Book Overview - Job
by Gary H. Everett
STUDY NOTES ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
Using a Theme-based Approach
to Identify Literary Structures
By Gary H. Everett
THE BOOK OF JOB
All Scripture quotations in English are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Some words have been emphasized by the author of this commentary using bold or italics.
All Old Testament Scripture quotations in the Hebrew text are taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Westminster Hebrew Morphology, electronic ed, Stuttgart; Glenside PA: German Bible Society, Westminster Seminary, 1996, c 1925, morphology c 1991, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.
All New Testament Scripture quotations in the Greek text are taken from Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (United Bible Societies), c 1966, 1993, 2006, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.
All Hebrew and Greek text for word studies are taken from James Strong in The New Strong"s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, c 1996, 1997, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004.
The Crucifixion image on the book cover was created by the author's daughter Victoria Everett in 2012.
Gary H. Everett, 1981-2013
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the author.
Foundational Theme - How to Serve the Lord with All Our Heart
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Secondary Theme (Supportive and Structural) - We are Predestined to Reflect the Image of Christ as We Walk in the Wisdom of God (Mind)
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job;
and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Imperative Theme - The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom: Job Serves as a Testimony of Man's Need of Redemption Through the Lord Jesus Christ Through His Fear of the Lord and Devotion to Wisdom
Neither is there any daysman betwixt us,
that might lay his hand upon us both.
For I know that my redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF JOB
Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures supports the view of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the biblical text of the Holy Scriptures, meaning that every word originally written down by the authors in the sixty-six books of the Holy Canon were God-breathed when recorded by men, and that the Scriptures are therefore inerrant and infallible. Any view less than this contradicts the testimony of the Holy Scriptures themselves. For this reason, the Holy Scriptures contain both divine attributes and human attributes. While textual criticism engages with the variant readings of the biblical text, acknowledging its human attributes, faith in His Word acknowledges its divine attributes. These views demand the adherence of mankind to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures above all else. The Holy Scriptures can only be properly interpreted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an aspect of biblical scholarship that is denied by liberal views, causing much misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures.
The Message of the Book of Job - The book of Job testifies to the fact that Prayer of Manasseh, in his best display of righteousness, is yet in need of a Redeemer, as was Job. There was no other man in ancient history that walked upright before God as Job walked before Him. However, in the midst of his trial, his cry to justify himself before God only brought a divine dialogue in which God justified no man; rather He revealed to Job his weakness and frailty among His creation. As a result, Job acknowledges his own need of redemption. The book of Job also shows us that any man in any time in history or in any place on earth, under any circumstances, can know, seek, and find God Himself.
Perhaps the most often question regarding the book of Job is why he suffered, being a righteous man. In other words, what was the purpose of this experience in the life of Job? We find a clue in the only New Testament reference to Job, where the epistle of James says, "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." ( James 5:11) The New Testament tells us to look at the last chapter of the book, at Job's ability to endure, and the Lord's ability to restore. He served as an example to his generation of God's ability to restore a person under any circumstance, who had undergone any situation that life could bring his way. God allowed Job to be tested so that Job could declare to his generation and the generations following of God's power to restore, to heal, and to prosper His children.
We find a similar example in the life of Abraham. The father of our faith became a living testimony of how to walk by faith. He showed us how to walk out this life of faith in God's Word with no other evidence than the spoken Word of God. Sometimes in today's world God chooses to raise up a person who can serve as a testimony of faith. In order to be this type of witness, God must take this person through a trial of faith. It was thirty-nine years from the time Abraham obeyed God and moved into the Promised Land until the time he offered up Isaac upon the altar. It took Abraham forty years to get to the place where God could test His faith at a level that would serve as a testimony for mankind. Abraham demonstrated on Mount Moriah what it looked like to obey God, what it looked like while against hope a man believes in hope, what it looks like to be not weak in the faith, what it looks like to considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: what it looks like to stagger not at the promise of God through unbelief; but to be strong in faith, giving glory to God; what it looks like to be fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Thus, Abraham became our example, "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him." ( Romans 4:23) With Job, we want to ask the question, "Was the tragedy that happened to Job of God or of the devil?" Job did not ask this question. Rather, he said, "The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." ( Job 1:21) As with Abraham, he gave glory to God. Job was called out by God to serve as a testimony to his generation as well as the following generations that every human being, even at his best, stands in need of redemption before a mighty God, and the only way to accept mankind was through an intercessor, of which Jesus Christ will become our great intercessor, as Job qualified to intercede for his friends through his sufferings because of his righteousness.
Introductory Material- The introduction to the book of Job will deal with its historical setting, literary style, and theological framework. 1] These three aspects of introductory material will serve as an important foundation for understanding God's message to us today from this divinely inspired book of the Holy Scriptures.
1] Someone may associate these three categories with Hermann Gunkel's well-known three-fold approach to form criticism when categorizing the genre found within the book of Psalm: (1) "a common setting in life," (2) "thoughts and mood," (3) "literary forms." In addition, the Word Biblical Commentary uses "Form/Structure/Setting" preceding each commentary section. Although such similarities were not intentional, but rather coincidental, the author was aware of them and found encouragement from them when assigning the three-fold scheme of historical setting, literary style, and theological framework to his introductory material. See Hermann Gunkel, The Psalm: A Form-Critical Introduction, trans. Thomas M. Horner, in Biblical Series, vol 19, ed. John Reumann (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Fortress Press, 1967), 10; see also Word Biblical Commentary, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word Incorporated, 1989-2007).
"We dare not divorce our study from understanding the historical setting of every passage of Scripture
if we are going to come to grips with the truth and message of the Bible."
(J. Hampton Keathley) 2]
2] J. Hampton Keathley, III, "Introduction and Historical Setting for Elijah," (Bible.org) [on-line]; accessed 23May 2012; available from http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-and-historical-setting-elijah; Internet.
Each book of the Holy Scriptures is cloaked within a unique historical setting. An examination of this setting is useful in the interpretation of the book because it provides the context of the passage of Scripture under examination. The section on the historical setting of the book of Job will provide a discussion on its title, historical background, authorship, date and place of writing, recipients, and occasion. This discussion supports the Jewish tradition that Moses was the author of the book of Job.
I. The Title
II. Historical Background
A. The Historicity of the Book of Job - The fact that a man named Job actually existed and the time in history when he was tried by God has remained a debate since the time of the ancient Jewish rabbis. Just such a debate on these two issues is recorded in the Babylonian Talmud (Babylonian Talmud, Tract Baba Bathra (Last Gate), 1.Mishna 5). 3]
3] Michael L. Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, vol 13 (New York: New Talmud Publishing Company, 1902), 46-54.
Regarding Job's trial of affliction, we find a reference to Job in the New Testament Apocrypha book entitled The Vision of Paul. In this ancient document, Job tells Paul the apostle that he was tormented with his illness for a period of thirty years before the Lord healed him.
