Job 1

** This book is so called from Job, whose prosperity,

afflictions, and restoration, are here recorded. He lived soon

after Abraham, or perhaps before that patriarch. Most likely it

was written by Job himself, and it is the most ancient book in

existence. The instructions to be learned from the patience of

Job, and from his trials, are as useful now, and as much needed

as ever. We live under the same Providence, we have the same

chastening Father, and there is the same need for correction

unto righteousness. The fortitude and patience of Job, though

not small, gave way in his severe troubles; but his faith was

fixed upon the coming of his Redeemer, and this gave him

stedfastness and constancy, though every other dependence,

particularly the pride and boast of a self-righteous spirit, was

tried and consumed. Another great doctrine of the faith,

particularly set forth in the book of Job, is that of

Providence. It is plain, from this history, that the Lord

watched over his servant Job with the affection of a wise and

loving father.

* The piety and prosperity of Job. (1-5) Satan obtains leave to

try Job. (6-12) The loss of Job's property, and the death of his

children. (13-19) Job's patience and piety. (20-22)

1-5 Job was prosperous, and yet pious. Though it is hard and

rare, it is not impossible for a rich man to enter into the

kingdom of heaven. By God's grace the temptations of worldly

wealth may be overcome. The account of Job's piety and

prosperity comes before the history of his great afflictions,

showing that neither will secure from troubles. While Job beheld

the harmony and comforts of his sons with satisfaction, his

knowledge of the human heart made him fearful for them. He sent

and sanctified them, reminding them to examine themselves, to

confess their sins, to seek forgiveness; and as one who hoped

for acceptance with God through the promised Saviour, he offered

a burnt-offering for each. We perceive his care for their souls,

his knowledge of the sinful state of man, his entire dependence

on God's mercy in the way he had appointed.
6-12 Job's afflictions began from the malice of Satan, by the

Lord's permission, for wise and holy purposes. There is an evil

spirit, the enemy of God, and of all righteousness, who is

continually seeking to distress, to lead astray, and, if

possible, to destroy those who love God. How far his influence

may extend, we cannot say; but probably much unsteadiness and

unhappiness in Christians may be ascribed to him. While we are

on this earth we are within his reach. Hence it concerns us to

be sober and vigilant, #1Pe 5:8|. See how Satan censures Job.

This is the common way of slanderers, to suggest that which they

have no reason to think is true. But as there is nothing we

should dread more than really being hypocrites, so there is

nothing we need dread less than being called and counted so

without cause. It is not wrong to look at the eternal recompence

in our obedience; but it is wrong to aim at worldly advantages

in our religion. God's people are taken under his special

protection; they, and all that belong to them. The blessing of

the Lord makes rich; Satan himself owns it. God suffered Job to

be tried, as he suffered Peter to be sifted. It is our comfort

that God has the devil in a chain, #Re 20:1|. He has no power to

lead men to sin, but what they give him themselves; nor any

power to afflict men, but what is given him from above. All this

is here described to us after the manner of men. The Scripture

speaks thus to teach us that God directs the affairs of the

13-19 Satan brought Job's troubles upon him on the day that his

children began their course of feasting. The troubles all came

upon Job at once; while one messenger of evil tidings was

speaking, another followed. His dearest and most valuable

possessions were his ten children; news is brought him that they

are killed. They were taken away when he had most need of them

to comfort him under other losses. In God only have we a help

present at all times.
20-22 Job humbled himself under the hand of God. He reasons

from the common state of human life, which he describes. We

brought nothing of this world's goods into the world, but have

them from others; and it is certain we can carry nothing out,

but must leave them to others. Job, under all his losses, is but

reduced to his first state. He is but where he must have been at

last, and is only unclothed, or unloaded rather, a little sooner

than he expected. If we put off our clothes before we go to bed,

it is some inconvenience, but it may be the better borne when it

is near bed-time. The same who gave hath taken away. See how Job

looks above instruments, and keeps his eye upon the First Cause.

Afflictions must not divert us from, but quicken us to religion.

If in all our troubles we look to the Lord, he will support us.

The Lord is righteous. All we have is from his gift; we have

forfeited it by sin, and ought not to complain if he takes any

part from us. Discontent and impatience charge God with folly.

Against these Job carefully watched; and so must we,

acknowledging that as God has done right, but we have done

wickedly, so God has done wisely, but we have done very

foolishly. And may the malice and power of Satan render that

Saviour more precious to our souls, who came to destroy the

works of the devil; who, for our salvation, suffered from that

enemy far more than Job suffered, or we can think.

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