Job’s Deeper Meaning

May 31, 2018 at 10:16 AM Leave a comment

It is tempting to read through the book of Job and come away with only several conclusions. First, it is very clear that Job was considered blameless by God Himself (Job 1). Because of this, it is also fairly clear (along with the conversation that occurred between God and Satan in the heavenly courts, also Job 1), that Job did not do anything deserving of the way he was allowed by God and at the direct hand of Satan to be treated.

Though we can assume that Job was a sinner, the point of Job 1 is that Job lived in a way that endeavored to please God. Job did this by living a life of overall integrity, one that was careful to observe how he understood his approach to God should be. We can applaud Job’s tenacity and his understanding in spite of his very limited knowledge of God at that time.

Second, it is also very clear that by the end of the book of Job, he came to a number of realizations and grew in His relationship with God. What God revealed to Job served to further humble the man. It was because of what he went through that he came out the other side with a far greater understanding of who God is and how He works. In short, Job was silenced because of this new knowledge and revelation.

If we consider though that these truths just scratch the surface, we are forced to go much deeper. It really should not satisfy us to know that Job was further humbled or that he grew in grace and knowledge of God. While those two things are truly meritorious and important in and of themselves, they do not paint the entire picture for us with respect to the book of Job. There is more; much more.

Most conservative Bible scholars believe that Job lived during the time of the patriarchs and some even believe that the book of Job was the first book ever penned. If this is so – or even if the action of Job occurred during the Patriarchal period of Abraham, etc., then the underlying message of the book of Job is truly massive. It is exceptional in its breadth and scope.

It is often tempting to see that the book of Job is a lesson in humility. Truly, our voices are stopped when faced with God Almighty and His character. There is really nothing we can say back to Him except that He and He alone is worthy to be praised. This is a fact raised by the book itself throughout and especially in the last few chapters.

But if we stop there, we will fail to gain the full value of the book of Job. We will not look beyond its obvious message to something far more weighty and descriptive, something that will amaze and alarm at the same time.

There is ample evidence in the book of Job that the man Job is a type of Christ. There are a multitude of reasons for this. If this is so and the book of Job is as old as many believe it to be, this fact becomes even more remarkable. Through the narrative of the book of Job, God presented in partial summary in the man Job, what would be ultimate fulfillment in the God-Man, Jesus. The story of Job prefigures the life of Jesus centuries before Jesus was born. Was God using Job to paint a picture of what would be fulfilled in Jesus Himself and the agony Jesus would often experience? I believe He was doing just that.

Consider the fact that both were “blameless” before God the Father. John 14:6 is where Jesus tells us that He is the way, the truth and the life.

In Job 1:8, God refers to Job as His “servant.” Matthew 12:17-21 refers to Jesus as God’s “servant.” Both individuals had everything, though Jesus did not have servants, thousands of animals or a large family Himself, He still had everything because Jesus is the Creator and Owner of all the earth.

Both Job and Jesus – considered blameless men by God – lost everything; family, fortunes, friends. Jesus literally gave up everything including the glory He had with the Father when He took on the form of a “servant” as a human being. The Philippians 2 passage explains this “emptying” that Jesus submitted Himself to. He gave up the appearance of God when He clothed Himself with humanity. As a human being (while continuing to be God in the flesh), Jesus lived a life of absolute submission to God the Father, modeling for us how we also are to live.

Jesus left the supremacy of heaven, lowering Himself to take on the form of humanity in order to fulfill the Scriptures. Jesus literally left everything behind when He was born into humanity, living among us in the form of “sin” (humanity, though He never sinned), and lived on this sinful world among sinful people.

Both Job and Jesus experienced tremendous personal hardships, emotionally, physically, and mentally, yet they persisted in pursuing God. In the end, God lifted both of them up and restored them to their previous “glory.”

Job lost his entire family except his wife, who also turned against him. Jesus lost all of His followers and His own people – the Jews – forsook Him as well (John 1:11).

The devil was allowed to nearly destroy Job. Satan buffeted him from all sides, destroying his family, his wealth, his emotional and physical well-being, only stopping short of taking his physical life because of God’s limiting him. Jesus went through horrors as well (Psalm 22:17), to the death. To make matters worse, both men were on the receiving end of harsh and cruel judgments from others which they did not deserve, but bore up under with incredible grace, humility, and honesty.

Both were tempted by Satan to curse God or to stop worshiping God. Both successfully resisted that temptation.

Both Job and Jesus were accused of being reprehensible sinners. Job’s so-called friends kept reminding him that if he was truly free from sin, the terrible things that befell him would not have occurred (Job 4:7; 8:6; 11:6; 22:5-9; see also Matthew 26:59-66; 27:39-43; John 8:33-58).

Both Job and Jesus took their concerns to God. Job found it impossible to find God in the middle of all his suffering (Job 23:8-9). Jesus asked, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

We’ve already learned that not all suffering that people experience is due to personal sin. Remember the man whom Christ healed when the disciples asked whether he or his parents had sinned (John 9:2)?

In all his trials, Job never once cursed God nor did he reject God’s authority over him. Not once. In the same way, Jesus remained true to God the Father.