"When, therefore, he had ceased talking to me, I saw another coming from a distance, very beautiful of countenance, and smiling, and his angels saying hymns: and I said to the angel who was with me: Has then each of the just an angel for companion? And he said to me: Each one of the saints has his own (angel) assisting him, and saying a hymn, and the one does not depart from the other. And I said: Who is this, Sir? And he said: This is Job. And approaching, he saluted me and said: Brother Paul, thou hast great praise with God and men. And I am Job, who laboured much for a Period of thirty years from a plague in the blood; and verily in the beginning, the wounds which went forth from my body were like grains of wheat. But on the third day, they became as the foot of an ass; worms moreover which fell four digits in length: and on the third (day) the devil appeared and said to me: Say something against God and die. I said to him: If such be the will of God that I should remain under a plague all the time of my life till I die, I shall not cease from blessing the Lord, and I shall receive more reward. For I know that the labours of that world are nothing to the refreshment which is afterwards: for which cause blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed the nation which believed through thee." (The Vision of Paul 49) 4]
4] The Vision of Paul, trans. Andrew Rutherfurd, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 9, ed. Allan Menzies (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, c 1898, 1906), 165.
A. Internal Evidence- Job was perhaps in his thirties to fifties when this event took place based on the statements that he makes in several verses. The reference to the gray head would be a person in their seventies ( Job 15:10). A person in their youth would be below twenty. The Lord was working in Job's life at an early age ( Job 29:4; Job 30:1; Job 32:6-9).
Job 15:10, "With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father."
Job 29:4, "As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;"
Job 30:1, "But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock."
Job 32:6-9, "And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment."
B. External Evidence- If we look outside of biblical literature for clues to authorship and into other ancient Jewish literature from which much Jewish tradition is found, the Babylonian Talmud says that Moses wrote his own book as well as the book of Job.
"And who wrote all the books? Moses wrote his book and a portion of Bil'am , xxii.], and Job. Jehoshua wrote his book and the last eight verses of the Pentateuch beginning: "And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died." Samuel wrote his book, Judges, and Ruth. David wrote Psalm, with the assistance of ten elders, viz.: Adam the First, Malachi Zedek, Abraham, Moses, Hyman, Jeduthun, Asaph, and the three sons of Korach. Jeremiah wrote his book, Kings, and Lamentations. King Hezekiah and his company wrote Isaiah,, Proverbs,, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. The men of the great assembly wrote Ezekiel, the Twelve Prophets, Daniel, and the Book of Esther. Ezra wrote his book, and Chronicles the order of all generations down to himself. [This may be a support to Rabh's theory, as to which, R. Jehudah said in his name, that Ezra had not ascended from Babylon to Palestine until he wrote his genealogy.] And who finished Ezra's book? Nehemiah ben Chachalyah." (Babylonian Talmud, Tract Baba Bathra (Last Gate), 1.Mishna 5) 5]
5] Michael L. Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, vol 13 (New York: New Talmud Publishing Company, 1902), 45.
The date of the writing of this book is not known. However, an evaluation of internal evidence can lead to some possible conclusions.
A. Internal Evidence- From a study of the genealogies of three characters in the book of Job, we see that they are descendents of Abraham and his brother Nahor. It is for this reason that many scholars speculate that Job himself was a relative of the family of Terah.
Eliphaz, the Temanite, was a descendent of Esau. Teman was in the land of Edom.
Genesis 36:10-11, "These are the names of Esau"s sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau. And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz."
1 Chronicles 1:35-36, "The sons of Esau; Eliphaz, Reuel, and Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah. The sons of Eliphaz; Teman, and Omar, Zephi, and Gatam, Kenaz, and Timna, and Amalek."
Jeremiah 49:7, "Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?"
Obadiah 1:9, "And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter."
Bildad, the Shuhite, was a descendent of Abraham through his second wife, Keturah.
Genesis 25:1-2, "Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah."
1 Chronicles 1:32, "Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham"s concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan."
Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram, was a descendent of Nahor, the brother of Abraham.
Genesis 22:20-21, "And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,"
Job is considered to have lived during the time of the patriarchs, since he lived to be one hundred forty (140) years old.
Job 42:16, "After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons" sons, even four generations."
Job is placed in the category of Hebrew poetry, along with Psalm,, Proverbs,, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Since all of the other Hebrew poetry was written during Israel"s golden age, by David and Song of Solomon, it may be speculated that Job was also compiled during this period of Hebrew history. One passage in Job that sounds like a verse in the book of Proverbs ( Job 28:28), which suggests it was written when Hebrew poetry was well developed.
Job 28:28, "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."
Job is also mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel. Therefore, we know that this book must have certainly been written before the time of Ezekiel.
B. External Evidence- We can conclude by comparing other ancient Jewish literature written during the early period of Israel's history that the literary style of the book of Job is the same. For example, in The Book of Jubilees (; 48:1-11; 48:15-19) an evil demon named Mastema spoke often to God regarding the travail of mankind. It is this spirit that comes before God to provoke Him to tempt Abraham by offering his son Isaac upon the altar. This same demon reappears in the book during the time of Moses to tempt him. The demon was later bound so that he could not accuse the children of Israel before God and then set loose to stir up the Egyptians against them. Thus, it is logical to conclude that the book of Job was most likely written by a Jewish author of similar antiquity.
LITERARY STYLE (GENRE)
"Perhaps the most important issue in interpretation is the issue of genre.
If we misunderstand the genre of a text, the rest of our analysis will be askew."
(Thomas Schreiner) 6]
6] Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, second edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, c 1990, 2011), 11.
Within the historical setting of the nation of Israel, the author of the book of Job chose to write using the literary style of the ancient wisdom literature. Thus, the book of Job is assigned to the literary genre called "wisdom literature." Also included in this list are the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, with certain psalms (notably Psalm 19; Psalm 37; Psalm 104; Psalm 107; Psalm 147; Psalm 148) as well as some non-canonical Apocrypha literature, such as Ecclesiasticus (Wisdom of Solomon).
A. Its Literary Style as Hebrew Poetry - The book of Job is an epic story that has been framed within Hebrew poetry.
B. The Names of God in the Book of Job - The names and descriptions of God that are used in a book of the Holy Bible can indicate the theme of that book. This is the case with the book of Job.
1. God- "el" ( אֵל) (H 410) - 55 times
2. The Almighty - "Shadday" ( שַׁדַּי) (H 7706) - 31times
3. My Maker ( Job 36:3) - 1time
4. God is mighty…mighty in strength and wisdom ( Job 36:5) - 1time
5. God is Great ( Job 36:26) - 1time
6. Him which is perfect in knowledge ( Job 36:4; Job 37:16) - 2times
7. (He is) excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice ( Job 37:23) - 1time
"Scholarly excellence requires a proper theological framework."
(Andreas Ksenberger) 7]
7] Andreas J. Ksenberger, Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011), 161.
Based upon the historical setting and literary style of the book of Job, an examination of the purpose, thematic scheme, and literary structure to this book of the Holy Scriptures will reveal its theological framework. This introductory section will sum up its theological framework in the form of an outline, which is then used to identify smaller units or pericopes within the book of Job for preaching and teaching passages of Scripture while following the overriding message of the book. Following this outline allows the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to take his followers on a spiritual journey that brings them to the same destination that the author intended his readers to reach.
