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Was Job Just a Guinea Pig? — 24 Comments

  1. Why did God took on the challenge from Satan in the first place?. I think Job's story represents the last day people, just before Christ return. Despite the suffering, trials and tribulation, dispite people being killed, families broken up , wayward children and the host of other suffering that God's people will have to face. We will endure like Job, for we are awaiting Christ return to restore his kingdom like he made it to be in the first place.

  2. Dear William,

    Thank you so much for the insights you have shared.

    Your post brings out ideas that are very helpful in this discussion about Job's suffering.
    1. "...precious revelations of God’s grace that could only be found through suffering."
    2. "Job still had some things to learn about himself, and his need for God’s righteousness.
    3. "Job grew throughout the story, and in his suffering became more intimate with his Redeemer." ​

    You help give meaning to suffering. On our own, we wouldn't choose suffering, but we can choose to accept our suffering graciously. I've suffered physically for 42 years, with little relief. Head pain, etc. Then there's emotional suffering.

    So the person I've read a lot from is Joni Eareakson Tada, who is probably the longest living quadriplegic in a wheel chair. Many of her writings explore these ideas that you have shared above. I just checked her website http://www.joniandfriends.org/ and she has the "Beyond Suffering Bible" available. Her story encourages me like no other because she has been through some of the worst suffering. She has helped so many people in many ways. She has a wheel chair ministry, camps for the disabled, has written many books, is an artist and singer, and has accomplished many projects.

    Then there is Corrie Ten Boom and her books are super also. She survived the Nazi concentration camps and became a great evangelist. At first Corrie had a very hard time in the concentration camp and her sister would say things like this to her, "No hate, Corrie, no hate". www.corrietenboom.com/old/history.htm

    When you see someone suffer as horribly as possible, and then see other people who have suffered for decades, and they keep their faith, I find it is a special inspiration.

  3. Thank you for your insights, William. They are helpful in understanding the issue of the great controversy between good and evil, between God and Satan. Some may say that man is caught in the middle, as an onlooker in a duel between rival gangs, wounded by a stray bullet. However, man in the fall of Adam has taken sides - the side of evil, the side of Satan. We are not in the middle as onlookers of the battle between good and evil for all have sinned and the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God IS eternal life. As you intimated, when we see God suffering in our suffering it gives us insight into the pain He is willing to endure to redeem us. What pain can be greater than giving up an only begotten Son to win back the lost race. And do we know what "giving up" really means in suffering for the Father and the Son? "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" Rom 8:31-33,ESV.
    "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Heb 12:2-3, NIV.

  4. William I too agree with your post. "There is none good but the Father, no not one". Mark 10:18. Think it not strange concerning fiery trials..." 1 peter 4 12-19. When going through a trial my son said to me that maybe God is trying to get your attention. I agree with him as well. Until Jesus comes The Holy Spirit will be revealing faults in our character that must be dealt with before we can see God in peace.

    I too have gone through what I thought were fiery trials. Over the years I have lost all of my siblings, (6 of us), my parents, all of my aunts and uncles, and nieces and nephews. I lost a son to gun violence. Through all of that, by the Grace of God, I was able to stand strong. Then about a year ago, because of a bone infection, I had to have my leg amputated and like Job i didn't handle it well. I won't go through my journey, but like Job it took 40 + chapters to come to the conclusion that "though He slay me yet I will trust Him..." Job 13:15.

    These last days of earth's history life will get hard. My prayer that we will all, by the Grace of God stand strong. The song writer wrote a song that says "what do you do when you've done all you can to stand, you just stand".

  5. I believe that before the trials Job was a very worried and fearful man because he didn't fully understand God. Job 3:25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. After the trials we find Job saying in Job 42:5 that before he had only heard about God but now has seen Him with his eyes. I believe that God did answer Jobs questions, just because we don't get it doesn't mean Job didn't. I think the answer is in the names of his three daughters. You find a man at peace, who loves beauty and enjoys the spice of life.

  6. I had this thought that it seems earth and the human race was an experimental battle field in the battle between principalities, and I didn't like the idea that we are like Guinea pig in the battle field.... But when we see that God the son came down here on our little earth and became our brother... Our race became definitely elevated above many created beings in the cosmos. Jesus who is God identified himself with us and became our brother. He is called the son of man. He knew our afflictions and sufferings showed us how to live how to defeat the enemy and gave his life. He made a way for the human race to be reunited with God someday. Our planet was honored by his presence. May we always hang on to our faith in our God even when the going gets tough.

