Job Held High the Name of Jehovah
“Let the name of Jehovah continue to be blessed.”—JOB 1:21.
1. Who likely wrote the book of Job, and when?
MOSES was about 40 years old when he fled from Egypt to escape the wrath of Pharaoh and took up residence in Midian. (Acts 7:23) During his stay in that land, he could have heard of the trials of Job, who was living nearby in the land of Uz. Years later, when Moses and the nation of Israel were near Uz toward the end of their wilderness journey, Moses may have learned about Job’s final years. Jewish tradition holds that Moses wrote the book of Job sometime after Job’s death.
2. In what ways is the book of Job an encouragement to Jehovah’s servants in modern times?
2 The book of Job strengthens the faith of God’s servants in modern times. In what ways? The narrative opens our eyes to events of far-reaching importance that occurred in heaven and underscores the paramount issue of God’s universal sovereignty. The account of Job also deepens our understanding of what is involved in keeping integrity and helps us to grasp why Jehovah sometimes allows his servants to suffer. Furthermore, the book of Job identifies Satan the Devil as Jehovah’s chief Adversary and mankind’s enemy. The book also shows that imperfect humans like Job can remain loyal to Jehovah despite intense testing. Let us examine some of the events described in the book of Job.
Job Tested by Satan
3. What do we know about Job, and why did Satan target him?
3 Job was a wealthy and influential man, a patriarch of good moral character. He was evidently a highly regarded counselor who befriended the needy. Most important, Job feared God. Job is described as a man who “proved to be blameless and upright, and fearing God and turning aside from bad.” It was Job’s godly devotion—not his wealth and influence—that made him a target for the attacks of Satan the Devil.—Job 1:1; 29:7-16; 31:1.
4. What is integrity?
4 The introductory narrative of the book of Job describes a gathering in heaven where the angels took their station before Jehovah. Satan was also present, and he leveled charges against Job. (Read Job 1:6-11.) Although Satan mentioned Job’s possessions, he focused his attention on challenging Job’s integrity. The term “integrity” carries the thought of being upright, blameless, righteous, and faultless. As used in the Bible, human integrity denotes a completeness of heart devotion to the person of Jehovah.
5. What did Satan claim about Job?
5 Satan claimed that Job’s worship of God was based on selfishness, not integrity. Satan alleged that Job would be loyal to Jehovah only as long as God continued to reward and protect him. To provide an answer to Satan’s charge, Jehovah allowed Satan to attack that faithful man. As a result, within the course of one day, Job learned that his livestock had been stolen or destroyed, his attendants had been killed, and his ten children had lost their lives. (Job 1:13-19) Did Job cave in to Satan’s attack? The inspired record describes Job’s reaction to his misfortune: “Jehovah himself has given, and Jehovah himself has taken away. Let the name of Jehovah continue to be blessed.”—Job 1:21.
6. (a) What happened during another gathering in heaven? (b) Whom did Satan have in mind when he challenged Job’s integrity to Jehovah?
6 Later, there was another gathering in heaven. Again Satan leveled charges against Job, saying: “Skin in behalf of skin, and everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul. For a change, thrust out your hand, please, and touch as far as his bone and his flesh and see whether he will not curse you to your very face.” Notice that Satan expanded his accusations. By saying, “Everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul,” the Devil challenged the integrity not only of Job but of any “man” who worships Jehovah. Thereafter, God permitted Satan to strike Job with a painful disease. (Job 2:1-8) But that was not the full extent of Job’s trials.
Taking Stock of Job’s Position
7. In what ways did Job’s wife and his visitors put pressure on Job?
7 Initially, Job’s wife suffered the same blows that her husband suffered. The loss of her children and the family wealth must have devastated her. It must have hurt her to see her husband suffering a painful disease. She cried out to Job: “Are you yet holding fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” Then, three men arrived—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar—ostensibly to offer Job comfort. Instead, they used deceptive reasoning and proved to be “troublesome comforters.” For example, Bildad suggested that Job’s children had engaged in wrongdoing and deserved their fate. Eliphaz insinuated that Job’s suffering was punishment for past sins. He even questioned whether those who keep integrity are of any value to God! (Job 2:9, 11; 4:8; 8:4; 16:2; 22:2, 3) Under such heavy pressure, Job kept his integrity. True, he could be faulted when he turned to “declaring his own soul righteous rather than God.” (Job 32:2) Still, he remained faithful through it all.
8. What good example did Elihu provide for counselors today?
8 Next, we read of Elihu, who had also come to visit Job. Elihu first listened to the arguments presented by Job and his three companions. Although younger than the other four men, Elihu showed greater wisdom. He addressed Job considerately, using Job’s personal name. Elihu commended Job for his upright course. But he also said that Job had focused too much on trying to prove his own faultlessness. Then Elihu assured Job that serving God faithfully is always worthwhile. (Read Job 36:1, 11.) What a fine example for those who need to offer counsel today! Elihu showed patience, listened carefully, commended where possible, and offered upbuilding counsel.—Job 32:6; 33:32.
9. How did Jehovah help Job?
9 Finally, Job had a truly awe-inspiring visitor! The record says: “Jehovah proceeded to answer Job out of the windstorm.” Using a series of questions, Jehovah kindly but firmly helped Job to correct his thinking. Job willingly accepted the reproof, admitting: “I have become of little account . . . I do repent in dust and ashes.” After Jehovah had spoken to Job, He expressed His anger against the three companions because they had not spoken “what is truthful.” Job was to pray for them. Then “Jehovah himself turned back the captive condition of Job when he prayed in behalf of his companions, and Jehovah began to give in addition all that had been Job’s, in double amount.”—Job 38:1; 40:4; 42:6-10.
