7 ¶ And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
God accepts Job’s repentance for his speaking out of ignorance and tells his friends that only a sacrifice and prayer from this innocent man will prevent God’s judgment on them. In type Job here takes the place of Christ, offering up Himself for a sacrifice and praying for mercy for mankind’s ignorance and arrogance. Types are imperfect analogies and always break down at some point but they point you in a direction. Notice it is not Job who is called to forgive God for what Job has lost. God did not deem to explain to Job the conversation He had with Satan. It is Job who needs God’s acceptance, His approval.
This brings us to the obvious point of this book, what is considered the oldest book in the Bible by many. We are talking about God’s sovereignty and the evil that can come into your life and how you are called simply to trust God, that He has it under control.
First, let’s look at one definition of evil. Evil is not always simply sin. It is trouble, disaster, tribulation, pain, and suffering as well. It is a malicious event that hurts you physically and emotionally. For those who don’t believe that God can have any hand in evil events, as if He is some kind of absentee landlord whom you must call to let Him know the plumbing has burst or a big brother who is ignorant of your suffering at the hands of a bully but will rise up when you tell him, read this;
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Do you dare deny the word of God? Even Job, in his self-righteousness, acknowledged this truth.
Job 2:10 But he said unto her, 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? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
God doesn’t tell Job that Satan was the author of Job’s problems. As far as Job is concerned God was the author of His trouble and, as He permitted those troubles to happen within specific limits that He set, God was the author. When David wanted to perform a census of his people it is difficult to determine who was the cause. Here are the contrasting accounts of the ultimate reason for that census.
2Samuel 24:1 ¶ And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
1Chronicles 21:1 ¶ And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
Now, you who believe that there is a good God and a devil, who is kind of bad god, and that God is waiting on the sidelines to deliver us from the devil’s shenanigans which He knew nothing about and was incapable of preventing him from performing have a problem. The problem is the Bible. The book of Job has taught us very clearly that there is no event, from the tiniest unseen to the most majestic, that God doesn’t either cause to happen or permit to happen, usually for reasons we know nothing about in this life. Why do bad things happen to so-called good people? Outside of our obvious reaping what we sow we often don’t know and misrepresent God when we pretend to know why suffering has come to someone’s life.
“Oh,” you say, “he was in a bad car wreck and died because he was called to the ministry and rejected the calling.” You liar. You misrepresent God like Eliphaz and his friends. You have no idea why that young person died at an early age. He didn’t smoke. He didn’t drink. He didn’t curse. He tithed. He was faithful to church. He was a soul-winner. He was all the things that you respect. He was saved. God says things will happen that are evil events in our lives and we may never know in our lives why they happened, whether He caused them directly or allowed them to happen. The physical result is the same. We are to trust Him, even if He takes our lives and the lives of those we love. Eternity, a time a lot longer than our finite biological life, awaits us.
We are to trust God one day at a time. The trouble, the calamity of each day is enough to be concerned with. Jesus said;
Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
And what our response to tribulation should be is clearly laid out.
Romans 5:1 ¶ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
He comforts us by His word, if we believe His promises.
2Corinthians 1:3 ¶ Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
We are not promised a trouble or pain-free life but we are promised something that most faith traditions have never read in their sacred scriptures; God’s love and eternal life with Him.
Romans 8:26 ¶ Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 ¶ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 ¶ What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God’s sovereignty is, however, a bitter pill to swallow for those of us who are not submitted to Him.