, he spent most of his time with his three friends. In fact, his encounter with them is written in twenty-seven chapters.
Throughout their discussion, Job blamed God for his sorrow. It was like a war of words between Job and his friends. They were disgusted at how Job spoke.
Job’s friends even wanted him to seek solutions in ancient wisdom from the ancestors!
I believe you know what that means.
When God has the final say, doing anything that was done by humans toward the same problem is an abomination!
Although Job wasn’t going to agree with them, he spoke and acted in a manner to suggest God was wrong.
Both parties understood God so well. However, the three men appeared to be lukewarm Christians, unlike Job who immersed himself in the Lord to the extent he wouldn’t do anything that would displease God!
Towards the end, you will get to realize even Job made mistakes in the course of his predicaments.
Elihu – The Saviour in the Story of Job (Chapters 32 – 37)
Then a young man called Elihu came to the aid of Job. He was God-sent. Elihu knew everything Job's three friends were trying to push him into. He came to prove Job’s friends wrong. Elihu came in as an eye-opener.
A point to note here is that Elihu was younger than the four men in question. He, however, came in with the best advice.
Elihu was the bridge that connected Job to God. What I like most in the story of Job is the fact that he listened to everyone. You can imagine what would have happened if Job dismissed Elihu! It’s like breaking the bridge that eventually took him to his victory!
Come to think of this; how many times do we despise people who don’t look able to help us? That’s how we miss opportunities!
God Turns Up to Rescue Job (Chapters 38 – 41)
The Lord’s voice came in with lots of questions. If God spoke to me like that, I’d tremble!
Listen to the first question God asked Job, “Who are you to question my wisdom with ignorant, empty words?”
God used the same tone all through from chapter thirty-eight to chapter forty-one as He spoke to Job. In fact, most of it was in question form. God was angry.
Chapter thirty-eight to chapter forty-one is a must-read if you haven’t. It’s at this juncture that you get to point out the mistakes Job made during his encounter with the three friends. The blunders are usually somehow invisible until you get to this section of the Bible.
Most of the time, we only remember Job’s pain and victory. Whatever happened in between is somehow overshadowed by the tremendous restoration.
Job responded to God positively by accepting that he acted foolishly.
Job Repents (Chapter 42)
Then the story of Job ends so beautifully with Job repenting and acknowledging the Lord’s immense power. Job reiterated that what he knew in the past misled him. He went ahead to appreciate what he learned from the Lord’s talk with him.
God Blesses Job
God was angry with Jobs's three friends. If they had succeeded to convince Job to forget about God, God would have lost one of the people He treasured.
God still went ahead to test Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz. As much as they were not so prayerful as Job, their obedience to God shows they valued Him!
God asked them to sacrifice seven bulls and seven rams to Job so that he would pray for them. I find this one of the greatest tests anyone would have to face.
There was already some friction between Job and his friends because he was not dancing to their tune! In most cases, we would opt to move on and forget about the friendship. The trio, however, acted according to the will of God.
Job also faced another test from God. He accepted to pray for his three friends. It was only after that prayer that God restored Job’s life.
Look at that!
The people we look at as having hurt us the most might just be holding the keys to our victory. We need to seriously pray for people we regard as enemies.
God blessed the last part of Job’s life much more than He had blessed the first. God gave Job beautiful children, wealth, and long life. The Lord replaced all the troubles in Job’s life with unwavering peace.
So, why am I telling you all this?
Does the story of Job ring a bell in our minds?
Could we be praying yet preventing the Lord from blessing us?
What if God showed up with what He was meant to give us ten years back and told us He didn’t because we held a grudge?
That’s food for thought!
The Thorn in The Flesh of a Prayer Warrior
In the lives of Charismatics, there lies an invisible, hidden thorn that pricks so hard. Many of us pray just like Job prayed. We begin to develop some self-righteousness when our relationship with God is at its peak.
Job was feeling sinless before Elihu came into the picture (Job 31).
Look at that!
Job was justifying his goodness as he mentioned the good things he did for people. He was so engulfed in his understanding of the Word of God that he forgot he had no right to question God.
Then what happened?
Job’s self-righteousness prolonged his stay in the wilderness.
Don't we realize God sent Elihu to go and correct Job ahead of Him to test Job?
When God came in, he asked Job similar questions to those Elihu had already asked Job.
If Job had responded negatively, I don’t think God would have followed Elihu to save the situation!
So, what would have happened next in the story of Job?
Job would simply have dwindled into thin air and disappeared to nobody-knows-where! Job’s response to his three friends and Elihu determined what would happen next in his life. He played his cards right with the Lord’s messengers but messed up in his conscience.
Luckily, the story of Job completes God’s purpose from start to finish to teach the Jobs of today!
Lessons from the Story of Job
People will always come into our lives to convince us otherwise when we are in pain. No matter how much they try to sway our minds, we need to remain focused. Our private covenant time among other spiritual growth commitments will keep the devil away.
The story of Job also reminds us that the devil uses people who are very close to us to pull us away from God!
Elihu was a young man. God used him to save Job when older friends couldn’t. Imagine how we sometimes dismiss people based on how we perceive them! ‘Young’ here does not only refer to age. For lack of a better word, it means people who appear unworthy to us. They don’t look like they can have anything good to offer! If Job dismissed Elihu, we wouldn’t be tapping such valuable knowledge from the story of Job today.
God asked Job questions directly. He asks us similar questions when we feel self-righteous. Many times God uses messengers like Elihu to correct us but our ego never lets them in.
When we behave like this, we aren’t serving but want to be served!
The concept of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples applies.
The ego keeps the Holy Spirit away. We can only get the Holy Spirit back when we rise above our egos.
The story of Job also teaches us we cannot argue with God. Job repented without trying to use comebacks as is the norm with humans.
The story of Job also demystifies the misconception of riches. God gives wealth to those who deserve it.
The story of Job is a true reflection of resilience and obedience to God. Once chosen, our lives must flow in the direction of the Lord. As long as we do not recognize the Lord’s corrections, we will remain stuck at one point.
I hope this helps you pick out some helpful tips from the story of Job.