Trial of Job

When we talk about trials in the Bible, one would most certainly think about the trials of Job. Perhaps no one in the Bible has suffered so much within such a short time. And these sufferings were not the result of any sin that Job has committed. It was the result of God testing him to see whether he would still fear God when things are not going well.

(Job 1:8-11 NIV)  Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." {9} "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. {10} "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. {11} But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."

God allowed Satan to test Job severely. Almost instantly he lost his family members, his possessions and his physical well-being.

(Job 1:13-21 NIV)  One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, {14} a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, {15} and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" {16} While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" {17} While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" {18} While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, {19} when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" {20} At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship {21} and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

I have read this passage many times but it still amazes me how Job could have worshipped God immediately after he heard all the terrible things happening to him. It must have arisen out of such a strong and close relationship with God that is not affected by external events. Job had a strong sense of God’s sovereignty. “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.” Later we see that this sense of God’s sovereignty was shaken when Satan started to inflict his body. He started to question God. He questioned God’s decision to let him be born in the first place.

(Job 3:1-3 NIV)  After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. {2} He said: {3} "May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, 'A boy is born!'

After many chapters of questioning God, God spoke. But He did not address any of Job’s questions. Instead He asked Job a series of questions that spoke of His majesty. This again tells of God’s desire to teach Job that He is sovereignty. It is never a question of whether God has the right to do something; He has the right to do anything. As His creation, we have no right to question Him. We can never fathom the things of God. God has the right to test and try us.

(Job 38:1-4 NIV)  Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: {2} "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? {3} Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. {4} "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

In the end, Job understands that one can never question the sovereignty of God.

(Job 42:1-6 NIV)  Then Job replied to the LORD: {2} "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. {3} You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. {4} "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' {5} My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. {6} Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

Like Job, we sometimes question why certain things happen to us but not to others. Why did we have to lose our job? Why did we have to lose a loved one? We don’t have answers to our questions. We can only acknowledge that God is sovereign and He has the right to orchestrate the events in our life. In the end, we can trust that all things will work out for good. That was what happened to Job in the end. The end of God’s trial is a happy ending if we respond in the right way.

(Job 42:12-17 NIV)  The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. {13} And he also had seven sons and three daughters. {14} The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. {15} Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. {16} After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. {17} And so he died, old and full of years.