Job 01~03 约伯记 1~3章

JOB 1-3

I. Job’s Prosperity (Job 1:1-5)

A. His Character (1:1)

    1. Job was not sinless, for nobody can claim that distinction; but he was complete and mature in character and “straight” in conduct.

    2. The word translated “perfect” is related to “integrity,” another important word in Job (2:3, 9; 27:5; 31:6). People of integrity are whole persons, without hypocrisy or compromise.

    3. The foundation for Job’s character was the fact that he “feared God and shunned evil.” To fear the Lord means to respect who He is, what He says, and what He does.

B. His Family (1:2)

    1. Job was prosperous in his family. As discussed in the Introduction, the events in Job took place during the Patriarchal Age when a large family was seen as a blessing from God (Gen. 12:2; 13:16; 30:1).

    2. The children must have enjoyed each other’s company since they frequently met to celebrate their birthdays. This speaks well of the way Job and his wife raised them.

C. His Material Possessions (1:3)

    1. In those days wealth was measured primarily in terms of land, animals, and servants.

    2. Being rich did not turn Job away from God. He acknowledged that the Lord gave his wealth to him (1:21), and he used his wealth generously for the good of others (4:1-4; 29:12-17; 31:16-32).

D. His Friends (2:11)

    1. While it is true that Job’s three friends hurt him deeply and wronged him greatly, they were still his friends.

    2. When they heard about Job’s calamities, they traveled a long distance to visit him; and they sat in silence as they sympathized with him.

    3. Their mistake was in thinking they had to explain Job’s situation and tell him how to change it.

II. Job’s Adversity (Job 1:6-19)

A. One truth to emerge from this scene is that God is sovereign in all things.

    1. He is on the throne of heaven, the angels do His will and report to Him, and even Satan can do nothing to God’s people without God’s permission.

    2. “The Almighty” is one of the key names for God in Job; it is used thirty-one times.

    3. The lesson taught is that no matter what happens in this world and in our lives, God is on the throne and has everything under control.

    4. The word translated “angels” in v.6 of the NIV is literally “the sons of God” in the Hebrew. Many believe these to be a divine council of supernatural beings (angels) also called the Lord’s messengers.

B. A second truth is that Satan has access to God’s throne.

    1. Many people have the mistaken idea that Satan is ruling his world from hell. However, Satan will not be cast into the lake of fire until before the final judgment (Rev. 20:10ff).

    2. Today, Satan is free to go about on the earth (Job 1:7; 1 Peter 5:8) and can even go into God’s presence in heaven.

C. The third truth is the most important: God found no fault with Job, but Satan did.

    1. God’s statement in Job 1:8 echoes the description of Job in verse 1, but Satan questioned it.

    2. The word “Satan” means “adversary, one who opposes the law.” This is a courtroom scene, and God and Satan each deliver different verdicts about Job.

    3. God’s verdict was “Not guilty!” (1:8; 2:3; 42:7). There was nothing in Job’s life that compelled God to cause him to suffer. But Satan said “Guilty!” because he is the accuser of God’s people and finds nothing good in them (Zech. 3; Rev. 12:10).

    4. Satan’s accusation against Job was really an attack on God.

    5. Job’s three friends said Job was suffering because he had sinned, and that was not true. The fundamental reason for Job’s suffering was to silence the blasphemous accusations of Satan and prove that a man would honor God even though he had lost everything. It was a battle in the heavenlies (Eph. 6:12), but Job did not know it.

    6. Job’s friends wanted him to repent of his sins so that God would remove the suffering and make him prosperous again. Yet Job was not going to “invent” sin in his life just so he could repent and “earn” the blessing of God. To do that would be to play right into the hands of the accuser! Instead, Job held fast to his integrity and blessed God even though he did not understand what God was doing.

D. The fourth truth is that Satan can touch God’s people only with God’s permission, and God uses it for their good and His glory.

    1. It has been said that the purpose of life is the building of character through truth. God is at work in our lives to make us more like Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29), and He can use even attacks from the devil to perfect us.

    2. When you are in the path of obedience and find yourself in a severe trial, remind yourself that nothing can come to your life that is outside His will.

    3. Some of the so-called tragedies in the lives of God’s people have really been weapons of God “to silence the foe and the avenger” (Ps. 8:2).

    4. The angels watch the church and learn from God’s dealings with His people (1 Cor. 4:9; Eph. 3:10).

III. Job’s Fidelity (Job 1:20-22)

A. Job looked back to his birth: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb.”

    1. Everything Job owned was given to him by God, and the same God who gave it had the right to take it.

    2. Job simply acknowledged that he was merely a steward of what God had given him.

B. Job looked ahead to his death: “Naked I will depart.”

    1. Job could not return to his mother’s womb, but he would be buried and turn to dust.

    2. Nothing that he acquired between his birth and his death would go with him into the next world (See 1 Tim. 6:7).

C. Finally, Job looked up: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

    1. Instead of cursing God, as Satan said Job would do, Job blessed the Lord.

    2. Anyone can say, “The Lord gave” or “The Lord has taken away.” But it takes real faith to say in the midst of sorrow and suffering, “May the name of the Lord be praised.”

