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4. Job 1 – 3 (Job’s Troubles)

A Chronological Daily Bible Study of the Old Testament
7-Day Sections with a Summary-Commentary, Discussion Questions, and a Practical Daily Application

Week 4

Sunday (Job 1:1-5)

Job’s Good Life

1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.

And that man was pure and upright,

one who feared God and turned away from evil.

1:2 Seven sons and three daughters were born to him.

1:3 His possessions included 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys; in addition he had a very great household.

Thus he was the greatest of all the people in the east.

1:4 Now his sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one in turn, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 1:5 When the days of their feasting were finished,

Job would send for them and sanctify them; he would get up early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all.

For Job thought, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.”

This was Job’s customary practice.

Prayer

Lord, Job was an amazing man in many ways, not only was he rich in possessions he was also faithful in worship of You. May I remember that everything I have and everything I care about belongs to You and that I owe You my praise, thanks, and wisdom.

Scripture In Perspective

Job lived in an area known as Uz. In Genesis 10 the text records that a grandson of Shem, and a son of Aram, was named Uz. It was from the land of Uz that Abram was called by God.

Job was “... pure and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” and was the wealthiest man “... in the east”. It is worth noting the linkage between “pure and upright”, that he made the choice to turn “away from evil”, and that he was blessed to be the wealthiest man “... in the east.” Satan would later observe, but misrepresent, the linkage between Job’s wealth and his relationship with the Lord God.

Job’s wealth included a great “household” which, as will be revealed in text to follow, included many employees “servants”.

Job had seven grown sons and three daughters who were fond of gathering for feats of food and drink. No mention was made of the children's relationship with the Lord God.

The text reports that Job thought “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.”, so following each of their feasts he would offer burnt offerings for them.

The text does not say why Job might have such a thought, perhaps it was merely an abundance of caution, or perhaps it was because his children offered no praise or worship of the Lord God in their extravagant lifestyle.

In either case Job was a God-honoring human role model for his children and for his community.

Interact with the text

Consider

Humankind is very early in recovery after the Flood, the practice of worship has yet to be enshrined in any recorded law, making Job’s faithfulness in his fortune all the more remarkable.

Discuss

How might Job’s sacrifices on behalf of his children be a role model for modern parents, and perhaps other relatives and friends, praying for the well-being of children and young adults as their make their way through life?

Reflect

No mention was made of the children being engaged in any work, though they may have, rather the implication was that they busied themselves in the indulgences that Job’s great wealth provided.

Share

When have you observed the children of honorable and hard-working people carelessly living-off the wealth of their parents without regard to matters of faith and due respect to the Lord God?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place in your life where you tend to take the Lord God’s blessings for granted.

Act

Today I will confess and repent of my presumption upon the Lord God. I will request and humbly accept His forgiveness and will adjust my attitude and my schedule to make time to give thanks – in addition to a general ‘attitude of gratitude’.

Be Specific ________________________________________________

Monday (Job 1:6-12)

Satan’s Accusation of Job

1:6 Now the day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord – and Satan also arrived among them.

1:7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

And Satan answered the Lord, “From roving about on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it.”

1:8 So the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?

There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man,

one who fears God and turns away from evil.”

1:9 Then Satan answered the Lord, “Is it for nothing that Job fears God?

1:10 Have you not made a hedge around him and his household and all that he has on every side?

You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock have increased in the land.

1:11 But extend your hand and strike everything he has, and he will no doubt curse you to your face!”

1:12 So the Lord said to Satan, “All right then, everything he has is in your power.

Only do not extend your hand against the man himself!”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Prayer

Lord, just as the Newt Testament reminded us, Satan is on an evil mission to destroy those who love the Lord. May I be watchful for his evils schemes, quick to send him away and to seek-after You, and patient for Your resolution of the troubles he brings.

Scripture In Perspective

In the royal court of the Lord God “... the day came when the sons of God” [The NET translator’s notes explain that this phrase refers to the angelic beings, faithful and fallen alike “a poetic way of describing their nature and relationship to God”] “... came to present themselves before the Lord”, and on that day Satan showed up, whereupon the Lord challenged him to explain from what activity had he come.

Satan declared that he had been walking around the world. Many generations later, in the New Testament text, we are again reminded that Satan roams the earth in search of opportunities to harm those who love the Lord. (1 Peter 5:8)

The Lord, knowing his arrogant and dark heart, then challenged him, “Have you considered my servant Job?” He described the positive attributes of Job, both among his peers and in his relationship to Him, as a challenge to Satan.

Satan accused the Lord God of manipulating Job unfairly, providing great wealth and every other need, and protecting him from harm. Satan declared that if He removed those protections that Job would rebel and reject Him.

