“Shall we not receive evil?”

All three readings today give us a mass of things to think about – some deep thinking is involved. Job’s reaction to his wife’s suggestion that he should curse God and die (2:9,10). His reaction reveals a very valuable principle, “shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”

Do we expect all life to be smooth and plain sailing – after we decide to serve God? The Bible is full of examples that this is not the case. As one example, look at David’s misfortunes after he had slain Goliath! Learning to live in times of trouble is often a learning curve in building up our character.

We read that “the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD and Satan [the ESV has a footnote that the Hebrew word means the adversary] also came among them” (1:6). It is comparable to the twelve disciples of Jesus and one of them is called a devil (John 6:70).

We considered the phrase “to present themselves before the LORD”. Now we do this every Sunday when we present ourselves at our place of worship – and the Lord sees the nature of all the hearts assembled there, he does more than hear our words. So we can, we suggest, see this incident as God knowing what a man who is envious of Job, is thinking as they gather together, probably before an altar to offer sacrifice.

So in one sense we can see this account about the life of Job as a “play” on the thinking in the minds of those involved. Another point, although Job was “blameless and upright” (1:1) there was an element in his character that was lacking. He admits “the thing that I fear comes upon me and what I dread befalls me” (3:25). Job did not have, at this stage, “the full assurance of faith” as we will read in Hebrews tomorrow (10:22). When we come to read the end of Job, at the end of December, we will see the outworking of all this with his wonderful profession of understanding in what he now “sees”. There are meaningful lessons in this for ourselves.