James 5:10-11 NKJV
Job 42:12-17 NKJV
Job 1:11-13 NKJV
Job 42:1-9 NKJV
Job Chapters 4-25
2 Corinthians 1:8-9, NCV
Job is not the only example in the Old Testament or in the New Testament of saints who endured suffering, but Job was the saint that James chose as an example. The 1st Century Historian Josephus wrote that Jewish Authorities stoned James, the brother of Jesus sometime between 62 and 69 A.D. They charged him with breaking the law which was a common reason for martyring Christians at the time (John Painter. Just James The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition. University of South Carolina Press 2014, pp 128–30).
During the latter part of the 1st Century, most of the followers of Jesus (Christians) were executed and martyred by the Roman government under the Emperor Nero. The only apostle historians believe was not martyred was John who had been exiled on the Island of Patmos.
Even though Job was not martyred, the Old Testament tells of his great suffering and patience.
In James 5:10-11 we read, “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”
James used Job as an example not only because of his suffering, but because of God’s compassionate and tender mercy after his time of suffering. We read in Job 42:12-17:
“Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations.”
When we read about God’s great restoration of Job after his suffering, it’s no wonder why James used Job as an example of God’s compassion and mercy!
The other element about Job that makes him a great example of suffering and patience is the role his friends played when he was in the middle of his trial. His friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar turned out to be very wrong in their assessment of what God was doing to and through Job.
Even though their intentions looked good (in Job 1:11-13 when they went to see Job they tore their clothes and seemed to support him) their speeches in Job chapters 4-25 showed they didn’t actually support their friend Job. Their advice to Job was all about naming and blaming why God brought suffering on Job. In the end in Job 42:7-9 we read,
“And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job.”
The Lord brought good from the suffering trial Job endured.
According to what James wrote in James 5:11, Job was blessed because he endured the trial. In the end, God was compassionate and merciful to Job. Indeed, in Job 42:1-6, we find Job’s confession to God in Job 42:2-3, “ ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
Job had suffered but it was for a reason.
Job was patient as he suffered.
Even though Job’s three friends accused him of deserving his suffering, the truth came out in the end.
God had suffered with Job and in the end He was compassionate and merciful.
As we face various trials, it’s no different for us. God suffers with us. God does not make us suffer for no reason and in the end, God is compassionate and merciful.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 we learn, “Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the trouble we suffered in Asia. We had great burdens there that were beyond our own strength. We even gave up hope of living. Truly, in our own hearts we believed we would die. But this happened so we would not trust in ourselves but in God, who raises people from the dead.”
Our suffering is not in vain. God has a purpose and a plan. We rely on God.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Rely on God
If you are in a trial or have been in a trial, consider how your suffering helped you to rely on God.
In God, Deborah