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Getting to Know the Bible: Job Overview

Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.


Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on Job. But before we get to Job 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of Job. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.


And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of Job, as we prepare to behold and discern Job, beginning with Job 1 in our next installment of this series.





Book Type: Book of Wisdom; the eighteenth book of the Old Testament


Authors: The author is technically unknown. Some have suggested King Solomon, others have suggested Job himself recorded his story, or that Moses wrote it.


Date of Writing: Uncertain, since the original author is technically unknown. The timeframe could be anytime from the reign of Solomon to the time of Israel's exile in Babylonia.


Audience: Written to the Jews, as an emphasis on perseverance. The New Testament passage James 5:11 refers to Job as a real account illustrating the steadfastness of Job as well as the Lord's compassion and mercy.


Original Language: Hebrew


Genre: Dialogue; Epic poetry


Timeline: The historical events appear to be set in the Patriarchal period (i.e., sometime between Noah and Moses). There are no allusions to the Law of Moses in the book, but there is a mention of a flood (Job 22:16). Job functions as a priest in offering sacrifices for his family (Job 1:5), similar to what we find with Abraham ( Gen 12:7).


Purpose of Writing: The Book of Job helps us to understand the following: Satan cannot bring financial and physical destruction upon us unless it is by God’s permission. God has power over what Satan can and cannot do. It is beyond our human ability to understand the why’s behind all the suffering in the world. The wicked will receive their just dues. We cannot always blame suffering and sin on our lifestyles. Suffering may sometimes be allowed in our lives to purify, test, teach, or strengthen the soul. God remains enough, and He deserves and requests our love and praise in all circumstances of life.


Summary: The book of Job opens with a scene in heaven where Satan comes to accuse Job before God. He insists Job only serves God because God protects him and seeks God’s permission to test Job’s faith and loyalty. God grants His permission, only within certain boundaries. Why do the righteous suffer? This is the question raised after Job loses his family, his wealth, and his health. Job’s three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, come to comfort him and to discuss his crushing series of tragedies. They insist his suffering is punishment for sin in his life. Job, though, remains devoted to God through all of this and contends that his life has not been one of sin. A fourth man, Elihu, tells Job he needs to humble himself and submit to God’s use of trials to purify his life. Finally, Job questions God Himself and learns valuable lessons about the sovereignty of God and his need to totally trust in the Lord. Job is then restored to health, happiness, and prosperity beyond his earlier state.


Overview:

Job consists of 42 chapters focused on three major themes. The first theme includes chapters 1-2 where Job is introduced as a godly man (Job 1:1-5). However, God permits Satan to take everything from him. Satan first tests Job through taking his property and children (Job 1:13-22). When Job does not sin in response, Satan requests to attack Job again. Satan then assaults Job's health, leaving him in pain, with even his own wife telling him to curse God and die. Job still refuses to sin. His friends arrive in shock at his condition, yet proceed to accuse Job of wrongdoing as the source of his problems.


The second major section covers chapters 3-37. Job's three friends take turns debating Job regarding his suffering. This section includes five distinct cycles: chapters 3-14, chapters 15-21, chapters 22-26, Job's final defense in chapters 27-231 and Elihu's speeches in chapters 32-37. These passages are primarily a debate between Job and his friends, who insist that his suffering must be his own fault. While Job vehemently denies this, he also struggles with his condition, and wonders why God would allow it to occur.


The third major section includes God's deliverance, and covers chapters 38-42. After all of the debate and discussion, God finally speaks to Job (Job 38:1-40:2), Job answers (Job 40:3-5), and God provides a second response (Job 40:6-41:34). Job then judges himself, while God rebukes his three friends (Job 42:1-9). The book ends with God restoring Job's family, wealth, and long life, including double the blessings he had before his time of suffering (Job 42:10-17).


Foreshadowing:

As Job was pondering the cause of his misery, three questions came to his mind, all of which are answered only in our Lord Jesus Christ. These questions occur in chapter 14. First, in verse 4, Job asks, "Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!?" Job’s question comes from a heart that recognizes it cannot possibly please God or become justified in His sight. God is holy; we are not. Therefore, a great gulf exists between man and God, caused by sin. But the answer to Job’s anguished question is found in Jesus Christ. He has paid the penalty for our sin and has exchanged it for His righteousness, thereby making us acceptable in God’s sight (Hebrews 10:14; Colossians 1:21-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17).


Job’s second question, "But man dies and lies prostrate; Man expires, and where is he?" (vs. 10), is another question about eternity and life and death that is answered only in Christ. With Christ, the answer to where is he? is eternal life in heaven. Without Christ, the answer is an eternity in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30).


Job’s third question, found in verse 14, is “If a man dies, will he live again?” Once again, the answer is found in Christ. We do indeed live again if we are in Him. “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).


Application: Job is the story of a good man who endures extreme suffering and wonders why. It’s an honest look at responding to life’s misery. But the main point of this book is the centrality of trusting God under all circumstances. Psalm 18:30 tells us “As for God, His way is perfect”.


Even though God’s people may not always understand why God acts the way He does, they should rest in the assurance of knowing He understands. In Isaiah 55:8-9, the prophet tells us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.


Key Verses (ESV):


Job 1:1: "There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil." Job 1:21: "And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.'" Job 38:1–2: "Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 'Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?'" Job 42:5–6: "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."


*Note:

Job is the first of five books commonly referred to as The Books of Poetry. These include Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. Called such because they are written in poetic style in contrast to the narrative style of most other books, they are also often referred to as Wisdom Literature (especially Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes).


The Greek word for patience is hupomone, which describes the trait of one who is able to abide under the weight of trials. From the patience of Job, we learn that it means to maintain fidelity to God, even under great trials in which we do not understand what is happening.


The book also prepares the way for the coming of Jesus Christ. His coming is anticipated in several ways. Job longs for a mediator between him and God (Job 9:33; 33:23), and Jesus is one (1 Timothy 2:5). Job confessed his faith in a Redeemer who would one day come (Job 19:25); Christ is that Redeemer (Ephesians 1:7)


I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.

May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.


Love you much.


Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!


-Humble Servant


P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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