When Everything Falls Apart | Job 1:1-2:10

When Everything Falls Apart | Job 1:1-2:10

How do you respond during a calamity in your life? Last month there was a landslide in Munnar, Kerala and 52 innocent people lost their lives and 25 are still missing. What wrong did they do? Is this suffering justified?

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken the lives of approximately 850K people worldwide as of now. Innocent people are dead because of a pandemic. Then there are other calamities that come upon the earth: Earthquakes, hurricane, tornado, volcanic eruptions, tsunami and so on where 1000’s of people die. Then there are personal calamities we face like job loss, death of a loved one, fatal sickness and so on.

So, how do you respond during a calamity? Is it fair for the righteous to suffer?

Virtually, every one of us will experience a bitter calamity and loss in life at some time or the other in life. And it is at such times that our world falls apart.

When Everything Falls Apart | Job 1:1-2:10

  • Today we are going to look at the right responses when we suffer.
  • How to face life when everything falls apart?

Calamities may seem certainly absurd, meaningless and undeserved. You may cry out, “Why” a hundred times. That is why the book of Job is so relevant, because Job’s suffering seems to come out of nowhere and have no connection to his character. His story is recorded for us because God wants to use it equip us to endure our calamities and suffering. We are to not just endure them but we are to worship God in them and to bless God in them.

Today we are going to look at the first section in the book. Job 1:1-2:10

Job is introduced in Job 1:1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

  • The name of this person is Job.
  • Job is a real person, living in Uz. It is perhaps associated with Edom, south-east of Israel. He is a foreigner, not an Israelite.
  • Job is blameless.
  • He is upright. His character and actions are good.
  • Job feared God. He behaves according God’s expectation and enjoys God’s favor.
  • Also, Job shunned evil.
  • Finally, Job is a man of integrity. Job 2:3

These five qualities of Job puts him as the one of the righteous man in the OT. He is far above Abraham, Noah, and even Daniel.

These are not words of sinless perfection. Job is not in the divine realm, but it is the best that a person or human can be. Job fears God and he takes God seriously about what is known about God. So Job is in the highest possible standing with God.

If suffering was intended as a punishment for evil, Job is not a very good candidate for calamity. Job is a good man. He fears God in all he does.

Job Was Extraordinarily Blessed

Job 1:2-3 2He had seven sons and three daughters, 3and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

Job Reveres God And Loves His Children

In Job 1:4-5 illustrates Job’s reverence for God and his love for his family.

Job 1:4-5 4His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.

Job Was Extraordinarily Jealous For The Name Of God

Cursing God can be thought of in a variety of ways

  • Using God’s name in a frivolous/joking way or oath
  • Also, Using God’s name with illicit words of power
  • Thirdly, Using words of power against God.
  • Speaking in a denigrating, contentious, or slanderous way about God.
  • Insulting God.
  • Holding God in contempt. (Stating explicitly that God is powerless to act or that God is corrupt. Making God less than God.)

If any of his children had taken the name of God in vain in the party the night before, Job would cover that before God with a sacrifice. Job also wants to plead for his children before God that none of his children would fall away from God’s ways.

Then, the calamity came:

Job 1:13-19 13One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 16While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

17While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 18While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

All of Job’s prosperity is gone and his children are gone in one afternoon.

We ask what is happening here to this godly man?

To see what is going on here you cannot look in the world. You will never get an answer to such questions in the world. We cannot ask, “What in the world is going on here?” The writer to this book gave us a glimpse to the conversation between God and Satan.

The scene shifts to heaven:

There is a dialogue between God and Satan see what happens:

Job 1:6-8 6One day the angelscame to present themselves before the Lord, and Satanalso came with them. 7The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 8Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

Illustration: It is like a thief talking to the owner of a jewelry store in the middle of the night at the front of the store. The owner of the store says, “What are you doing here?” The thief says, “I am just walking around, going here and there.” The owner says, “Did you see the biggest diamond there on the front on display? It is the best diamond. It is worth a lot of money.”

This is very strange of God. God is not just talking here. God is very proud of Job for the grace in his life but Satan is not impressed.

Job 1:9-12 9“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.

Satan says the only reason he fears you is because you have given him so many possessions and such a nice family. Who would not like God and fear God if God just treats him with wealth and family. You take those things away:

Job 1:11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.

God could have said to Satan, “I don’t need to prove anything to you. I know the heart of my servant Job. Get lost from here, who are you to talk accusations about my servant?

I think God spoke this to Satan every day, but not this time.

Instead, God chooses to get an open victory over Satan. This will be a victory that will display in the heart of Job, God is of paramount value, not things, not family.

Job 1:12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then come the calamities that we saw. Job loses his wealth, he loses his children. We ask, “What on earth is happening?” The answer is something of immense heavenly importance is happening.