  7. I agree with all the above & having gone through terrible sadness & loss, where I asked God "why," because my prayers weren't answered they way I wanted, through it all God was so close to me that He talked to me, flashed pictures before me, inspired me to actually write my own prayers for Him to comfort me, & reminded me that life is a battle & every birth & second of life is a gift from God that will be fully revealed & also enjoyed in Heaven. I think He allowed these things to happen to poor Job, because He knew Job was abiding in His Saviour & His Saviour in him, & He knew Job could withstand it (though the Heavens may fall) & still love & trust in God & cling to his (& our) only hope -- the resurrection promised to all of us who really want it & live for it--living an eternal life with God--first here, & then forever in Heaven. He knew Job's love for Him was perfect & that in Job's terrible misery & sadness, he would still be daily looking for the coming of His Saviour & that would keep him faithful & thankful & continuing to run the race for that prize! It's a hard story to bear, & no one wants it to happen to them. God is awesome! Job's humble enduring devotion to God is a testimony to that. God knew Job could do it.

  8. I think God's feeling and attitude is expressed well in Jesus' words :

    "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not [let me]! (Matthew 23:37)

    For thousands of years He has sought to protect, shield, and unite His professed people... But so often they would not come close enough. I can imagine a Chicken calling to her young the moment she sees danger approaching... And if they don't come? Oh the Chicken is beside herself! I've seen this played out literally, and have some appreciation, I think, of God's heart-felt concern for His people.

    A refuge is there for all that will come.

  9. Job suffered greatly, but didn't die out of his sufferings as opposed to our Precious Redeemer Jesus Christ. Only Him and God Who sent Him though He knew what He would have to endure could measure the atrocity Jesus underwent at Calvary. Yet Jesus accepted these physical and emotional pains for us to have the previledge one day to find back what our first parents lost in Eden. I don't know about what you all have endured or lost, but to a very tiny extent I can try to imagine and I feel encouraged to move forward as we're about to face fierce persecutions because you did move forward in spite of all. May God bless and keep us by His side as He's coming very soon!

  10. Job was a unique person, and his experience of suffering was unique.
    From the outset God gave the reason for his suffering: God said to Satan, "have you considered my servant Job, that there is no one like him on earth, perfect in all his ways, spurns evil".
    Job is Exhibit #1
    Yahweh said to Satan, "take you best shot, you won't trip him up; do anything you want, just don't kill him".
    External evidence: "in all these things, Job did not sin"
    Internal evidence: "God gives and God takes, praise". "I know my Redeemer lives".

    Meaning, the suffering of Job and the story of Job was not for Job, not even for his learning lessons, but for us. If we are not at the level of "perfect in all his ways", God uses Job to challenge us to move to another level of trust and understanding. Elihu pointed out what Job's issue was, and it was not trust. God's evaluation is best: "perfect in all his ways".

    The story of Job does not offer rational for the dead baby in the arms of a woman who does not know God.
    Why does telling this woman that God is suffering with her makes no sense to her? It is not only the problem that it makes no sense to most people that God, as most Christians teach, took my child to be with Him. Much worse, why would God be suffering when He has ownership of everything, can send fire down from Heaven to burn up His enemies, can work any miracle to get whatever He wants, and He never has to deal with facing death Himself. He could save anyone from death if He chooses, especially little innocent babies who haven't had a chance to grow up, enjoy life and make decisions about life.

    It is not only non-believers who have these questions.

    • Hereford,
      I believe you are right about the lady who does not know God and cradles a dead child in her arms. The story of Job is not her need at this time of loss. However, a loving Christian who has also experienced loss and understands the precious love and sustaining power of God from Job, can put a a comforting arm about this distraught mother and let her know that someone cares. The love of God will pass from Job to the Christian comforter and from that one to the mother. At the appropriate time that Christian comforter, if opportunity arises, may tell the mother about Christ, His love for mankind and of the resurrection to come. What do you think?

      • Jim, Well spoken.
        The child of God who knows God/knows Jesus Christ, whether through the story of Job or Abraham or Paul or especially through Jesus Christ in suffering, can truly represent the love of God to a hurting person, be it someone who knows God or someone does not know God.

