How did Job endure such heartache?
by Jordan Moore
Much is rightfully made of Job’s faith in the midst of terribly difficult trials that he endured at the hand of Satan (Job 1:12). Many curiously wonder how Job was able to survive such heartache, much less continue to remain faithful before God. Perhaps the answer is found in examining who Job was before he had to face his trials:
Job was blameless (Job 1:1). Though Job would not have been sinless (Rom. 3:10,23), Job did not have anything that could be laid at his feet for which he could be blamed. Anything that he may have been blamed for in the past, he would have already sought to make amends. Some translations render this word as “perfect.” The idea of perfection is often connected to maturity and completeness. One who was perfect, in this sense, would be mature and would have grown up into the full measure of what a man ought to be in the sight of God. On the other hand, immaturity makes excuses and doesn’t make amends for one’s mistakes. Job fully embodies a mature man who lives his life and leads his household in a godly way.
Job was upright (Job 1:1). Just as a crooked arrow would fail in fulfilling its purpose, so too would a crooked man fail in his responsibility before God. The original word translated here as “upright” literally means “to be straight.” So many times, men who are regarded as outwardly upright are discovered to be inwardly crooked and perverse. This was not the case with Job. Job was a man of character and integrity. Job was the same on the outside as he was on the inside. This inward characteristic is imperative for remaining faithful while enduring hardship.
Job feared God (Job 1:1). The previous two qualities are only possible if this is true of Job. Followers of God ought not to fear Him as some maniacal deity waiting to pounce and punish with reckless abandon. Rather, followers of God ought to fear Him because they recognize His power and what He is capable of should they not fear Him. Job certainly would have recognized that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” (Prov. 1:7).
Job turned away from evil (Job 1:1). The Proverbs writer states that it is “…by the fear of the Lord [that] one departs from evil” (Prov. 16:6). Not only was Job found to be blameless and upright, but Job was also not willing to even give occasion to evil. Some translations say that Job “shunned evil.” It’s as if Job revolted against or waged war against evil. Job was not just following what God said – he thoroughly despised what was contrary to God.
Job was faithful, despite his great possessions (Job 1:2-3). Paul exhorted Timothy that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). So often is the case where good men are destroyed because of a growing love for money. Job had it all – he was one of the “greatest of all the people of the east” (Job 1:3). But that didn’t stop Him from serving God faithfully. Job served God when he had it all, and later when he had it all taken away.
Job was consistently concerned about the spiritual welfare of his children (Job 1:5). Job was eminently concerned that his children were consecrated before God. His efforts were made, even early in the morning. It cost him possessions as he offered sacrifices on their behalf. He did this continually, without ceasing. Job was a man who had the spiritual welfare of his family on the forefront of his mind.
One cannot separate the man that Job was in the midst of the trial from the man that Job was before the trial. It certainly was his faithful reliance upon God that was cultivated before the trial that allowed him to persevere through the trial. Are you striving now to be the man/woman of God that you should be, so that when the trials come your way later, you are able to endure?