The purpose of recording this event in the life of Job is to serve as a testimony of how faithful and certain God's divine principles are in bringing us to victory in the midst of the greatest of tragedies. Job's life serves as a testimony of God's faithfulness to bless those who walk upright.
VIII. Thematic Scheme
The underlying theme of the Old Testament Scriptures is the office and ministry of God the Father as He works out His divine plan of redemption for mankind through His divine foreknowledge and sovereign intervention in the affairs of man. The underlying theme of the books of poetry in the Old Testament is how to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts. (In contrast, the historical books teach us how to trust in the Lord with all of our strength, and the prophet books teach us how to trust in the Lord with all of our mind.) No three men suffered greater than the authors of the poetic books of Job, Psalm and Lamentations; for we see in the lives of Job, David, who wrote much of the book of Psalm, and Jeremiah, who wrote Lamentations, a testimony of how to trust in God in the midst of hardships. Their hardships were not occasioned by sin in their lives, but because God needed vessels in which to work out His divine plan of redemption for mankind. When He finds a vessel who will suffer for Him, then the testimony of His Son Jesus Christ His Son can be declared to all of mankind.
A. Primary Theme: How to Serve the Lord with All of our Heart - The common underlying theme of the Hebrew poetry of the Scriptures is "How to Worship the Lord with all our Heart." Poetry is primarily written to express the mood of man's heart. When we read these books in the Old Testament, we are emotionally moved as we identify with the poet or psalmist. Although there are many poetic passages in the Scriptures, for the purposes of identifying thematic schemes, this division of the Old Testament includes Job,, Psalm,, Proverbs,, Ecclesiastes,, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations, although scholars group this biblical genre differently. The first book of Hebrew poetry we encounter as we read through the Old Testament is the book of Job, which opens with an account of this man worshipping God at an altar of sacrifice ( Job 1:5). The Psalm of David show us how to worship the Lord during all seasons of life while the book of Job and Lamentations teaches us how to worship during the times of the greatest tragedies in life. As we journey through this life, we will have times of ecstasy when we are caught up in worship and we will have times of trials when we cry out to God for deliverance. However, most of our days are given to simple routines and decisions that determine our future well-being. We must then look to the book of Proverbs,, Ecclesiastes, and Songs for a pattern of how to worship the Lord with our hearts during such uneventful days.
The writings of Solomon provide three phases of man's spiritual journey in learning to love God with all his heart, while Job,, Lamentations, and Psalm provide real life illustrations of people who have experienced these aspects of a devout life of faith in God. Although all three writings of Solomon emphasize man's relationship with God, it is important to note that each one places emphasis upon a different aspect of man's make-up. Scholars have proposed themes for the writings of Solomon since the time of the early Church fathers. Origen (A.D 185-254) recognized a three-fold aspect to the books Solomon by saying Proverbs focused on morals and ethics, Ecclesiastes focused on the natural aspect of man's existence, and the Song of Songs focused on the divine, spiritual realm of man. He says:
"First, let us examine why it Isaiah, since the churches of God acknowledge three books written by Song of Solomon, that of them the book of Proverbs is put first, the one called Ecclesiastes second, and the book of Song of Songs has third place….We can give them the terms moral, natural and contemplative…The moral discipline is defined as the one by which as honorable manner of life is equipped and habits conducive to virtue are prepared. The natural discipline is defined as the consideration of each individual thing, according to which nothing in life happens contrary to nature, but each individual thing is assigned those uses for which it has been brought forth by the Creator. The contemplative discipline is defined as that by which we transcend visible things and contemplate something of divine and heavenly things and gaze at them with the mind alone, since they transcend corporeal appearance…" (PG 13, Colossians 74a-b) 8]
8] J. Robert Wright, ed, Proverbs,, Ecclesiastes,, Song of Solomon, in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament IX, ed. Thomas C. Oden (Downer Grover, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 278-288; Rowan A. Greer, trans, Origen: An Exhortation to Martyrdom, Prayer and Selected Writings (New York: Paulist Rowan A, 1979), 231-232, 234.
Theodoret of Cyrrhus (A.D 393-466) makes a similar three-fold evaluation of the writings of Song of Solomon, saying:
"It is also necessary to say by way of introduction that three works belong to Solomon: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs. Proverbs offers those interested moral benefits, while Ecclesiastes comments on the nature of visible realities and thoroughly explains the futility of the present life so that we may learn its transitory character, despise passing realities and long for the future as something lasting. The Song of Songs…brings out the mystical intercourse between the bride and the bridegroom, the result being that the whole of Solomon's work constitutes a king of ladder with three steps - moral, physical and mystical. That is to say, the person approaching a religious way of life must first purify the mind with good behavior, then strive to discern the futility of impermanent things and the transitory character of what seems pleasant, and then finally take wings and long for the bridegroom, who promises eternal goods. Hence this book is placed third, so the person treading this path comes to perfection." (Preface to Commentary on Song of Songs) (PG 81, cols 46d-47a) 9]
9] J. Robert Wright, ed, Proverbs,, Ecclesiastes,, Song of Solomon, in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament IX, ed. Thomas C. Oden (Downer Grover, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 288; Pauline Allen, et al, eds, Early Christian Studies (Strathfield, Australia: St. Paul's Publications, 2001), 232.
John Calvin (1509-1564) refers to the theme of the book of Psalm and the writings of Solomon in his argument to the epistle of James, saying:
"The writings of Solomon differ much from those of David, both as to matter and style. Solomon directs his view, chiefly, to form the external Prayer of Manasseh, and to deliver to us the precepts of political life: David constantly chooses the spiritual worship of God, peace of conscience, or the gracious promise of salvation, for his theme." (Argument to the Epistle of James) 10]
10] John Calvin, Calvin's Commentary on the Epistle of James: Newly Translated from the Original Latin (Aberdeen: J. Chalmers and Co, 1797), iii.
Although all three writings of Solomon emphasize man's relationship with God, it is important to note that each one places emphasis upon a different aspect of man's make-up. (1) Proverbs and Job - The secondary theme of the book of Proverbs teaches us to make wise decisions in our life by pursuing God's wisdom. It is structured in a way that teaches us how to take our mental journey through this life. We begin this spiritual journey by responding to wisdom's call to learn of God's ways as the book of Proverbs reveals. It is by the fear of the Lord that we embark upon this initial phase of learning to love the Lord by understanding and following the path of divine wisdom. The story of Job serves as an excellent illustration of a man that feared God and walked in wisdom with his fellow men, and thus serves as an excellent illustration of the teachings of Proverbs. (2) Ecclesiastes and Lamentations - As we walk in Wisdom of Solomon, we soon perceive that God has a divine plan for our lives in the midst of the vanities of life, as taught in the book of Ecclesiastes. It is at this phase of our spiritual journey that we offer our bodies in obedience to God purpose and plan for our lives as we continue to fear the Lord, which is the secondary theme of Ecclesiastes. The writer of Lamentations teaches us about the results of fearing God and keeping His commandments, and thus serves as an excellent illustration of Ecclesiastes. (3) Song of Solomon and Psalm - We then come to the phase of our spiritual journey where we learn to enter into God's presence and partake of His intimacy, which is the secondary theme of Songs. The Song of Songs tells us about the intimacy and love that man can have in his relationship with God. It is structured in a way that teaches us how to take our spiritual journey through this life. The Song of Solomon teaches us to move from a level of fearing the Lord into the mature walk of loving God with all of our hearts. The Psalm of David teach us about a man that learned to love the Lord with all of his heart, and thus serves as an excellent illustration of the Songs of Solomon. Summary- Therefore, Proverbs emphasizes our minds, while Ecclesiastes emphasizes our strength, while the Song of Songs reveals to us how to worship the Lord with oneness of heart. In these three books, Solomon deals with the three-fold nature of man: his spirit, his mind and his body. These writings inspire us to commune with God in our hearts.
