The Character Of Job

(This is the first part of a study in Job. The second part is available here.)

Introduction

“Have you considered my servant Job?”

– Job 1:8 (WEB)

I have found that the best way to read and study the Bible is to do so with the purpose of knowing God better. I’m not talking about just collecting a bunch of facts like I’m arming myself for a battle with a non-believer. No, I want to know this God who gave me life, sustains me, loves me, sent His Son to die for me and His Holy Spirit to live in me, and with Whom I’m going to spend eternity. I want to walk in step with Him as much as possible. I want Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21 fulfilled in me: “…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us…”.

The key to this goal of knowing God better is study and meditation on how He has revealed Himself in His word. He is not only the Author of the Bible, He is its primary Subject. Through its pages, God tells me all about Himself – how He relates to me and how I am to relate to Him. I just need ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart that ernestly seeks Him.

Johann von Goethe said “Much may be known of a man’s character by what excites his laughter.” You want insight into a man’s character? See what kinds of jokes he laughs at, or better yet, he tells! Find out what makes him happy, angry, or sad. Where do his passions lie? What motivates him? You can learn much about a man this way, but you can also learn much about God in the same way.

This is how I’ve been studying God in the scriptures. God is love. But I must go beyond just the doctrine. How is His love expressed? Who is the object of His love? To what degree does He love? God is holy: how is His holiness expressed? God is righteous, merciful, faithful, good, … how does God show these character qualities to man? How does He show them to me? What motivates God? What pleases Him, grieves Him or makes Him angry? What is He passionate about? This is going beyond just the facts about God, it is seeking His heart.

When I consider the times that Jesus wept, got frustrated with people’s hard-heartedness, or marvelled at someone’s faith, I come away with greater insight into God’s character. This helps me relate to Him better: to love, trust, and obey Him more. If you’ve never read or studied the Bible in this way, you don’t know what you’re missing!

The book we’re about to look at is not primarily about a man – it is about God. But because God had a very high opinion of one particular man, we will begin by doing what God asked Satan to do in verse 8 of the first chapter: we will consider His servant Job, and this will help us to know God better.

The Character Of Job

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.

– Job 1:1-3 (ESV)

That’s a pretty impressive description of one man. God had blessed Job with many sons and daughters, servants, sheep, cattle, and camels. Job was the “greatest of the children of the east”. But he wasn’t just the richest man around. Job was very highly regarded by all the people of his day. It says elsewhere that when Job appeared at the city gates, the elderly would stand. 1 I don’t know about you, but I was taught to get up and offer my seat when an elderly man or woman appeared and no seats were available. But with Job, the elderly would rise to honor him. And when Job appeared, the rulers of the city would stop talking among themselves so that they could hear what he had to say 2. Job was very rich, very well off, and very respected of his contemporaries.

But that’s Job’s reputation in the eyes of man. What did God think of him? Well, God isn’t impressed with externals like wealth or reputation. He looks on the heart. There are four character traits that God mentions in verse 8 (the same ones as in verse 1). Let’s look at these in greater detail.

1. Blameless

Some translate this as “perfect”, not that this word means what we generally take it to mean today. If, before you get married, your future spouse seems perfect, you can be sure that being “in love” has blinded your eyes. Don’t worry… marriage is a great cure for that kind of blindness!

Job was a perfect man in a different sense. He wasn’t sinless, because he inherited the same nature all of us inherited from Adam. The word “perfect” in the Bible means complete. Job was spiritually mature – not lacking in any moral area.

I like the way James describes a perfect man. He writes:

“…if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”

– James 3:2 (ESV)

In other words, if you can control what you say, you have complete control over your whole body. Job was just such a man: self-controlled, a man of integrity.

But “blameless” also describes Job. He was known as a very good man. When someone came to him in need, or Job saw a need himself, he did not not walk the other way as the priest and Levite did in Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan 3. He went out of his way to help. Nobody could say to Job “I was suffering in great poverty and you didn’t do anything about it” because Job helped everyone in need. Indeed, Job considered it his duty to help the helpless. He said in 31:13 and following:

“If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant, when they brought a complaint against me, what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?”

