Job did nothing, but trust God! Really? Best believe it!
Questions: Why, How come, Me, What did I do? Perhaps you should ask what you did not do
In Job 1:5, it is written,
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
An AWESOME blessing!
Then 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.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “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. But now stretch out Your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” Job 1:8-11
To cut to the chase, God lifted The fence around Job and his household: flock and belongings gone, children killed in a freak storm, disease in it’s truest form. To not have ‘ease’! Scraping at his sores with a pot shard!
“Why did Job’s wife tell him to curse God and die?”
Job faced many forms of suffering. He lost his children and wealth in a single day. He was then struck with painful sores over his entire body. After this time, his wife added to the pain by saying, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).
In short, Job’s wife was saying, “Give up!” Job’s life had completely fallen apart. Instead of encouraging Job to faithfully endure, his wife said he should just lie down and die. Even worse, she told him to curse God before he died. She saw God as the problem, the One who had abandoned Job in his time of trouble.
It is easy to see Job’s wife as doing wrong in this scene, yet her response was natural, from a purely human point of view. She had lost her children, too, along with her home and wealth, and now she watched her husband suffer in excruciating pain. If living faithfully before the Lord means being treated like this, she reasoned, it was better to die. Also, her comments merely match what Job’s three friends later reflect in their speeches to Job. It is Job’s hope-filled response to his wife that is key to understanding his faith.
In response to his wife’s bitter outlook, Job first rebukes her: “You are talking like a foolish woman” (Job 2:10a). He then asks, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10b). His words are commended by God: “In all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (Job 2:10c). Job’s response was a godly answer to the pain he was facing.
God allows both good and “evil” (that is, calamity, as in Isaiah 45:7), yet it is a temptation to view bad happenings as God’s punishment upon our lives. While this may sometimes be the case, it is clear that God also allows suffering for other reasons. In Job’s case, the suffering was not the result of God’s judgment at all, and Job was later blessed with twice as much as before his time of trouble.
In the New Testament, Jesus came as God’s suffering Messiah (Isaiah 53) on our behalf so that we may have eternal life. Jesus was without sin, yet He endured great suffering. He set an example for His followers in this regard. There are times when believers will endure various types of suffering and pain even though they have done nothing wrong.
Job’s wife suggested that he “curse God and die.” Job wisely refused to take that route. Instead, he taught us that we are to accept both good and bad from the Lord, trusting that His plan is best. James 5:10–11 says we should, “as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
Hold up! Job’s wife was a woman who supported him!
We can see that this was undeserved suffering, Job loses his children, his possessions, and his health. Job’s nameless wife turns up after the final blow, after Job has been struck with boils. Seeing her husband sitting in the dust, scraping his sores silently, she bursts out, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die” (2:9). She cannot bear her husband’s blind acceptance of the tragedies that befall them. Indeed, the attention to Job’s suffering usually ignores the fact that she too, after all, is a victim of these divine tests in addition to being pained by exposure to his afflictions (19:17). To cling to a model of perfect devotion to a supposedly perfect God when reality is so far from perfection seems to Job’s wife to be not exemplary strength, but an act of cowardice. Such “integrity,” she seems to be saying, lacks a deeper value. What Job must do is to challenge the God who has afflicted him so, even if the consequence is death.
Much has been written about the unusual challenge the Book of Job offers in its audacious questioning of the ways of God, but one never hears of the contribution of Job’s wife to the antidogmatic bent of the text. Job’s wife prefigures or perhaps even generates the impatience of the dialogues. She opens the possibility of suspending belief, of speaking against God. Job’s initial response to his wife’s provocative suggestion is harsh: “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” (2:10). When the dialogues begin, however, Job comes close to doing what his wife had suggested. He does not curse God directly, but by cursing his birth he implicitly curses the creator who gave him life. Much like Eve, Job’s wife spurs her husband to doubt God’s use of divine powers. In doing so she does him much good, for this turns out to be the royal road to deepening one’s knowledge, to opening one’s eyes.
Job’s wife disappears after her bold statement. She is mentioned in passing only once more in the course of Job’s debate with his friends. In protesting his innocence of various wrongdoings, Job insists that if his “heart was enticed by [the wife of his neighbor]/… then let my wife grind for another,/and let other men kneel over her” (31:9–10). He regards his wife’s fate as a mere extension of his own lot.
Job’s wife is conspicuously absent from the happy ending in which Job’s world is restored. Job’s dead children spring back to life, as it were, because he ends up having, as in the beginning, seven sons and three daughters. Yet his wife, who actually escaped death, is excluded from this scene of familial bliss. The challenge of the outsider—and woman is something of an outsider in divine-human matters—seems far more threatening than a critique voiced from within.Bibliography
Greenberg, Moshe. “Job.” In The Literary Guide to the Bible, edited by Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, 283–304. Cambridge, MA: 1987.
Kahn, Jack. Job’s Illness: Loss, Grief, and Integration: A Psychological Interpretation. Oxford: 1975.
Meyers, Carol, General Editor. Women in Scripture. New York: 2000.
Pardes, Ilana. Countertraditions in the Bible: A Feminist Approach. Cambridge, MA: 1992.
Job like in so many cases we read in The Word, was created for a reason. God knew him, Amen. God spoke of him with pride to one of the highest former angel’s who robbed the position of Man by enticing Eve to eat the forbidden fruit!
We battle not against flesh and blood! The wisdom of Lucifer was not taken away. Revelation 12:7-9 says Lucifer and his angels fought against God and were cast out of heaven. Since Lucifer was a highly intelligent creature–not to mention the fact that he had an intimate knowledge of God.
You’re right in characterizing Lucifer’s rebellion as an insane act. Don’t forget that, although Lucifer had a superabundance of spiritual gifts, he was also endowed, as we are, with the gift of free will. God left him free to choose good over evil, and, as we know, he chose evil.
Consider Adam and Eve. Before the Fall they possessed immortality, control over their passions and appetites, the complete integrity of their wills, as well as a human intelligence far superior to that which we have now. Yet, like Lucifer, they chose to commit a mortal sin. This means God allowed them to exercise their free will.
As for the particular sin the bad angels committed, many theologians believe that in their pre-fallen state the angels were given a foreknowledge of humans (who would be inferior to them), as well as a foreknowledge that God himself (the second Person of the Trinity) would be incarnated as a man and redeem the universe through his death on the cross.
This revelation angered Lucifer because it meant he and the other angels would have to worship God incarnate. Lucifer and the other angels who fell were so proud of being superior to men that their overweening arrogance wouldn’t allow them to worship Jesus Christ the God-Man. This refusal–this non serviam–stemmed from pride. That, anyway, is the theologian’s theory.
We live a Promise, Amen.
“But I the LORD will speak what I Will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign LORD.'”