The Stage is Set
First off, your heart has to pour out for Job. He is described as “Good” “Righteous” “There is no one like him” and as “a person of integrity.” With these wonderful introductions and descriptions, we think the best of Job, and then the unthinkable happens. God gives permission for him to be tormented. Its a test of his character, I know, but this seems uncharacteristic of God. Then again, aren’t we tested each and every day? Should Job be no different? Still, this seems a bit unusual and the result seems rather harsh!
Let’s understand this . . . this isn’t “Satan” as you and I think of him. Red horns, tail, fiery pitchfork, ruling from the depths of hell. This is not who we are speaking of in Job. Instead, a better translation would be “the accuser” or “prosecuting attorney.” Here is is a heavenly being, who has a place in the inner court of God, and is allowed free reign on Job. “Anything but his life,” we are told. Still seems unfair, and I’d agree, however, let’s agree this is not “Satan” as we think of today. This “Satan” is a fellow in the kingdom of God. I’d suggest we approach him with caution, when that time comes.
Job’s children are killed. Job’s servants are killed. Job’s livestock are killed. Everything except Job’s wife is completely destroyed. In some weird way, I’d almost wish something would have happened to her, as she seems less than compassionate. “Curse God and die” she proclaims (2:9) Yet, Job will not. Even as Job’s own skin is ravaged with sores, he will not speak ill about God. Would we be so faithful?
With all that takes place, three of Job’s friends arrive. Elphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Out of all of Job, this is the one part that I love (next to God speaking at the end of the book). His friends arrive and the say nothing! What a blessing! They just are there, for seven days to offer support. Its a realization that sometimes the best word to say, is no word at all. Sometimes just being present is enough. I am sure that Job took their company in these first seven days a a blessing and a comfort. As we read on, that will change, but for now we will enjoy their silent company!