God is in the process of demonstrating to the heavenly hosts and for all the world to know that God himself, not anything that Job possesses is of infinite value to Job.

Job’s reverence is not mercenary (making money at the cost of ethics) and the great victory is recorded in:

Job 1:20-21 20At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;

may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Satan was wrong. Job did not curse God when his wealth was taken away and children died. He worshipped God. He blessed God. Job did not sin.

Job’s reverence to God was revealed, was manifested for all to see.

The Scene Shifts To God:

For the second time, God puts his trophy, Job in display to Satan and says:

Job 2:1-6 1On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 3Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

Again, Satan challenges the authenticity of Job’s reverence and says, “Job is only reverent because you preserve his health, his body.”

Job 2:4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

Again, the worth of God is challenged: Does Job fear God for his health or Job values God himself? Does he love God or does he love the gifts of God? Job has shown that he loves God more than he loves his family and more than he loves his possessions. But what about his health?

Job 2:6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

But just as Job was recovering from the shock of losing his wealth and his children, he looks down at his hands and he feels on his back and his neck and his face strange boils starting to emerge.

Job 2:7-8 7So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

Job 7:5 gives us a more vivid description of this disease. Job 7:5 My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering.

This is a horrible disease. Is this the reward of the reverence of job? What in the world is going on here?

The first round brought mental anguish associated with loss and grief. The second round brought physical problems associated with pain.

The skin disease that Job exhibits would have led to him being expelled from the city and ostracized. So he is expelled from the city and he ends up in a place what the text refers to us as ash heap. This is like a city dump. It is not only garbage that was dumped there, it is dung that is dumped there. Job ends up sitting out at the city dump. It shows the height from he has reduced to the depth he has gone. He has been reduced this far.

Job has every opportunity to abandon God if his only motive for faithfulness is to gain benefits.

Again, now he is not only suffering loss, but he is also suffering pain. Tolerating pain is different from tolerating loss. This has escalated and Job’s situation has become worse. So it is in that context he encounters his wife and three friends.

But when Job’s health fails, it proves too much for his wife. She had endured with him the loss of their children and all the wealth of her family. Put yourself in Job’s wife’s shoes. She has just lost 10 children. She had lost all the earthly security of her possessions. And in that culture, if she loses her husband, she has nothing. No children, no possessions, and no husband. And she is losing him before her eyes in the most painful way.

Job 2:9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

Now that must have made Satan smile. It must have cut right in the heart of her husband. Now he has to bear this burden of his wife too with his suffering. Then comes the shattering victory of Job: Job 2:10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

That is so kind of job. He could have said, “That is the way you always talk. You are always so discouraging.” He did not say that. Job’s wife gets bad press but there is no a word about her opposition to the death of her children, not a word. She was with Job in faith. So when she speaks like this Job says, “That is not the way you talk. That is the way foolish women talk.”

I do not know what happened. We do not hear another word from her hence. She is not rebuked later when his other friends are rebuked. Perhaps that one word and the faith of her husband did it and she got back in faith. We can hope that.

Here is the key sentence to the victory: Job says to her: Job 2:10b Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

That is astonishing. Job said, “Comforts, wife, children, wealth, and calamities come from the hand of God.” I picture Satan surrounded by 10000 angels waiting a negative response. Satan thinks he has just got his wife to trigger Job and then comes the response from Job. You know what Satan does, he is gone with his accusations.

The plot in this book puts God to answer two of life’s questions: Satan questions God saying, “It is not good God for righteous people to prosper. The righteous are following you because you are prospering them.” Job is raising the point, “It is not good God for the righteous people to suffer.” What has God to do? How is God going to act? What should be God’s policy? That is about the book of Job. This is what the book is trying to address. How do we think of God’s policies when everything goes wrong? The challenger is telling about Job that the only way you can know whether Job is righteous or not is when we take away the benefits. Job’s benefits were taken off and he did not sin against God.

Now, let us get some truths from this story to give substance to our faith and personal implications:

1. Satan’s Aim Is To Destroy Our Joy In God

Satan uses two weapons: Pleasure and Pain to destroy us. Satan wants us to displease God in our pleasure. Job prospered for a long time. In Job’s pleasure Satan could not get him. So he tried pain and he could not get him either.

What is clear here is what Satan is after. Satan is after your joy in God. In pleasure and prosperity Satan tempts us to show that God is superfluous or unnecessary ingredient for us. You can get enough without God. In pain Satan tempts us by telling God is hostile and he is powerless to help you. Who delights in a God like that?

So pleasure and pain are two weapons of Satan in your life and he is after your delight. Satan wants you to put your family, possessions and health in the place of God. Oh! How Satan succeeds among the people of the world and sometimes among the people of God too.

