Welcome to our second lesson of study about patience. This week we’re focusing on the Book of Job. Of all stories involving patience shown through the worst trials imaginable, this man’s story takes first place. Let’s learn from his experience and apply that wisdom to our lives.
“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:12 NKJV).
Probably no person on earth is as famous for enduring trials as Job. Job 1:1 tells us he was blameless, upright, feared God, and shunned evil. A godly man, he worshipped and sacrificed for the sins of his family on a regular basis. If anyone had favor with God, it would have been Job. On the surface, it appeared that Job was doing everything right.
But in one day’s time, calamity struck out of the blue. He lost his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, many of his servants, and all ten children. One by one, servants who had escaped each calamity came to him to report their master’s loss.
Why God allowed this to happen…
Why did God allow this to happen to an innocent, righteous man? God pulls back heaven’s curtain and allows us to witness something amazing–His conversation with Satan.
“‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’” (Job 1:8-11 NKJV).
God took Satan up on his challenge by allowing him to take Job’s possessions, but not to touch his body. Would Job curse God or not? Satan bet that Job would.
Job’s reaction…“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:
‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.’
In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (Job 1:20-21 NKJV).
“So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life’” (Job 2:4-6).
In this second round, Satan tried to use Job to discredit God by inflicting Job’s body with boils from head to foot. As Job sat in ashes and patiently scraped himself with a piece of broken pottery, his wife criticized him in exasperation. “‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:10-11 NKJV).
Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite…
When Job’s three friends heard about his adversity, they came to be with him and bring him comfort. For three days, they sat with their friend whom they hadn’t even recognized from a distance. For seven days and nights, they remained by his side, silent, witnessing his enormous grief.
From Chapters 3 through 37… (Click HERE to read)
To briefly summarize, the next thirty-five chapters involve the conversations of these four men. When they broke their silence, Job’s friends questioned his heart’s motives, declaring that God must be repaying him for sinful thoughts or actions. They defined God’s power and character with their limited understanding. Instead of bestowing comfort and grace to their suffering friend, they brought criticism and condemnation.
Job continually rebutted their arguments by defending his actions and motives. He argued that he had done nothing wrong to deserve such treatment by God, thus making his self-righteousness come into focus. He kept reiterating that he wanted a chance to sit down with God to argue his case.
Can you imagine his shock when God showed up and spoke to him out of the whirlwind?
From Chapters 38 through 42… (Click HERE to read)
Job got his wish—perhaps one just like our own–to debate God about his unjust trials. These four chapters are very much worth the read. Through them, we learn so much about our amazing God, His creative powers, and His sovereignty. They begin:
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: ‘Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me'”(Job 38:1-3 NKJV). (Click HERE to keep reading).
Throughout those chapters, God certainly dressed Job down. He quickly realized the debates with his friends had been utter nonsense. After God finished revealing His glory, majesty, and power, Job meekly responded.
“‘I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
You asked, “Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?”
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, “I will question you, and you shall answer Me.”
‘I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes’” (Job 42:2-6 NKJV).
The rest of the story…
True to His character, God was merciful and gracious. After Job prayed for his friends, God restored Job’s fortune two-fold. Here is the happy ending after the end of Job’s trials:
“Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold.
Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
After this Job lived one hundred and forty years and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days” (Job 42:11-16 NKJV).
Does God exempt us, His children, from trials?
Wouldn’t we assume that a person like Job, of such sterling character and strong integrity, would be untouchable to Satan’s plans of destruction? Perhaps Job’s story assures every descending generation that God doesn’t play favorites, and that obedience and godliness of character aren’t an insurance policy of protection against facing life’s trials. On the contrary, God exempts no one—not even His Son, who willingly died on the cross for our sins.
All humans have faults, and Job’s was his self-righteousness. But before we jump on the same bandwagon of criticism like his friends, let’s be honest…are we not also like Job? If while we’re living a righteous, obedient life to God and a trial suddenly manifests for no good reason, don’t we beg the same questions?
- God, why do I cry out and You don’t answer?
- What have I done to deserve this?
- Why are the wicked allowed to get away with tormenting the righteous?
- How can a holy God look on evil and do nothing?
What have you lost?
Like Job, you may have lost material possessions, loved ones, or your health. People close to you may criticize you for being a Christian and trusting God when you’ve lost so much. Wouldn’t we love to have a sit-down discussion with God so we could ask what the reason behind all our suffering is? We all have questions that may or may not be answered until we get to heaven, but we have to patiently wait until that day.
How to take heart in trials…
Whenever you feel discouraged, reread the Book of Job, for in it are God’s answers to the WHY’S. The fact that He is Sovereign God is a good start to understanding WHY. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, and nothing can happen to us that He doesn’t allow. We are protected by His godly hedge, and our names are inscribed on the palm of His hand. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
All trials are for a purpose. I’ve personally learned that they are tests of faith that, once passed, will lead us to promotion to the next level. The patience we grow through them will be like steel—the kind Job possessed.
As we wait, take heart. In the end, the Lord is merciful and full of compassion. Every trial has an ending, and God is faithful to bring it to pass. God has a plan, and we must trust it.
How does Job’s story of faith help you grow patience in your life?
Dear Father God, Thank you for teaching us about patience through the story of Job. May we trust you as You lead us through the trials of life. May we praise and worship You as we walk through those hard valleys, for You are always by our side. We pray in Jesus’s Name, Amen.