My Old Testament college professor said, “Job is a book you read if your tail is between the cracks.” When we are going through hard times, it is the book to read – it can give us the answers to our questions.
In Job 1-2 Satan appears before God and argues that Job is serving God only because God is good to him – if Job were inflicted with pain “…he will surely curse you to your face.” Job 1:11, 2:4
Satan is the author of evil. Jesus said about him:
“…He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
God created Satan perfectly. He gave Satan a free will. Satan chose to disobey God/sin causing sin and all its consequences to begin. When Adam and Eve chose to listen to Satan (Genesis 3), the consequence of sin, including sickness and death, began on earth.
The prophet Ezekiel said about Satan:
“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” Ezekiel 28:15
Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 concern Lucifer/Satan/the devil.
God let Satan do whatever he wanted to Job (to prove Satan wrong and, ultimately, to bless Job) except harm Job’s body, but later let him inflict painful boils on Job.
Job suffered more in a short time than most of us will suffer in a lifetime. His nine children died, his sheep, goats, camels all died and later his body was covered with painful boils (Job 2:6-7), his wife gave him foolish advice (Job 2:9-10), and his friends condemned him unjustly (Job 4-37). Job’s suffering was so intense that he wished he had never been born (Job 3:3-26).
Job was a righteous man. He had done nothing wrong:
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman…If I have walked with falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit…If I have denied justice to any of my servants…If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless but from my youth I reared them as a father would, and from my birth I guided the widow— if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or the needy without garments…If I have put my trust in gold…if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor, so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage….If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune…no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler—if I have concealed my sin as people do, by hiding my guilt in my heart because I so feared the crowd.” Job 31:1-34
Job questioned God – what had he done wrong? Job accused God of treating him unfairly and wanted a mediater to plead his case:
“If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more.” Job 9:33-34
“(“Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing. Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown. I would give him an account of my every step; I would present it to him as to a ruler.)—” Job 31:35-37
Of course, Job had sinned (though not as much as his friends who were condemning him); he was a man. God says that all have sinned:
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
Job needed to learn that his own righteousness could not put him in right standing with God. No one is righteous enough to enter into the presence of God:
“…There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” Romans 3:10-11
God did provide a Mediator – Jesus Christ, who was perfect, without sin, so that He could die to pay the penalty of sin for everyone:
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
Anyone who believes (that implies obedience) in Jesus will see God – forever.
Job didn’t understand this; he lived before the birth of Jesus. But God made Himself known to Job, just as He had made Himself known to Abraham, Moses, David and many others who would listen:
“Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.” Proverbs 1:20-23
Finally, God spoke to Job. Job knew God’s voice – He had been obeying Him and trying to please Him a long time:
“Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” Job 38:1-8
The Lord continues for two chapters questioning Job by telling of His mighty works.
Job responded after God’s precise direction:
“The LORD said to Job:
“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” Then Job answered the LORD:
“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer— twice, but I will say no more.”
Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
“Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?” Job 40:1-8
The Lord questions Job for two more chapters. Job finally understands:
“Then Job replied to the LORD:
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6
Job saw that he was unworthy of any blessing and repented of accusing God.
Job never knew why he had suffered. But God told Job’s friends they were wrong to accuse Job unfairly (Job 42:7), called Job His servant (Job 42:8) and gave Job twice as much as Job had before (Job 42:10-17). Job must have known that God was pleased with him.
Job’s suffering caused him to search for God. His search caused him to know God. When Job recalls his life, he will say it was worth it all just to know God.
What can we learn about healing from the book of Job?
Satan is the one who causes sickness. Sometimes, like Job, we blame God. God did allow Satan to inflict Job, but it was for God’s glory and for Job’s good:
“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.” Romans 8:28
God allows suffering in our lives for the same reason. If we accept His judgment and cling to Him instead of blaming Him, we will find His mercies are greater than our suffering:
“God is love” 1 John 4 – everything God does is motivated by perfect love
God didn’t heal Job right away (but He did heal him). Notice how Job’s healing was not important compared to God changing Job’s heart. God used Job’s sickness to cause him to search for Himself. Job found God: The blessing of finding God far outweigh his terrible suffering.
The story of Job had eternal value. Job’s suffering not only blessed Job – it blesses all of us. We can know that any suffering God allows in our lives can be a great blessing. He loves us, causing all things to work for our good.
Like Job, we may not have done anything wrong, but sometimes we need to search for our healing. These passages tell us that sometimes we are to search for what God wants to teach us:
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for uderstanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:1-6
Do you search for God’s will like you would for hidden treasure?
“If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.” Psalm 81:13-15
Are you listening to/obeying God so He can destroy your enemies?
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
Are you obeying completely so God can punish “every act of disobedience”.
“Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.” Proverbs 26:2
If there is no cause for a curse, it “does not come to rest”.
Sometimes a curse has been put on us or our families we are not aware of – ask God to reveal if this true.
Sometimes healing does not depend on anything we do (except prayer). I will tell of my own experience:
In a Montreal townhouse with my first daughter, Jill, I had claustrophobia the last month of my pregnancy. In our bedroom I would panic and run downstairs to our living room where my feelings would go away. Several years later we lived in Nova Scotia with a beautiful view out our living room window over the ocean two blocks away. After three months of being pregnant with our second daughter, Sandra, I began to experience these same feelings. I ran out from our bedroom into the living room and looked out the window. I could see for miles. It didn’t help. I fell on my knees and cried to the Lord, “I can’t do anything, you have to help me!” Suddenly the feeling went away and never came again:
“O Lord, my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” Psalm 30:2
Several passages in the Bible tell how obeying God brings health. A few of these passages are quoted below.
Some passages tell how obeying God affects our health:
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8
“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-21
“A heart at peace gives health to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit rots the bones”. Proverbs 17:22
We can have a “heart at peace” or a “cheerful heart” by always trusting God:
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Other passages tell how we can promote another person’s health:
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs
“A cheerful look bring joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the body. Proverbs
Obeying God/knowing God is the most important action in being healthy. Sometimes, like Job, we are doing nothing wrong. We must not be like Job’s friends and judge others – maybe they are sick from no fault of their own or maybe they are repentant:
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” Romans 2:1
We should ask and believe for God’s healing:
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15
We should ask the elders of the church to pray for us:
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:14-16
Ask for prayer.
We should take care of our bodies the best we can. Even though these passages talk about serious sin we can apply the principle that we are God’s temple:
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
One way that God heals us is by supplying “good things”:
“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-6
One of the best guidelines concerning healthy foods is a La Leche League (breast feeding organization) concept: “Eat a variety of foods in as natural a state as possible.”
Put exercise and healthy food in perspective. Anything of “some value” to God is worth doing, but godliness has value for eternity:
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
Maybe God will heal us later (as He did Job) or by using healthful food or medicine.
Sometimes God doesn’t heal us, like in the case of Apostle Paul, for His own glory:
“…in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Sometimes God will tell us why we aren’t healed as in the case of Paul. If He doesn’t directly, maybe He is telling us indirectly by having us read the experiences of Paul. He promises to give us wisdom:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
Paul preached to the Galatians “because of an illness”:
“As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn…Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.” Galatians 4:13-15
Good came from suffering.
We must trust and praise God even if we are sick because we know that God always does best even if we don’t understand:
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33
As believers in Jesus, we are citizens of heaven:
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
We have already died.
Even if He doesn’t heal us on earth we can know that we have an eternal home in heaven:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4