It is a consolation for every poor tempted follower of the Lord Jesus to endeavor to direct his or her mind – under Satan’s temptations – to the Person and work of the Lord Jesus; for He is our Almighty Advocate, constantly rebuking Satan. And it will be a great spiritual blessing to our souls, as we read this precious narrative, if we pay special attention to the very interesting circumstances surrounding Job under his unparalleled trials. Besides viewing him merely as a believer under his temptations, we would do well to regard him as a picture or foreshadow of Jesus. And when they are viewed in this light, Job’s temptations are a delightful subject indeed!
The victory and total destruction which Christ has accomplished upon Satan, on our behalf, is one of the grand parts of the Gospel! “For this cause,” wrote the Apostle John, “the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). The original hatred of Satan began personally against the Lord Jesus; and then it continues against us, as His people. Christ Himself said that He came to destroy Satan’s kingdom. Thus, in the afflictions of Job, we see a picture of Satan bruising Christ’s heel; and therefore, Job represented or foreshadowed the Redeemer. This is certainly a sweet and consoling thought!
Job still clung to his integrity, despite the severe hardships that he was subjected to. Satan came again before the presence of the Lord, Who spoke to him with pleasure of the power of His own grace, as it was displayed in His servant Job. But the devil accused the suffering and afflicted man. He misrepresented him as being entirely selfish, and minding nothing but his own ease and comfort, as long as his own life was spared to him – even when all of his children had been taken from him. Thus the people of God are often falsely accused by the devil and his agents.
Permission was granted to Satan to make a further trial of Job, but still within a limit. The Lord permitted him to afflict Job in his own body, but he was forbidden to take away his life. If God did not chain up the roaring lion, how soon he would devour us! Thus it was that Job found himself struck with sore boils, from head to foot. This affliction was very grievous to him. When we are tried with sore and grievous sicknesses, let us not think that we are dealt with in a manner different from that in which God sometimes deals with the best of His saints and servants.
By striking Job with boils, the devil provoked him to curse God. Satan tempts his own wicked followers to sin first; and afterward he torments them, when he has brought them to ruin. But with the children of God, the devil torments them with afflictions first; and then they are tempted to make a bad use of these afflictions by heaping bad reflections upon their God. Yet Job humbled himself under the mighty hand of Jehovah.
Job’s wife was spared to him; but sadly, she proved to be a troubler and a tempter to him. Satan still endeavors to draw men away from the Lord (just as he did with our first parents, Adam and Eve) by suggesting hard thoughts of Him, but Job resisted and overcame that temptation. He reasoned thus: “We are guilty, polluted, worthless creatures. Shall we receive so many unmerited blessings from a just and holy God; and shall we refuse to also accept the punishment of our sins, when we suffer so much less than we deserve?” Thus far, Job stood firm in the trial; and he shone brightly in the furnace of affliction. There may have been risings of corruption in his heart, but God’s grace had the upper hand.
This chapter concludes with the arrival of three of Job’s friends, who seem to have been noted for their rank, as well as for wisdom and piety. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. Much comfort in this life lies in friendship with persons who are prudent and virtuous. These three men came to mourn and grieve with the sufferer. Job’s friends have received the reputation of being “miserable comforters,” but it does seem that they did indeed have good intentions when they came to visit him. Later, they went wrong by supposing that Job’s extraordinary troubles were judgments for some secret crimes, which he had veiled under professions of Godliness. When we go to visit our friends who are in sorrow, we must be bringers of encouragement, life, and hope in Jesus. And if the example of Job’s friends coming to see him is not enough to lead us to pity the afflicted, then we need to pray that we may be filled with the same mind of mercy that was in Christ Jesus!
Lord Jesus, we praise You as our glorious and all-prevailing Advocate; and also as the Almighty Conqueror and Redeemer, Who has triumphed over Satan by Your death on the cross – for You crushed his head, even when Your heel was bruised! Amen.
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