        "He came to His own, but they knew Him not" John 1
        "That they may know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent" John 17

        This difference makes all the difference in ministering to others.

  11. Thanks William. Reading your entry and many others above i was reminded of the following song;

    Farther along

    Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
    Why it should be thus all the day long;
    While there are others living about us,
    Never molested, though in the wrong.
    Farther along we’ll know more about it,
    Farther along we’ll understand why;
    Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
    We’ll understand it all by and by.

    Sometimes I wonder why I must suffer,
    Go in the rain, the cold, and the snow,
    When there are many living in comfort,
    Giving no heed to all I can do

    Tempted and tried, how often we question
    Why we must suffer year after year,
    Being accused by those of our loved ones,
    E’en though we’ve walked in God’s holy fear.

    Often when death has taken our loved ones,
    Leaving our home so lone and so drear,
    Then do we wonder why others prosper,
    Living so wicked year after year.

    • Khutsang, thank you for sharing that song.
      I recall loving that song as a teenager and young man. It affirms that one day we will understand. Absolutely true. And true also is the wonderful statement by Sister Jane and others that God has given much in His Word to help us understand, even in the here and now. The suffering of Jesus Christ has been referenced, as also the suffering of Job and of the prophets.
      We learned that Joseph's preparation for becoming Governor of Egypt was through slavery and imprisonment;
      That Daniel's assignment to #1 under the king was through captivity and exile;
      That Paul counted suffering as minimal compared with the outcome
      That through the suffering of the Lamb of God, we will have a big celebration in Heaven

      No Pain, No Gain. Still true. God bless in your suffering.

  12. The answer to suffering is hope. Suffering is hard if not impossible to explain in the context of this mortal life. If this were all there is or will be then indeed suffering and life itself would be meaningless. But what we suffer in this life is a part of the journey and it is the promise of scripture that God will-wants to- accompany us on/in the journey -- both in the good and the bad times. This journey has a destination and that destination is what we look forward to in faith with hope. Titus 2:13 Without hope we have nothing. With hope and the promise of restoration we can put the journey and it's trials into a larger context that can help us understand three things: 1. God is trustworthy even when we cannot see what is happening 'behind the scenes' Job 13:15. 2. We live in a world that is out of sync with God's purpose and will and this results in all kinds of evil- not caused by God, but allowed temporarily, within a larger context that we only dimly understand. Job 1&2 3. Ultimately God will at the right time bring justice and bring all things back into sync with his will.Job 42:10ff Hope in God - His character (revealed on the cross) and His plan (revealed in the resurrection) is our strength in the journey. Jer. 17:17 Rom 5:3-5 Rom 8:23-24

  13. Many people see the story of Job from Job's perspective. But few really understand what was the greater issue. Job being faithful is one side of the ordeal but what about God's side yes that's right God's side. What do I mean? Now Satan's challenge was not primarily about Job's faith but more about God's honor. How so? The challenge was that Job serves you as say a mercenary serves his employer. See mercenaries work and server profit or gain not out of love and reverence and faith. Satan's assertion is that Job's loyalty to God was simply from the mercenaries motives and it will be made clear and true as soon as the "spoils" are taken away. Now we that was not the case and job remained faithful. This proves that Job was not a mercenary but a sincere and genuine follower of God without an earn as you remain faithful agenda. It also shows that God can put his reputation on the line with a frail faulty human being and beat the false assertions against of Satan against. What a risk. What if a Job had failed? Not only would Job have failed but it would have shown God to be an untrustworthy and a tyrant who only wants to pretend as if an faithfulness to him was coherested. Job was faithful and God' word was vindicated. Can you believe want reached God.

    • Well said Christopher.
      We need the reminder, often, to listen to what God has to say, to God's perspective, to God's message, to what comes from the heart of God. His Word is what/Who gives Life, and Light and Salvation, if we would give His Word a chance above our words, His thoughts above our thoughts, and His plans above our ideas.
      Thank you.

    • Christopher, quite True. We have to learn to acknowledge God's perspective, which is perfect in love; and we need to recognize that our perspective is born in sin and shaped in iniquity, and so cannot be trusted.
      Pray that we will hear what God has to say.

  14. Thank you, William, for your post. It reminds us that we don't have all the answers and that is where faith comes in. We trust in Him whose "thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways" Isaiah 55:8). We don't know why He allows some things to happen and we may never know.