The Lord God then gave Satan permission to try all of the things he had in mind to drive Job to rebellion, short of touching Job directly, and dismissed him from His royal court.

Interact With The Text

Consider

As the Lord God allowed the working-out of justice, perfectly balanced by His grace, He permitted the evil one to challenge those who chose loyalty to the Lord. This was part of the cure of the Fall; humankind chose to allow Satan a combative role in creation, the Lord God therefore tolerated the continuous choice-making process.

Discuss

When you study this text alone, or in small group, have you found it helpful to recall that Satan only has a continuing role in human affairs because we invited him into them at the Fall?

Reflect

Satan continues to prey upon humankind, he continues to challenge the integrity of the Lord God, and he continues to fail to comprehend that he is hopelessly outmatched by the Lord God.

Share

When have you observed someone who was apparently trying to be faithful to the Lord God still come under attack and oppression from the enemy for a time?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a fellow believer for whom He'd like you to pray and to encouragement.

Act

Today I will pray for the one to whom He has directed me and I will, as is appropriate, seek ways to otherwise encourage and serve them as they bear-up under an attack from the enemy.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Tuesday (Job 1:13-22)

Job’s Integrity in Adversity

1:13 Now the day came when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house,

1:14 and a messenger came to Job, saying, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing beside them, 1:15 and the Sabeans swooped down and carried them all away, and they killed the servants with the sword! And I – only I alone – escaped to tell you!”

1:16 While this one was still speaking, another messenger arrived and said, “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and has burned up the sheep and the servants – it has consumed them! And I – only I alone – escaped to tell you!”

1:17 While this one was still speaking another messenger arrived and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and carried them all away, and they killed the servants with the sword! And I – only I alone – escaped to tell you!”

1:18 While this one was still speaking another messenger arrived and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 1:19 and suddenly a great wind swept across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they died! And I – only I alone – escaped to tell you!”

1:20 Then Job got up and tore his robe. He shaved his head, and then he threw himself down with his face to the ground.

1:21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. May the name of the Lord be blessed!”

1:22 In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with moral impropriety.

Prayer

Lord, we all face terrifying moments in our lives; danger, loss, and suffering. May I remember from Job’s story that You understand the groanings of our hearts as we cry-out in pain, You are patient and forgiving, and You give us strength when we have none left of our own. Your knowledge, justice, and wisdom are perfect. You are not as concerned about our worldly comforts – as are we - because Your focus is upon our eternal well-being. While mere humans seize upon crises and tragedies as opportunities to promote their selfish personal agendas You use them to cleanse and to teach. May I be as Job and never doubt Your right to do as You please with me as I have surrendered all.

Scripture In Perspective

Satan used various tribes to raid and kill and destroy Job’s animals and crops, and bizarre weather (fire and wind) to kill his children, as well as destroying buildings and servants.

Job responded to the news by tearing his robes, falling to the ground, acknowledging the Lord’s sovereignty over all things and His right to give them and to take them.

The text uses the expression that Job never accused the Lord God of any “moral impropriety” in permitting these events. This is important as the balance of the book of Job will be filled with debate as to the reason for such events and the Lord God’s hand in them.

Job’s initial response was his best, as he would later parse his words some, and thus deviate from the only correct response to such a tragedy.

Interact With The Text

Consider

While Job never accused the Lord God of any “moral impropriety” and did not sin in saying “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” the text does not say that Job was either perfect in his faith nor that he was without sin.

Discuss

What sort of bone and soul-deep faith does it take to respond as Job did to such devastating news as all of this?

Reflect

Job had nothing of the Old Testament or New Testament writings, only stories and traditions passed-down through the generation, thus his faith was all the more remarkable.

Share

When have you observed someone, confronted with terrible news, who immediately gave it over to the Lord God?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you an opportunity to grow in your faith so that you may also be more inclined to give-over to Him those things which might otherwise overwhelm you.

Act

Today I will follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and will make the time to invest myself in the discipleship necessary to grow significantly deeper in faith.

Be Specific _________________________________________________

Wednesday (Job 2:1-10)

Satan’s Additional Charge

2:1 Again the day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also arrived among them to present himself before the Lord.

2:2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where do you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roving about on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it.”

2:3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil. And he still holds firmly to his integrity, so that you stirred me up to destroy him without reason.”

2:4 But Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for skin! Indeed, a man will give up all that he has to save his life!

2:5 But extend your hand and strike his bone and his flesh, and he will no doubt curse you to your face!”

2:6 So the Lord said to Satan, “All right, he is in your power; only preserve his life.”

Job’s Integrity in Suffering

2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and he afflicted Job with a malignant ulcer from the sole of his feet to the top of his head.

2:8 Job took a shard of broken pottery to scrape himself with while he was sitting among the ashes.

