Job 1-4 Stretch out your hand and he will curse you

From Job 1-4

18 Job three friends

In the start of the book Job is commended by the author. He is blameless and upright. He fears God and when tempted by evil he turns away from it. The LORD has blessed him with a large family and many possessions. The scene changes to heaven where the LORD commends Job to Satan. Satan replies if the LORD takes away all his possessions, his family servants and livestock he will curse him to his face. The LORD accepts the challenge.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

18 Job 03-4

In a series of calamities Job’s sons and daughters, his servants and his livestock are all killed. In all this Job does not sin against the LORD or charge him with wrong (Job 1.1-22).

2 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 3 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” 4 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” 6 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” (Job 2.1-6)

Once again Satan challenges the LORD. Saying Job only follows him because the LORD provides him with health. Once again the LORD permits Satan to afflict Job. But he is not allowed to kill him.

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2.7-10)

Even when his wife turns against the LORD suggesting Job should curse the LORD, Job holds on. He realises the LORD deals out both good and evil. Times of blessing and times of distress.

11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. 12 And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. 13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. (Job 2.11-13)

Friends know each other well enough that they can recognise the suffering of one another. Job’s three friends come to comfort Job is his time of distress. Such is Job’s distress though they do not recognise him. He is covered with sores. Perhaps they are used to him smiling. Now they find his face fallen, perhaps signs of weeping. Pain clearly etched on his face and body. They say nothing. All they do is sit with him. Its all they can do. Sometimes that is all is needed or wanted.

The opening chapters set the stage for the whole book. Satan has challenged the LORD saying his people only follow him because of what he gives them. Job is about why people follow the LORD. Job is an innocent man. He doesn’t know the challenge Satan has given the LORD. Neither do his friends. Their assumptions regarding righteousness and sin, reward and punishment will play themselves out through the book.

Job is also about suffering. Everything has been taken away from him, he is stripped bear. How will he cope? Will he continue to trust in the LORD. To trust in his goodness? To trust in his justice? Will Job curse the LORD to his face?

Job will finally speak. He will cry out and curse the day of his birth. He wishes he wasn’t born (Job 3).

Eliphaz, the first of Job’s friends, will ask him to recall if he has even seen the innocent perish or the upright cut off. He believes the LORD maintains the cause of these people. That they do not suffer. He then asks if anyone can be right before God. His underlying reasoning is that Job must have sinned to deserve this from the LORD (Job 4).

Story of Jesus

In the gospel Jesus is initially tested by Satan.

4 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ ”

9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’

11 and

“ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Lk 4:1–13)

He passes this test. But notice at the end Satan departs ‘until an opportune time’. Jesus and Satan struggle all through the gospel (Mt 16.23; Mk 3.23-26; 4.15; Lk 10.18; 13.16; 22.31). But the greatest test Jesus had to meet was in his betrayal and death.

3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. (Lk 22:3–6)

Jesus endured his fair share of suffering. He did so for us and on our behalf. He deserves our thanks.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.