“Your God is so cruel. He doesn’t even like the people who worship him like Job. The Bible says Job was an upright man, but God let Satan put him through hell and then at the end of it all, he didn’t even let the guy know why.”

tragedy maskSo say the skeptics. And to add to what the skeptics claim, many Christians teach that God never let Job know why all the bad stuff happened to him. But is that really true?

After all that Job suffered, he and his friends (who were “miserable comforters”) find out in the end why he had to go through the loss of children, loss of possessions, and the loss of good health. But as readers who now see Job from the historical viewpoint, we can see God hinted at why from the very beginning of Job’s story, then expounds on the details at the end of the book. As the cliche goes, hindsight is always 20/20 (if one is wise enough to learn from history).

God allowed Satan to attack Job because:

1. He knew Job’s heart. If God declared Job “a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil,” God, by his omniscience, knew this would ultimately be true of Job no matter what the circumstances, even if the man had some weak moments along the way.

2. He knew Satan always loses when he opposes God.

3. God already had the details worked out for Job’s benefit ahead of time. That’s why he only allowed Satan to go so far.

4. Job’s good relationship with God still had room for deeper revelation. Job’s words were full of godly wisdom. Yet his questioning God (which God allowed, then confronted) showed that he had assumed he had God all figured out when he didn’t. So God had to educate him on a few things by giving Job a glimpse of the Lord’s vast knowledge and understanding of the universe and how he kept tabs on the minutest details in nature.

5. Job needed more humility so God could grant him greater blessings. It is up to the Lord to determine if the path to greater blessings for us will be difficult or easy depending on what changes he sees that we need to make. Job in ch. 42 had to come to the admission that he had made some assumptions about God as if he really understood everything there was to know. He humbly admitted that he really didn’t understand or know all the wonderful things God was capable of. After God confronted him, he declared “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” He experienced and understood God on a deeper, more intimate level in their relationship that opened up his eyes like never before.

6. It gave God the opportunity to reveal what Job’s friends were really like so Job could help them. God commended Job’s humility and repentance as an example to his three friends and confronted them about how wrong their advice was. He ordered them to repent with sacrifices and to get Job to intercede for them so God wouldn’t punish them for their deceptive doctrines. As soon as Job prayed for them, God showered down all new blessings for Job to the point where he had a double portion of what he previously had and was blessed with new children. He also had a powerful testimony to share with his family in the end.

God’s detractors may ask, “What about Job’s problems?”, but we can respond “What about Job’s blessings in his happy ending?” All of this is summed up by the apostle James in James 5:11 when he tells us, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end [goal, purpose] of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Harry A. Gaylord