– Job 31:13-15 (ESV)

Notice that Job, the “greatest of the children of the east”, did not think of himself as greater than his servants. He considered himself his brother’s keeper 4.

“If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it (for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow), if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or the needy without covering, if his body has not blessed me, and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep, if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, because I saw my help in the gate, then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket.” 5

– Job 31:16-22 (ESV)

Job saved the poor who cried for relief and gave liberally to them, not just meeting their needs but fulfilling their desires. Job rescued orphans, becoming a father to them, and they filled the seats around his table. He clothed the naked, not with rags but with fleece from his own sheep. It says elsewhere that Job brought joy to widows. He helped the blind and lame. He wept for the poor, opened his door to the stranger, discipled many, strengthed the weak, and encouraged the fearful. He acted as a public defender, upholding justice even for foreigners, and saw to it that criminals were punished 6.

It’s obvious why Job was honored by his contemporaries, and why God also held him in high esteem. Without having the command, Job loved his neighbor as himself. He gave his best. His life did not revolve around himself or his possessions. God repeatedly called Job His servant because he had a servant’s attitude toward people and a steward’s attitude towards his possessions 7. He knew that God had blessed him so that he could help the poor, the fatherless, widows, the handicapped. This was the purpose that God had for him.

2. Upright

Secondly, Job was upright (or righteous). This word means straight or correct, living in the way God originally intended for man.

In Israel, there is an official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust called Yad Vashem. As part of the memorial, thousands of carob trees have been planted in what is called the “Garden of the Righteous”. Each tree is planted in memory of a non-Jew who helped save Jewish lives during World War II. So far, over 22,000 non-Jews have been officially recognized by the State of Israel as “Righteous Gentiles”, including Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians, Oskar and Emilie Schindler, and Corrie ten Boom. These gentiles have been declared righteous by the Israeli government, but you know what’s much better? Job was righteous in God’s eyes.

While blameless relates much to Job’s reputation among his peers, righteous is more about how God saw him. Job did what pleased God, not just what he or his culture thought was right.

Lest we think that people were more righteous in those days, remember that before Job’s time, God had to destroy the cities of the plain for their wickedness 8. During Job’s time, the Canaanities were making their children to pass through fire 9. Later, when Israel came to inherit the land, even though they had God’s Law and knew what was right, they ended up doing what was right in their own eyes 10.

What is remarkable is Job was a gentile 11. He was not one of God’s chosen people. Job did not have the Law, the ten commandments – they hadn’t yet been given. But still, Job knew how God wanted him to live, and he lived accordingly. He even guarded his own mind against sinful desires. He said in the beginning of chapter 31:

“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? What would be my portion from God above and my heritage from the Almighty on high? Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? Does not he see my ways and number all my steps? 12

“If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit; (Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!) if my step has turned aside from the way and my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any spot has stuck to my hands, then let me sow, and another eat, and let what grows for me be rooted out.

“If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door, then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down on her. For that would be a heinous crime; that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges; for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon, and it would burn to the root all my increase.

– Job 31:1-12 (ESV)

Job was not sinless. He recognized that no one was without sin 13. But Job, to his best efforts, did what was right in God’s eyes. He even avoided heart sins such as greed, idolatry, and rejoicing at his enemy’s ruin 14.

3. Feared God

Thirdly, Job’s reasons for living blamelessly and righteously all focus around his fear of God.

Fear of God in the Bible is usually defined as reverence or awe. Job honored God. He lived in such a way that showed respect to God’s likes and dislikes. But for Job, this was due at least partially to the fact that he was literally afraid of what might might happen to him if he displeased God in some way.

Job was constantly aware that God’s eye was on him. He said:

“Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?

– Job 31:3-4 (ESV)

In his explanation of why he did good to others, Job said:

“For I was in terror of calamity from God, and I could not have faced his majesty.

– Job 31:23 (ESV)

After he lost everything and was suffering from painful boils, he said:

“For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. 15

– Job 3:25 (RNKJV)

We might ask why Job, of all people, had such a fear of God. God had blessed him. He was blameless and rightous above his fellow men. He had God’s favor. What did he have to be afraid of?

