Job was innocent.
Job was persecuted.
Poor Job. Woe is Job.
I’ve heard all the excuses about Job before, and I’m just not buying it. People who say that Job didn’t deserve any of his monumental afflictions in Scripture are just plain wrong. Wrong, wrong, and more wrong.
Job deserved every bit of what happened to him. Every disaster was his own fault, and I say that with 100% confidence.
Why? Because the Bible says so.
He Deserved His Trials
What happened to Job was awful; of that, there is no argument. Job 1 is a litany of calamities that would bring even the strongest men to their knees.
The text even emphasizes this point. Job 1:13-20 is a quick summarization of what happens to Job, with one event told while the other one is still being communicated. Three times you see the phrase “While he was still speaking,” which indicates that Job heard about all four of these tragedies in a very short period of time.
But what do the verses right before that say? I would encourage every Job apologist to go back and reread this section, because the Bible plainly indicates that these things happened because Satan was so sure Job would curse God when faced with hardship. He didn’t, but that’s beside the point. Job’s righteousness was the cause of his calamity.
The same thing happens in Job 2. When Satan’s first experiment backfires, Satan is confident once again that Job will curse God if his physical body is attacked, since, as Satan says, “all that a man has he will give in exchange for his life” (Job 2:4).
Why does he have boils? Why does he find himself with a potsherd in his hand, scraping his bare flesh, mere hours after he’s lost his family? Simple.
Because of his righteousness.
Satan would have most likely stayed his hand had Job failed and his point been made, but alas, Job’s perseverance meant Satan continued with the offensive.
He Deserved His Companions
Mrs. Job gets a bad rap from this story because she encourages her faithful husband to “curse God and die.” Usually, we see this as another affliction; Satan allows her to live so she can verbally torture Job.
I’m not so sure that’s the case. Sure, what she says is wrong, but what (loving) wife wants to watch her husband endure torture like this? She’s lost everything too and is just as miserable as Job – with the exception of the boils.
Moreover, as any parent will tell you, a family like Job’s doesn’t happen as the result of one righteous husband or righteous wife; more often, it takes two (though there are exceptions to every case). Job’s family is a testament not only to his righteousness, but to his wife’s as well.
Even his friends are amazing. Lost in the shuffle of this narrative is the fact that Job’s friends sit in the ashes with him, sharing in his misery, for an entire week before anyone says something (Job 2:13; Rom. 12:15). Those are true friends, despite what happens after that.
Nobody exists in a vacuum. As Jim Rohn has famously said, “We are the average of the five people we spend time with.” In this case, the five people that appear to have spent the most time with Job is his wife and Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu.
To varying degrees, all five of them try to teach Job the finer points of theology and suffering. Not everything they say is wrong, by the way, but their application to Job is what is reprimanded by God (Job 42:7-9).
Regardless, when you think of the type of people that Job surrounded himself with, you find patient individuals that have a heart for God, as misguided as their words were. That doesn’t happen by accident.
He Deserved His Reprimand
The one thing Job does wrong in this entire scene is speak out against God. He had the audacity to question his own birth (Job 3:3) and God’s wisdom in allowing him to go through this trial, even going so far as to demand an audience with Jehovah Himself to state his case (Job 13:3). God’s entire response back to Job in Job 38-42 is one big challenge back to the human who dared question the Divine.
This isn’t an uncommon stance for us mortals. Mankind for centuries have questioned God’s wisdom in just about everything, and yet Paul remarks firmly that it’s not the place of the pot to challenge the Potter (Rom. 9:21; Jer. 18:1-12).
Bow up against God, and you can expect to be put in your place, as Job was. He deserved every bit of the tongue-lashing he got from God – a fact even he acknowledges himself (Job 42:1-6)
He Deserved His Reward
It’s both false and cruel to say that Job’s children were “replaced” by the sons and daughters he had after his ordeal (Job 42:13-15). As any parent knows, each child is special and unique.
But it’s fair to say that he was “restored,” as Job 42:10 states. He received more wealth, more livestock, and many more years to enjoy what God blessed Him with. He died “an old man and full of days” (Job 42:17).
Job earned his award due to his perseverance, not because he climbed up to Heaven and demanded it of God. His obedience, steadfastness, and discipline is what carried him through these trials and ultimately what kept him right with God.
As such, he earned his reward.
The next time someone says to you that Job didn’t deserve what happened to him, set them straight. He deserved his trials because he was righteous, he deserved his companions because he fostered Godly qualities, he deserved his reprimand because, in his anger, he dared to challenge God, and he deserved his reward because, in his obedience, he humbly submitted to His will.
One of the great ironies of Job’s story is that he never found out (at least as revealed in Scripture) why he went through the things he did. And we most likely won’t either. But if you’re going through times of trial, know that it’s partially because of your commitment to God that the fires seem especially hot (2 Timothy 3:12; John 15:18; 1 Peter 4:12-14; John 16:33).
You deserve those trials, just as Job deserved his.Last modified: February 7, 2019