2:9 Then his wife said to him, “Are you still holding firmly to your integrity? Curse God, and die!”

2:10 But he replied, “You’re talking like one of the godless women would do! Should we receive what is good from God, and not also receive what is evil?”

In all this Job did not sin by what he said.

Prayer

Lord, even when confronted by direct physical attack and undermined by a heartsick wife who was angry with You, Job resisted the urge to question Your righteousness. May my faith grow as deep so my trust in You I will keep.

Scripture In Perspective

Once again Satan showed up in the royal court of the Lord God at a time allotted to the angels to present themselves.

Once again the Lord God questions Satan as to where he had been, perhaps to force him to confess before the angels that he was no longer among them but rather cast-down to wander about the earth.

He then challenged Satan once more, “... he [Job] still holds firmly to his integrity, so that you stirred Me up to destroy him without reason.”

Satan replied that a human would do anything for their own well-being but might appear righteous when it is others who are suffering, so he asked permission to attack Job’s health. The Lord granted him permission, but he was not permitted to kill Job.

Satan struck Job with ulcers over his entire body and as he sat in the ashes of his formerly great estate, scraping them with a shard of broken pottery, his wife tempted him to “curse God and die”.

Job's wife followed the pattern of Eve, and later of David's wife Michal, where they made a situation about themselves or their spouse rather than looking to the Lord for perspective and strength.

Job chastised his wife for speaking like a non-believer, thought not for being an unbeliever, it was unsurprising that her losses confused her thinking.

The NET translator's notes observe that Job was not later instructed to pray for her restoration to right-relationship with Him, as was the case for Job's friends, so the Lord's loving-grace was not offended by her momentary outburst – He knew her heart.

Job explained to his wife that we must be willing to accept both good gifts and difficult challenges from the Lord God.

The text concluded that “Job did not sin by what he said” therefore reinforcing that his responses to this point had been correct.

Interact With The Text

Consider

Job’s wife had endured the loss of ten children whom she had birthed and raised, plus the loss of their worldly resources, and then had to watch her husband’s health shattered.

Discuss

Why would Job’s wife have said what she said, since the text and the NET translator’s notes suggest that she was otherwise in good standing with the Lord?

Reflect

The arrogant and proud Satan was twice embarrassed before the heavenly host,

first forced to confess his lowly status among humankind rather than among them as he once was, then mocked for his failure to undermine Job by attacking his family and resources. Desperate to win he asked to attack Job directly.

Share

When have you, or someone you know, been struggling against adversity – or to do the right thing – only to have someone close to them give poor counsel?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you either a source of poor counsel and/or someone for whom you could provide God-honoring encouragement.

Act

Today I will either set a boundary with someone whose counsel is not God-honoring and/or I will encourage someone from the Word who needs support in standing their ground with the Lord.

Be Specific ________________________________________________

Thursday (Job 2:11-13)

The Visit of Job’s Friends

2:11 When Job’s three friends heard about all this calamity that had happened to him, each of them came from his own country – Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to come to show sympathy for him and to console him.

2:12 But when they gazed intently from a distance but did not recognize him, they began to weep loudly.

Each of them tore his robes, and they threw dust into the air over their heads. 2:13 Then they sat down with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights,

yet no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.

Prayer

Lord, sometimes in times of great loss the best thing You would have us do is to be present but in silent prayer. May I listen to Your Holy Spirit for the wisdom and strength to know when to do just that.

Scripture In Perspective

Job’s three friends came to console him but so great was his affliction that they could not even recognize him from a distance.

They tore their robes, threw dust in the air, and wept.

Then they went to him and sat quietly for seven days as his terrible losses and great affliction rendered them speechless.

Interact With The Text

Consider

His friends hear the news, stopped what they were doing, and came to be with him. Job’s friends respected his angst and kept him company without feeling compelled to speak a word.

Discuss

How does one know when to keep silent and when to speak?

Reflect

For seven days they waited until he first spoke. Such patience and respect.

Share

When have you observed someone experiencing a terrible loss and struggled with a right response to God and man?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone who is struggling with major losses – whom He wants you to comfort.

Act

Today I will stop and make a special effort to assist and to encourage someone who is dealing with major losses. As is appropriate I will do so by just being-there without forcing my thoughts upon them.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Friday (Job 3:1-12)

3:1 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day he was born.

3:2 Job spoke up and said:

3:3 “Let the day on which I was born perish, and the night that said, ‘A man has been conceived!’

3:4 That day – let it be darkness; let not God on high regard it, nor let light shine on it!

3:5 Let darkness and the deepest shadow claim it; let a cloud settle on it; let whatever blackens the day terrify it!