Job knew that God is righteous, just, and holy, and he knew that if he chose to sin against Him, all of his past righteousness would not be enough to shield him from God’s wrath 16. Job was not alone in this understanding of God’s character.

When Potiphar’s wife tempted Joseph to lie with her, Joseph didn’t respond “That goes against my beliefs” or “I can’t go against my master Potiphar”. Joseph said “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” 17

David, the man after God’s own heart, wrote:

My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.

– Psalm 119:120 (AKJV)

Asaph, another Psalmist, wrote:

But you, you are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused?

– Psalm 76:7 (ESV)

As one who has placed his faith in Jesus Christ, I have no reason to fear God’s wrath. The righteous blood of Jesus shields me from that. Unfortunately, this tends to make me take God’s grace and mercy for granted. This is never a good thing. In the old testament and in the new, when people took God for granted, He acted in ways that shook them out of their complaciency.

We read in Acts that when Ananias and Sapphira died for lying to the Holy Spirit, “great fear came upon all the church”. In other word, those who were in Christ, who were saved, were greatly afraid.

Job did not take God for granted. He feared God, and God saw this as a commendable thing. Perhaps we should be asking why we don’t fear God as much as we do.

4. Turned away (abstained, shunned, avoided) from evil

This last description of Job’s character means that Job took great care to avoid sin – he resisted temptation. It was difficult to sway him to do evil.

In their book The Day America Told The Truth, James Patterson and Peter Kim tell of the results of a poll of what Americans would be willing to do for 10 million dollars:

  • 3% would put their children up for adoption,
  • 7% would kill a stranger,
  • 10% would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free,
  • 16% would leave their spouses,
  • 16% would give up their American citizenships,
  • 23% would become prostitutes for a week or more,
  • 25% would abandon their church.

Even scarier, two thirds of Americans would agree to do at least one of these things! The book was published in 1991. Do you think these numbers have improved any? I don’t think so. Personal integrity is getting to be a rare commodity.

In spite of God’s hedge of protection from Satan’s attacks, Job was still tempted to sin, just as we all are. But Job resisted temptation. Job refused to act, speak, or even think sinfully. He acted in accordance with Paul’s command: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 18 Again, this was out of fear of God, not just from an idea that to do so would lead to a better, more peaceful or convenient life.

Was it somehow easier for Job to avoid sin than for others? I don’t think so, otherwise why would God praise him for it? As we all know, avoiding sin is really hard to do, especially when you’re tempted in a weak area, or it may inconvenience you, or cause suffering for you or your loved ones. I’m sure Job had his weak areas, but he kept them under control. He was the kind of person who kept his word, even to his own hurt. 19 He “abhorred what is evil”, and “held fast to what is good” 20.

God’s Character

As we can see, Job had a lot of good character qualities, but he wasn’t perfect the way we understand the word, and he didn’t claim to be. Job said:

“how can a man be in the right before God?”

– Job 9:2 (ESV)

“Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.”

– Job 14:4 (ESV)

I’ve found that if you study a “perfect” man, his perfection fades away like a mirage. The greater the hype, the greater the disappointment. But when you study God, His perfection becomes more solid, more real, and more amazing.

Yet, the way Job lived did reflect some aspects of God’s character. He was a light in a dark place. Those who witnessed Job’s walk had a better understanding of what God is like through how he lived.

For example, Job did good things to the kinds of people God identifies with. Do you realize that when you help the needy, God takes it personally? When you give to the poor, God treats it as a loan to Himself, and He promises to pay you back. 21 When you give food and water to someone who is hungry and thirsty, welcome a needy stranger into your house, provide clothes to someone without, visit a sick person or someone in prison (yes, even someone who deserves to be there), Jesus said you’re really doing all these things to Him 22. This is because God identifies with the needy. 23

But God does more than that. He Himself acts on behalf of the fatherless and widow. He is Father to the fatherless and the Protector of widows 24. Like Job, He saves the helpless who call out to Him, and He brings justice against their oppressors. 25 God even loves aliens, legal or not, giving them food and clothing 26. He sends His rain on the just and the unjust. Just think of the people that Jesus showed kindness towards. He showed no prejudice. God is good towards all who fear Him 27, and even those who don’t.

