The Patience of Job

The Patience of Job                                                                           James 5.7-11


Conventional wisdom: God rewards goodness and punishes evil.

Yet, experience compels us to contemplate undeserved suffering. We ask, "Why?"

This masterpiece addressing theodicy: "Why do the righteous suffer?"


Authorship: Perhaps Elihu, several generations prior, but preserved & edited by Moses.


Outline of Job:

  • Prologue      -- on earth Job attacked (ch1) / in heaven God is challenged (ch2)
  • Monologue      -- Job expresses his anguish, longing for relief (ch3)
  • Dialogues      -- visitors reason and Job responds, in 3 cycles (ch4-27)
  • 3      Monologues: Wisdom Poem / Job's closing / Elihu responds (chs28-37)
  • Divine      Answer -- (in storm) can man be as wise as his Creator? (chs38-41)
  • Epilogue      -- Job contrite / friends forgiven / Job restored (ch42)


Disparate Views

Satan accuses: "Are men not righteous from selfish motives?" (1.9f)

Great Divide: Divine view and Human view of suffering. Job never knows why.

The Hymn to Wisdom (ch28): Only God grasps the complexities of the world.


The Problem of Pain: greatest challenge to faith AND faith's greatest opportunity.


God's Answer (ch38-41)

A non-answer: He does not reveal the back story (1&2) / nor defend divine justice.

Big Question: "Are YOU God? If you cannot do what I do, you cannot question Me."

Defending Retributive Justice: Job's blessings are restored & he intercedes for friends.


Lessons from Job

  • Goodness      does not guarantee blessing. Evil is allowed in this world (1.8 / 2.10).
  • God      Knows & Limits our Tests (1.12 / 2.6) & tests our limits (insider      info)!
  • Man      does NOT know everything (8-12). Life does not always make sense to us.
  • We      need a mediator, a redeemer (13-19). We await better things (esp. ch14).
  • Satan      Proved Wrong: men can serve God just because it is right (13.15 / 27.10).
  • The      Greatness of Faith! (28.28) All we can do during trials is trust      (Jas5.7-11).
  • Suffering      can improve us: purging sin (33.29) and softening hearts (36.15).
  • Creation      Theology (38-41): God knows and governs in all His world.



1 A Mediator (9.33) - A Redeemer (19.25) / Yes, He Lives! (Isa59.20).

2 Man needs cleansing & purification (14.4) / Jesus provides (Heb10.14).

3 Life after this (14.10) / Resurrection (14.14) / All shall rise (Acts24.15).



notes by David Teel - Monday, January 26, 2015

credit to John Ogwyn / Ray Stedman / Wikipedia / Jimmy Tuten / Raymond Brown / Steven Lawson / etc.