As a review, the foundational theme of Proverbs,, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon is how to serve the Lord with all our hearts. The secondary theme of this three-fold series of writings is what gives these books their structure:
1. Proverbs - Wisdom Calls Mankind to Understand His Ways (Mind)
2. Ecclesiastes - God Gives Mankind a Purpose in Life When We Serve Him (Body)
3. Song of Solomon - God Calls Mankind to Walk With Him in the Cool of the Day (Heart)
The third theme of this three-fold series of writings reveals the results of applying the book's message to our daily lives:
1. Proverbs - The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom. The virtuous woman is a reflection of a person walking in wisdom and the fear of God.
2. Ecclesiastes - Fear God and Keep His Commandments. The man who keeps God's commandments has a purpose and destiny in Christ.
3. Song of Solomon - Loving God is Mature as We Abide in Christ and Labour in His Vineyard. The man who abides in Christ and produces fruit that remains.
Combining these three themes to see how they flow together in each of Solomon's writings, we see that Proverbs teaches us to serve the Lord with all of our mind as the fear of the Lord moves us to wise choices above foolishness. The outcome of this journey is the development of a person who is strong in character, symbolized by the virtuous woman. This is illustrated in the story of Job. In Ecclesiastes the believer serves the Lord with all of his strength by obeying God's commandments because of his fear of the Lord. The outcome of this journey is the development of a person who walks in his purpose and destiny, rather than in the vanities of this world. This is illustrated in the book of Lamentations. The Song of Solomon reveals the most mature level of serving the Lord with all of one's heart. This person yields to God's love being poured into him by learning to abide in constant holy communion with the Lord. The outcome of this journey is the development of a person who overflows in the fruits and gifts of the Spirit. This is illustrated in the book of Psalm.
The themes of the books of the Holy Bible can be often found in the opening verses, and we now can easily see these three themes in opening passages of the writings of Solomon. Proverb's opening verses emphasize the need to make sound decisions through Wisdom of Solomon, instruction and understanding.
Proverbs 1:2, "To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;"
Ecclesiastes' opening verses emphasizes the vanity of human labour when one does not serve the Lord.
Ecclesiastes 1:3, "What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?"
Song of Songs emphasizes the intimacy of love that proceeds from man's heart.
Song of Solomon 1:2, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine."
Thus, it is easy to see why King Solomon would follow such a three-fold structure in his writings. Since Deuteronomy 6:4-5 was one of the more popular passages of Scripture for the children of Israel, it would make sense that Song of Solomon, in his quest for the meaning of life, would follow this three-fold approach in his analyze of what it meant to worship God. Although the book of Proverbs places emphasis upon serving the Lord by making wise decisions, a careful study of the book of Proverbs will reveal that this three-fold emphasis upon the spirit, soul and body is woven throughout the book.
In addition, the book of Job gives us an extension of the theme of Proverbs, as both of these books serve as wisdom literature, teaching us through poetry to serve the Lord with all our mind. The book of Lamentations gives us an extension of the theme of Ecclesiastes, as both of these books serve as poetic explanations for the vanities of life, teaching us through poetry to serve the Lord with all our strength. The book of Psalm gives an extension of the theme of Song of Solomon, as both of these books serve as poetry to edify the heart, teaching us through poetry to serve the Lord with all our heart. Finally, the redemptive message of the poetical books reveals that even when a man like Job walks in Wisdom of Solomon, he finds himself in need of a redeemer. Lamentations reveals a nation who has a divine destiny and purpose, yet the children of Israel find themselves in need of a redeemer. The psalms of David reveal that even when man is at his best intimacy with God, like David, he still finds himself in need of a redeemer.
Isaiah 7UmK 02wzqYvcdhoeXX/6nJGzuJwnh 7P 9vbkfPVc 6OPFWtNEC 7rrw 9jgsfh+Y/cB+vFW 2RMGGfL 8YlHqplxdX 2Sc 77GtB 7W 7Y 8Vdh+81cvfV/5hccvslqmuI+esZ+Mbne/ol 3RCuDw 9DIwZ/HgOzOrXH 6cc 6edqu 7KierV/m 06N 1k 1Vz 3Txd 0xjug 3rXrJwPxfjZRz 29Bq 2qSNn/d 68mYrVOSpckv+/rEz 4c 2yMMYPZa+im 7Xbi+s 8+2vPfDSTTSWTC 19v+HUXpY 7lejI 6Zzwxmr 2F 5Kp 5MDz/JH/8M 3RsjzY 0pbVxtQNOw 1vss/Aot+R 2Z 3XnSM/UdOc/gtnijEw 96Jf 5qveXuhxHGmOKV 4XiZpY+j 4dC+VNcZY 8Knz 6G 1tatuwOpl 329jzKaH 7/GnnewWh 3EcTo 44BcfLLPs 5te 7Rwzg 7WLzxMg 73b 36oMeWN/yk 1oGlYPe+ezj+ Genesis 7t 7h 2CeZr 38LvF 2ZHaWwW 3xRrfAbp 4k 5a 9teck 9oxp 9xwh+A 1+R+fk/AAnCBYAE 4QJAgnABIEG 4AJAgXABIEC 4AJAgXABKECwAJwgWABOECQIJwASBBuACQIFwASBAuACQIFwAShAsACcIFgAThAkCCcAEgQbgAkCBcAEgQLgAkCBcAEoQLAAnCBYAE 4QJAgnABIEG 4AJAgXABIEC 4AJAgXABKECwAJwgWABOECQIJwASBBuACQIFwASBAuACQIFwAShAsACcIFgAThAkCCcAEgQbgAkCBcAEjYLMsKr 629VFMA 9FQpRjb+arndfbK 2HL 7oF 0bwG/iuSJgWAZAgXABIEC 4AJAgXABKECwAJwgWABOECQIJwASBBuACQIFwASBAuACQIFwAShAsACcIFgAThAkCCcAEgQbgAkCBcAEgQLgAkCBcAEoQLAAnCBYBEf 