Job was honored because he was a giver. But God is worthy of our all because He is the ultimate giver. You can’t out-give God! (He doesn’t want us to give because He is a taker but because He is a giver, and wants us to be like Him.)

Job’s righteousness also drew attention to God’s perfect righteousness. Psalm 33:4-5 says that only Yahweh loves righteousness and justice. Psalm 145:17 declares only He is righteous “in all of His ways”. In other words, righteousness is not just an empty label or a description of some hidden side of God that nobody will ever see. Righteousness describes how God acts towards His creation. He is good, and moral evil is contrary to His character. Just as Job fought for the innocent and punished the guilty, so God defends the righteous and punishes the wicked 28. His character demands both, for to not hate evil and bring it to justice is to not love good. It was God’s righteousness that required Jesus to die on the cross for our sins to restore us to God.

I believe that, as Christians, we are to live in a way that honors and pleases God, just like Job. God doesn’t care about our “religiosity”. Job was a holy man, but his righteousness did not consist of observing rituals or traditions, or keeping himself separate from other people, as the Pharisees did. Job’s righteousness was seen in his relationships towards other people and towards his God. He was good to all. He didn’t look down on people but interceded before God on their behalf. 29 And this pleased God.

We can learn much about what God is like and how to relate to Him from Job’s life, as well as from the lives of many others, including godly men and women of today. But seeking to know God more must be done with the purpose of drawing closer to Him. You can only know God to a limited degree by studying your Bible, or examining those who have a close walk with Him. You must also act on what you learn. Walk with Him yourself. Talk with him. Listen to Him. But also do the things God wants you to do; do good to all men. And avoid the things God doesn’t want you to do. Then you will know Him better. God told King Zedekiah in Jeremiah 22:16:

…Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the LORD. 30

– Jeremiah 22:13-16

This is why Job spoke truthfully of God (Job 42:7): because he knew Him. If you want to know God better, live in a way that pleases Him. 31

The Fear Of God

The key to Job’s character was his attitude towards God. And there’s one aspect of that attitude that we tend to be lacking in as Christians today: it is the fear of God.

You may ask “I’m a Christian. I don’t have to worry about God’s wrath or hell. Why should I fear God?” And yet the apostles tell us to “fear God” and to work out our own salvation “with fear and trembling” 32. Over and over again in the New Testament Christians are told that the fear of God is a good thing 33.

What does it mean to fear God?

There are different kinds of fear mentioned in the Bible, and not all are good. There is the fear of cowardice that stops us from doing what we should be doing. That kind is never good; God didn’t give us a spirit of timidity 34. There’s also the cautious fear (as in “be careful around that hot stove or you might burn yourself”), and there is the dreadful fear that sometimes terrifies us (greek phobos from which we get the word phobia).

Believe it or not, these last two, the cautious and the dreadful types, are the words chosen in the New Testament to describe the kind of fear we are to have of God. Sometimes they are translated “reverence” or “awe”. But before you get the wrong idea, know that God is not seeking an emotion or feeling. That is not what the fear of God is about.

The fear of God that we are to have is a heart attitude of awareness, complete respect, and humble submission towards His authority over us.

Good, godly fear is always associated with the authority of God over us, and to a lesser extent, those God places in authority over us. For example, we are told to fear our government leaders as well as our superiors in the workplace 35. This doesn’t mean we should be breaking out in a cold sweat whenever we see a police car in our rear-view mirror, or when our boss appears. It does mean that we are to respect them and submit to them because God’s placed them over us:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

– Romans 13:1 (ESV)

So, if we rebel against those placed over us, we’re rebelling against God. Of course, if they tell us to sin against God we’re to disobey them, because God is the ultimate authority. We must obey Him first 36. But under all other conditions, we’re to obey them, even when we disagree with them.

Again, the fear of God is a heart attitude of awareness, respect, and humble submission towards God’s authority over us. This means:

  • We need to be aware of God’s authority over us. Jesus is Lord. That’s not just an impressive but meaningless title. He is now our Master. He has the right to rule over us – He owns us. We are bought with His blood.
  • We also need to respect God’s authority. No treating Him lightly. No attitude of “who made Him boss?” We must honor Him because of His position over us. And we must honor His authority over us publicly also, so that the world will not only know that He is Lord, but that He is a good Lord, a desirable Lord, worthy of our submission.
  • And we need to humbly submit to God’s authority. This means willingly and cheerfully do what He says. God has the right to expect our obedience.

