Commentary on Job 1:21—Job’s True Faith in God

Do You Want to Have True Faith in God Like Job and Receive God’s Blessing?

In life, many people face hardships such as financial constraints, the torment of illness, and setbacks at work. When sufferings and trials come upon us, we don’t understand God’s will and thus often feel weak and negative and even misunderstand God and complain against Him, losing our testimony. Then how can we stand witness and satisfy God in the face of hardships and trials?

I think of Job who experienced a great trial: All his possessions were taken away by robbers, his children were crushed in the collapse of the house, and his body was covered with boils. Facing such circumstances, not only did Job not complain about God, but he still praised God, saying, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). He eventually stood testimony for God, gaining God’s blessing and approval. Do you know how he stood testimony? Let us take a look at God’s words together.

God says, “After God said to Satan, ‘All that he has is in your power; only on himself put not forth your hand,’ Satan departed, soon after which Job came under sudden and fierce attacks: First, his oxen and donkeys were plundered and some of his servants killed; next, his sheep and some more servants were consumed in fire; after that, his camels were taken and even more of his servants were murdered; finally, his sons’ and daughters’ lives were taken away. This string of attacks was the torment suffered by Job during the first temptation. As commanded by God, during these attacks Satan only targeted Job’s property and his children, and did not harm Job himself. Nevertheless, Job was instantly transformed from a rich man possessed of great wealth to someone who had nothing. No one could have withstood this astonishing surprise blow or properly reacted to it, yet Job demonstrated his extraordinary side. The Scriptures provide the following account: ‘Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped.’ This was Job’s first reaction after hearing that he had lost his children and all of his property. Above all, he did not appear surprised, or panic-stricken, much less did he express anger or hate. You see, then, that in his heart he had already recognized that these disasters were not an accident, or born from the hand of man, much less were they the arrival of retribution or punishment. Instead, the trials of Jehovah had come upon him; it was Jehovah who wished to take his property and children. Job was very calm and clear-headed then. His perfect and upright humanity enabled him to rationally and naturally make accurate judgments and decisions about the disasters that had befallen him, and in consequence, he behaved with unusual calm: ‘Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped.’ ‘Rent his mantle’ means that he was unclothed, and possessed of nothing; ‘shaved his head’ means he had returned before God as a newborn infant; ‘fell down on the ground, and worshipped’ means he had come into the world naked, and still without anything today, he was returned to God as if a newborn baby. Job’s attitude toward all that befell him could not have been achieved by any creature of God. His faith in Jehovah went beyond the realm of belief; this was his fear of God, his obedience to God; he was not only able to give thanks to God for giving to him, but also for taking from him. Furthermore, he was able to take it upon himself to return to God all that he owned, including his life.

Job’s fear and obedience toward God is an example to mankind, and his perfection and uprightness were the peak of the humanity that ought to be possessed by man. Though he did not see God, he realized that God truly existed, and because of this realization he feared God, and due to his fear of God, he was able to obey God. He gave God free rein to take whatever he had, yet he was without complaint, and fell down before God and told Him that, at this very moment, even if God took his flesh, he would gladly allow Him to do so, without complaint. His entire conduct was due to his perfect and upright humanity. This is to say, as a result of his innocence, honesty, and kindness, Job was unwavering in his realization and experience of God’s existence, and upon this foundation he made demands of himself and standardized his thinking, behavior, conduct and principles of actions before God in accordance with God’s guidance of him and the deeds of God that he had seen among all things. Over time, his experiences caused in him a real and actual fear of God and made him shun evil. This was the source of the integrity to which Job held firm. Job was possessed of an honest, innocent, and kind humanity, and he had actual experience of fearing God, obeying God, and shunning evil, as well as the knowledge that ‘Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away.’ Only because of these things was he able to stand firm in his testimony amid such vicious attacks by Satan, and only because of them was he able to not disappoint God and to provide a satisfactory answer to God when God’s trials came upon him.

From God’s words, we come to understand: The reason why Job could stand witness was that he had true faith in God. He was simple and honest and he believed all events and all things are in God’s hands, and that all those situations he faced had God’s approval and were not of man’s making. Besides, Job had also deeply experienced in his decades of life that everything he possessed was bestowed by God and did not come from his own labor. Even if God wanted to take them away, he should submit to God as a created being. That’s why when he was faced with the adversity of losing all his possessions and his children, he didn’t complain to God but completely submitted to God taking those things away. Even if his very life was taken from him, he was still willing to obey God. He said, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Job’s witness thoroughly humiliated Satan, and with such faith, he finally gained God’s approval, living in the light of God forever.

Therefore, when we encounter hardships and trials, we should emulate Job, have true faith in God and come before God to pray and seek His will, then God will guide us to understand His will and help us through all difficulties.

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