8NlvRhZO 00u 3YxzWS 9G 1o 4W 60u 3AziXTuGyXoxswX 1/GJKprXWJqpyaTcnU 3lJUt 1c 6p++xBDLdr 1yCeZptxOHqZXjvwxHGWdn 7bHDpVqGVZGqHL 0/7EUznQTS 57y/MszplWjRepvPARG+MxuUNZu+kWkfrxVtkwng 53i 0YzN 6z+PmSTbotp 91zGTw 8GbP 6TPM 7INupwvZypnDNuV 1WcwFeWORONvJvkfrjF 7d 3D 1qaslzo 66jUin 0Dfct 9+xaaX 9u 1wrSoPF 8rHL 9m 92RqJ 5ExJpqUdujWhr 5JP 1fVhePZPqHrzl 6zP 1udEhTq 6+w 1mk 5H/lHvZ 9E 6KV 3SV 5c 40nngTouyLItDs 5kZpPPAGFOYJcShcbbOX+33qRyk 9Abuq+rxS 0vcjcvvEId 1s 5cWGqtR 7UjBpn 2F 9uZ 9rC 4vdN 1fB 1/XCnvEsdsodxdvZap 96d 6Ga 9Q 0gtszqL 7tvrN 3+7dnrAp 7FY 7fp 6J 15SvyaeGS 1zKdB 8VhOhRE+bZx 6B 6jsEu+ZeX 41SX 74zd/6LtoES 5VNTFZanXNcndFQx 28XfMeN 3MK 3FCZ 8ppj 2nCNmkdw 9wVlCnGRNZ 699aWqH/R 8Va+K 1pWvyKdMi 5LpJDLB/N+6mf 76z 6+VCZ 5/OKuGj 4ExH 19rM/jxHJjo 9+7S+3e 03TD 9LO 8yeHja 7NLG/vjDx 8CY 77ozVz 1hluPa 7htj/MsLGurQvmvONfgk 2s 5dO+x+ljZcvcHsPcv 23xKrl+F 2jtN 09tb 7+Fo 3Du 4NFa 297uGyGYLNSRvGHW 4i 5jdo 3HTJs 2X 99eEeff+56Gwwe 4/DwqF 6NaZNdWjVtWS 6G 5yN/AqrdWVObkOvjJebQqXzwPgeUORn 71Fur 2gtnPIoevMl 3dr 668OY 4HFojBnMXsNNuiS/IxO+5gFVc 2V/zDOQ 3emy/WitXv 7u 2VD 663Coa+vFW 2RMGHsGp 0Nljm 9DTw 1mr 6EvQZyz 90g 3WrQGql/oDn 48B 2b 1649TvvRzZczTwyYpxj 9DE 70tFr 8jE/4cO 7sc/d 2QX 8knC 3fUxsvYe 8bI 1HS/cXl 1m/r 2tu 2a 51PQujLnaMPVK 3bEmDxBDp 299Zoubm 6maJ 2UvpqqSxwNdw 2rN 1wb 7rfnC 0zNPdnyfbSmG 7ql 49femD/hXlpjNQ 4ceNO/6tMiz 3L/Q 4fdkpqbqbXP 2Woe 85j 624rl 50jVO 5id 2nCNmkaw 3MPCc 7wDT 4vq 731XH/m 1qHz/+YosDJesdDe+vLZ 69uaLK 3v 5nhaFYd 3xvU 8BOmoRLjXc 3zC 3Xl 7/JK 5aPU/Xiru 7+4axeyY 3VCaulrJbG 65R 8wiWO 1jsiufsbX 6wVqiie 9b 2qGhd+YpsN+v 2rC 0vuWdUo+8uO 4LJ 1E 4+5umt/3LaV+T+/lc 0cHWSqfNz 3c 2/F 7zeeLI 0IFyAc 9r/D 4Ud/npOuz 1QvTFMi 5pQjb 5jBL 8B 0yIA 34pwASBBuACQIFwASBAuACQIFwAShAsACcIFgAThAkCCcAEgQbgAkCBcAEgQLgAkCBcAEoQLAAnCBYAE 4QJAgnABIEG 4AJAgXABIEC 4AJAgXABKECwAJwgWABOECQIJwASBBuACQIFwASBAuACQIFwAShAsACcIFgAThAkCCcAEgQbgAkCBcAEgQLgAkCBcAEoQLAAnCBYAE 4QJAgnABIEG 4AJAgXABI 2CzLCq+tvVRTAPRUKUY 2yuECAGfBtAiABOECQIJwASBBuACQ+A 8RD+FSWB 9MIQAAAABJRU 5ErkJggg==" width="298" height="178" style="border: 0pt none;margin:0 pt 0pt 0pt 0pt;" title="embedded image (png)" alt="[image]" />
Figure 6 - Thematic Scheme of the Books of Poetry
B. Secondary Theme (Structural) - We are Predestined to Reflect the Image of Christ as We Walk in the Wisdom of God (Mind) - The secondary theme gives the book its structure, or outline. God initiates man's spiritual journey by calling him through wisdom to understand his ways, and divine wisdom comes to every man from various aspects of life. Every man is given a choice as to whether he will decide to follow the Lord or not. This emphasis upon God calling mankind is seen in the first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs, in which wisdom calls man to forsake foolishness and follow God's ways of wisdom. Through wisdom God appeals to our minds to understand His ways.
How do we worship and serve the Lord with all of our mind? Proverbs tells us that we do this by seeking divine wisdom in every decision that we make. This is the secondary theme found in the book of Proverbs. The book of Job serves as an example of how to serve the Lord with all our mind. The book of Proverbs emphasizes man's mental decisions to understand God's wisdom and follow it, which is illustrated in the book of Job.
C. Third Theme (Imperative) - The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom: Job Serves as a Testimony of Man's Need of Redemption Through the Lord Jesus Christ Through His Fear of the Lord and Devotion to Wisdom - The third theme of the book of Job reveals that despite Job walking in the fear of the Lord and devoted to wise decisions, he found himself in need of a redeemer. The most obvious question that we must ask from the book of Job is why such a man had to suffer. Why did God allow Satan to have such access to this righteous man? The answer is that Job stood as a type and figure of the Lord Jesus Christ for his generation, and for the generations to follow who heard his amazing story. Job became a witness for the need of the coming of a deliverer and intercessor ( Job 9:33). He was a witness to the future resurrection and eternal life of God's children ( Job 19:25-27). He was a "redeemer" in the sense he prayed for his three friends for God to forgive them. His prosperity served as a witness to God's full redemption for mankind in blessing a man spiritually, mentally, physically and financially. Also, Job's willingness to endure this great trial of affliction resulted in a revelation of the divine character of God in Job 38-41never before made known to mankind before.
Job 9:33, "Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both."
Job 19:25-27, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me."
When God allowed Satan to tempt Job, He knew that His servant would not sin. He knew Job's heart, and He knew Job would pass the test by holding fast his integrity ( 1 Corinthians 10:13). God later showed Job his way of escape, by having him pray for his brothers who were about to be afflicted by God because of their sins. Job was in the midst of affliction and knew what it was like. He had the compassion on his friends that they did not deserve, because they had mocked Job as a sinner. In this sense, Job served as a type and figure of Christ. Jesus had no sin, yet He partook of flesh and blood, and partook of our affliction so that He could be a faithful High Priest, who could understand and sympathize with our afflictions and failures ( Hebrews 4:15).
