Afterward Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.Job 3:1(NASB)
Job is introduced to us as a righteous man whom the Lord allowed to undergo some severe suffering that affected him financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Overnight, his whole world fell apart as he dealt with the death of his ten adult children and faced utter, financial ruin.
Job was further afflicted with painful boils that covered his entire body... and only the reader of the book of Job is aware of the reason for his suffering. Only the reader realises Job's faith is being tested and God's character is under assault from Satan.
Job's unmerited misery caused his three friends to falsely assume that the devastating distress he was going through, was because Job had sinned in the sight of God. They assumed his downfall was a punishment from the Lord... and although they came to comfort him, we are increasingly aware of their critical attitude and religious pride.
Unbeknown to all the characters in the story, God had permitted Satan to afflict His faithful servant... as a test of Job's unshakable commitment to his God. The Lord gave Satan permission to afflict him, "only spare his life," was God's command.
Satan had assumed that Job's faith in God was because of the abundant blessings he received from the Lord and falsely accused Job of being a hypocrite who kept his faith in God to save his own skin. Indirectly, Satan's accusation was also an assault on the holy character of the Lord.
Job, together with his wife and friends, were unaware that his calamitous circumstances had come from Satan. They did not know this evil enemy had wagered that Job would not maintain his integrity and stand fast in the faith if sorely afflicted... but the Lord knew the heart of his servant, "for there was no one like Job in all the earth. He was a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."
The first two chapters laid the scene for the rest of the story. Chapter three begins with a lament from the deeply distressed Job who cursed the day he was born. He bemoaned the fact that he had not died at birth and regretted that his mother had not had a miscarriage... and yet, despite all his problems and pain, Job did not accuse God for his desperate situation, as the evil enemy had anticipated.
All Job's comforters as well as his wife... who advised her husband to, "curse God and die," lacked spiritual understanding. They were unaware that there was a war raging in heavenly places between good and evil - between God and Satan. Despite the lack of comfort and encouragement from his distraught wife and supercilious friends, Job did not curse God, 'though he deeply regretted the day he was born.
In verse 1, Job begins a sorrowful soliloquy. It is the first in a series of dramatic monologues where Job attempts to justify himself before his friends and questions the Lord as to why he was having to go through so much misery. His companions condemn him in long pious speeches... in a futile attempt to 'comfort' their friend, while vigorously accusing him of sinning against God and urging him to repent of his wicked ways!
Job's comforters were unaware that God's character, as well as their friend's integrity, was being challenged by the enemy of their soul. They did not realise that some of their own strong, inflexible opinions, religious biases, dogmatic statements, and legalistic criticism of Job, were indirectly casting a slur on the righteous character of the Lord.
Job's reaction to his suffering not only served to confirm his integrity before Satan and validate God's perfect character - it would bring him into a closer communion with the Lord, and impact his spiritual understanding, in a most wonderful way.
Like Job, we live in a fallen world where we have trials and tribulation which may be a messenger of Satan... which will require us to stand fast in the faith and trust in the Lord with all our heart... OR it may be the consequences of sin which the Lord will use to teach and train us if we have a teachable spirit that is honouring to the Lord. The trials of life and temptations of Satan serve as tests of our faith in God. The Lord knows the way we take and after we have been tried, we will come forth as gold.
Unlike Job's friends, we should not automatically jump to one conclusion or another about the trials fellow believers are undergoing... (or indeed, those that we are going through), lest we display our own inflexible opinions, engage in religious bias, make dogmatic statements, or become legalistic critics. Rather, we should seek to edify and encourage weaker brethren.
May we remember that we are in a spiritual battle and clothe ourselves in the armour of God. May we shun any semblance of carnality, religiosity, legalism, and inflexibility in our Christian walk, and seek to consider others before our needs. And in the various experiences we undergo, may we seek to draw near to God and grow in grace, for His greater glory and our eternal good.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the book of Job which gives such amazing insight into the spiritual battle that continues to rage in the heavenlies. Keep me from temptation, deliver me from the wiles of the devil, and help to stand fast in the faith, no matter what difficulties I may have to face. I pray that I would always maintain my own integrity in my God and Saviour, but keep me from any religiosity and legalism, and prevent me from being opinionated about the difficulties that others may be facing. Give me discernment to know how to help and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ and may I do all for Your glory. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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