Satan aims to destroy our joy in God and make something else our pleasure.

2. God Aims To Magnify His Worth In The Lives Of His People

The great aim of creation and redemption through Jesus Christ, is to preserve and display the worth of God’s glory. The way he does this is by redeeming a people who love, cleave to, and cherish God and more than they love things, money and family here.

The mirror that God has chosen in the world to reflect his glory to other people is the indestructible delight of his saints. That is the mirror of the glory of God. If your love for God is indestructible in pain and suffering, God’s light shines through your faith.

3. God Grants Satan Limited Power To Cause Pain

Job 1:12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Job 2:6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

God says, “You can have this much, no more.”

Now the lesson from that is, Satan can do nothing apart from God’s permission. God is not hanging his hands in frustration at how much havoc can Satan can wreak in this world. Satan maybe a lion prowling like a beast to devour but he is not in control over everything. God is in control. So you don’t have to be afraid of Satan, you need to fear God.

4. Satan’s Work Is Ultimately God’s Work

Did you notice in the two scenes with God that God hands over Job to Satan. But when Satan takes that power and uses it to destroy his cattle, servants, and his 10 children; what does Job say? Job 1:21 The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Don’t blame Satan for everything. Job did not share that piety. His faith is deeper, stronger, fuller and mightier. He says, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

  • The Lord blew the house down.
  • Secondly, The Lord sent the fire from heaven.
  • Third, The Lord let the Chaldeans and the Sabeans come, blessed be the name of the Lord, my sovereign king.

In the second heavenly scene see what happens: Job 2:6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

Job 2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.

Who afflicted Job with sores? Satan.

Job 2:10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolishwoman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

Job’s piety is to go behind Satan and it reaches all the way up to the sovereignty of God and says, “God reigns.” Satan may have been the nearer cause but ultimately it was from God.

Now, some may say that Job did not know what was going on between God and Satai. He did not hear that God said this to Satan. Now the writer of this book is privy to that inclination in our heart to believe that way and therefore he says: Job 1:22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

It is not wrong to say that what Satan did, God ultimately did.

Amos 3:6 When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?

Our God is sovereign and he has right over even what Satan can do. Don’t be afraid of the devil. God reigns in the piety of Job.

What To Do When Everything Falls Apart?

1. Affirm The Absolute Sovereignty Of God

God is sovereign over your life. Acknowledge that in your calamity.

Psalm 115:3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

Daniel 4:35 He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

Let us make the absolute sovereignty of God the rock on which we stand in the midst of calamity. When everything was falling apart around Job and all of his possessions and all of his children and all of his health was going right down in the dumbs, he had only one thing left, God, and he affirmed it with all his heart.

God reigns. Secondly, God was Job’s rock. God can be your rock in the day of your calamity.

2. Let Your Tears Flow Freely

Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.

The sobs of grief and pain are not the sign of unbelief. Job worshipped God in his good times. But the magnificence of Job’s worship was that he worshipped even in grief.

There are a lot of hurting people today. When we hurt we weep, but we weep with hope, we grieve with hope. If you are alive and are hurting, cry in the presence of God. That is the place where you find solace.

If you are afflicted, go through the process of grief. Let your tears flow freely.

Process of grief is numbness, disorientation, anger, an overwhelming sense of helplessness. These are all emotions we face when grieving. This is the first part of grieving.

Finally, one has to let go of what has been lost.

Letting go means recognizing the reality of loss and accepting its finality. Both aspects of this process are reflected in Job’s response. The first in the silent gestures of grief. The second in the words that he utters.

Letting go is possible because ultimately all things whether good or bad comes from God.

One has to come to grips with the terrible fragility of human life itself. God has made as we are and sin has played a part in it. We are capable of love and attachment but also susceptible to disease, accidents, and violence. In this sense, it is God who gives and God who takes away.

From God we receive what we yearn for and what we dread.

The wisdom of Job’s stance is that it allows him to recognize the presence of God even in the most desolate of experiences. Job blesses God in response to that presence. Job places no condition on his loyalty to God.

3. Trust The Goodness Of God

Let God be your treasure and let him be your joy. God is good. God is in control over your life. Everything is according to his purpose. All things will work together for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

When your calamity comes, you may feel it meaningless, undeserved and you may cry out why? When calamity comes I pray that you will affirm the absolute sovereignty of God and that you will let the tears flow freely. I pray that you will trust God’s goodness in any pleasure and pain. Let God be your treasure and your joy. Amen.

Suffering Is Not Always A Punishment For Evil.

Satan Can Do Nothing Apart From God’s Permission.

God Is The Rock On Which We Stand In The Midst Of Calamity.

Trust God’s Goodness In Any Pleasure And Pain.

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