Job’s Perspective

Job is a book of wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10). Wisdom is not merely knowledge. Wisdom is living the knowledge of God’s will, being able to apply what we know. The genuinely saved person longs to know the will of God and perseveres in living it. Job 1:1 describes Job as blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil, giving us a brief description of the person of Job and his character.

What Perspective Can We Gain From Job?

In Ezekiel 14, Israel, having walked away from God, is suffering self-inflicted agony because of their disobedience. Job did not suffer because of his sin, but Israel was. In both Ezekiel 14:14 and Ezekiel 14:20, God through Ezekiel speaks of Noah, Daniel, and Job. In the midst of Israel’s troubles, these souls were lifted up as examples of faith.

People of faith, who know the knowledge of God and wisely fear Him and live His will, are the people who thrive amid any struggle because they have been prepared to. Israel needed to look back. A lack of wisdom led them to their trouble, and an ignorance of knowing God personally kept them there. These three men are given as examples to Israel as righteously living the will of God with proper perspective in their time.

What prepared Job so well to live in a time of suffering? It was his doctrine, his understanding of God. Job understood the person of God and was compelled by grace to have a deepening relationship with God, because he fully trusted God.

For the believer who is prepared for appointed suffering, knowing God and fearing Him is a timeless characteristic for a life governed by the Spirit of God. This understanding of relationship with the Lord is what tempers and guides our lives when things are good or difficult. A life forward in faith, regardless of circumstances, is born out of a personal and deepening understanding of our heavenly Father.

Job’s Past and Present

We are not told much about Job’s past. In the prologue of Job, it is wise to notice the integrity of Job’s life in his present. What is current about Job tells us what he has done with his past.

Those who are prepared for appointed suffering have embraced the grace of God to deal with their past, so they know how to live wisely in their present.

For genuine people of faith, our lives are not defined or governed by our past (Philippians 1:6). Jesus Christ defines us. The indwelling of the Spirit of God molds us into His likeness, beginning the moment we were saved, and all by His grace. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes that we are new creatures in Christ, that old things have passed away, and that all things are become new.

What we know from Job’s life is that he placed his faith in God and knew God’s grace. This allowed him to live wisely in his present, not allowing his past to define him.

We live in a world that struggles with their past. Many still live there as victims. God’s grace thrusts us forward toward Christlikeness. Job is living and thriving in his present. His personal pursuit of understanding his God has consumed him. He has been enabled by God’s grace to allow what God is doing with him by faith in his present.

To gain wisdom from this book, we need to live like Job if we are going to be prepared for God-appointed suffering. Believers need to be fervently pursuing God and a better understanding of His person and character. This will release us by grace from anything or anyone that distracts us from our pursuit of the beautiful, powerful, liberating person of God, who makes all things new in Christ.

People who struggle with perspective regarding their pasts will struggle with suffering of any kind in the present.

The Bible does not speak from silence; it just speaks. The prologue speaks of Job’s present, which has everything to do with how he did not allow his past to influence his present. We know Job had knowledge of God and an intimate relationship with God, so therefore, we know he was not stuck in or bitter about the past. He was not resting on the success of his past or the success of his ancestors, let alone the failure of either. He lived in the present with God, and he feared God.

Believers to day need to imitate Job's model in our present. Fearing God in our present, indicating we have dealt well with our past, has a direct effect on how we will endure suffering when it invades our space.

Faith Rooted in Doctrine

So much of our faith is rooted in reasoned principle (dialectical) and not doctrine. Dialectical is defined as a discourse between two of more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned argumentation. Many Christians are more dialectical in their faith than rooted in doctrine, what is simply what God has said.

Job was a man of doctrine. He knew the truth of the person of God, and that was enough. Job did not even have the Word of God in the same form as we do, yet he was a wise man who feared God. He lived wisely, able to live the will of God because he knew the God of that will. He trusted the Almighty. He rested in the character of Yahweh his Lord in his present, so he knew how to do the same in the midst of a fiery trial.

God’s grace compels us to press forward, undistracted by circumstance and uniquely attracted to God. The Spirit-filled believer is consumed by knowing His character and nature and by developing a relationship with His person. Like Job, we need to look up and keep growing.

God is impartial. When we are walking with God, whatever we have is not the result of our ability. God had given Job posterity (ten children), possessions, and promotion (Job 1:2-3). Because Job knew God, he understood all these things had come from God and not from his own ability to walk rightly. God in his sovereignty was pleased to give these things to Job, and Job recognized where they came from. This wisdom literature is written for us to own the perspective that God gave it all.

James 1:9-10, 17 reminds us that God is the giver of every good gift, regardless of how much. James 2:1-9 describes believers who lost perspective of this truth, which could be seen in how they were treating others in their church. God desires for us to know Him as our God, the giver of everything, regardless of the amount. Understanding this helps us remain focused on the God of our Bible. By Job 1:20-22, Job’s posterity, possessions, and promotion had all been removed from him by God-appointed suffering. His response is "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away." Job did not sin or blame God but blessed His name.

Job had perspective regarding his posterity, possessions, and promotion because he knew God. Job recognized that he had no right to speak into anyone’s life because of what he had. All Job enjoyed had been gifted to him by God. He strived to remain satisfied with everything and without anything because posterity, possessions, and promotion did not define him. His satisfaction was never with the gift but with the Giver.

Application Points

  • Is anything in your past proving detrimental to your present? The grace of God in Christ has addressed every area of your past. Have you applied it to your heart and mind? Don't let anything keep you from living for Him in your present.
  • Have you allowed God’s grace to heal and strengthen your heart to the point where you can fully and confidently develop your understanding of Him and intimately walk with Him regardless of what has happened in your past?
  • Does posterity, possession, or position define who you are? God wants you to know Him as your God, the giver of everything, regardless of the amount.
  • Where do you rely more on reason than doctrine in your faith? How can you let God's Word speak to your faith as the final authority over human reasoning?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore

Ezekiel 14:14 and Ezekiel 14:20 mention Noah, Daniel, and Job as examples of persevering under trial. These would be 3 beneficial characters to study.

Study what God’s grace does with your past the moment you are born again.

Examine what God does with the pasts of people in Scripture after they come to know Jesus. What examples can you think of? Ask your discipler, teacher, or pastor if you need examples to get started.