I know this can sound dry or stiff, but remember, this is a good, loving, merciful God we are submitting to. If we love Him, we will respect Him and submit to Him. Godly fear is just another aspect of our love for him. 37 This also may sound strange, but let give you an example of what I mean…

Fear and Love

Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines the reverential fear of God as “not a mere fear of His power and righteousness, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him”. In other words, it is the fear of offending the One who loves us unconditionally, and whom we love in return.

We’re given an example of this in Job’s family life in verses 4 and 5 of chapter 1:

His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

– Job 1:4-5 (ESV)

Back in Job’s day, those who worshipped Yahweh worshipped as families. There was no organized system of priests serving in a tabernacle or temple. The head of the family served as the priest: he made the sacrifices, and he interceded for them. Job fulfilled this role above and beyond what was expected of him.

Job’s character was such that he was concerned for his family’s relationship with God. He continually feared that his sons and daughters might have cursed God secretly (“in their hearts”) 38.

Job’s children were old enough to be responsible for their own actions. On their birthdays, they would invite their siblings and friends to their own houses to party for days at a time.

After the festivities were over, Job sanctified them, purifying them from sin. He would get up at an inconvenient hour and offer sacrifices to God for each party-goer. Job would do this not because he knew they sinned, but because they might possibly have sinned. He did this not because they may have spoken bad of God, but because they might have thought bad of God secretly in their hearts. (Remember, Job was concerned not only with sinful actions, but with sinful thoughts.) Job would do this regularly. What a great dad he was! What a great advocate before God! Fathers, we need to pay close attention to Job’s example!

I get the impression that Job’s sons and daughters didn’t care one way or the other about his intercession for them. I don’t think they lived in fear of God anything like their father did. I don’t think they took care to keep themselves sanctified. Perhaps Job knew his children’s character and thought their cursing God a distinct possibility, even on happy occasions such as birthday parties. Perhaps they took after their mother, who told Job to “curse God and die” 39.

But Job still continued to offer sacrifices for them. He didn’t leave them to the results of their own sin or tell them “you’re on your own now”. Job valued his and his family’s relationship with God more than his wealth; it cost Job out of his own flock to make these sacrifices.

This is why God was pleased with Job. His life revolved around his and his family’s relationship with God: living in a blameless, righteous, God-fearing, and evil-avoiding way.

Here’s the key to understanding the proper fear of God:

When Job offered sacrifices for his children, I believe he did not do so just for his family’s benefit but for God’s benefit – so that God would not have to look on sin. 40It was not to grant his children their desire to be reconciled to God, but God’s desire that they be reconciled with Him.

When Jesus died for our sins, He did not do so just to benefit us, but to benefit His Father, so that He would no longer have to look at our sin. 41 No matter how much (or little) our sin pains us, it pains Him, it grieves Him, much more. Job was sensitive to this, but Jesus, as God in human flesh, incomprehensibly more.

This, I believe, is the heart of what it means to fear God. It is this acting out of sensitivity to what grieves Him and what pleases Him. The right type of fear of God is just another aspect of the right type of love for Him. Love seeks the other’s benefit, and fears to hurt the other 42.

Do you have a heart for God as Job did? Are you concerned about grieving the One who created you, sustains you, and loves you? He loved you enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die for you. He loves you enough to give His Holy Spirit to live inside you. He loves you so much He will have you live with Him for all eternity. And are you concerned about other people’s relationship to God as Job was? Do you have the same desire to see people reconciled to God?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God

– 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (ESV)

God is worthy of this kind of fear.


Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?

