When my wife and I lived in Indonesia among people who freely and frequently spoke in daily conversation about the spirit world, mostly in fear of the spirits, I would sometimes tell them about the life of Job, where we are shown clearly that Satan (though our friends didn’t usually have an understanding of a prince of evil) cannot act maliciously toward God’s people without God’s permission—we don’t have to live in fear of the forces of evil! God’s sovereignty in these matters is a clear teaching from the first chapters of Job—Satan could only do what God allowed.
            Job was blameless and upright, fearing God and shunning evil (mentioned twice in chapter 1), but he went through a lot! Chapters 12-14 from today’s reading are the fourth time Job speaks in this book—the first is in chapter 3, then in 6-7, 9-10, and now 12-14, the last three times all in response to three friends who originally came to comfort him. But the dialogue was not going well. Job felt attacked. He said:
            “Doubtless you are the people, and wisdom will die with you! But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you...” (Job 12:1-2)
What generalizations and applications can we draw from the book of Job if we consider the account up through today’s reading? These brief thoughts:
            Job’s comforters wanted to be helpful. They all spoke about God, as did Job. But Job’s comforters never seemed to really connect with Job. Job admitted to shortcomings, but he continued to insist on his integrity and innocence regarding the matters they spoke of.
            How to help others?
            We can’t always know of course just why bad things happen to people—surely there needs to be repentance for past sins for all of us, but wisdom and guidance from the Lord is also needed when trying to help those in need.    
We know from “the rest of the story,” that God did restore and honor Job—the problem (Satan’s attack on Job) was not what his friends had thought. But Job went through a very severe trial.
            May God help each of us, even in the times we are living in now, to have the perseverance that Job was commended for (James 5:11) and have faith in our sovereign God.

by Bob Busenitz

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