There is an erroneous teaching that says Job’s fear came upon him. In essence, it conveys the idea his fear was the cause of all his loss and suffering. It insinuates that Job moved out of fear when he made sacrifices for his sons just in case they sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Basically speaking, he was afraid. What this teaching is trying to underscore with Job is fear works like faith, only in a negative direction. Question: what is the opposite of fear? We’ll address this shortly. Can a person honestly use Job as an example of said principle? At some point, read Job for yourself in order to get the full context; or at least, read the first couple chapters, along with chapters 38-42. So, was Job’s fear the cause of all his troubles?
The phrase, “Job’s fear came upon him” is not even in the Bible. Even if it was, it would not be a good idea to create an entire doctrine on one verse. There should be at least two or three more verses at the very minimum -preferably a whole lot more. Job did fear God, as we all should; but, there is no indication he was a fearful man. If a person takes precautions to protect loved ones, does that make him or her a fearful person in itself? How many of you pray for protection over your family? When you read Job, you will find it does not say, “He made sacrifices because he was afraid he might lose his sons.” Job was a man who feared God, and sought to spiritually cover his children for their benefit. Parents do the same thing today, as they teach theirs about God and pray for them. How many of you stand on Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” If so, does that make you a coward? Hardly! Is that an act of fear or faith; or better still, an act of love?
Okay, so what did happen? In Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-6, God has as two different discussions with Satan about Job. First, we find God was bragging about Job: “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8)? This is important, because it expresses God’s opinion about Job. Nowhere does He say, “Job is full of fear.” In fact, you will not find Him saying any such thing. What was Satan’s response? The short answer is, “Job only fears you because You protect and bless him” (read Job 1:10-11 for the exact rendering). He goes on to say, “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to Thy face” (Job 1:11). In turn, God said to Satan, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand” (Job 1:12). In verses 12-19, Satan kills his sons and wipes out his possessions. And yet, verse 22 says, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Take note here, God did not wipe out Job’s sons and possessions; Satan did it. It’s just as Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).
In the second discussion (Job 2:1-6), God says to Satan: “Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst Me against him, to destroy him without cause” (verse 3). Satan tells God if he were to directly attack Job, he would curse Him (read verses 4-5). Job 2:6 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. At this point, Satan attacks Job’s body. Even still, “In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:9).
Based on these discussions, can you honestly conclude it was Job’s fear that caused him all his suffering? Nowhere in those conversations is any mention made of Job acting out of fear, much less, fear causing the mess. Again, it’s important to pay attention to what God says about a person. In Ezekiel 14:14 and 20, Job is placed on the level of Noah and Daniel in terms of righteousness. James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. In this passage, Job is not used as an example of one who was fearful; rather, he is an example of patience and enduring to the end. Furthermore, it reveals God is compassionate and merciful. On a side note, God healed Job and restored to him twice as much as he lost (Job 42:10).
So, what is the opposite of fear? Some might say, “faith.” Not a bad answer; but perhaps, a better one would be love. 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. Galatians 5:6 tells us that “Faith works by love.” If you walk in love, fear will have no place in you. Fear is a sign of immaturity.
Finally, is God’s grace sufficient for you? Is He merciful? Why these questions? Simply this: God is not going to whack you every time you move out of fear. Many people fear things that never come to pass. God’s grace, indeed! To be sure, people have made poor decisions based on fear, and suffered consequences as a result. But, it was not God punishing them. He may have used those circumstances to discipline and train them, but He didn’t go out of His way to wreck their lives. No, on the contrary, He moves in such a way to save and heal people. By the way, if God really wanted you to suffer, it would be far worse than you could ever imagine. All the suffering that ever existed or will exist on earth combined, would pale compared to that! But that’s not His nature. Instead, God made provision for our fear and suffering: His Love through Jesus Christ!