Evidently, the only one left to Job is his wife, and she must have followed him to the ash mound outside the village. Don’t overlook the pain of Job’s wife; she has also seen all of their wealth stripped away. She has also experienced the horrible grief of her children’s death.
When a husband and wife are united, they find a measure of strength and mutual comfort that holds its ground against almost any amount of trouble. Now, with the additional pain of seeing her husband’s sufferings, she unknowingly lends her mouth to the adversary. Angrily she says the exact same words that actually passed between the Lord and Satan in the council room: “Are you still hanging on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
Many times Satan will plant a thought in someone’s mind. They will make a comment that in effect attacks you at your weakest spot. You might be making a stand on a particular word that the Lord has given you, a particular promise that you need to apply your faith on. They come up and, unknowingly, try to make you give up or waiver from His promise to you.
How could she know that Job’s integrity was in question? You know Satan must have had his eyes peeled on Job right now! He was watching to see the effect of this attack.
“Curse God and die!” We never read of anything she said when all the wealth was lost or of any rebellion over the loss of her children, but now it seems too much to see her husband suffer. “It would be better for you to be dead than to be in such suffering. The God you have served so loyally must have forsaken you! Are you still going to persist in blessing the Name of the Lord? You should rather ‘renounce’ Him—say some word against the Lord—and die.”
Sound familiar? Many times we hear people say, “God can’t be the ‘God of Love’ if He is going to let someone suffer.” “When the Bible says that God will ‘rescue you out of all your troubles,’ that really isn’t what it means.” “Obviously God has abandoned you.”
Is it a dangerous thing to fall into the hands of God? Can He be trusted? Why would God stand back and allow the enemy to bruise His children? “Lord, it isn’t supposed to be this way!”
Others will ask you why you keep praying, “You know God’s not listening.” “You are forgotten, you are nobody, He does not care about you.” “You were better off before you met God.” Satan specializes in lies, confusion, desperation, and depression. He will move into your greatest weakness or need and throw his worst in our faces, then sit back to see what will happen.
But Job stood the test!
“You are talking like a foolish woman,” he says to his anguished wife. “Those words should never come out of the lips of someone who worships Jehovah. I may not always understand what’s going on around me, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s lawful for Him to do whatever he desires with His own. Have we served Him only from selfish interests? Are we going to cling to Him only in times of prosperity? Shall we not accept from His hand sorrow and suffering as well as joy? Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
Just as when Satan was tempting Jesus in the wilderness, when one approach did not work, he tried another, then another, steadily increasing the pressure, the seductiveness, and the subtlety of his strategies. Since it did not work to kill off Job’s kids wholesale, when it comes to his wife, Satan adopts a different tactic: he sows strife and succeeds in turning the couple against each other. She ridicules his religion, and he calls her a fool. A degree of alienation sets in which, just in itself, would very likely have been the worst trial these two had ever passed through in their married life.
It is so easy to blame all of this on the woman and to react to her conduct with horror—as if it were something surpassingly strange and appalling. Yet, it looks to me to be pretty close to real life. Most spouses will graciously support their partner through certain degrees of misfortune, but when the hardships and the complaints drag on and on, even the most saintly love will reach a breaking point. In the very best and strongest Christian marriages there will come times when either partner may view the other (however temporarily) as no longer a lovable or godly person at all, but as a sniveling and self-centered little worm. Married couples make the vow “for better or for worse.” Then, when it becomes worse and one’s spouse has a nervous breakdown or contracts some lingering terminal illness, there are few wives or husbands who will find in themselves a natural desire to keep on being smilingly supportive. Notice I said a natural desire. There is always an abundance of grace for those who reach out for it. And at times, that is what Job finds for himself.
Job was in reality a thoroughly surrendered man. “In all this, Job did not sin in what he said,” because his will was wholly yielded to Him.
The horrible truth is that many who call themselves children of God, in one way or another, do indeed serve Him for the good they get in this present world and in the world to come. Rather than serving Him for Himself alone, and would curse Him to His face if they experience any trial of significant proportion.
I don’t think anyone has said it better than John White:
“Our quest must be the quest of a suitor, a suitor too blinded by beauty to descend to calculating self interest; too intoxicated with love to care about the cost or the consequence of his suit. It must be the love of Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet, enchanted by his words and grace, but deaf and blind to the frustration and fuss of her resentful sister (Luke 10:38-42). An enchantment of that sort will not be broken, nor its pleasures denied.
“It is time we threw spiritual pragmatism out of the window. We come habitually to God carrying shopping baskets and armed with a checklist of needed purchases when all the time He wants to put His arms around us and draw us to Himself. We know no other way. Custom and tradition have drilled us in the art of celestial bargain hunting. It is time we forgot about our spiritual performance and our spiritual needs and gave ourselves up to passion.”
Job is a true man of God. Blow after blow had come on him, but his integrity had stood the test.
He proved by his surrender, and his confidence in God’s faithfulness, that he did not serve Him for all that He had given him. Whether the Lord gave, or the Lord took away, he still blessed the Name of the Lord!
The awful thing is that God was not the one afflicting him. Now, in one sense I admire Job’s devotion, however, I really regret his lack of knowledge of God’s loving care.
As we go on in this study, you will see some flaws in Job’s character. Don’t misunderstand me, the Lord’s testimony of him still stands strong. Nevertheless, after the pain and suffering continues, Job naturally forgets that the Lord is not the one causing the affliction. He is Job’s deliverer. Job becomes very indignant and self-righteous. He actually becomes more concerned about declaring his own innocence (and in doing so unwittingly prolongs his suffering) than acknowledging the great character of God. One thing to realize is that this story really is not a story of how to endure suffering, but rather of how desperately we need redemption on a continual basis.
Where are you in all this? If you find yourself in a time of great suffering and testing of your faith, will you cling to your confidence in the care of your Father, or will you cry out and curse Him and die? Judge your own heart and even during times of success and prosperity, will you cling to your faith with sincere devotion?
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
Other Bible Studies and Commentary are available at Doulos Studies.