1 Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Hebrews 4:15, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
If one looks at the events that take place within the book of Job, it is easy to see the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ symbolically played out. For example:
1. Just as Job was the richest man of the east before his trial ( Job 1:3), so was Jesus Christ the most exalted in the presence of His Father before being born of Mary.
2. As Job was "perfect and upright," so was Jesus in His heavenly office before the Father ( Job 1:1).
Job 1:1, "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil."
3. Both Jesus and Job were tested and struck down by Satan as a part of the Father's divine plan ( Job 1:12).
Job 1:12, "And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD."
4. As Job's three kinsmen unjustly accused him of sin throughout the book, so did the Jews, Jesus' kinsmen, unjustly condemn their Savior.
5. Job and the Lord Jesus Christ suffered more and were blessed more than any other biblical figures in the Scriptures.
6. As Jesus found no mediator on the Cross when He cried, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me," so did Job find no intercessor in his cry ( Job 9:33).
Job 9:33, "Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both."
Job did not have an intercessor as we do today. We now have Jesus to intercede for us. We see in this book man's inability to intercede and plead for himself before Almighty God, and our need for an intercessor. In John 5:39, Job also testifies of Jesus, and our need for an intercessor.
John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
7. Both Jesus and Job knew of the resurrection of their bodies.
Job 19:25-26, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:"
Psalm 16:9-10, "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
8. In their time of greatest need, both Jesus and Job were exalted by acts of intercession as they became mediators for others in the midst of their suffering, Job praying for his three friends, and Jesus praying for the thief on the cross ( Job 42:10 and Luke 23:39-43) as well as becoming our Great Intercessor.
Job 42:8-10, "Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before."
Luke 23:43, "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
Romans 8:34, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
9. Job was a messenger to his generation that a Redeemer is coming, who will deliver us from our sins, and resurrect us in the last day.
Job 19:25-26, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:"
Just as King David stood as a type and figure of the coming Messiah, who would defeat Satan and become King, and as King Solomon was a type and figure of Jesus in His Resurrection power as King of Kings over all the earth, God used Job as a type and figure of Jesus Christ's role as our Great High Priest, who ever lives to intercede in our behalf.
Did not Job believe God heard his prayers in the midst of his prosperity? How much more should God hear him in the midst of his suffering? In a mighty display of nature's energy, a whirlwind approaches Job, and a divine voice begins to come forth and speak to Job ( Job 38-41). God now reveals His true character to Job because his friends had misrepresented Him. He reveals Himself as the omnipotent Creator of the universe, who daily watches over each aspect of His creatures with love and concern through His omniscience and omnipresence. More specifically, God reveals that He alone is just and Job and all of mankind are in need of redemption through faith in God. In man's fallen condition since the Garden of Eden, all of creation has been made subject to vanity and endures suffering. God will now lead Job into an act of intercession for his friends in order to receive his own deliverance as a testimony that man will have to redeem himself. Yet, what man is qualified to redeem mankind? Job will understand that it must be a Prayer of Manasseh, a man who was righteous before God, a man who must suffer, a man who must be an intercessor, that will redeem mankind. The fullness of this revelation will come at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, when God Himself becomes a man to redeem His people, and with it, all of creation.
God uses people today as a testimony of God's redemption. One of the most amazing examples is seen in the life and ministry of Pastor Robert Nichols of Calvary Cathedral International, Fort Worth, Texas. In the 1990's his daughter fell into a serious coma, which has lingered into its second decade. In 2000 a tornado destroyed the historic downtown church building. Despite these events, and other challenges, Pastor Nichols continued to stay faithful to his calling and church ministries, not abandoning the revivals, bible school, Christian school academy, 24-hour prayer ministry, or missionary work. In the settling of the insurance claim, the property was sold and the church relocated on a prime piece of real estate that was twice the size in acreage and in floor space. The Lord had restored to him "double for his trouble", as he now says. Through this modern-day testimony, many others have a clear understanding of God's plan of redemption for prospering His people in this life, as well as in eternity.
Patient Endurance Through Trials While Maintaining a Heart of Integrity Brings God's Mercies of Redemption Upon Us- The third theme of the book of Job involves the response of the recipient to God's divine calling revealed in its primary and secondary themes. As believers we are to live a crucified life daily through obedience to the divine calling given in this book, which is to endure hardships through faith in Christ Jesus, our Redeemer.
A possible theme of the book of Job is "Patient Endurance Through Trials Brings God's Mercies Upon Us," or "Faith in God Triumphs over Suffering." This book serves as a testimony of our eternal hope in God. One question raised in this book Isaiah, "Why does Job suffer?" However, a broader question that is raised in this book is to ask why the righteous suffer. Now, it is easy to explain the sufferings of unrighteous men; for they are simply reaping what they have sown. We can find a reason for the suffering of good people, for surely they have done enough wrong to justify some measure of suffering. However, when we see a perfect man like Job suffering, we have to ask a more mature question, and inquire into the heavenlies in order to understand the way our sovereign Maker, who watches over us, deals with men. But in order to find such an answer, we must have an encounter with God. This is what takes place in the end; God reveals Himself to Job in a way that even the most perfect and upright man that lived on earth finds no justification before a righteous God; rather, he too, must declare himself sinful and in need of redemption as all other men. This is the final testimony that Job brings to his friends, as he comes to realize that we all stand in need of a "daysman," a redeemer, in order to stand before a righteous God. Such a testimony, which is Job's answer to his suffering, becomes a universal testimony that must apply to all men, rather than an explanation for suffering that fits a particular person and situation, as is the case with the unrighteous with their suffering. Job's testimony serves as a divine principle rather than an earthly evaluation, and his words hold divine authority over our ways on earth.
The book of Job opens by placing emphasis upon the fact that this man is perfect and upright. But his three friends set out to ask the earthly question of why Job is suffering. Eliphaz sees Job's suffering as a result of his sins. Job defends his character, but does not have an answer as to why this is happening to him.
Job did not reap these calamities due to sin in his life, which was the accusation of Job"s three friends; because the Scripture tells us the Job was perfect and upright ( Job 2:3).
Job 2:3, "And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright Prayer of Manasseh, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause."
Amidst the inaccurate accusations of his three friends, the Scriptures tell us that Job held fast to his integrity.
Job 27:5-6, "God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live."
God"s trust in Job was revealed when God vindicated him (upheld by evidence). God trusted Job during his sufferings. Faith triumphed over his sufferings.
John 2:24-25, "But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man."
There is one mention of Job in the New Testament. It is found in James 5:11.
James 5:11, "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."
This is because the theme of the book of James can also be found in the book of Job. According to James 5:11, there are two things that God wants us to see in this story of Job:
1. Job's patience, endurance and ability to endure hardness. Job never cursed God despite his trials.
2. God"s mercy towards Job at the end, restoring and healing Job. God did not have to intervene. God, in His sovereignty, could rightfully allow Satan to work in Job's life. God mercifully restored Job. God interceded and restored Job only after Job first interceded for his friends.
