“Why God, Why Me?”
Job lived in the land of Uz with his wife, seven sons and three daughters. He was a righteous man, who was blameless, honored God and shunned evil. He was blessed by God with material wealth: seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants.
One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”
Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”
God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”
Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him and his family or his possessions, bless everything he does— he can’t lose!
“But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”
God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.—Job 1:6-12 The Message
Sometime later, Job’s livestock were attacked and stolen; his ten children died in a tornado, all in the same day. “Then he fell to the ground in worship 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.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:20-22).
Job was tested a second time
On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
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. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
So Satan went from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.—Job 2:1-10 NIV
Job had three ‘friends’ who heard about all his calamities:
Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar went to visit Job to console him. When they saw him they could hardly believe what they saw and cried, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. They sat with Job for seven days and nights without saying a word—speechless at viewing his suffering. Things would have been great if they had just wept with Job and told him how much they loved him, prayed with him and left. Instead, they each, in two rounds, and for most of the forty-two chapters in Job, spouted their eloquent wisdom from their own experiences, what they believed to be true of how and why God was dealing with him.
Eliphaz was sure Job had to have sinned for all this to have happened, “Think! Has a truly innocent person ever ended up on the scrap heap?” (Job 4:7 Msg). Sin had to be the blame.
Bildad was sure Job’s children had sinned. “It’s plain that your children sinned against him—otherwise, why would God have punished them? . . . There’s no way that God will reject a good person, and there’s no way he’ll help a bad one” (Job 8:4, 20 Msg). He told Job what to do: to get down on his knees before Almighty God before it was too late so God would come running. “Even though you’re not much right now, you’ll end up better than ever” (Job 8:18 Msg).
Zophar agreed with Eliphaz—Job had sinned. “You claim, ‘My doctrine is sound and my conduct impeccable.’ How I wish God would give you a piece of his mind, tell you what’s what! I wish he’d show you how wisdom looks from the inside, for true wisdom is mostly ‘inside.’ But you can be sure of this, you haven’t gotten half of what you deserve” (Job 11:4-6 Msg).
Job’s Divine Revelation
Among Job’s well-meaning friends’ ascertains, Job stands by his innocence, and with divine revelation of the coming resurrection of the body and soul from hell, he says, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another” (Job 19:25-26).
Before this revelation, Job had become so completely worn out with his friends’ visit that he cursed the day he was born. “So why did you have me born? I wish no one had ever laid eyes on me! I wish I’d never lived—a stillborn, buried without ever having breathed” (Job 10:18 Msg).
Possibly, Job’s friends served their purpose, for Job made a desperate and wise decision, “I’m taking my case straight to God Almighty, I’ve had it with you—I’m going directly to God. You graffiti my life with lies. You’re a bunch of pompous quacks! I wish you’d shut your mouths—silence is your only claim to wisdom” (Job 13:3-5 Msg). Job went before God with a lengthy complaint, starting with:
“Please God, I have two requests;
Grant them so I’ll know I count with you:
First, lay off the afflictions;
The terror is too much for me.
Second, address me directly so I can answer you, Or let me speak and then you answer me.
How many sins have been charged against me?
Show me the list—how bad is it?
Why do you stay hidden and silent?
Why treat me like I’m your enemy?
Why kick me around like an old tin can?
Why beat a dead horse?”—Job 13:20-25 The Message
God answered Job out of the eye of a storm:
“Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong?
Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?” (40:8 Msg emphasis added).
God then gave Job a lengthy accounting of all his creations in the sky above and the earth beneath, asking Job if he could stand up to them. He said, “I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—you can surely save yourself with no help from me!” (40:14 Msg). He addressed Job’s cursing the day he was born by saying, “Look at the land beast, Behemoth. I created him as well as you” (40:15 Msg).
When the Lord finished speaking, Job replied, “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head” (42:1-3 Msg).
The purpose of all suffering
The Lord had asked Job to listen and give Him the answers. Listen closely to Job’s reply, for this is the purpose of all suffering: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). Job went directly to the Lord, whereas before, his worship had been merely in the sacrificing of animals. He asked, he listened, and he heard. God answered, and spoke directly to Job’s need, at the point of his obedience—through repentance.
Job found that God did not have a list of offenses against him, but his only offense was his complaints against God during the suffering. He knew God had to have had a purpose, and now he knew what it was: “I admit I once lived by rumors of you, now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!” (Job 42:5 Msg).
Next, God spoke His displeasure to Job’s friends, “You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:8). God told them He wanted Job to pray for them. Do you think God was trying to make a point with Job’s friends—that they should have prayed, leaving the situation in His hands?
Double restorations of Job
God blessed Job again by restoring double what he had before. He was healed in all four areas—physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. With the same wife, who hopefully had a change of heart, he had seven more sons and three more daughters. This time, the daughters’ names are recorded, saying they were the most beautiful in all the land, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. Spiritually speaking, this is huge: Job was granted the heart of God by seeing his daughters through God’s eyes, as equal in the kingdom, with the same spiritual inheritance. Job lived another hundred and forty years, seeing his children to the fourth generation.
The Bible does not clearly say when God healed Job. When God first began speaking with him, He said, “Now gird up your loins like a man” (Job 38:3). The Message says, “Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall!” Possibly Job was healed in response to God’s Word; maybe after he prayed for his friends. Whenever it happened, Job experienced the healing power of Jehovah-Rapha.
Job experienced the crossing of the Jordan in a spiritual sense. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, defines the Hebrew word for Jordan as yarden (yar-dane), meaning “a descender.” Its primitive root word is yarad (yaw-rad), which literally means “to go downwards”—[also: to bring down; to cast down; to go down; going down; to take down, etc.] Crossing the Jordan means stepping down. It means humility—putting self on the altar so God can work.
Crossing the Jordan also means getting to the other side, to overcome—healing in all four areas of our lives. Job overcame from the inside-out, whereas Janice experienced healing from the outside-in: Job, an obedient believer; Janice, not knowing what she believed. The result for both was the same—first-hand, experiential knowledge of God.
Job may have never known the behind-the-scenes scenario of satan’s requests before God, but we have no excuse to be ignorant. We have the rest of the story and must take heed. It was Job’s obedience that caught satan’s attention, as well as God’s. God even initiated the conversation with satan about Job’s righteousness saying, “There is no one on earth like him” (Job 1:8). We must ask ourselves if we are willing to suffer in overcoming, or to be humiliated for the Lord’s sake.
If we are to experience God as Jehovah-Rapha, the Healer, we need to be willing to pay the price of discipleship in order to know Him. We must expect to be tested with bitter waters for a season, trusting they will be made sweet, with this assurance in our heart: “If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail” (Isa. 54:15-17).