Archive for February, 2013

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth (Job 19:25).

“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him” (Job 1:1,2).

We all know the story of Job. Many preachers have used him as an example of how to have patience when things are all going wrong. Job’s story helps us to understand that we need to trust God no matter what.

The thing that strikes most people is how utterly unfair Job’s trials seemed to be. Here was a man who was so righteous that he even offered sacrifices to God for his children in case they had been sinning. Things were going along really well for Job before Satan came along and tried to make him deny God.

God allowed Satan to take away Job’s ten children, his livestock, and his servants. Job did not sin but replied, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed by the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Next, Satan asked God if he could ruin Job’s health. God gave Satan permission to afflict Job, but to spare his life. Satan smote Job with sore boils from his head to his foot. We are not sure what disease caused these boils but they were so painful that Job wished he had never been born (Job 3:1).

We find Job sitting by the ashes, scraping himself with a potsherd. This was a fragment of a piece of pottery that was to scrape away the pus and perhaps the worms (maggots?) that got into Job’s body. Was he sitting near ashes to sterilize the piece of pottery? It is very likely that the ashes were there for Job to put over his head as people did in his day when they were in mourning.

This is how Job’s wife finds him when she comes to talk to him. We are shocked at what job-wifeshe says and she has been castigated for it by historians and theologians ever since. Job’s wife said, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).

Now, it is sad that Job’s wife did not seem to have the same amount of faith that Job did. But I think it is time to reflect on her side of the story.

As a woman I know what it is like to watch a loved one suffer. Once when one of my children was really sick with the flu I even prayed that God would take the sickness from her and put it on me. It was so hard to watch her suffering and crying. I know that helpless feeling when all you can do is stand by and pray and nurse your loved one, staying awake all night in order to give them even a little comfort if possible. We don’t know how much pain and anguish Job’s wife must have been feeling.

Just a while before this, all of her ten children had been killed. Did she know why? The Bible doesn’t say whether or not Job knew that the whole thing was done by Satan with God’s permission. As a matter of fact, he probably didn’t know. We can figure that out from the next forty-one chapters. Job’s three friends come to visit him and “console” him. They find all kinds of reasons for why Job is being tried. They don’t suggest the devil and Job doesn’t either. Job questions God, but without losing his faith.

We do not know whether or not Job and his wife had conversations. She stayed with him all of that time. She must have served him and nursed him as best as she could. We know that Job loved her and honored her. “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1). He was a faithful, covenant man who remained true to his wife. I hope that during this time he was able to convince her to repent and stay true to God.

Maybe she was a bit weak. I do not know what it is like to lose a child, let alone all of my children at once. And she didn’t even know why. Perhaps she deserves a bit more of our sympathy.

When Job’s wife told him to curse God in her despair and anguish, Job answered her with much patience. Some scholars have said that Job’s wife was not a believer. They believe that her response was a pagan response. I’m not so sure. We only have one sentence uttered by her. We don’t hear about her again, and only indirectly, until the end of the book.

What did Job actually say? “You speak as one of he foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10).

Job said that his wife speaks “as” one of the foolish women speaks. He didn’t say she was a foolish woman. He remonstrated with her. Then he implored her to accept whatever came from God. We are not told if she repented at this time, but we do know that she stuck with him. She did not go somewhere else. After all, not only had their children been killed, but also all of their donkeys, oxen, sheep, and camels. Their livelihood was gone. Job was in no shape to go out and work. And he couldn’t get any help because all of his servants had been captured or killed as well. Job’s wife went from being very rich to very poor with no prospects. In our day, this would be a good time to run home to mother!

job:3counselorsNot only was her husband ill and needing her sustenance, but now three guests show up. They stay for many days. Customs at the time demanded that she feed and show hospitality to them.

Did she listen in to their conversations? Did she want to know the answers to her husband’s questions? Job’s wife was a witness to his growth in knowledge and sanctification. Eventually Job realizes the truth.

He praises God and says, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees you; Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:2-6).

Job finally acknowledges that Jehovah is Lord of all. He is willing to let God be God. Job is willing to submit to God. Then God declares to Job’s mistaken friends that Job is right.

Job passed the test. His wife was with him. We hope that she followed his lead and humbly repented to God.

In any event, God blessed Job and his wife. He gave them ten more children and twice as many belongings as before. His daughters were considered the fairest in the land. Surely their mother had something to do with that.

I am not sure about Job’s wife’s relationship with God. But, I do sympathize with her and hope that if that kind of trouble comes to me I will cling to God as hopefully she did.

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