The largest difference of course between Job and Jesus, aside from the fact that Jesus remained God after taking on the form of humanity, was that while Job had absolutely no clue as to why he found himself in the circumstances he did, Jesus knew well why He had come and why He would have to suffer. The Bible tells us that for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Joy? Yes, joy at knowing He would perfectly fulfill God the Father’s will for His life. Joy also for knowing He would release many imprisoned by sin and death when they exhibited faith in His redemptive work for them. This includes you and me if you have placed faith in Christ for salvation.

In the end, both Job and Jesus remained completely faithful to God though both suffered greatly. Neither did anything wrong to merit that suffering. I cannot imagine suffering what Job (or Jesus), suffered. When we thoroughly read Job, we can only conclude that God carried Job through all that he suffered and we are not talking about superficial sufferings. We are talking about deep physical, emotional, and mental trauma. I cannot begin to wrap my brain around it.

We do not know how long Job suffered. Was it weeks, months or a few years? It was clearly a while, not simply a day or two. Job suffered mightily, yet persevered and in spite of his questions and confusion, did not sin. Yes, he needed to be humbled as all of us do, but Jesus also learned humility in His suffering (Hebrews 5:8). The text says He learned “obedience,” and a precursor to that is learning humility. People can obey without meaning it from their hearts and there are multitudes of examples from the Bible where people are seen “obeying” by going through the motions. However, often, their hearts were far from God. To truthfully obey from the heart requires a degree of humility and that humility must increase over time. It is not a once-for-all awarding of total humility. Humility is added to as we grow in Christ.

Jesus also needed to learn this, which does not imply that as a human being, He was opposed to it. It simply means as part of His humanity, He needed true obedience borne of humility to become part of His daily character.

Ultimately, both Job and Jesus received total deliverance from all that they suffered and were even restored to the many blessings they enjoyed before their suffering. In both cases, they were even more blessed (Job 42:11; John 13:3, Romans 9:5, 1 Corinthians 15:25, etc.)

Once the trials were over, Job received his full health, his wealth and the Lord even gave Job more children. When Jesus rose from the dead (and we can consider His entire thirty-something years as a human being a time of testing and suffering for Him, culminating in His painful, agonizing death on the cross), all of His previous blessings He had enjoyed were restored to Him (John 13:3).

Job received new sons. Jesus adopts all who become Christians, taking their place in the “Church,” the Holy House that God is building, starting with the foundation, the apostles.

Both Job and Jesus were totally victorious throughout and in the end (Job 19:1-27; John 16:33), Job and Jesus both overcame their circumstances and trials to bring great glory to God. Both defeated Satan in his attempts to cause them to fall and renounce God the Father.

Satan only has the appearance of victory in this life. He is a defeated foe. Christians are assured the victory over Satan because our Lord gained that victory. In Him, as we remain faithful to Him and continue in fellowship with Him, we have His power to overcome the evil one just as Job and many others throughout the Bible and church history have done and continue to do.

It is very tempting to read through the book of Job and simply see that Job was presented with some extreme hardships for the sole purpose of “humbling” him further. The book starts out with the declaration that Job was “blameless” before God. If we are not careful, we will be tempted to think that God is a celestial bully, that he deliberately put Job through all that He allowed him to go through simply to prove a point to Satan. If we stop there, we do a tremendous disservice to God and His Word.

While it is absolutely true that God used the horrible situations He allowed Satan to inflict on Job and God did so to humble Job as well as to reveal more of God’s character to Job (which is naturally humbling), the larger point to the book of Job is the typology of Jesus. Job is likely the oldest “type” of Christ in the entire Bible. The pathos, pain, and longevity of Job’s suffering are absolutely remarkable and stark. We naturally shrink from it and want no part of it. To dwell on Job’s suffering brings us to the pit itself. We wonder how anyone could stand up under it. We wonder why God thought it good to allow this much pain to be inflicted on one man, whom God called blameless?

However, when we see Job as probably the consummate type of Christ, the entire book of Job takes on a new meaning. Things come into greater focus.

Though we know that there are many other “types” of Christ in the Bible (Enoch, Noah, Seth, Abel, Isaac, etc.), none of them go into greater depth of despair and suffering than does Job.

It is fitting that from the very beginning, long before the redemptive work of the Messiah was even foretold, we have a type of Christ where we see the anguish, the depths of suffering, and the physical, emotional, and mental pain seen in the character of Job. This book provides us with great insight into the tremendous sacrifice and suffering that Jesus willingly took on for us, so that we might gain salvation. Without His suffering, we would not have that solution to our problem.

Job provides a beautiful, albeit agonizing picture of the tremendous suffering that Jesus willingly took upon Himself so that God the Father’s will would be accomplished. Job had no knowledge of this. We do. What will you do with that knowledge?

Job teaches us – as a type of Christ – that absolute victory over Satan, sin and death was the reason that Jesus came into this world. He did so willingly, embracing the pain, the mocking, the rejection, and even willingly becoming sin for us though He Himself was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Do not simply look at Job as a blameless man who suffered tremendous indignities because Satan wanted to prove a point and God allowed it. See in Job the suffering Servant, Jesus, who willingly took on the form of humanity, volunteering to do a job not one of us would do, even if we could.

May the Lord be blessed as you read the book of Job and see Job as a type of Jesus, One who suffered without mercy on our behalf so that we might enjoy eternal life. What a Savior.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, eternity, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , , .

Job’s Enlightenment Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

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