Job’s Piety and Patience

Job was a man who was prepared to understand his trials because he understood his God. We need to understand what it means to be prepared for God-appointed calamity in our lives. The author of Job is seeking to convey to the reader that Job was the last person on earth that anyone expected to endure such calamity.

We can learn from the life of Job what God’s grace did to develop his life and what it means to be prepared for any degree of calamity that God might allow or appoint to our circumstances.

Job’s Piety

Job’s piety is demonstrated through how much his family loved each other (Job 1:4-5). Piety is seen through the love of Job’s family unit. Job developed his relationships with his family according to the grace of God and not rules. He lived the character of God in a sincere way before his children. It was Job’s life on open display before his family, being developed by the grace of God, which allowed his family to learn who God was.

There are some conclusions we can draw from the virtues of grace in Job’s life. Job 1:5 depicts the reverent, habitual way Job lived his life. There are three questions we need to ask about this reverent way Job lived his life: What did Job value? What did Job discern? And what did Job require of himself?

Job's Values

Wisdom literature has been given to teach us how to live life. Scripture teaches us how Job lived day-to-day before his family. Job valued his children’s spiritual welfare, but not as an obsessive anxiety. Job feared God, knowing the peace of God and the ability of the grace of God to walk in the will of God. Job lived his life at a steady, Spirit-filled spiritual pace, modeling this before his children.

2 Timothy 3:16 teaches us that all Scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and for training in righteousness. What are some ways we can live our lives to value the spiritual welfare of children or those younger than us? Who might God have us model this behavior before? The following are some questions to consider:

  • Do we pray for our children or those younger than us? Do they know that we do?
  • Do they know we have a relationship with God and His Word?
  • Do we talk with them about how we try to walk with God and discuss with them how difficult it can be at times?
  • Do we know enough about God to be able to apply Him to everyday situations?
  • Can we walk our children through how God would have us handle temptation, failure, success, mean people, kind people, hard stops that God allows in our lives, and even the continued favor He grants us?
  • Have we shared how and why we have come to certain convictions in our lives? Have we lovingly let them know from Scripture why and where we stand on certain things?
  • Can we talk about sin with our children and still have compassion for the sinner?
  • Are we generally interested in how these children view life through the lens of God?
  • When was the last time we gave our testimony to a child and invited them to share their testimony?

Ephesians 6:4 teaches us not to provoke children unto wrath but to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. These questions are about rearing young people in the Lord and learning how to live Deuteronomy 6:1-5. All day long, sunrise to sunset, we are to live God’s character naturally, not oppressively, with them. Living and speaking the character of God, we are the conduit of the glory of God in Christ Jesus. It ought to be as natural for us to communicate spiritual character and life as it is for us to breathe. This way of living should become an involuntary, spontaneous, consistent reality in our relationships.

Job's Discernment

Job was not merely concerned with the outward conformity of godliness in his children. He was truly concerned for their hearts, their personal and intimate walk with God. He desired his children to be sensitive to how their sin affected their relationship with God. Job knew that the sin of his children did not separate them from him but from their Creator. He wanted his children to know the forgiveness of God.

If Job was living today, he would want his children to know that the wrath of God that abides upon the children of disobedience has been appeased and satisfied in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Job wanted his children’s hearts to be right with God and with man. Job said in the Job 1:5 that perhaps his children had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Job was not like Eli (1 Samuel 2:12-25) who never discussed sin and its influence in his children’s lives, therefore costing the children their lives physically and spiritually.

In contrast, Job was readily praying, worshipping, and serving with his children because he desired for them to know what God thought about sin. He desired for his children to develop a healthy introspection and examination of their own sin and their responsibility towards God for it. We can have rules that show our children how broken they are, but this should not be the exclusive strategy. We can have a tender relationship with them testifying how broken we are. We can share with them how much we stand in desperate need of the forgiveness of God through Christ in our own lives, at salvation and to maintain our fellowship with Him.

Can we prioritize the purity of the hearts of our children? Are we willing to do that? An effectual way to keep before our children their own fallenness and their own need for forgiveness from a loving and gracious God is to answer each of the above nine questions above in imitation of Job’s piety. As we incorporate those nine questions into the relationship we have with those young people under our care, inevitably, they will come to a point where they will see where they stand before God. It naturally happens as godly, loving relationships develop.

Job's Requirements

Job took the lead as a family priest, taking the spiritual lead for the care of his family. He led by an example of love. He loved in such a way that he could ask, and not demand, his children to follow his example. Job’s children were not legalistically shaped religious robots, nor cold, spiritual rubber stamps of his legalism. They were exemplary children because they had a godly father.

