The Book is supposed to be received as part of the sacred Scriptures. It’s a Book given and received by God. I have no reason to doubt the authorship of the Book neither do I want to enter into the field of enquiry as to whether it’s a true story or not because that to me is of course a secondary matter. For me, it’s enough that the Book is God-inspired and I do not have any iota of doubt that many lessons can be learnt from it. Walk with me on this one.
This particular book details the story of a man who was surrounded with everything that could make the world agreeable to him and more so make him a man of importance by the standards of our world today. Not only did he have the material power and affluence, he had and was a righteous man. The story described him as one that was perfect and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil. He also lived in a land called Uz: which, when translated from the Hebrew language, means counsel. In other words, he was surrounded by wise counsel coupled with being righteous and the material substance he had.
He was also decorated with his family: he had seven sons and three daughters. He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred she-asses and a very great household so that he became one of the greatest of all the children of the East. What a man!
He was one who was mindful of the origin of his wealth. We were told he offered sacrifices to God for the forgiveness of the sins of his children in case there had been a breaching of the Law or maybe the children had in one way or the other cursed God in their hearts. This, we were told he did continually and yearly. He did not let the uncertainty of wealth keep him away from his God. He was a godly and a good man by all standards, a character indeed worthy of emulation: a very rare specimen of a man.
We were also inundated with the story that God had edged him around and on every side, stewed his path with richest mercies; guarding him from the perils of that time and age. He had all the heart could wish – children and wealth in abundance; honor and distinction from all around. To describe him using our Christian language – he was a blessed man; his cup of earthly bliss was full. By the standard of today’s Christian, man would pray in the name of his god: “the god of pastor Harry is my god” would be the new catchphrase on their lips, although nothing informed us about what he did as a cause to having that sort of effect.
No one would think that this man had internal issues that needed to be resolved; issues that no one around him would have known or detected. It’s like someone who has just entered into the early stage of cancer where symptoms are completely absent and nothing is obviously making a statement about such sickness. Unknown to this man, he had issues that needed his attention. Maybe there was a deep moral root in his heart that had to be laid uncovered.
God has His ways of doing things: His ways will always be higher than anyway prescribed by human machinery and His thoughts so far and clearly distinct from the natural thoughts of man (any human organization and what have we). What is God going to do about this man’s problem and issues? God would therefore employ the services of Mr. Satan. Does God really need to use this guy? Why can’t He use someone else? God will use him because he is the best man for the job. I don’t think God would have embarked upon any action if there wasn’t a need for it.
As far as this man was concerned, he believed he was righteous but not according to the righteousness that was weighed in the balances of Heaven, and as far as God was concerned, this man was not. God has to find a way of getting this through to him.
God asked Satan if he had considered this man: a perfect and an upright one as such, one that feared Him and hated evil. God was in a tête-à-tête with Satan! Preposterous! Right? Yes, very improbable, how can Holy God talk with Unholy devil? Satan told God to remove the edge around this man, which God did, and the drama starts, Satan was allowed to tamper with the material things and all he had acquired but was restricted in the taking of his life.
First, while his children were having one of their parties at the home of the oldest son, a messenger came to him and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing in the field next to us when Sabeans attacked. They stole the animals and killed the field hands. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened”. While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Bolts of lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them—burned them to a crisp. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened”.
Secondly, while he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Chaldeans coming from three directions raided the camels and massacred the camel drivers. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened”.
Thirdly, while the servant was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, “Your children were having a party at the home of the oldest brother when a tornado swept in off the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they died. I’m the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened”.
In one day, what seemed to provide comfort vanished into thin air: the material substance: his seven thousand sheep, the three thousand camels, the family et al disappeared. One could never describe the pain he went through because sometimes talk is cheap. The man that was once described as the greatest in the East suddenly becomes impoverished and more so without a family. This paints the picture of a man who went through an inextricable pain that words fail me to explicate. But why?
He had complete reverence for his God, he was perfect, and he hated evil and sacrificed religiously and continuously. What went wrong? This is the question that most of us ask God when we go through the challenges of life because we are never exposed to the reason why we must go through them.
His name is Job.
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad – C S Lewis.