IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS
Job and Joseph
From Part 2b we imagined the deep pain Job must have felt as the hedge of protection of his livestock, both a measure of his wealth and more importantly his means of atoning for sin, was stripped away from him. I wonder just how many also experience this type of pain and possibly even fear over loosing their “hedge” as they are cut off from the Watchtower organization. These two points are significant to remember as we cover Job’s story.
Now as much pain as Job must now be experiencing, never once did he curse God, as Satan said he would; nor did he sin in expressing deep emotions and grief over his loss. Instead Job 1:20 tells us how he tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell to the ground in WORSHIP (v. 21).
“Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and The Lord has taken away; may the name of The Lord be praised.” (Job 1:22, NIV)
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job acknowledged God’s sovereign authority over everything God had given him and proved that people can love God for who He is and not for what He gives them.
When Satan sees his first set of attacks do not work, he is not satisfied and goes back for more. He then makes accusations against Job saying that the only reason Job maintained his integrity is because he was not permitted to touch him. He challenges that for fear of his life, Job will curse God to his face. (Job 2:3-5)
The result of these false accusations is a debilitating and humiliating illness. Every inch of his body was encrusted with swollen and the most excruciatingly painful boils.
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says:
“It was as it were but one boil; they stood so thick and close together, that they were as one, reaching from head to foot, and spreading all over his body, so that there was no part free… and this boil or boils were of the worst sort, and most hot and angry… he was at once covered with burning ulcers at their height, and with running sores…”
His pain was so great that he sat in the ashes scraping himself with broken pottery just to find relief. (vs. 7-8)
To add insult to injury, his wife was spared to be a troubler and tempter to Job. Imagine Job’s pain at seeing this woman whom he loves deeply mourning over all that they had lost as husband and wife and there is nothing that he can do about it as he sits in pain. So Satan now uses her to attack him verbally, this her husband whom she loves, attacking Job by tempting him to curse God. Job’s wife says:
“Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9)
I believe the worst type of trial is when those nearest and dearest to us are used, not to strengthen and encourage us in our faith during trials, but conspire to destroy our faith. It is when loved ones come to us and suggest hard and false thoughts of God to us as we are being tested or undergoing hardships.
I myself have heard it: “You will never be anything without me or Jehovah!” How does one respond to such words? How did Job respond? Job 2:10 says:
“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. Proverbs 15:1 says:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Of all the things Job could have said, even lashing out at his wife, he wisely choose gentle words to his wife while still not cursing God.
Next week, in Part 2d, we’ll see that Satan uses three arrogant friends to come along side Job and oppress him.