The time and location of the story of Job are unknown. Some scholars have placed his life during the time of Abraham. Others have identified him with the Edomites, who were descendants of Abraham’s grandson, Esau. It is apparent that he was not an Israelite, but he was definitely a God-fearing man. The theme of the story could be stated, “Why do godly people suffer?” There is much conventional wisdom stated by Job and his friends, even though some of it does not totally conform with God’s actions. For the purpose of our study, we are placing Job’s story after the separation of Jacob and Esau and before Joseph’s entry into Egypt.
Job’s home was in Uz, a place unknown today. His household consisted of a wife, seven sons, three daughters and many servants. He was described as a wealthy, blameless and upright man who feared God and shunned evil. It seemed that he had everything and was living a perfect life. Nothing could go wrong. When we think that nothing can go wrong, we must be especially alert for the snares of Satan. He can attack when we least expect him.
A conversation between God and Satan would bring devastating results to the godly Job. Satan suggested that he would curse God instead of worshipping Him if all that he had would be taken from him. God allowed him to take everything from Job, but not to touch him. Job was notified by some of his servants, one after another, of the death of his children, his livestock and all of his other servants. His mournful reaction: “Naked I came…naked shall I return…The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
“In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”
Satan was not satisfied. God allowed him to further afflict Job, “but spare his life.” With that, Job’s body became covered with boils from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. It is unclear exactly what that disease was. However, one cannot imagine the agony that Job suffered with his entire body covered with the painful affliction.
Husbands and wives should be loyal and sympathetic with one another when calamity strikes. However, Job’s wife instead of encouraging him, uttered those infamous words, “…Curse God and die.” He replied, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”
One’s friends can be of great comfort when misfortune comes upon him. Three of Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar came to comfort him after hearing of his grief. They were devastated at his appearance and sat speechless in his presence for a week.
After the long period of silence, Job began to speak. Sometimes in a period of embarrassment, one may vainly state, “I wish I could die.” However, in his misery, Job cursed and lamented the days of his conception and birth. He stated that it would have been better if he had not been conceived, died at birth or had been stillborn. He would have not been faced with the misery and agony that had befallen him. At that time, Job failed to consider that life is given by God and in whatever circumstances, must be lived according to His will.