A Transcript Of The Video Study
According to the Chronological Chart Of Bible Books, Job is the next book to appear along the timeline. We are not certain who wrote the book, nor when it was written, but it was included among the sacred writings of the Old Testament and is considered without question a divinely inspired piece of literature. This means, of course, that the words of this book are the words of God, and they are able to make the Lord’s people wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. My dear friends, the book of Job is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that you might be built up in the faith, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Tim 3:15-17)
You will notice from the chart, the book is divided into 42 chapters and it takes approximately one hour and forty minutes to read it in a single sitting. The date at the bottom, 1650 BC, indicates the approximate time the events of the book unfolded—“Job’s story occurred during the time Jacob’s family went into Egypt.” If this be true, then the date would be around 60 years earlier than that given on the chart, in the year 1706 BC. You remember, there was a famine which swept through the land, forcing Jacob’s sons to collect provisions from Egypt. It may be the result of that famine which drove the Sabeans and Chaldeans to steal Job’s livestock, which is recorded in the first chapter of the book.
Now, this date is aligned with Adams’ Time Chart of World History. There is a depiction of Job sitting on a rock, just above the year 1650 BC, with the inscription—“18th Book: Job Of Idumea An Arabian Sage—Supposed By Some To Be Identical With Jobab (1 Chron 1:44) Who Was Grand Son Of Esau.” If this be true, then not only was Job a contemporary with Jacob, but he was also his great nephew. And this means also that the grief Jacob suffered when he thought he was bereaved of his three sons—Jospeh, Simeon and Benjamin—occurred around the same time Job was bereaved of his seven sons and three daughters. And of course, both lamented their losses—Jacob exclaiming all these things were against him and Job cursing the day of his birth.
The book can be divided into three main sections:
(1:1-2:10) Historical Narrative: Job’s Trouble – Looses Wealth And Health
(2:11-42:6) Engaging Dialogue: Job’s Trials – Before Three Courts Of Judges
(42:7-17) Historical Narrative: Job’s Triumph – Multiplies Wealth And Health
Looking at the first historical narrative, we are given in the first two chapters a record of Job’s trouble. He is introduced as a godly man, having already been born again by the effectual power of the Holy Spirit, and serving a pastoral function for the members of his family. He had a large family—a wife, seven sons and three daughters. He was also a very wealthy man—owning land, keeping livestock, growing corps, managing servants and building houses. As a 70 year old, for that is how old we suspect he was when the book opens, he would have been considered an elder in the gates, having earned for himself a good reputation, and therefore revered by those of his local and wider community. And, though he was an older man, yet the Lord blessed him with the vigor of youth and good health.
However, not all was well in his life. His children showed little evidence of piety. They were quite worldly in thought and behavior, showing more interest in hosting and attending parties. This weighed heavy on Job’s heart, so he rose up early in the mornings, offering sacrifices to God on behalf of his children. We have reason to believe Job suspected they had never been born again.
It was around that time, Satan was walking up and down in the earth, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Having found none, he presented himself before the Lord. The Lord directed Satan’s attention to Job, informing him that there was none like him in all the earth. Satan argued, the only reason Job was living a godly life and honoring the Lord was because he was enjoying the rich blessings of wealth and health. Satan challenged the Lord, if these things be taken away, Job would curse God to His face. It pleased the Lord that the integrity of Job’s faith should be tried by fire, so permitted Satan to put the godly man in the furnace of affliction. As a result, Job lost everything! In a single day, he lost all his livestock, most of his servants, all his crops and all ten of his children. A few days later, he was smote with boils from the sole of his feet to the top of his head.
He tore his clothes, shaved his head, sat in ashes and lamented the day he was born. Three men, all of whom were older than Job’s father (15:10), heard of his grievances, and came to comfort and counsel him. After seven days and seven nights, Job initiated the conversation, breaking forth in a pitiful lamentation cursing the day of his birth. This then brings us to the second main section of the book—the engaging dialogue (2:11-42:6). Job is put on trial. He will stand before three sets of judges, each of whom will challenge him on the reason, or the cause, of his calamities.
(2:11-32:1) First Court Of Judges: Eliphaz, Bildad And Zophar
(32:2-37:24) Second Court Of Judges: Elihu
(38:1-42:6) Third Court Of Judges: Jehovah
This then brings us to the second historical narrative, where we are given in the last chapter a record of Job’s triumph. We are told the Lord turned away Job’s affliction, giving him twice as much as he had before. In a nutshell, these are the main movements of the book of Job.
