Job Chapter 1: The Question of Jehovah

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The Question of Jehovah

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” —Job 1:8

The Lord knew very well what the adversary’s feverish roaming back and forth in the earth meant! And it was not going to benefit anyone, especially any faithful servants of God. He also would not settle for the insolent vagueness of Satan. Nor does He lose His temper. Instead, the Lord sharpens the focus of the conversation with a provocative gibe of His own, saying, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Or, as one translation says, “Have you set your heart on my servant Job?” . . . “There is no one on earth like him. He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns anything evil.” It is almost as if the Lord addressed the insolent kid by saying, “You ought to try hanging around with Job. Now there’s a kid who knows the meaning of respect.”

“There is no one on earth like him. He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns anything evil.” What a testimony of Job! No one like him in all the earth? Did the Lord actually mean what he said? I know I touched on this above, but the Lord declared that Job was the ripest, most mature, and choicest servant of God. From this one statement, it is clear the Lord considered Job to be the best among everyone of his time who sought to serve Him in integrity of heart and life.

Praise from your friends or coworkers is one thing, but the praise that comes from Heaven is quite another. We have already seen that Job was great among men, but that is nothing compared to the fact that he is also great in eyes of God! Job would have been in the top ten, perhaps, of the finest human beings that have ever lived, and without this fact firmly in mind, the rest of the story will be out of focus.

This verse leaves no doubt that Job really was a “blameless and upright” man and that this was not simply the subjective opinion of the author of the book. Job’s righteousness was a divinely attested fact and from the very beginning it is the Lord Himself—not Job or any other human being—who sets out to justify this man and to establish his innocence. On top of that, this is not a defensive reaction on the Lord’s part, but an offensive initiative. The Lord issues the first challenge, the first taunt, by aggressively boasting to Satan about Job.

The impeccable righteousness of Job is the very core of the book, the linchpin if you will, on which the entire plot hangs. God’s praise for Job is so open and lavish, and His backing so unqualified, that if at any point in the ensuing struggle we are tempted to question the integrity of Job’s faith (as his friends do, relentlessly), it will not really be Job we are questioning, but the Lord.

I don’t know about you but I find something shocking about this. Something almost flatly unacceptable—that the holy and awesome Creator of the universe would declare that He doesn’t even find the slightest fault in a mere man (a man obviously flawed). Also, that this same God would then deliberately set out to defend this man against any and all detractors. Yet, right here lies the unsearchable mystery of the gospel. The same condition of imputed, impeccable righteousness is an established fact for every believer in the Messiah of God (whether before Christ’s actual coming or after it). Moreover, Job, as we will see, was undoubtedly a believer in the coming Christ.

The Question of Jehovah

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” —Job 1:8

The Lord knew very well what the adversary’s feverish roaming back and forth in the earth meant! And it was not going to benefit anyone, especially any faithful servants of God. He also would not settle for the insolent vagueness of Satan. Nor does He lose His temper. Instead, the Lord sharpens the focus of the conversation with a provocative gibe of His own, saying, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Or, as one translation says, “Have you set your heart on my servant Job?” . . . “There is no one on earth like him. He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns anything evil.” It is almost as if the Lord addressed the insolent kid by saying, “You ought to try hanging around with Job. Now there’s a kid who knows the meaning of respect.”

“There is no one on earth like him. He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns anything evil.” What a testimony of Job! No one like him in all the earth? Did the Lord actually mean what he said? I know I touched on this above, but the Lord declared that Job was the ripest, most mature, and choicest servant of God. From this one statement, it is clear the Lord considered Job to be the best among everyone of his time who sought to serve Him in integrity of heart and life.

Praise from your friends or coworkers is one thing, but the praise that comes from Heaven is quite another. We have already seen that Job was great among men, but that is nothing compared to the fact that he is also great in eyes of God! Job would have been in the top ten, perhaps, of the finest human beings that have ever lived, and without this fact firmly in mind, the rest of the story will be out of focus.

This verse leaves no doubt that Job really was a “blameless and upright” man and that this was not simply the subjective opinion of the author of the book. Job’s righteousness was a divinely attested fact and from the very beginning it is the Lord Himself—not Job or any other human being—who sets out to justify this man and to establish his innocence. On top of that, this is not a defensive reaction on the Lord’s part, but an offensive initiative. The Lord issues the first challenge, the first taunt, by aggressively boasting to Satan about Job.

The impeccable righteousness of Job is the very core of the book, the linchpin if you will, on which the entire plot hangs. God’s praise for Job is so open and lavish, and His backing so unqualified, that if at any point in the ensuing struggle we are tempted to question the integrity of Job’s faith (as his friends do, relentlessly), it will not really be Job we are questioning, but the Lord.

I don’t know about you but I find something shocking about this. Something almost flatly unacceptable—that the holy and awesome Creator of the universe would declare that He doesn’t even find the slightest fault in a mere man (a man obviously flawed). Also, that this same God would then deliberately set out to defend this man against any and all detractors. Yet, right here lies the unsearchable mystery of the gospel. The same condition of imputed, impeccable righteousness is an established fact for every believer in the Messiah of God (whether before Christ’s actual coming or after it). Moreover, Job, as we will see, was undoubtedly a believer in the coming Christ.

In Christian terms, we say that God “sees” believers as being righteous, even though we are not, because He sees us “in Christ.” But even that, saying that God sees us as righteous, doesn’t do justice to what happened at the cross. He doesn’t just see us as righteous–he actually made us to be righteous! Our sin and ugliness is no longer visible to our Father, all he can see is Jesus!

I know when you first hear that your response will be, “How can that be true? It doesn’t make any sense?” Sure it does. Consider the analogy of a garden sown with seeds. No one sees these seeds; they are hidden in the ground. Although, the gardener knows they are there, so he tends them, waters them, fertilizes the soil, and maybe even builds a fence around his little plot. Anyone who had no knowledge of plants would think the gardener was crazy, lavishing all his attention on an empty, barren patch of ground. The mystery is that, although the seeds are of little value to everyone except the gardener, he cherishes them as much as if they had already produced the full crop he is expecting from them. While seeds in their ungerminated state may appear virtually worthless, they are precious to him because he knows their potential. Inside those tiny little seeds contain the blueprint of perfection. So it is in our lives, in the eyes of our Father! I don’t fully understand it, but each of us can enjoy it and live life more abundantly because of it.

So there you are. Constantly criticizing your lack of faithfulness; disappointed in your “human” failings; seeing only your ineptitude of prayers and knowledge of Scripture. The whole time your Father doesn’t see what you are, but what you are becoming. He knows the seed of the Holy Spirit He planted in you. Maybe someday you will also see where you are going, rather than were you are. Take your eyes off your current weaknesses and focus your attention on the work of the Holy Spirit in your life—creating a work of art, a masterpiece of pleasure for your Father.

If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.

Other Bible Studies and Commentary are available at Doulos Studies.

If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.

Other Bible Studies and Commentary are available at Doulos Studies.

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