3:6 That night – let darkness seize it; let it not be included among the days of the year; let it not enter among the number of the months!

3:7 Indeed, let that night be barren; let no shout of joy penetrate it!

3:8 Let those who curse the day curse it – those who are prepared to rouse Leviathan.

3:9 Let its morning stars be darkened; let it wait for daylight but find none, nor let it see the first rays of dawn,

3:10 because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb on me, nor did it hide trouble from my eyes!

Job Wishes He Had Died at Birth

3:11 “Why did I not die at birth, and why did I not expire as I came out of the womb?

3:12 Why did the knees welcome me, and why were there two breasts that I might nurse at them?

Prayer

Lord, sometimes this world seems to hard to bear, and sometimes we believe the lie that You really don’t care. May I always trust that Your knowledge and wisdom, grace and justice, are perfect.

Scripture In Perspective

When Job broke his silence he spoke from his emotional and physical agony and wished-aloud that he had never been born.

Job was as-one with everyone he knew who had ever suffered a loss, considering his own loss the equivalent of the sum of theirs and wishing for a monster to swallow-up the daylight as it only served to remind him of his losses.

The NET translator’s notes remind the reader that “Leviathan” refers to an ancient mythological creature of the deep waters.

Interact With The Text

Consider

As Satan observed, Job had lived a blessed life, and although he engaged in ‘just in case’ sacrifices for the sanctification of his children he was ill-prepared for loss from any direct experience.

Discuss

How would you respond to someone who said that they also would prefer to die if they suffered a loss anything like that of Job?

Reflect

The Lord God loved Job but He loves justice and right-thinking as well and these events set up opportunities to demonstrate justice and to enhance right-thinking in both heavenly and earthly realms.

Share

When have you experienced or observed significant loss and the associated emotions? What did that look like?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place in your life that is so emotionally-powerful and scary, real (past or present) or imagined (a fear of what might happen), that you may wish to die rather than deal with it.

Act

Today I will confess that I have at times believed the lie of the enemy that the Lord God is not sufficient, at least not in the most-scary places of my life. I will accept His forgiveness, I will repent (turn away from) of that false belief (which may be more emotional than intellectual), and I will trust Him to guide me through the process of overcoming my fears.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Saturday (Job 3:13-26)

3:13 For now I would be lying down and would be quiet, I would be asleep and then at peace

3:14 with kings and counselors of the earth who built for themselves places now desolate,

3:15 or with princes who possessed gold, who filled their palaces with silver.

3:16 Or why was I not buried like a stillborn infant, like infants who have never seen the light?

3:17 There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest.

3:18 There the prisoners relax together; they do not hear the voice of the oppressor.

3:19 Small and great are there, and the slave is free from his master.

Longing for Death

3:20 “Why does God give light to one who is in misery, and life to those whose soul is bitter,

3:21 to those who wait for death that does not come, and search for it more than for hidden treasures,

3:22 who rejoice even to jubilation, and are exultant when they find the grave?

3:23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in?

3:24 For my sighing comes in place of my food, and my groanings flow forth like water.

3:25 For the very thing I dreaded has happened to me, and what I feared has come upon me.

3:26 I have no ease, I have no quietness; I cannot rest; turmoil has come upon me.”

Prayer

Lord, following wave after wave of devastating news Job held the ground of his faith, but finally he was emotionally exhausted and sought the peace of death. Thank You Lord for Your indwelling Holy Spirit so that we do not have to bear-up under the challenges of this fallen world in our own strength, but rather we rest in You.

Scripture In Perspective

Job observe the concept of the ‘common sleep, unaware of one-another nor of the passage of time’, among all who have died.

It matters not whether one was great or common, rich or poor, good or evil, old or young in this world, unless the Lord returns before death comes all sleep until He awakens.

The apostle Paul described all who have died as waiting on the awakening call of the Lord, though they all are “asleep”. (e.g. 1Thess. 4:13)

Interact With The Text

Consider

Job managed his angst longer than many might have, seven days after his friends arrived, plus the days prior to that.

Discuss

How would you advise someone who had suffered a terrible loss and whose emotional exhaustion in grieving had caused them to contemplate giving up on life altogether?

Reflect

We sometimes give the enemy a free second victory by giving-up rather than stepping-up.

Share

What are some ways that you have observed that people dealt with major losses?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place where you have not done well with a loss; perhaps a job or money or a relationship or the death of someone close.

Act

Today I will confess my failure to trust me perspective and my healing to the Lord God and rather tried to handle it all myself. I will request and receive His forgiveness, comfort, healing, strength, and wisdom. I will share the story of His work in me with a fellow believer as a testimony and an encouragement for them should they also be confronted with a difficult loss.

Be Specific _________________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study – Job. Prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in August of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.