In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.
When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.
Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job said “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. 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.
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?
The LORD said to Job: “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
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.” “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. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.
Uncle Chux Version:
Job was the wealthiest man in the East. He had flocks of Sheep to produce wool and milk for cheese and he had yokes of oxen to till his land and plant and grow crops and he had servants to harvest it all and camels to take it all to various markets and he had sons and daughters to act as overseers. He was a righteous man who feared God and ran from evil.
Satan hated him and his family and God protected him because he sacrificed to God on behalf of his children just in case they may have done something wrong.
When God pointed out his servant Job, Satan said “Job only fears you because you protect him. Let me take everything he owns away from him and he will shake his fist in your face”.
God wanted to test Job (although he knew he would pass the test, but he wanted Satan and the rest of the world forever to see how faithful Job was) so ye let Satan take everything of value from flocks to servants and even to his children.
On that terrible day when he lost everything Job was sad but he said “I came into the world naked and I’ll go out naked. The Lord gave me everything and now has taken it all away. Blessed be the name of God”.
He did not sin or shake his fist in God’s face.
God told Satan “See? I let you destroy his stuff and kids and still he loves me”
Satan said “Yeah, sure, but let be curse his skin and he will shake his fist in your face and curse you”
God knew better so he said “Sure, go ahead; but only spare his life.”
So Satan afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.
Job couldn’t sleep because of the pain. Even his wife wanted his suffering to end so she said “Why do you keep saying you’re innocent before God? Just curse God and die already so your suffering will end”.
Job responded “You speak foolishness. Should we not expect good and bad both in this life or only good?” So then Job took a broken piece of pottery and tried to reduce the pain by popping his boils and packing them with ashes.
After Job’s friends tried for a long time to get Job to confess to whatever secret sin they thought he may have committed Job said “I wish there was a mediator who could go to court on my behalf before God and fix this. I have done nothing wrong”.
Then a storm came up and God spoke to Job from it. God said “Who are you to obscure the facts with words about things you have never been told about? Let me ask you some questions to test your knowledge.
Where were you when I created the heavens and the earth? Who set the boundaries for how large it is? Who measured it and what holds everything up? Are you my critic? Do you have any answers?”
Job answered God by saying, “I am unworthy to say anything. I had heard people talk about you and thought I understood but now I see you and know that I know nothing. I will place my hand across my mouth now so I don’t say anything else as foolish as I have already said. I see how unworthy I am and will now repent in dust and ashes”
Then God left, Job prayed for his friends forgiveness and God restored Job with twice as much as he had before all the trouble started.
The moral of the story is that God knows why we suffer, whether it is the consequence of something we have done or a test of our faith.
We who believe in Jesus as our savior have the hope that all suffering we encounter here on earth will end either before we die or when we go to heaven: Revelation 21:4, “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.”