    As long as we live in a sinful world where the devil is roaming, there will be suffering. Job's story gives us an idea of how the controversy between good and evil plays out. The devil will accuse the faithful of loving and serving God for selfish reasons and attack God for cuddling us. God will allow the devil to do certain things but in the end, God is vindicated and Satan is defeated. The true test of loyalty and faith comes during trials. Some people will draw closer to God through these trials and sufferings while others will turn away from Him. Job remained faithful to God in spite of all the suffering he went through while his wife's faith failed her to the point where she wanted Job to curse Him and die. Not everyone will be like Job, faithful to God during the bad times. Some will be like the woman who stopped believing in God when she witnessed the murder of the child. Some will hate like Corrie while others will continue to love in spite of everything like her sister. Many people question why the holocaust happened. God was there with the people who risked their lives to save many Jews. God was there when the Allies liberated the camps. Many died but there were survivors who lived to tell their stories.

    Evil exists and as long as it does, there will be suffering, violence, atrocities until Jesus returns and the devil is destroyed. Let us always look beyond to the blessed hope of our Lord's coming and remember that there is a better place laid up for us where there will be no more evil, crying, heartache or sorrow, etc. Sin, like death will be swallowed up.

  15. William, may I offer a difference from the following quote:
    "The question why bad things happen to good people is actually hypothetical, because, there are no good people for bad things to happen to!
    No one does good, not a single one. Romans 3:12 NLT

    Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. Hebrews 5:8 NLT

    The suffering and obedience led both Jesus and Job into intimacy with the Father."

    1. God affirmed, in powerful documentation, His relationship with Job and His confidence in Job's faith and integrity, by demonstrating that no extreme suffering that Job experiences, would shake Job's faith and trust in his God.

    2. The accusations of Job's 3 friends, Physicians and Theologians, were that Job was unjust, hypocritical, deceitful, oppressive and a thief and liar, and therefore responsible for his suffering. They blamed Job for his suffering.

    3. God rejected the arguments of the experts, both in God's introduction of the story, and by God rebuking the 3 friends at the end of the story. God affirmed Job by making him Priest to his accusing friends, who God said dishonored Him, unlike Job who did not sin in his defense.

    The quote above is exactly what God rejected and why the story of Job had to be written:
    a)"there are no good people for bad things to happen to"
    b)Romans 3:12 said all sinned so all must suffer.
    c)"Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. Hebrews 5:8 NL"

    God is making a bold and absolute statement that suffering will come to persons who serve Him faithfully, and who are innocent of wrong doing. He said it at the beginning, and He said it at the end of the story.
    1) Why is it important for God to make this statement?
    2) In the analogy with Jesus Christ, does Hebrews 5:8 mean that Jesus Christ was guilty of disobedience and dishonor of God, and therefore had to suffer to learn obedience? This will be blasphemy, but it was used to support "there are no good people for bad things to happen to". We need to understand the truth that Apostle Paul presents in Hebrews 5:8.

    1. God presents Job to Satan and to the universe as His testimony of His confidence that there are transformed persons of integrity and stamina, who with complete faith and trust in God, will not buckle under temptation, no matter the extremity of Satan's worst possible attacks; that there are humans who are truly representations of the character of God, and worthy of salvation and eternal life.

    2. God used Job as a symbol of Jesus Christ, both as Priest and as a true model of the character of God -- that a heart towards God will never yield to Satan no matter the suffering or temptation. Jesus Christ is Exhibit #1 as the Lamb of God who as Son of God and Son of Man can take away the sin of the world; and Job is Exhibit #1 for humans who have been saved by grace and will never abandon faith in God, no matter the worst possible attacks of evil: "though He slay me, yet will I trust Him".

    Was there something for Job to learn? Of course, as we read the rebuke and testimony of Elihu, who God used as Chaplain and Counselor to prepare Job's heart for the revelation of God. But more profoundly, the two speeches of God, representing Himself as the God of Life and the God of Death, give the greatest reasons why we put our trust in the God of Heaven and earth, and never in human flesh no matter how invincible the Christlike character in the child of God. This includes all Pastors, Priests, Popes, Imams, Shepherds, Laymen/women, Jobs, Pauls and Peters.

    Faithful children of God will suffer in this world, because...........
    Babies, not guilty of any sin, will suffer in this world because.....

    Let us become true testimonials of the transforming grace of Jesus Christ, trusting God with all our hearts and minds and spirit and soul.


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