The Book of Job

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Student Question

What lesson does the Book of Job teach and how does it align with the Hebrew view of God?

Quick answer:

The biblical book of Job teaches that suffering is often a mystery to human beings. It is not always about punishment, and it must simply be endured through perseverance and trust in God. God is revealed as the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator, who is also perfectly trustworthy and just.

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The biblical book of Job teaches important lessons about suffering and perseverance. At the beginning of the book, Job is a wealthy man. He has everything going for him: a large family, lots of possessions, and good health. Then Satan shows up before God's throne one day. God is pleased with his servant Job, but Satan says that if Job loses everything, he will turn and curse God. God allows Satan to test Job, and pretty soon all of Job's possessions are gone, and his children are dead.

Yet Job does not curse God. He mourns, but he does not sin. Satan wants one more crack at him, though, and God allows it. Job becomes covered in sores. He has now lost his health along with everything else. Still, Job does not curse God. He curses the day he was born, but he does not sin. He continues to bless God, saying that God gives and God can take away. His trust in God remains. Job perseveres even in the face of this great suffering.

Several of Job's friends come to visit him. They are positive that Job must have done something horrible to deserve all the suffering he is experiencing. He must have sinned somehow, they say, and therefore, he should repent. Job firmly maintains that he has not sinned. He does not know why he is suffering, but he trusts in God. He mourns; he whines; he prays for relief. Yet he does not curse God and sin. Indeed, suffering is often a mystery, and Job knows this. He does not buy into his friends' opinions that he is suffering because he is being punished for something.

Job does, however, get a little too whiny after a while (we can't really blame him too much, though), and God speaks to him. Job wants some answers from God about why this is happening to him. And God answers with a series of questions. He challenges Job, asking where he was when God made the world and if he knows how creation works. He asks Job all about the universe and its wonders that He put into place. He asks if Job can do what He has done and is doing. God is the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator. Job isn't. Therefore, Job cannot and does not need to know the reasons for everything (including his suffering). Rather, he needs to trust the God who does know. Job is properly humbled and repents.

By the end of the book, God has restored Job to health, family, and prosperity. Job prays for his friends (who are wrong about many things and thus offend God), and basically they all live happily ever after.

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