The Book of Job-Chapter Two:
"The Great Divide"
In this chapter Job's suffering increases. We will be seeing the cause of his suffering and looking into not just what happens, but how Job and others react to what happens. I think the Bible teaches two ways to deal with suffering in a spiritual sense, and these choices divide all men and women into two camps. One seeks to hang on to faith and hope even during times of trouble, but the other ultimately surrenders to doubts and fears. Beloved, we must seek to attain membership in that first group. That's why we are studying the Book of Job!
Verses 1-2: "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
This is all occurring after the Fall of Adam in Eden. In Eden (Genesis, chapter 2), we can already see that Satan is fascinated with the earth and with mankind. Notice that by the time of Job, Satan still has full access to Heaven. Actually Heaven is Satan's hometown, that's where he's from. Is it possible that Satan was still under grace at this point, and that God was still reaching out to him? That is where mankind is today, STILL under grace. That's why we are called to witness in hope, and why the Holy Spirit is moving out today through the entire world reaching out to all men. We might even speculate that the Lord was trying to shame Lucifer, His falling archangel and morning star, into repentance by showing how faithful a weaker creature, such as a man could be.
Verse 3: "And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause."
But Satan is not convinced at all about Job. Here comes his strong-willed and deeply held cynicism against faith. The faith of Job, and later of Christ, and certainly of the Church today. Just listen to his scathing reply:
Verses 4-5: "And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face."
Unfortunately, the devil's attitude seems to dominate our modern culture, doesn't it? These are cynical times. And, to be honest, this type of thinking seems to occur way too naturally in my own heart: doubting the Lord and worried and fearful that my earthly self-interests will outweigh my faith.
By the way, Satan is no longer under grace. He is fallen and condemned. Christ tells in the New Testament of personally watching Satan fall from Heaven (see Luke 10:18). When the New Covenant age ends, man's grace period will expire also. This makes real evangelism all the more urgent today.
Verses 6-8: "And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes."
As in Job, chapter 1, we see that it is Satan who afflicts Job, not God. God has expectations for men, but is NEVER the enemy of mankind and not your enemy, either. He created you and loves you. In fact, if not for God, we can see that Satan would have killed Job right here.
Verse 9: "Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die."
Well, this is the 1-2 punch of troubles, isn't it? Doubt is contagious. Sometimes our misfortunes seem to cause doubts and fears to spring up in those around us. This can make tough times seem unbearable. See how easily doubt has spread from Satan to Job's wife? Has it spread to you, beloved?
Verse 10: "But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips."
But faith can also be contagious. Throughout the ages, Job's faith has inspired many, at least I know I've heard him mentioned as a form of comfort in many conversations. Part of our purpose in this study is to go beyond the clichés a bit and find out more about what really happened to this man.
Now a new group is introduced and they will go on to dominate much of the rest of the Book of Job. They start out quietly but shortly will have a lot to say.
Verses 6-8: "Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great."
Have you ever noticed that we are naturally drawn to suffering in others and fascinated by it? This does not always indicate true friendship. Doesn't it often relate more to a morbid curiosity and a fear for self? All the news coverage of the problems, embarrassments, and tragedies of others today isn't generating more and more true compassion in our country, is it? Actually all the information seems to be creating in general a more callous and rude culture. Wouldn't you agree? That sounds like the work of more and more fear. True compassion requires faith in God to overcome the fears that accompany hearing about and being around suffering.
Sometimes those fears can drive us away from the people that may well need us the most. That's exactly what happened to Job's wife. Faith in God is not only the correct approach to our own problems, but also a main factor in how we are able to relate to and comfort the hurting. This is another aspect of the Great Divide.
Soon in chapter 4, as Job's companions begin to comfort him, we will enter into what I consider to be the heart of this great Book. But first, in chapter 3, we must hear directly from the man who's life has gone from very blessed to very terrible in a very short time.
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