Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
|By Max Kurzweil [Public domain]|
13 Like a bad dream [a] in the night, it ruined my sleep.
14 It frightened me, and I trembled down to my bones.
15 A spirit passed by my face. The hair on my body stood up!
16 The spirit stood still, but I could not see what it was. A shape stood before my eyes, and there was silence. Then I heard a quiet voice:
17 ‘A person cannot be more right than God. People cannot be more pure than their Maker.
The book of Job is a character study. Of whom? Certainly of Job. But perhaps it is also a character study of God. It's going to take three days to get through this book, so I'm going to do my best to write it in a way that anyone reading can relate to.
Job was a very, very wealthy man from some place called Uz. Uz is kinda like Eden in the sense that nobody seems to know exactly where it was. There are a couple of theories floating around out there, including some vague place in Arabia, and that's the one I'm going to go with. Job was from some Arab country called Uz. And he was the richest guy in town.
He was a pretty awesome guy, too, in spite of being rich. He never let it go to his head. He loved God more than life itself. He had total faith in Him, and he never ceased to praise Him for all the good things that had come his way.
His kids, though, and there were ten of them, loved to party together. They took turns preparing huge feasts and inviting all the others. Sometimes these family gatherings, which didn't include Dad, would go on for days on end. And after each one, Job would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt sacrifice for each of them, praying for God to forgive any offense they may have caused.One day, the members of God's heavenly court presented themselves to the Lord, and in strolls Satan. When He looked up and saw him,
God asked: What are you doing here, Devil?
Satan: Oh, nothing much. I've just been wandering the earth, watching what's going on, seeing what I can stir up.
God: Did you notice my man, Job? What a great guy he is, don't ya think? Absolute integrity. The man is blameless, I'm telling ya.
Satan: That's just because you've spoiled him rotten. The man has everything! Look how rich he is! You've put bumper guards all around him so that nothing bad can touch him. He's led a charmed life. It's easy for a man to praise you when nothing bad has ever happened to him. But I bet if you took everything away from Job, he'd turn his back on you. I'd bet he would curse you right to your face!
God: Hmmm, well, we'll just see about that. Put him to the test. Do whatever you want with whatever he has, but don't lay a finger on him. Got it?
So Satan went off and did exactly that. Poor Job, it was the worst "Murphy's Law' day in the history of human existence. His fields got raided by the Sabeans, who stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands; Lightening struck, causing a fire to destroy a lot of his land, killing all the sheep and the shepherds he employed. And to top it all off, a tornado struck the home of his oldest son, killing all ten of his children who were over there partying. Devastated, Job fell to the ground, but even in his grief, he still praised God. "I came naked from my mother's womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!" Job 1:2 (NLT)
And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
(From the song Praise You In This Storm)
So the next day, Satan strolls up to God in heaven again, and they pretty much repeat the previous conversation. God is well pleased with Job, because even though he had lost everything, he hadn't lost focus on God. Satan didn't think that was such a great accomplishment though.
Satan: Yeah, well, a man will do anything to save his own skin! He knew he'd better get on his knees an worship you, or he might be next! You wouldn't let me touch him personally, but I bet if You had, he'd be cursing you left and right by now!
God: Ok, Devil. Do what you will, but don't kill him.
So off Satan goes to make Job so sick that he could only wish he were dead. Job was stricken with boils all over his body. Big, infected sores oozing with nasty, smelly pus. As he sat there in the ashes, scratching his wounds with a broken piece of pottery, even his wife urged him to curse God so that God would kill him and put him out of his misery... and hers.
True to his nature though, Job he refused.
Job: Woman, quit talking smack! God isn't just some big sugar-daddy in the sky, ya know! He's given us so much, and the moment things start going downhill, you want to cut Him out of our lives? Well maybe you can do that, but I sure can't. He's my God!
But as the days passed, Job sank deeper and deeper into despair. Three of his closest friends came to see him, and they were so taken aback by his appearance that they were speechless. For an entire week, they sat with him in silence, unable to find words to comfort him. Time was beginning to take its toll.
I know I'm just barely scratching the surface here, but this is really such a natural stopping place. I'll pick up tomorrow where I'm leaving off tonight.