According to the book of James, counting it all joy does not mean that we have to laugh and be excited about the distressful situations in life. Rather, God considers a Christian in the midst of trials to be joyful when they are patiently enduring the storm, while they allow the peace of God calm their inner souls. We are given Job in this epistle as an example of someone who learned to count it all joy in the midst of trials. It is this peace that produces a joy that is unexplainable. But the only way to walk in peace and joy in the midst of the storm is by drawing near to God ( James 4:8). It is in this place of rest and trusting in God to carry us through that we can find true peace and joy. It is in God's presence that the Holy Spirit will come and fill our hearts with joy, which the Scriptures call "joy unspeakable and full of glory." ( 1 Peter 1:8)
The manifestation of this inner peace in the midst of a storm is called "endurance" in this epistle. James 5:11 says, "Behold, we count them happy which endure." The theme of the book of James is not that you have to laugh during your trials of affliction, although there may be times to do so. But "counting it all joy" means that we allow the peace of God that passes all understanding to guard our hearts from overwhelming sorrow and despair ( Philippians 4:7).
Philippians 4:7, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
God wants to bring us into a place of resting in Him, where we keep our peace while the storms rage. Song of Solomon, James is not referring to the outward joy that the world expresses during afflictions when it says, "Let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!" ( Isaiah 22:13) Rather, is it an inner peace and strength that abides within our hearts that God is leading us into. Thus, "counting it all joy" is a decision that one takes in faith, believing that God will carry him through. We may be afraid or distressed at the beginning, but this decision will bring us into God's presence to see an Almighty God who is in control of our lives. This is the way that God revealed Himself to Job when this man of righteousness drew near to Him.
After Job's trial began in the first two chapters, he spends much of his time justifying his own innocence against such an affliction. Job did not believe that he deserved such a trial, but his revelation of God in the final chapters ( Job 38-41) helped him to refocus onto heavenly things and to look beyond his suffering. With the revelation of God's overwhelming creative power and foreknowledge of all things, Job was able to look beyond his own circumstances and his situation from a divine perspective. Job began to see that his situation was only a piece of a much greater picture of events that were in the hands of an all-knowing and Almighty God who cared about the details of His creation. With this in mind, he stopped asking for a mediator to justify himself and was able to become a mediator for his friends, thus receiving deliverance for himself. Job began to exercise acts of righteousness and love as he once had before his tragedy. While he was complaining before God, he was not sowing seeds of righteousness that would lead to his own deliverance. But the moment that Job prayed for his friends is the moment that his situation began to turn around.
Job 42:10, "And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before."
His deliverance happened because Job stopped focusing on himself and his circumstances and moved back into the realm of sowing in righteousness, which he had walked in before the tragedy. The blessings began to flow when he got back on the path of walking in the divine virtues. But why was praying for his friends so significant in the Job's deliverance? The reason is because Job's greatest need at that time in his life was for an intercessor to stand between him and God in order to declare Job's righteousness. Job had cried out for such an intercessor and found none ( Job 9:33). Therefore, this was the first act of love that Job realized that he could do.
Job 9:33, "Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both."
Because Job sowed in the area of the greatest need in his life, he was able to reap the same reward, being justified and restored by God.
It is interesting to note that the book of Job opens with a declaration of Job's prosperity and a description of his acts of worship by offering sacrifices to the Lord. This book ends with Job's friends offering a sacrifice to God that Job interceded for and a declaration of his regained prosperity. It can be pointed out within this context that Satan robbed Job of the ability to make such sacrifices, but God made provision for Job by providing this sacrifice through his three friends. The number seven used in the sacrifices that the Lord provided for Job to use through his friends represents a divine provision. This is symbolic of the divine provision that God will one day give to us by sending His Son as the sacrifice for our sins. Thus, Job was able to renew his acts of sacrifice and prayer which then turned his captivity onto a course of deliverance and restoration.
Before his encounter with God, he could have never understood how his tragedy and deliverance would one day become recorded in the eternal Word of God and used as a testimony and source of hope for millions of lives throughout history. After his divine encounter with God, he was able to see that God's hand was upon his life, regardless of the situation. He began to understand that the responsibility of coming through this tragedy victoriously rested upon his shoulders and not God's. The Lord knew Job's heart and spiritual insight into the divine principles of sowing and reaping a harvest of blessings. Thus, the Lord knew that in the midst of his trial, Job would exercise such acts of righteousness and reap a harvest of victory.
As long as Job focused upon his own needs, he gained no victory, even though his needs were real and very destruction. Job had to focus upon the needs of others and to sow into their lives in order to come through victoriously. God believed in Job enough to know he would come through.
IX. Literary Structure
Here is a proposed theme for the book of Job.
Prologue ( Acts 1 : God the Father's Predestination and Calling) ( Job 1:1 to Job 2:13) - Job 1:1 to Job 2:13 serves as a prologue to the book of Job, providing the setting for the speeches that are to follow. This opening story describes Job's prosperity and righteous standing before God. Satan comes before God's throne and challenges God's standard of righteousness upon the man Job. God allows Satan to take everything away from Job, his possessions and his children, but requires that Satan spare his life. Still, Job exhibits God's standard of righteousness.
In the prologue to the book of Job ( Job 1:1 to Job 2:13), God reveals His predestined divine plan and purpose for mankind ( Job 1:1-5), which is prosperity for those who walk upright before Him; and God calls Job to demonstrate righteousness and prosperity to his generation ( Job 1:6 to Job 2:13). Regarding God's predestination, Job's godly character and prosperity serves as a testimony of mankind's divine predestination upon earth, which reflects God's original divine commission in the Garden of Eden ( Genesis 1:26-28), which is to be fruitful, multiply, and take dominion upon the earth. Regarding man's divine calling, after prospering Job, God then called this man to demonstrate to his generation the fact that Job's prosperity was a result of divine blessings, rather than from Job's own abilities. Thus, it was necessary for God to remove Job's prosperity entire, and restore it two-fold as a sign to his generation that Job's prosperity came from God because of his right standing before God. Job's suffering and restoration of blessings was intended to establish righteousness in the heart of the men of his generation so that He could prosper them as well. Unfortunately, it was necessary for Job to suffer in order to serve as a testimony to his generation.
God reveals His divine destiny and calling to establish righteousness, or full redemption, for mankind through the testimony of Job's prosperity in every area of his life. However, the method that full, eternal redemption is obtained for mankind will be through suffering, and God called His Son Jesus Christ to suffer loss by divesting Himself of His heavenly prosperity, and taking on the seed of Prayer of Manasseh, born of a virgin, and suffer on the Cross ( Philippians 2:5-8), to be resurrected and seated at God's right hand, and enjoying a greater prosperity by bringing many sons of men to glory ( Philippians 2:9-11, Hebrews 2:10). Thus, Job serves as a type and figure of Christ's redemption for mankind. For this reason, the issue of suffering is immediately presented to the reader in this opening passage of Scripture ( Job 1:6 to Job 2:13). Job is called by God to go through a season of intense suffering beyond what any righteous man has endured in the past. However, he will be redeemed by God in the closing scene and be used to redeem his three friends. Thus, we see Job as a type and figure of Christ, who endured suffering so that He might redeem his generation. As we serve the Lord in this way we become like Christ in that we are used as divine instruments to bring about redemption for our generation.
