FROM A NEW PERSPECTIVE
By Henry Jaegers
I had just completed my first volume on "A Simple Guide for Teaching The Bible", and have been thinking about how to approach this second volume. My attention has been drawn to the book of Job and in the last two days, upon meditating on its contents, I discovered a very flexible and practical application.
The usual title for the book of Job is: "Why the Righteous Suffer?", That is an excellent title for the book and what I am about to share is more of an elaboration on that title.
The approach I want to use centers on “the trial of Job's faith”.
Surely, if we faced every trial and temptation as the trial of our faith, there may be a different outcome due to our understanding. The reason I am using this approach is that through understanding what happens during the trial of faith, we shall discover certain things that are practical even to the people of the age in which we live. In other words, by understanding the book of Job, using this perspective, we may get a clear understanding of what happens to all of us in our particular trial. Job's experience is being presented as my experience as well. So, let's see what happens.
1. The Origin of The Trial (Chapters 1 and 2)
In these two chapters, we discover three important things. First, there is Job himself, before his trial. Second, we see the discussion between God and Satan over this man. The third thing that is of interest is God's expression of confidence over Job's integrity. And finally, we see Satan's criticism.
The lesson to consider here is; God allows Satan to inflict the trial. And during this time of trial, although Job may feel very alone, God is still in control and the final outcome is God's not Satan's.
2. In chapters 3 through 31, we find the miss understandings that occurred during this time. First, there was the misunderstanding of his friends as to why Job was passing through these trials and it seems that they were giving some good theological solutions to correct the problem, but their discourse reveals they knew nothing about why this was happening to Job. All they could give to Job was “easy answers” based on their lack of understanding. At the same time, we see Job and his misunderstandings and need to defend himself. He knew that he was not guilty of that with which they charged him and inwardly he sought an arbitrator who could take up his defense.
3. In chapters 31 through 35, we see an answer to Job's prayer in the person of Elihu.
This young man stood patiently by through all the arguments and when they ran out of excuses and charges, he stepped in as a peacemaker from God to help them prepare themselves to receive a greater understanding. Elihu was truly a peacemaker that was needed to prepare them to hear the word from God.
4. The Restoration of Job (Chapters 36 - 42.)
In these chapters, an awesome thing happened. Both Job and his friends had to experience great humiliation as they stood in the presence of this holy God, who knew all the answers that they failed to see. It always happens when we come into the presence of God. It had happened to Isaiah and it happened to Paul and I know that when we are confronted in a personal way by God, nothing but humiliation is possible as we discover the great failures of human understanding and abilities.
In chapter 42, after God finishes speaking, he first initiates a restoration between Job and his friends giving them instruction as to what they should do. The good news is, they all agreed with God. That is what the word, "Confession" really means. Facing the facts and acting appropriately. The good news is that God in his love restored not only the relationship between him and his friends, but he also restored Job to even a greater state of a blessing that he had before the trial.
So, what should this presentation do for us as we contemplate this message? Hopefully, in a simple way, that no matter how great or how small the trial is and no matter how difficult it may appear, in this matter of the trial of faith, God always has a greater plan for us as we pass through them. Although sometimes it is hard to trust God in the midst of them after they are finished, we gain greater understanding, but most of all we experience true peace with God, knowing that he has the final answer to it all and we can safely place our trust in him.