In this book we see the greatest suffering a man can ever face in which Job becomes the most humble servant of God without knowing that he is. We see that God is willing to induce suffering just to make a point, if as almost as though God is abusing his almighty power. We also see questions raised of what our relationship with God is and how he deals with us.
“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) Job was a model of obedience to God, yet He allowed Satan to attack him in a harsh way when Satan questioned Job’s motives, saying that Job was blameless and upright because he had no reason to turn against God (Job 1:9). So Job losses all his possessions and family in the first of Satan’s tests (Job 1:20-22). Then comes Satan’s second test “Skin for skin!” (Job 2:4-5) as Job’s physical well-being gets tested. Yet he still maintains his faith.
The Book of Job reveals that while God usually blesses the godly and punishes the ungodly, He does not always do so as we see in the example of Job. He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:11) Job’s wife and his friends believed that those who trust and obey Him He would bless, and those who do not He will curse. From this it may be safe to conclude that if we trust and obey God, He owes us blessing. This then assumes that the basis of God’s relationship with people is retribution. Job concluded that God was unjust since he had been good but God was allowing him to suffer. Job’s wife agreed with him.
Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zopher believed that Job must be a bad man instead of a good man since he was suffering. “As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it” (Job 4:8). Elihu believed God’s injustice on Job was his ignorance rather than his sin; He spoke in dreams and visions (Job 33:15-18), through suffering (Job 33:19-22), and by mediating angels (Job 33:23, 24), but Elihu accused Job of not listening to God. Even Satan believed that retribution was the basis on which God dealt with people (Job 1:9-11). But it shows that God is like human in the way that he chooses to bless or not bless whom He will.
Evidence from the book shows God’s grace is also the basis of His dealing with people. Instead of responding to our good actions with blessing or our bad actions with cursing God initiates favor toward us without our deserving it. This comes through in God’s response to Job (Job 38-41). It is obvious that God exercises his authority over us in the Book of Job. He showed us that we do not have any control over God, believing that He owes us salvation because we are good people. His basis of dealing with us is grace. God does not give us what we deserve, He give us much better than we deserve.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7). God is all-wise. We can only find wisdom in God ultimately. This is basically the underbelly of all that we have read in our previous reading. The kind of person I see in this book is God as a know-it-all, and through our trust in Him, He will pass on that knowledge onto us.
In this book I see three different life applications of this: the home, friendship, and the world. In the home, the child must learn wisdom. In friendship, the youth must apply wisdom. In the world, the adult must demonstrate wisdom.
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9). God did not teach the responsibility of the parents but took for granted that they would instruct their children. The child needs to hear parental instruction to live in the fear of God. Young children cannot grasp abstract concept, so it is not necessary to try to teach children systematic theology. The parents only need to live in the fear of God themselves, and their child will learn what he or she needs to learn about God just by observation. Young children learn wisdom by observing their parents as well as by listening to them.
When the child is ready to move on outside the guardianship of home and the parents, the child enters the realm of the importance of friendship. When the child is on it’s own and it’s important for he or she to know whom to trust. “My sons, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them” (Proverbs 1:10). Many will seek to make friends with the unknowing child because they have selfish interests and unscrupulous methods (Proverbs 1:10-19). The friends we choose to make are what define who we are. Then, and from then on, he or she must follow the wisdom that comes from the fear of the Lord. And from that submission into the Lord’s wisdom can we succeed in the larger arena of life.
“Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech…” (Proverbs 1:20-21). This I believe are the words of warning to the youth ready to enter the world. We are told to be aware of the evils who do not fear the Lord (Proverbs 1:20-32). We are reminded of the fate of those who forget God, and given a promise, “but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
Proceeding chapters give us warnings such as those concerning impurity, laziness, bad companions, and adultery. Then as we get older, wisdom comes to again with more instructions on how he can avoid the pitfalls during those stages of his life.
“Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways… For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:32-36). If we fear God we will be successful in life, if not we will fail. God tells us that through Him, and if we believe in Him, all will be well.