By Barbara Latta, Crosswalk.com
Our daily Bible readings give us spiritual food and help us know the God who created us. But when we encounter the difficult passages, it is easy to skim over them due to some theological questions we don’t have the answers to. The account of Job is considered one of those hot topics we toss around.
Why did God allow Satan to afflict Job?
Why do bad things happen to good people?
We can have as many answers as we have questions, and we will never know the definitive reason for the book of Job until Jesus takes us home to live with Him forever (Deuteronomy 29:29). But because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us now, we are given more spiritual insight than Job and his contemporaries had.
These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:10)
Theories abound regarding the time on the historical calendar of Job’s difficulties with some placing Job as a contemporary of Abraham. These conclusions arise because there is no mention of a Hebraic law or any kind of covenant between the Lord and mankind established yet. Job is also considered the oldest biblical manuscript.
This could give us some insight into how Satan was able to afflict Job. Adam gave away his rights to dominate the realm where he lived when he sinned, and Satan became the ruler of this world.
1 Peter 5:8 NIV tells us, Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
But unlike Job we now have the authority of Christ to resist our spiritual enemy. Job didn’t have any way to overcome these adversities. Some scholars present the theory that Job didn’t even know it was the devil causing his distress because in his day the people attributed all happenings to the Almighty.
Ancient peoples are referred to at times as uneducated and ignorant in comparison to our modern existence, but wisdom from the writings in Job can divulge how smart our biblical ancestors were. In fact, smarter than some scientists and professors today.
These 8 overlooked things in the book of Job can show us how much knowledge and intelligence early man had about the world he lived in, and how this revelation came to him from the wisdom of God.
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1. Knowledge of Astronomy
He is the maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. (Job 9:9 NIV)
Without modern telescopes and technology, early civilizations still viewed the formation of the constellations and gave them names. Only the Creator of the massive universe could put such knowledge into man.
Sea-faring adventurers navigated by astronomy centuries ago, but the indication in early sacred writings disclose how far back this ability reached.
2. Knowledge of the Earth’s Shape
He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness. (Job 26:10 NKJV)
Quotes from Christopher Columbus reveal he used verses in the Bible, such as Isaiah 40:21-22, to determine the planet was round instead of flat. He was laughed to scorn but the Scriptures he used gave him the faith to set sail on a dangerous voyage that proved the theory.
Only ignorance and superstition inflicted the belief of a flat earth. As centuries passed, spiritual darkness led people away from the wisdom of the Almighty and resulted in a lack of understanding.
3. Knowledge of Geography and Compass Directions
From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds of the north. (Job 37: 9 NKJV)
Our predecessors had the ability to interpret directions by using astronomical guides without the technology we have today. They were also able to determine where certain weather patterns originated.
4. Knowledge of Dinosaurs and Proof Humans Lived Among Them
Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength it has in its loins, what power in the muscles of its belly! Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit. Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like rods of iron. It ranks first among the works of God, yet its Maker can approach it with his sword. The hills bring it their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby. Under the lotus plants it lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh. The lotuses conceal it in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround it. A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth. Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose? (Job 40:15-24 NIV)
Proponents of the million-years-old age of the earth teach people didn’t exist when dinosaurs lived. The Scriptures, as well as fossils that display human footprints embedded with dino prints, prove these giant lizards roamed along with mankind.
Other theories have attempted to interpret these passages to describe an elephant or hippopotamus. But neither of these animals have tails like a cedar tree. And both these creatures have been able to be captured, whereas the one described in Job tells of an animal that cannot be contained.
5. Knowledge of a Fire-Breathing Creature
Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds. (Job 41:20)
Its undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge. It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. It leaves a glistening wake behind it; one would think the deep had white hair. (Job 41:30-32)
The entire forty-first chapter of Job describes a creature that pours smoke from its nostrils and leaves a trail of phosphorus behind it. Creation scientists describe certain dinosaurs who had nasal cavities larger than the other animals. Because they were herbivores, the decay of the vegetable matter built up in the nasal cavities and produced methane gas. It’s possible these types of dinosaurs had a built-in apparatus that could ignite the gas and spark flames for a few seconds, but the purpose is unknown.
This could be where the fire-breathing dragon stories originated. The word dragon was used for all giant lizards until 1841, when British anatomist, Sir Richard Owen, introduced the word dinosaur to academia.
6. Knowledge of the Sea’s Boundaries
Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? (Job 38:8-11)
Job had surely heard of the flood in Noah’s day. Although the planet was covered in water at one time, the Lord is the one who established where the seas went and how far they would go. He promised to never destroy the globe with tumultuous water again.
The worldwide flood was accepted as fact. When Job was alive, some of Noah’s descendants could have been also. Retelling this amazing experience would have been another way to display the awesome power of the Creator.
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7. Knowledge of God as Creator
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! (Job 38:4)
While some of Job’s surrounding citizens worshipped images of stone and wood, Job knew the world was created by the Lord Almighty. God is the one speaking in the thirty-eighth chapter, but the words show us Job knows where creation originated.
One reason Job flourished in wisdom is because he depended upon Jehovah’s truth. We can see from his example how understanding comes from heaven and not man’s deductions.
8. Knowledge of Prosperity as God’s Gift
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. (Job 1:10)
Job’s prosperity came from the true giver of life and even the fallen angel knew that. The enemy attacks to get us to fail. Job proved his faith was in the Sovereign One because of who the Lord is and not because of what God had given to His servant. Job refused to curse God throughout his afflictions.
Job recounts how he used his possessions to bless others (Job 29:12-17). His wealth and generosity also show us there was a knowledge of giving from the beginning of man’s existence. Because we are made in the image of God and He is a giver, we have the impulse to bless others. We are born with a fallen nature that reverts to selfishness and covetousness but when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, He prompts the benevolent character He has put within us.
Jesus told His disciples they would be rewarded for what they gave up so they could follow Him, but it would come with persecutions (Mark 10:30). The devil doesn’t like to see us blessed because it glorifies Christ and helps to spread His love to humanity.
God’s Favor on Believers
Remember some of the words spoken in the text are Job’s, his friends, and then some from God. When we quote passages from this ancient manuscript, we should use the context in which they were spoken.
The Lord shows us the failures and successes of His people all through the Bible so we can learn from them. Just because a passage exists doesn’t mean it indicates God’s character or will. When Job said the Lord gives and takes away, he didn’t understand the taking away had come from an evil enemy, not God (Job 1:21).
Job was faithful to God despite not understanding why everything happened to him (Job 13:15). Three Hebrew young men stood firm against the same kind of attack when faced with a fiery furnace (Daniel 3:17-18).
In the end, Job excelled in possessions more than he had before and his family grew again. The devil is the one who lost. Rather than Job falling, the devil once again fell from the pedestal he put himself on.
As we ponder the meaning of some of these overlooked discoveries in this old scroll, we can see how God’s Word established these insights into His people long before scientists ever discovered fossils, before telescopes broadcast images from the great beyond, and before explorers traversed the deep seas.
This question will be asked until the end of our physical lives. Why do bad things happen to good people? The answer is because we have an enemy. But he is a conquered enemy. No matter what attacks we encounter, we know if we stand in faith, the circumstances can’t make us fall (1 John 4:4).
We can say with Job, I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. (Job 19:25-26)
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