Now, I would like to align the book of Job with the framework of sovereign grace. There are 31 characters recorded in the book. I believe there is sufficient evidence to conclude 5 are numbered among the elect—Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu; 1 is numbered among the non-elect—Satan (but of course, he is numbered among the non-elect angels); 25 are unknown. Among those who are unknown, 11 of them are absolutely unknown—Job’s four servants and his second set of sons; 11 others lean towards the non-elect—Job’s wife, first set of sons, first set of daughters; 3 others lean towards the elect—Job’s second set of daughters (Jemima, Kezia, Kerenhappuch).
I wish to share some testimonies of a few of the people recorded in the book.
First, the testimony of Job. A summary of his faith is given in Job 1:1: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” The first two descriptions refer to his justification by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; the last two descriptions refer to his sanctification according to the effectual power of the Holy Spirit. Job himself testified of his salvation in Job 19:23-29: “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.”
Second, the testimony of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. It is quite clear from the counsel they gave to Job that they had not yet been born again when conversing with Job on the things of God (see Job 15:14-16; 25:4-6; 11:3-6). This is confirmed in the last chapter, when the Lord told Eliphaz that His wrath was kindled against him and his two friends, for they had not spoken of God the thing that is right. However, the Lord directed them to present themselves before Job, who, as you know, served as the priest for His family, and offer up a burnt offering. This the three men did, after which, we are told the Lord accepted them and Job. No doubt, this is a reference to the conversion of these men, having been regenerated by the Spirit of God.
Third, the testimony of Elihu. It is unclear exactly who this man was. However, from what I can gather, he was a prophet sent by the Lord to speak with Job and his three friends. If a prophet, then a regenerate sinner, and therefore he too is no doubt numbered among God’s elect people. This is confirmed in the last chapter, when the Lord expresses His wrath against Job’s three friends, but does not condemn or rebuke Elihu. Also, unlike Job’s three friends, Elihu encouraged Job to trust in the Lord, resigning himself to a good and faithful Creator—Job 35:14: ”Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.”
Fourth, the testimony of Job’s wife. I believe there is evidence which points to Job’s wife being an unregenerate sinner. After Job had lost his possessions and his health, as he sat naked in dust and ashes weeping over his tragedy, his wife said to him—Job 2:9: “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.” As if to say, “Job, you have spent all these years offering sacrifices to God, testifying of His grace and telling us about His love. Well, look at yourself now! Where is your God of love? Do you still retain the integrity of your faith? You fool—you should curse God and kill yourself!” What bitter words to spew from the mouth of one who should have been Job’s closest ally. But Job understood his wife was an unbeliever, and therefore rebuked her, saying—Job 2:10: ”Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”
Fifth, the testimony of the second set of Job’s daughters—Jemima, Kezia and Kerenhappuch. Now, I believe these three girls may well be numbered among God’s elect people, for at the end of the book, when we are told Job had seven more sons and three more daughters, we are only given the names of his three daughters. You see, the names of his seven sons and three daughters mentioned in chapter 1 are not given. Nor are the names of his seven sons mentioned in chapter 42. But the names of his three daughters are recorded. On top of this, we are told, concerning these three daughters, that—Job 42:15: “In all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.” I cannot believe the fairness of these women is a reference merely to their outer beauty. It must mean more than that! Is this not a testimony of the integrity of their faith, like their father, perfect and upright, and those who feared the Lord and eschewed evil? Yes, they were the most beautiful women in all the land, not because they adorned themselves with the plaiting of hair, and the wearing of gold and nice clothings, but because their hearts were adorned with the garments of Christ, a new nature imparted to their souls—a new nature that is incorruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Pet 3:1-6)
My dear friends, this is the book of Job! And I pray, as you read through the book this week, the Lord will make it a blessing to your soul. Ask yourself, as you read the various testimonies of the people recorded—do their experiences with the Lord resemble my experience with Him? What is your testimony? Where do you fit within God’s masterplan for the ages?
Jared Smith served twenty years as pastor of a Strict and Particular Baptist church in Kensington (London, England). He now serves as an Evangelist in the Philippines, preaching the gospel, organizing churches and training gospel preachers.