For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Revelation 15:4 (ESV)

The fear of the LORD…

…is better than great riches, (Proverbs 15:16)

…is acceptable and pleasing to Him, (Acts 10:35, Psalm 147:11)

…is a fountain of life, turning us away from the snares of death, (Proverbs 14:27)

…leads to and prolongs life, (Proverbs 19:23, Psalm 10:27)

…gives us strong confidence, (Psalm 112:1)

…is lacking in the wicked (but it goes well with those who fear God), (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13, Psalm 145:19)

…is the beginning of wisdom, giving good understanding to those who practice it, (Psalm 111:10, Job 28:28)

…is given to us from God and keeps us from turning away from Him, (Jeremiah 32:39-40)

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

– 2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

– Psalm 86:11 (ESV)


All scripture text quoted from the English Standard version.

Notes:

  1. Job 29:7-11
  2. Job 29:7-11, 21-23
  3. Luke 10:30-35
  4. Genesis 4:9
  5. See also Psalm 7:3-5
  6. Job 29:14, 16-17, cf Luke 14:13, Job 4:3-4, 30:25, 31:32
  7. Job knew how to abound, in the same way that Paul knew (Philippians 4:12). To learn how to be rich is not a matter of how to amass wealth, but how to be a good steward of it.
  8. Genesis 13:13
  9. Leviticus 18:24-28, Deuteronomy 12:31
  10. Judges 17:6, 21:25. We see the results of this kind of thinking which has been the norm through all of history to the present day. When people live according to their own standards, injustice, unrighteousness, wickedness and suffering flourish.
  11. Being part of the Jewish canon of scripture, you might think that Job was a Jew. However most likely Job was a gentile who lived sometime during Israel’s 400 year sojourn in Egypt or perhaps a little earlier. Three out of the four friends mentioned in the book appear to be descendants of Abraham: Eliphez the Temanite (Genesis 36:11, 25:30), Bildad the Shuhite (Genesis 25:2), and Elihu the Buzite (Genesis 22:21). Job lived in the land of Uz, which was known as the land of Edom by the time Israel left Egypt (Lamentations 4:21, Genesis 36:8, Numbers 20:14). Also, the age to which Job lived (42:16) implies that he lived much closer in time to Abraham than to Moses.
  12. Compare with what Jesus says in Matthew 5:27-28.
  13. Job 14:4
  14. Job 31:24-40
  15. None of these passages deal with the additional fear that came on Job after his calamity had struck, such as in Job 23:14-16.
  16. Ezekiel 18:24-26, 33:12,18, 2 Chronicles 32:25-26
  17. Genesis 39:3
  18. 1 Thessalonians 5:22
  19. Psalm 15:4
  20. Romans 12:9
  21. Proverbs 19:17
  22. Matthew 25:31-46. But note that the setting of Jesus’ words is the future judgment. These rewards are primarily things to look forward to in eternity. See also Matthew 5:3-12, 6:1-4, Colossians 3:23-24, Revelation 22:12.
  23. Proverbs 14:31
  24. Psalm 68:5. See also Jeremiah 49:11
  25. Malachi 3:5
  26. Deuteronomy 10:17-18, Psalms 146:9, Proverbs 15:25
  27. See also Psalm 103 which describes how God meets the needs of those who fear Him (vss 11, 13, and 17).
  28. Psalm 11:5-7
  29. Job 42:8 (Even in his trials, Job held no malice towards his friends who tormented him -16:4-5)
  30. Also see Isaiah 58:5-12 where God describes the kind of “fast” He is looking for – a good description of Job’s “religion.”
  31. I’m talking to saved believers here. If you have not yet come to know God, you must first repent of your sin (i.e. be sorry for having lived to please yourself, and want to give that up and please God instead). Then just trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He died in your place on a cross, taking the punishment for all of your sins so that you can be completely reconciled with God. See John 3:16, Acts 16:30-31.
  32. 1 Peter 2:17, Philippians 2:12
  33. Luke 12:4-5, Acts 5:5, 11, 10:2, 19:17, Romans 11:20, 2 Corinthians 7:11, Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22
  34. 2 Timothy 1:7
  35. Romans 13:3,7, 1 Peter 2:18. See also Ephesians 5:21-6:9
  36. Exodus 1:17, Acts 4:19, 5:29
  37. John writes in 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. …” How does this reconcile with Paul’s “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”? The answer has to do with what you fear. John continues: “…For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” John is talking about a different kind of fear. We are to fear God, but not fear His punishment. When you’re secure in Christ, you have no need to worry about slipping from God’s favor – there’s no longer any condemnation. Remember: godly fear is not an emotion or feeling. It’s a heart attitude of awareness, respect, and humble submission towards His authority over us.
  38. Job feared that his children might have done the very thing that Satan tried to get Job to do.
  39. Job 2:9
  40. Matthew 5:9 – Job was a peacemaker between his children and God.
  41. Notice in Exodus 12:7, 13 that the blood of the Passover lamb was placed on the outside of the door, where God would see it, not man. It was there to satisfy God.
  42. Even in pain and despairing of life, this was the kind of fear Job had. He would rather God take his life before he denied God (Job 6:8-10).

