GETTING THE MESSAGE/Job 1:1-5
We are going to look at some passages in Job for the next several weeks. We may have a sense of reluctance to dive into Job when we turn to it in the Bible. God's purposes in it can seem complex, and Job's suffering is extreme. It helps us to understand that the book isn't simply about suffering but about the affliction of the righteous and God's sovereignty in it.
At the center of the story is Job's relationship to God. The story begins with an introduction of Job. Immediately we are told about his character. He was "blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil (verse1)."
Blameless doesn't mean Job was sinless; it means he was not a hypocrite, but sincere in his faith and devotion to the Lord. He walked with the Lord, and the Lord was his portion or best treasure in life. The word blameless was also used for an animal without blemish. It emphasized that Job was in compliance with the Lord's will and found contentment in it.
Job was also upright. There were no holes in his fidelity to the Lord. Job walked the narrow path and did so intentionally. He was one who feared the Lord. The fear of the Lord will turn someone away from evil. The fear of the Lord means a devotional awe of the Lord that fosters deep adoration and awareness of accountability to the Almighty, Holy One. Such it was with Job.
Later in the book we learn that Job cherished God's Word (Chapter 23). He also enjoyed contemplating the presence of God (Chapter 29). He knew the attributes of God, that nothing was hidden from God (Chapter 31). The things of God were the joy of Job's heart and life. The first thing to describe Job was his relationship to God was everything to him.
In verses 2 and 3 we learn that Job was blessed by God with children and vast possessions. Job lived during the patriarchal time, not far from the time of Abraham. The amount of livestock he owned indicates he was very wealthy. He is described as the greatest of all the people in the east in terms of possessions. But Job was the greatest in godliness as well.
Verses 4-5 give us the picture of a happy family. The children of Job love each other. They get together often and have a feast. Job is the spiritual leader of his family. He is watchful over them. He does not take their spiritual condition for granted. He acts as the priest of the family. He would rise early in the morning and offer burnt sacrifices for each of them.
Job worried that they may have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Job knew the propensity of sin in the hearts of men, and he worried about the killing effects of sin in his children. So he offered sacrifices. His children would see continually their need for atonement of sin, and the need to be careful to walk in the fear of the Lord as their father Job did. Thus was Job faithful in all he did.
We are given this information about Job so we will not draw the wrong conclusions about the sufferings he is about to be subject to. The suffering that comes is not from any particular sin or failure on the part of Job. This is the mistake those counseling Job will make.
There is a peril, no doubt in having a lot of possessions in this world. If worldly objects become our main aim, then we are worldly minded and not servants of the Lord. This was not the case with Job. Job was thankful for what he had, and it did not usurp his affection for the Lord.
One thing we learn from the book of Job is that for any man to truly be happy, he must enjoy the Lord. Even looking at this present life alone, the sources of gratification open to the believer are immense. Faith does not promote gloom; it is the spring of cheerfulness and joy. It multiplies the enjoyments of life. Job suffered horribly. But it was short-lived. Then he was returned to an even greater blissfulness with the Lord. We also learn in this book to wait on the Lord.
William Green wrote: "There is no step that any person can take, more fraught with blessing to himself in this world as well as the next, than that in which he makes choice of God as his portion and his friend, and pledges himself to be his ever-faithful servant."