Job required of himself that he humbly model God’s loving grace in his children’s lives. The latter part of the book of Job details for us the godly character he lived before his children. Job 29:7-11 tells how Job was highly respected in his own community, respected by even those who did not walk with God. Job 29:7, 12-17 tells us that he was a highly respected judge in legal and civic matters. Job’s children would have seen the consistency of how Job loved the people of town as he loved them at home. Job 29:21-25 tells us Job was a wise counselor, modeling the ability to help others in areas of practical living: marriage, child rearing, and walking with God.

Job’s children knew he was a man of wealth, all of which was gifted by God. His children would have had the opportunity to watch him love and express patience and discernment with those who were under his employ (Job 31:13-15, 38, 39). They would have observed Job’s hospitality when accepting strangers into his home. Job allowed his children to witness God’s grace and how it had developed his character as well (Job 31:16-21).

Job took it upon himself to live responsibly before his children in the area of moral purity (Job 31:1, 9-12). He was a man of moral conviction, conveying God’s way to his children by how he lived and what he said. Job was respected in the community as a valued judge, a wise counselor, a gracious employer, a hospitable person, someone who lived God’s morality in sexual purity before his children. Job was all of these things because he feared God, which compels us to live wisely. Job lived these values consistently before his children, leading in all these areas. We need to choose the same.

Job knew the family was a physical and spiritual unit, established by God to function together for eternal purposes. God has always chosen to use groups of people to do His will: individual households in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel, our families, and our church, the body of Christ. Among God’s spiritual units, individuals are not created and gifted to exist alone or out in front or apart from that unit. God’s units for eternal purposes are teams. 1 Corinthians 12 calls the family of Christ a body. This is always the primary focus of eternal attention and purpose.

Anyone seeking to act as an individual apart from the body distracts from the body and from the purpose of its focus. The family is a gift of God to show us the indivisibility of God and his beauty, whether we have children or not. Spouses pour the love of God into each other’s lives unto eternal purpose. We do the same when we gather as a body to glorify God in worship and to be equipped to go and do eternal work together in our community through the spread of the gospel. The glory of this age is the body of Christ and its head, Christ.

Job did not make an idol out of his family unit or idolize his children. Even when Job lost all ten of his children, his response reflected that God was his everything, not his children (Job 1:21, 2:10). He knew that his children were not his but God’s. Job loved his family, the unit God had given him, nurturing it according to God’s character because it was God’s unit. He modeled the character of God and led in worship of God because it was God’s family.

Our value is found in the head of the body of Christ and in the eternal function of that body, that God might be seen and Jesus Christ exalted.

Job’s Patience

Where does the statement "the patience of Job" come from? James 5:7-11 instructs us of the patience, steadfastness, and endurance of Job. Job sought to model the character of God among those under and around him by living before them the patience of God.

Four of the six times the word "patience" is mentioned in this text, the word is the same used to describe the patience of God in 2 Peter 3:9. God is not willing that any man should suffer or perish, but He is patient toward all. He is not slow concerning his own promise but is patient. The first four times the word patience is used in James 5:7-11, James is telling the church to be patient with each other, enduring with people that have rubbed them the wrong way or offended them. The character of God would have us be patient with people. God’s patience can be our patience with others as we endure over long periods of time, modeling the character of God before others.

The last two times the word patience is used (James 5:11), the meaning is to endure under the heaviest of afflictions. Because trials are going to come, the people who knew him would have seen Job persevering under trials long before the calamity of Job 1. James 5:11 has us consider how consistent Job was in his walk with God by enduring well before others.

Application Points

  • Are you developing family relationships in love and according to the grace of God rather than with rules and legalism? God desires for us to model His character sincerely before our families so each one might learn who God is.
  • Do you value your (biological or spiritual) children’s spiritual welfare, their personal and intimate walk with God? God would have us live our lives before our children with a steady, Spirit-filled spiritual pace.
  • How central is the body of Christ to your personal identity and purpose? Our value is found in the head of the body of Christ and in the eternal function of that body, that God might be seen and Jesus Christ exalted. Are you trying to pursue another purpose on your own?
  • Are you patient with those in your personal family and church family? God’s patience can be our patience with others as we endure over long periods of time, modeling the character of God before others.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:12 – Patience.
  • 1 Peter 4:19 reminds us during trials to entrust ourselves to a faithful Creator while continuing to do good things.
  • Recommended article: "The Pastor and an Unmessianic Sense of Non Destiny" by Carl Trueman demonstrates the consequences of wrong teaching in the church body.

Charles Spurgeon said, “In heaven we shall see that we had not one trial too many.”

Elisabeth Elliot commented on 2 Corinthians 12:9, “The promise is ‘My grace is sufficient,’ not ‘My grace will abolish your thorns.’"