5 thoughts on “The Character Of Job”

  1. You might be interested in this online commentary “Putting God on Trial: The Biblical Book of Job” (http://www.bookofjob.org) as supplementary or background material for your study of the Book of Job. It is not a sin to question God, to demand answers from God. There is a time and a place for such things. It is written by a Canadian criminal defense lawyer, now a Crown prosecutor, and it explores the legal and moral dynamics of the Book of Job with particular emphasis on the distinction between causal responsibility and moral blameworthiness embedded in Job

  2. My study in Job (of which the above article is only the beginning – more to come) is what brought my attention recently to the fear of God. It’s not a popular topic for many believers today – we tend to shirk from it. As a result of our lack of fear of God, we fear other things. The fear of God is a central theme to the entire book of Job. His test began on that note (“does Job fear God for nothing?”). Abraham’s test when told to offer his son Isaac was also about his fear of God (“Now I know that you fear God…”). Great blessings came on them when they passed the test.

    On the other hand, I there are also the “fear nots” in the Bible. Jesus said this at times to His disciples when they were afraid. Angels sent with good news from God said “Do not fear”. While God is the one we are to fear, I think perhaps He is also the only who has the right to say “Fear not” when we’re afraid of Him. But when He says those words, worries disappear.

    The fear we’re to have is never the kind that causes us to hide from Him. He wants us to come into His presence to fellowship with Him. The writer of Hebrews said “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. (Hebrews 4:16) He also wrote “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22)

    Paul rebuked the Corinthian believers for how they took the Lord’s supper (1 Corinthians 11:17-22). They were taking it lightly, not discerning the Lord’s body. Some were stuffing themselves. Others went hungry. Paul’s solution was not for them to stop taking the Lord’s supper until they got their act together, but for them to take it rightly… reverently… soberly (but not necessarily somberly). It occurred to me when I wrote this on the Michael Card forum that Paul’s instruction in verse 28 on how we’re to take the Lord’s supper could also apply to how we’re to come before God: “Let a man examine himself…”. If you feel you can’t come before God because of some sin, don’t turn away. Deal with it right away. Remember, the blood of Christ cleanses you from all sin, and grants you boldness to enter God’s presence. Aside from sin, there is no reason to be afraid to come before God.

  3. Thank you for your writings. This morning in my quiet time, the Lord highlighted the 3 three friends of Job section, — and I marveled that they would travel to see and be with him, without saying one word for 7 days… just being there listening to him… I thought, “what friends!” and had to stop and go to a ministry function. I knew there was more to this story that I missed. So tonight, this this led me to google research “spirit-led sermon about Job and 3 friends.” which led me to preaching.com posts with you and others about this subject, and then to your website. Am an intercessor and a ministry leader, in jail ministry and community outreach ministry. Today at the ministry function where I was an invited guest of an intercessor friend, God would have me sit by a world-wide known ministry leader — to hear about the ministry in the fiery furnace in the last two days… From Job and His Friends this morning — to praying and interceding for a well known ministry — to reading all of Job and then your comments as well as others… it’s been an interesting day, among the ten-thousands of days since Job… and God is still sovereign and in control… Thanks again for your insight into the scriptures of Job.

  4. Adam was made in the image of God and not just in physical appearance but inward also. When we walk in love toward God and our neighbors we are in the image of God. Job walked in the image of God and was, in doing so, the “image of God.

  5. … and when you tell the truth even when certain people don’t want to hear it then you are doing what the Bible does, and as an example, it says: “…all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” Romans 3:23

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