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The Killing Of Job's Children: A Bible Study Lesson


Neither the individual lessons found in the book of Job nor the culmination of them can be spiritually understood by anyone who hasn't experienced a fiery trial of faith as was seen in the sufferings of Job. Nevertheless, the follower of Christ does well to seek to understand what happened to Job, even if such understanding is superficial. The scriptures repeatedly and forcefully command the believer to gain an understanding of God's Word (Proverbs 4:7 KJV), because even a solid, though superficial, understanding can prove formidable when a time of testing comes.

A Bible Study Lesson for All Believers

In fact, testing of faith in God is exactly what happened with Job who himself admitted that only after he had come through his test did his understanding reach into the depths of his soul. It's more powerful to see something than it is to hear it. Sight, both natural and spiritual, is the most impressive of all the senses. While natural sight can brand images onto the brain, spiritual sight has the power to brand truths onto the heart at a depth that even the spiritual ear cannot. Job, being overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord like he'd never experienced before, said, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5).

The Challenge That Led to the Sufferings of Job

In Job 1:7 we read, "And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." Why was Satan going to and fro and walking up and down in the earth? 1 Peter 5:8 answers this question with a warning that the believer must "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (utterly destroy)."

There is a popular saying that goes something like this: If you want to win a battle, know your enemy and know yourself. This is actually in agreement with biblical advice regarding spiritual battles. The Bible reveals some very important tactics used by the enemy. When the serpent came to Eve in the garden, he attacked the character of God, claiming that he had forbidden them to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in order to keep Adam and Eve from becoming gods. In Job's case, when Satan responded to the Lord regarding Job, again he revealed his plan to attack God's character before Job. His ultimate goal was to get Job to curse God and die. He basically suggested that Job only served God for the blessings, but the Lord knew otherwise and offered his servant to the fiery trial of faith. Job had no idea that his faith in God was of such magnitude that it would go down in history as an example to the future millions of God's servants.

Job 1:8-12 says, "And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou has blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself (his body) put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord."

The Bible Study Lesson in the Death of Job's Children

Satan went forth to use the power God had granted him against all that Job enjoyed in life--his children included. Job 1:18-19 says, "...Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead...."

Two questions that can be very disturbing arise while learning about Job's tribulation. They are questions that few Christians admit to having and are therefore kept in the "closet" where their answers can never come to light. If many people, including believers, would be honest, they would ask how God he could be so mean to one of his most dedicated servants of all time. They would also ask how God could be so careless with the lives of the children as though their lives simply served to test Job. Although these questions understandably come to mind, it's imperative that Christians don't fall into the age-old trick of attacking God's character while seeking answers. The Bible warns believers to be extremely careful, "...lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Hebrews 12:15).

The Sufferings of Job Lead to Perfection

If readers of Job battle against feeling bitterness toward God for what happened to this righteous man, what was in Job, the father of the slain children, that protected him from feeling bitter toward God? Job, even with his superficial understanding in some areas of spiritual matters, had obtained perfection, being called perfect by the Lord himself. It is his perfection that guarded him from bitterness. Does this mean that Job had ceased to sin? No. A proper understanding of what spiritual perfection is in God's eyes doesn't make such assumptions which are not scriptural.

In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." When one loves God in this manner, he is perfect. Any man that God calls perfect has this kind of love for God.

Did not the apostle Paul remind believers of the definition of perfection when he taught saying, "And above all these things put on charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness" (Colossians 3:14)?

Misunderstanding in the carrying out of spiritual love may easily lead the servant of God to become a doormat instead of the useful soldier he is meant to be. There are numerous saints of God living in countries where Christians endure horrendous torture and persecution for their faith in Christ. Nevertheless, organizations such as In Jesus' Name Ministries report stories of Christians' courageous love for their enemies. These men, women, and children of God took him seriously when He told them to be perfect.

Satan accused Job of having a conditional love for God, but God knew it was unconditional. Therefore, when God allowed the children that he had given Job to be taken away, Job could still worship saying, "...the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). Perfect love for God keeps all things in their right perspective. Jesus reminded us that "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37). Job was worthy of God.

God's Absolute Sovereignty in the Sufferings of Job

A man like Job whom God sees as perfect also understands when to surrender to the absolute sovereignty of the Creator. It's not conceivable that even a perfect servant of God is going to find everything that his Lord does, pleasing. Nevertheless, he surrenders to his will, which is sometimes understood and more easily accepted later, and sometimes not.

Job could accept the death of his children whether God had directly killed them or had allowed them to be killed. He understood the absolute sovereignty of a God who said, "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine...." (Ezekiel 18:4).

The Final Conclusion of This Bible Study Lesson on Job

The author of this article almost lost her faith in God after reading the book of Job without understanding. Many others have asked and continue to ask the question of what would become of them if God were to deal with them as he dealt with his servant Job. Is there any biblical advice that can be given to such readers? Yes, there is.

The Bible instructs the believer to be most serious about strengthening his walk with God so that he will be able to stand. The parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) is one of many scriptural passages that warn of the need to diligently watch one's walk with God. However, the believer is not to worry about things that have not happened and may never happen to him. In Matthew 6:31, 33-34, Jesus said, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.... Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Tomorrow comes very quickly. If the servant of God isn't to worry about a time that he may see in a few hours, he certainly is not to worry about a time he may not see for years, if even at all. God told his servant to worry about drawing closer and closer to him through the keeping of (obedience to) his word. This is preparation that should be made for a time that may not yet be seen. The servant is then covered, whether he sees persecution or trial and tribulation, since Jesus promised, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Revelation 3:10).

Edited by Ruth Zetek
© 2005 All rights reserved.

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