Eliphaz holds a mirror up to Job for his previous words. Job was not speaking in character – with reverence and integrity (4:1-6). However, Eliphaz then wanders into error in assuming that Job’s condition must be as a result of some sin in his life (7-11). Then it is Eliphaz who is given a revelation of the human condition – the total depravity of all. Humans don’t even have their own wisdom – all true knowledge coming from the Creator alone (12-21).
Eliphaz rightly focused on a revelatory word over human speech alone (5:1). The envious are objects of wrath (2-6), and all are born into the state of original sin (7). One ought to look to God for what is humanly speaking ‘unsearchable’ – ie., special revelation (8). From this revelation we learn that this God is the sustainer of all that he has created (9-10), including one’s station in life (11), and the plans of all (12).
A person is trapped by their own desires – the crafty in their own craftiness (13). Even light is darkness for those without God (14). Only those who confess their neediness, ie., repentance and faith, are saved from the injustice of the mighty (15-16). “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.” (17) This verse, with 18 are the basic summary of the book of Job.
God alone permits adversity, and he alone can deliver (18-22), especially those in the one covenant of grace with him (23). It is by this revelatory word of his grace that we can ‘know’ that we have peace, where nothing is amiss (24), and that we have the promise of a prosperous future, in the covenantal seed (25). Most will also live to a ripe age, bearing fruit to the very end (26). We know this is true, because it is a revelatory word – searched for and found (27).
Sadly, Job seems to have fallen off the wagon here. He chose to curse the day of the blessing of his birth. This is a sin for a covenant child to speak. It is the same as suicide. He has forgotten all the rich blessings he enjoyed from birth till this adversity. He also seems to have been less than honest with his statement of 1:21. It is also a selfish outburst. He wishes that everything and everyone associated with that day be cursed as well (1-12). Job seems to think he would have rest without being born (13), or “stillborn…like infants who never saw light? (16). Does this mean that he believed that all covenant children conceived in this state automatically go to heaven, a place of rest and riches, free from oppression (14-19)? Job seems to have believed, contrary to the first two chapters, that he should have had a life of continual peace, rest and flourishing. In fact, he confesses that these were things that he feared (25). Let us not fear the LORD’s good providence, knowing that his glory is our eternal good.
Job’s friends began well. The empathized with him in his pain and sorrow. They are a good example of what ought to be our initial response to people who are suffering like job. They decided to bans together before coming to him (11a). They give us an example of Christians joining hands for our suffering brothers and sisters that we have among us. Next, they approached Job together, letting him know that they had formed as a group of like covenant men, to be at his side together with him – that they recognized him “lifted their voices and wept.” (11b-12a) Next, in identifying with him, they humbled themselves – sprinkled with dust, reminded of their earthly condition, and sitting in the ashes as a reminder of this world of sin and cursing (12b). It was not yet a time for words, but of simple identification with the suffering of a brother in the LORD – seven being a number of perfection, from Sabbath to Sabbath. (13) The next LORD’s Day or Christian Sabbath, and you identify like this with a brother or sister, perhaps you might then talk to them the following Sabbath – follow-up is important.
This second revelation at the heavenly throne begins like the first, wherein the angels were called to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan and his work are again exposed (1-2). The same testimony is given by the LORD, as to the integrity of Job, as his covenant servant. Again, we are reminded that what had happened to Job was not for cause, for Job knew that all he was and had were gifts undeserved. He had an attitude of gratitude (3) This second stage is meant to serve as a testimony based upon two or three witnesses, and it comes also as a judgement against the leader of false witnesses, with the angelic host bearing witness also (Dt. 19:15-21). This was the same procedure followed by Paul for the establishment of the canonical witness (II Cor. 13:1).
All this is not to neglect or oppose the fact that Satan often speaks truth, which he then seeks to distort. Most good deceivers, like Satan, know that to really get at the LORD’s servants that they need to either distort the LORD’s words, as Satan did in the fall, or quote scripture with their own heretical interpretation. This requires of all of the LORD’s servants that we know the scriptures based on those principles which these scriptures themselves, by the Spirit, provide us with. A simple truth is that many will give all they have for themselves or their loved ones if only their life, or others’ lives can be saved. This can even be a noble thing, as with those who enforce the law. However, there is normally suffering that comes before the end, and losing one’s health is often a trigger for many to abandon their faith (4-5).
Again, Satan is given permission by the LORD to take this next step in Job’s journey (6). Like so many, suffering in body and mind would become part of Job’s life story. Scraping boils in a pile of ashes was what came. Please note, ashes are a sign of covenantal cursing, even though in Job’s case he was not actually cursed, but nevertheless bore the marks of one who humbled himself in acknowledgement of his fallen human nature, what we all justly deserve. This is often when our most trusted human companions, like Job’s wife, get off the faith train. A question asked by so many, with various words for expressing it, is why someone of Job’s integrity could suffer so? Is this not what the modern ‘name-it-and-claim-it’ so-called ‘word-of-faith’ false prophets preach? Indeed, it is!