How Deeply Do We Love Jehovah?
10. Why did Jehovah not ignore or destroy Satan?
10 Jehovah is the Creator of the universe, Sovereign of all creation. Why did he not ignore the Devil’s challenge? God knew that neither ignoring Satan nor destroying him would resolve the issue that had been raised. The Devil had claimed that Job, an outstanding servant of Jehovah, would not remain loyal if he lost his favored economic situation. Job’s loyalty withstood the test. Then Satan claimed that any human would turn away from God if he suffered physically. Job suffered, but his integrity was not broken. Hence, Satan was proved to be a liar in the case of that faithful though imperfect man. What of other worshippers of God?
11. How did Jesus give a complete answer to Satan’s challenge?
11 In effect, each servant of God who keeps his integrity despite whatever Satan brings against him demonstrates that in his own personal case, the accusations of that remorseless enemy are false. Jesus came to earth and gave a complete answer to Satan’s challenge. Jesus was a perfect man, like our first father, Adam. Jesus’ faithfulness to the death conclusively demonstrated that Satan is a liar and that his accusations are false.—Rev. 12:10.
12. Each servant of Jehovah has what opportunity and responsibility?
12 Nevertheless, Satan keeps testing Jehovah’s worshippers. Each of us has the opportunity and the responsibility to demonstrate by our personal integrity that we serve Jehovah because we love him—not for selfish reasons. How do we view that responsibility? We see it as a privilege to be loyal to Jehovah. It also comforts us to know that Jehovah gives us the strength to endure and, as in the case of Job, that He sets limits to the trials we face.—1 Cor. 10:13.
Satan—A Defiant Adversary and Apostate
13. What details does the book of Job reveal about Satan?
13 The Hebrew Scriptures provide details about Satan’s shameful role in challenging Jehovah and leading mankind astray. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, we find more information about Satan’s opposition to Jehovah, and in the book of Revelation, we learn of the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty and Satan’s final destruction. The book of Job adds to our knowledge of Satan’s rebellious course. When Satan was present at the gatherings in heaven, he did not attend with the intention of praising Jehovah. The Devil had a malicious attitude and a sinister objective. After he accused Job and received permission to test him, “Satan went out away from the person of Jehovah.”—Job 1:12; 2:7.
14. Satan showed what attitude toward Job?
14 Hence, the book of Job identifies Satan as mankind’s merciless enemy. Between the gathering in heaven mentioned at Job 1:6 and the one described at Job 2:1, an unspecified period of time passed, during which Job was cruelly put to the test. Job’s faithfulness enabled Jehovah to say to Satan: “Even yet [Job] is holding fast his integrity, although you incite me against him to swallow him up without cause.” But Satan did not admit that his claims had been proved wrong. On the contrary, he demanded that Job be put to another severe test. Thus, the Devil tested Job both when he was prosperous and when he was destitute. Clearly, Satan has no compassion for the needy or for victims of calamity. He hates people of integrity. (Job 2:3-5) Nevertheless, Job’s faithfulness showed that Satan is a liar.
15. What do modern-day apostates have in common with Satan?
15 Satan was the first creature to turn apostate. Modern-day apostates display characteristics similar to those of the Devil. Their mind may be poisoned by a critical attitude toward individuals in the congregations, Christian elders, or the Governing Body. Some apostates oppose the use of the divine name, Jehovah. They are not interested in learning about Jehovah or in serving him. Like their father, Satan, apostates target people of integrity. (John 8:44) No wonder servants of Jehovah avoid all contact with them!—2 John 10, 11.
Job Held High the Name of Jehovah
16. Job displayed what attitude toward Jehovah?
16 Job used and praised the name of Jehovah. Even when crushed by the news of the death of his children, Job did not ascribe anything improper to God. Although Job wrongly attributed his loss to God, he nevertheless upheld the name of Jehovah. In one of his later proverbial utterances, Job declared: “Look! The fear of Jehovah—that is wisdom, and to turn away from bad is understanding.”—Job 28:28.
17. What helped Job to maintain his integrity?
17 What helped Job to maintain his integrity? Clearly, before the calamities struck, he had already cultivated a close relationship with Jehovah. Although we have no evidence that he knew that Satan had challenged Jehovah, Job was determined to stay loyal. He said: “Until I expire I shall not take away my integrity from myself!” (Job 27:5) How did Job develop this close relationship? No doubt, he cherished what he had heard about God’s dealings with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were his distant relatives. And by observing creation, Job could discern many of Jehovah’s qualities.—Read Job 12:7-9, 13, 16.
18. (a) How did Job show his devotion to Jehovah? (b) In what ways do we imitate Job’s fine example?
18 What Job learned aroused in him the desire to please Jehovah. In case his family members might have done something displeasing to God or “have cursed God in their heart,” he regularly offered sacrifices. (Job 1:5) Even when being severely tested, Job still said positive things about Jehovah. (Job 10:12) What a fine example! We too must regularly take in accurate knowledge of Jehovah and his purposes. We hold to a healthy routine in such spiritual activities as study, meeting attendance, prayer, and the preaching of the good news. Moreover, we do everything in our power to make known the name of Jehovah. And just as Job’s integrity pleased Jehovah, so the integrity of God’s servants today makes Jehovah’s heart rejoice. This subject will be considered in the following article.
Do You Recall?
• Why did Job attract the attention of Satan the Devil?
• What tests did Job endure, and how did he react?
• What will help us to maintain integrity as Job did?
• What do we learn about Satan from the book of Job?
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The narrative of Job alerts us to the paramount issue of God’s universal sovereignty
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Under what circumstances might your integrity be put to the test?