Two weeks ago I began reading through Job. It is thought to be the oldest written book of the Bible and it appears that Job lived a few generations before Abraham. His life most likely overlapped both Noah and Abraham and he probably lived in the days surrounding the Tower of Babel, given the number of years he lived. The chronological Bible reading plan inserts Job between chapters 11 and 12 of Genesis.
Although I am not done studying Job, pain and suffering just yet, I have also finished the commentary book I read in conjunction to Job. It is a book called Pain, Perplexity, and Promotion by Bob Sorge. His insight into the book of Job, his understanding of scripture and the way he applies biblical truth to the book of Job was amazing. God blew my mind in this study and I have a long way to go before I can fully process, apply and accept the truths laid out before me. But God has begun to impart some clarity into my life.
That said, I would like to just share a few quotes from one of the chapters. Besides these quotes, he offers insight, warning and application through the stories of Job’s wife, the three friends and Elihu. He offers a suggestion and insight as to what Job prayed for that might have brought on what he calls the Job crucible and how he believes the heartbeat of Job surrounds his children and the way he fathered them.
He brings out the parallels to the cross, addresses Job’s failure and tells of how God changed Job’s fathering paradigm. He also addresses how to embrace God’s discipline with an open spirit, holy desperation, seeking fervently, and the commitment to integrity.
He then addresses Jobs three daughters that are of the second set of children and answers prophetically why the names of the girls are given and the boys remain anonymous. Finally he discusses Job’s attainments, his mountaintop experience following the period of intense trial.
Three things struck me the most. The parallels to the cross, the commitment to integrity (what made Job blameless), and the methods God uses to “renew our wineskins”.
But the passages that I want to share spoke most to me and were encouraging. They are specifically from the chapter on Embracing God’s Discipline With an Open Spirit.
“Sometimes, when we come to Christ with our calamities, He miraculously turns our tragedies into triumph with virtually no more effort on our part than a simple exercise of faith. In other instances, He intends that our pain launch us into an intense spiritual search until we are able to discover divine purpose in the calamity. That impassioned pursuit of God will produce more fruit in your life than if you received instant relief.”
“When you begin to see God’s purpose in your pain (a process which usually takes months and even years) then your spirit begins to open to the Father and the light of your countenance begins to glow. Excitement begins to build within you as you realize that He who began this good work in you is going to complete it!”
“Job came through his crisis successfully by constantly lifting his face to God. While his friends are talking about God, he talked to God. Even when his attitude was carnal and his words careless, Job did one thing right: he kept himself in God’s face. This was the key that enabled God to lead Job to greater and greater understanding of purpose.”
“The Bible uses another term to describe an open spirit: “perfect love.” Perfect love is the kind of love that is able to embrace God’s hand in our life, regardless of its severity, without holding ourselves from Him or closing our spirit in the least. Perfect love realizes that anything from God’s hand is for our best, and it comes to us in the everlasting love of our Father who is absolutely “head-over-heels-nuts” about us! So if he gives it, I can embrace it with an open spirit. Once we attain that place, we have attained perfect love.
17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
~1 John 4: 17-18
What John is saying is, he who fears the discipline of God in his life is not yet perfect in love.”
By reading through the book of Job with the help of Bob Sorge’s commentary, I have come to understand that there is plenty of perspective in Job and great meaning within the 42 chapters. We can glean so much from Job’s life and his response to the great trials and pain that came to him. There is much to be learned about how to be a friend to the grieving and the one in pain through the accounts of both Job’s wife and his friends. You come face to face with the workings of and splendor of God’s creation spoken right from His mouth and are awed by the prophetic words spoken about the end days when Christ will return. It is filled with parallels to Christ in his first coming during the trials and points to his second coming after the trial when Job’s life is restored by a double portion.
As I said before, my mind has been blown while studying this ancient book. I have not yet been able to coherently put my thoughts together. The study has spoken deeply into my spirit and touched me very personally. I know God is continuing the work he started in me and I am holding on to the promise that he will complete what he started. I am also taking comfort in the fact that just like I noticed in Joseph’s trial, he brought Job through the trial, tied up all the loose ends and then set his world right again.
I have added a new page to the blog that will sort the scripture blog posts by book and I have also included the books I used to study each book as well as a link to my study notes. So far Genesis and Job are listed but neither is a complete work. As I read new books or gain more insight, I will be updating both the book list and my study notes. Feel free to check out my new resource!
If you are looking for a book to study, consider Job. Find some good commentaries and maybe try this one by Bob Sorge. In light of all the suffering, pain and chaos in the world today, you will be encouraged by the fresh perspective found here in Job!
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