It may have been the case that Job might have perceived the terrible news that follows, with four witnesses confirming the validity of the events, that it was due to something his children had thought or did that was against God’s law which led to the terrible news. The book opened with the topic of Job’s concern about this very possibility, cursing God, that offered sacrifices and prayers as God law demanded for any sins committed. However, the second part of chapter one refutes this, in that the LORD permitted these events to show his grace in Job’s life, in that he chose not to curse God.
With enemy onslaughts (13-15, 17), alternating with so-called ‘natural’ events, such as fire and wind, or so-called ‘acts of God’ (16, 18-19), Job responds as one who knows that God is sovereign in both kinds of calamity. He humbled himself and was moved to worship, not to cursing as Satan had claimed he would. “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” (22) Instead, Job utters the profound testimony of one who trusted in his sovereign LORD – for good or ill (21). All of life is a gift from God. Who can charge God with wrong doing, when we do not earn these blessings anyway?
Job 1:6-12 Satan’s Mission, And The LORD’s Grace.
Job, as a writing prophet, is taken to the throne of heaven, where the angels and Satan are also summoned (6). God knew where Satan had been, but others, including ourselves, need to know. He was also forced to bear witness to his work while roaming the earth (7). He confessed His enmity toward the LORD, and thus also against his servant Job. The LORD speaks here as the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD, so that we are to understand that Job was “blameless and upright”, fearing God and shunning evil, because he was the object of God’s grace. Satan knew that Job had been blessed with unmerited favour (9-10). Satan suggests that Job was the man he was because God also blessed him with great wealth and peace.
It is as though Satan is forgetting his high and lofty position before he rebelled, and yet conscious of forever remaining the LORD’s defeated enemy (Is. 14:12-15; Lk. 10:18). Satan stated that if all this blessing were taken from Job that he would return God’s blessings with cursing (11). In other words, he suggests that Job was better than him, in that Satan cursed God while in his high position. He suggests that Job would, like himself, do so to the LORD’s face. However, Satan was destined for reprobation, while Job was not. Satan only had such limited power as God let him exercise (12a). Satan lived, and still lives, to seek to challenge the faith even of God’s elect, but only as he is sent from the presence of the LORD (12b).
With the biblical church, every member of the body is a saint, and we are called to greet all as members of the same family (21). There ought to be no barriers to acceptance of one and all those who believe and live the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The members of Caesars household were the most highly esteemed in that society, yet Paul notes that they made a deliberate move to greet one and all (22). In this simple way we show that membership, and our treatment of each other, is all of grace (23).
Paul commends the Philippians for participating with him in the work of the gospel, when no one else did. He was more happy for this fruit in their lives than the fruit itself, because it was evidence of the genuineness of their faith (14-16). It was help, not for his wants, but for his necessities (17). We do well to remember both things – giving to others for their necessities or needs. Paul called what he received, and from what they did, as “a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” (18) In turn, Paul was confident that God the Father would supply all their needs, “according to the riches in glory by Jesus Christ.” (19). The Father supplies all our needs from his throne of the glory-presence, where Jesus is at his right hand (Ps. 110, Heb. 1:3). “Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2) Reigning sovereignly from his glory-presence is an eternal reality – without beginning, end, or interruption. Amen.
Paul learned to be content in every situation, but here he tells the saints that he rejoiced to receive their help, mainly because it showed that they were true believers (10-12). We are called upon to help each other, as we have opportunity, something the so-called church never does today. The ‘opportunity’ is only after a spouse, 2.5 kids headed for college or university, the latest vehicles and toys, and then not even enough to pay a pastor a comparable wage. If the biblical example is to be our guide, then I have never been more convinced than ever, that the vast majority who call themselves Christians, and attend church, even evangelical and reformed ones, are fake. I am learning to follow Paul, to “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (13) I also find the current population of those giving every sign of being reprobates, especially within the so-called evangelical and ‘reformed’ fold frightening, especially those of my own physical blood, and ‘family ties’. I do not concern myself with the mainline obvious synagogues of Satan.
Much stems from a proper fear of God, perhaps the most well-known being wisdom (Pr. 1:7, 9:10). It is certainly wise, from a biblical perspective, to shun evil, seeking to be “blameless and upright.” (1 cf. Pr. 16:6) He had seven sons and three daughters (2), and much wealth, “so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.” (3) Lest there be those who construe these beginning verses as somehow proving salvation by works, the verses that follow, and are clearly connected to the above, make abundantly clear that Job believed in Salvation by grace through faith alone, that atonement was and is necessary, through the shedding of blood according as the Lord has prescribed (5 cf. 42:8). Job knew that we all can have sins in our hearts that we suppress and become ignorant of, and these need atonement for our sanctification, even as the overt ones we are conscious of.