The Theme of Job - Not Suffering but Love

The Book of Job is not about suffering but rather of God's love and Job's response to His love. Job's put God above his sufferings and his family. He was transformed from fear of God's punishment into security in the love of God for him. Study the book of Job and get the right perspectives to priority of life.
Many people think that the Book of Job is about suffering. But suffering is a means and not the end. The suffering of Job changed Job from a person of fear to a person secured in the love of God. It is about what is the most important thing in our life. Do we love God above ourselves, our family and our possessions. Do we love God so much that we are willing to suffer for Him. Jesus gives us the example. He is willing to sacrifice Himself for us that we all may be reconciled back to God the Father. Job's suffering enables him to know God in ways that he never knew before.  We can see that in:
  • Job 42:5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. 
Job's concept of God before his suffering is:

God is a God of Justice. God will rewards the good and punish the sins of men.

Job lives in fear of disobeying God that will result in the punishment by God. 

  • Job 3:25 What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.

He was so fearful that he made sacrifices for sins for his children just in case.

  • Job 1:5 ... and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Job's friends had the same concept of God. Since they saw the loss and suffering of Job, they concluded, though wrongly, that Job must have sinned that caused the punishments from God. They told Job to repent and be healed. But Job said that He did not sin and asked them to point out his sins. His friends could not point out any particular sin of Job. In Job 42:7, God gave his approval of Job and condemned the error of Job's friends. 
  • Job 42:7  After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 
Job's Concept of God after his encounter with God is:

1. God is all powerful. Nothing can stop God.  He knew that earlier but with his personal encounter with God, he experienced, saw and realised how powerful God was.
  •  Job 42:2 "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
2. Job realised his ignorance.
  • Job 42:3 Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 
3. God is Love besides being just and God loves him
  • Job 38-41, God shows Job the entire universe created by Him was meant for living in abundance, in beauty and in joy.  Even for the monsters in the land and sea, God take care of them. How much more God will care for man, created in His image and for His fellowship. 
  • Job 42:4 Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.' Job was satisfied with God's answers. It could have come earlier. But God waited for men, Job's friends to provide their erroneous theology of God first. Man's theology did not give Job the satisfactory answer. 
4. No Fear anymore as Job is secure in the love, power and justice of God.
  • If God is all powerful and God loves you, then you don't have to fear no matter what. Job realised Paul's encourage to us in Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. So that all can as in Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! and 1 Thes 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
5. One more special thing - God revealed to Job the happening in the spiritual world.
  • In Job 1, we see the spiritual happenings before the physical happening in our earthly world. Most people are upset with this - how could God use man as the game tokens in His fight with God? Why get man involved and especially get man to suffer?
  • As we have seen earlier, suffering is not the end. The purpose is the blessings and maturity that comes from it. God knew Job will pass the test as God surpasses the limit of time. God know the end from the beginning. The test brings out the virtues that Job did not know himself. Job put God first inspite of the loss and sufferings. It cured Job's fear and gain Job's peace in God's love. Job's victory gives evidence to support God's punishment of the devils, who were created superior to men, like Job. The inferior being, Job, knows to worship and trust God yet the susperior spiritual beings rebel against God. They have no excuses as they know more about God, His  attributes and power than the man Job. It also points towards the suffering of Christ for man. As Abraham sacrifice Isaac, God sacrifice His Son. As Job suffer for God so did Christ for man. God finds men who He can use to bring greater blessings for men.
What about you?
What is your concepts of God? Do you live in fear of God? How much do you think God love you? Your answer determines how you response in times of disappointmensts, sufferings and persecution. Do you have peace in the midst of such challenging times?

May you come to know God personally and be secured in His love and holiness.

Lim Liat (c) 2 Nov 2015

See also 3 Life Lessons from the Last Chapter of Job
Or better still, study the Book of Job in Table of Contents.