    3. Notice verse 22: “In all this Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

IV. Job’s Misery (Job 2:1-3:26)

A. The voice of the accuser (2:1-8).

    1. Satan does not give up easily, for he returned to God’s throne to accuse Job again. As in the first meeting (1:8), it is God who brings up the subject of His faithful servant Job; and Satan accepts the challenge.

    2. With God’s permission (1 Cor. 10:13), Satan afflicted Job with a disease we cannot identify. Whatever it was, the symptoms were terrible: severe itching (2:8), insomnia (7:4), running sores and scabs (7:5), nightmares (7:13-14), bad breath (19:17), weight loss (19:20), chills and fever (21:6), diarrhea (30:27), and blackened skin (30:30). When his three friends saw Job, they did not recognize him.

    3. Not all physical affliction comes directly from the evil one. Sometimes physical affliction is the natural result of carelessness on our part, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Many times, however, physical affliction is merely a result of living in an imperfect and fallen world.

    4. So terrible was Job’s appearance that he fled society (Job 19:13-20) and went outside the city and sat on the ash heap. There the city’s garbage was deposited and burned, and there the city’s rejects lived, begging alms from whoever passed by. At the ash heap, dogs fought over something to eat, and the city’s dung was brought and burned. The city’s leading citizen was now living in abject poverty and shame.

B. The voice of the quitter (2:9-10).

    1. All that Job had left was his wife and his three friends, and even they turned against him. No wonder Job felt that God had deserted him.

    2. Job’s wife advised Job to do exactly what Satan wanted him to do: “Curse God and die!” The truth is, Satan can even work through people who are dear to us (Matt. 16:22-23; Acts 21:10-14); and the temptation is stronger because we love them so much. Adam listened to Eve (Gen. 3:6, 12), and Abraham listened to Sarah (Gen. 16); but Job did not listen to his wife.

    3. In times of severe testing our first question must not be, “How can I get out of this?” but “What can I get out of this?”

    4. We can certainly understand the reaction of Job’s wife, but if Job had followed her advice it would have only made things worse. In the end, Job’s wife was reconciled to her husband and to the Lord, and God gave her another family (42:13). We don’t know how much she learned from her sufferings, but we can assume it was a growing experience for her.

C. The voice of the mourners (2:11-13).

    1. The term “Job’s comforters” is a familiar phrase for describing people whose help only makes you feel worse. But these three men had some admirable qualities in spite of the way they persecuted Job.

    2. For one thing, they cared enough for Job to travel a long distance to visit him. They actually sat with him on the ash heap, surrounded by refuse. Because their grief was so deep, they didn’t speak for seven days. In fact, their expression of grief was like mourning for the death of a great person (Gen. 50:10).

    3. Rather than listening to Job, accepting his feelings, and not arguing with him, Job’s friends chose to be prosecuting attorneys instead of Witnesses. In the end, God rebuked them, and the they had to ask Job’s forgiveness (Job 42:7-10).

D. The voice of the sufferer (3:1-26).

    1. After seven days of silent suffering, Job spoke, not to curse God but to curse the day of his birth. However, at no time did Job speak of ending his own life!

    2. Job’s suffering was so great that it made him forget the blessings that he and his family had enjoyed for so many years. Pain makes us forget the joys of the past; instead, we tend to focus on the apparent hopelessness of the future.

    3. Job’s friends heard his words but did not feel the anguish of his heart; and they took the wrong approach to helping him handle his trials. They argued with his words instead of ministering to his hurt.

    4. Job cursed two nights: the night of his conception and the night of his birth (3:1-13). The key word here is darkness. When a baby is born it comes out of the darkness into the light; but Job wanted to stay in the darkness. In fact, he thought it would have been better if he had been born dead. Then he would have gone to the world of the dead (Sheol) and not had to face his misery.

    5. He closed the curse with four “why?” questions that nobody but God could answer. It is easy to ask why, but difficult to get the right answer. There is nothing wrong with asking why, as long as we genuinely listen for God’s answer and don’t get the idea that somehow God owes us an answer.

    6. The last half of the lament is a description of the world of the dead, the place the Jews called Sheol (Job 3:13-26). That’s where Job wanted to be.

    7. The Old Testament does not give a complete and final revelation of life after death; that had to await the coming of the Savior (2 Tim. 1:10). Job saw Sheol as a shadowy place where the small and great rested together, away from the burdens and sufferings of life on earth. He would rather be dead and have rest than be alive and bear the misery that had come to him.

    8. Job shares a secret at the close of his lament (vv.25-26): before all his troubles started, he had a feeling - and a fear - that something terrible was going to happen.

    9. It is unfortunate that Job’s friends laid hold of his lament instead of his statement of faith (1:21; 2:10). After hearing him curse his birth, they felt it necessary to rebuke him and come to God’s defense. The lesson for us is that when we are trying to comfort someone in their times of distress, it is not so important that we point out any perceived theological errors in their thinking, or sin in their life, as it is just to listen and try to comfort them. The time may come later to try to help them understand more fully from a theological perspective and to examine the right or wrong of their own actions.