Dialogues with Job Regarding His Justification ( Acts 2 : Justification) ( Job 3:1 to Job 42:9) - Job 32:1 to Job 37:24 Job 3:1 to Job 42:9, which makes up the major portion of this book, consists of dialogues between Job and others regarding his justification. Dialogue Between and His Three Friends (Scene 1) ( Job 32:1 to Job 37:24) - Job 32:1 to Job 37:24 contains the first set of dialogues, in which Job's three friends engage in three rounds of accusations against Job, with him offering three defenses of his righteousness. Thus, Job and his friends are able to confirm each of their views with three speeches, since the Scriptures tell us that a matter is confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses ( 2 Corinthians 13:1). The underlying theme of this lengthy dialogue is man's attempt to explain how a person is justified before God. Job will express his intense grief ( Job 3:1-26), in which his three friends will answer by finding fault with Job. He will eventually respond to this condemnation in a declaration of faith that God Himself will provide a redeemer, who shall stand on earth in the latter days ( Job 19:25-27). This is generally understood as a reference to the coming of Jesus Christ to redeem mankind from their sins.
Job's declaration of his redeemer in Job 19:23-29, which would be recorded for ever, certainly moved the heart of God. This is perhaps the most popular passage in the book of Job, and reflects the depth of Job's suffering and plea to God for redemption. God certainly answered his prayer by recording Job's story in the eternal Word of God and by allowing Job to meet His Redeemer in Heaven. I can imagine God being moved by this prayer of Job and moving upon earth to provide someone to record Job's testimony, and moving in the life of a Prayer of Manasseh, such as Abraham, to prepare for the Coming of Christ. Perhaps it is this prayer that moved God to call Abraham out of the East and into the Promised Land.
The order in which these three friends deliver their speeches probably reflects their age of seniority, or their position in society.
Scene 1 First Round of Speeches Job 3:1 to Job 14:22
Scene 2 Second Round of Speeches Job 15:1 to Job 21:34
Scene 3 Third Round of Speeches Job 22:1 to Job 31:40
Elihu's Speech to Job and Three Friends (Scene 2) ( Job 32:1 to Job 37:24) - Job 32:1 to Job 37:24 contains a speech from a young man named Elihu, who condemns the statements made by Job's three friends. Elihu purposes in his speech to teach wisdom ( Job 33:33).
God's Speech to Job (Scene 3) ( Job 38:1 to Job 42:9) - In Job 38:1 to Job 42:9 God reveals Himself to Job as the Almighty God, able to do anything. This passage concludes by Job reaffirming his faith in Almighty God.
God's First Speech Job 38:1 to Job 40:2
Job's Reply Job 40:3-5
God's Second Speech Job 40:6 to Job 41:34
Job's Reply Job 42:1-6
Job Restores Friends Job 42:7-9
Conclusion ( Acts 3 : Glorification) ( Job 42:10-17) - Job 42:10-17 serves as the conclusion to this great story by providing the scene of Job's restoration and redemption.
X. Outline of Book
Here is a proposed outline of the book of Job:
I. Prologue ( Acts 1)— Job 1:1 to Job 2:13
A. Introduction: Job's Uprightness & Prosperity— Job 1:1-5
B. Scene 1: Satan's 1st Accusation Against Job— Job 1:6-22
C. Scene 2: Satan's 2nd Accusation Against Job— Job 2:1-13
II. Job's Dialogues Regarding Justification ( Acts 2)— Job 3:1 to Job 42:9
A. Scene 1: Job's Three Friends— Job 3:1 to Job 31:40
1. First Round of Speeches— Job 3:1 to Job 14:22
Introduction: Job Expresses His Grief— Job 3:1-26
a) Eliphaz' First Speech— Job 4:1 to Job 5:27
Job's Reply— Job 6:1 to Job 7:21
b) Bildad's First Speech— Job 8:1-22
Job's Reply— Job 9:1 to Job 10:22
c) Zophar's First Speech— Job 11:1-20
Job's Reply— Job 12:1 to Job 14:22
2. Second Round of Speeches— Job 15:1 to Job 21:34
a) Eliphaz' Second Speech— Job 15:1-35
Job's Reply— Job 16:1 to Job 17:16
b) Bildad's Second Speech— Job 18:1-21
Job's Reply— Job 19:1-29
c) Zophar's Second Speech— Job 20:1-29
Job's Reply— Job 21:1-34
3. Third Round of Speeches— Job 22:1 to Job 31:40
a) Eliphaz' Third Speech— Job 22:1-30
Job's Reply— Job 23:1 to Job 24:25
b) Bildad's Second Speech— Job 25:1-6
Job's Reply— Job 26:1 to Job 28:28
Conclusion: Job's Summarizes His Defense— Job 29:1 to Job 31:40
B. Scene 2: Elihu's Speech to Job, 3Friends — Job 32:1 to Job 37:24
1. Introduction— Job 32:1-5
2. Elihu Condemns Job's Three Friends— Job 32:6-22
3. Elihu Addresses Job— Job 33:1-33
4. Elihu's Second Speech to Job's Three Friends— Job 34:1-37
5. Elihu's Second Speech to Job— Job 35:1 to Job 37:24
C. Scene 3: God's Speeches to Job— Job 38:1 to Job 42:6
1. God's First Speech— Job 38:1 to Job 40:2
God Asks Job for Dialogue— Job 38:1-3
God As Creator of the Earth— Job 38:4-38
God Created the Earth— Job 38:4-7
God Created the Seas— Job 38:8-11
God Created Day and Night— Job 38:12-15
The Depths and Breath of the Sea & Earth— Job 38:16-18
God Created Light and Darkness— Job 38:19-21
God Created Snow and Ice— Job 38:22-30
God Created the Stars & Constellations— Job 38:31-33
God Created the Clouds— Job 38:34-38
God As Sustainer of the Life on the Earth— Job 38:39 to Job 39:30
God Sustains the Lion— Job 38:39-40
God Sustains the Raven— Job 38:41
God Sustains the Wild Goats & Deer— Job 39:1-4
God Sustains the Wild Donkey— Job 39:5-8
God Sustains the Wild Ox— Job 39:9-12
God Sustains the Ostrich— Job 39:13-18
God Sustains the Horse— Job 39:19-25
God Sustains the Hawk— & Eagle— Job 39:26-30
God Concludes His First Speech— Job 40:1-2
Job's Reply— Job 40:3-5
2. God's Second Speech— Job 40:6 to Job 42:10
God's Challenge to Job— Job 40:6-14
Behemoth— Job 40:15-24
Leviathan— Job 41:1-34
Job's Reply— Job 42:1-6
Job Restores Friends— Job 42:7-9
III. Epilogue ( Acts 3) - God Restores Job Two-fold— Job 42:10-17
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the First Week after Epiphany