THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SUFFERING OF JOB
For all the skeptic’s hullabaloo as to why a loving God would allow Himself to be dragged into an ego match with the devil and much more than that, allow an innocent man to be the innocent victim in all of this, they never consider that Job was overly compensated for his suffering with a double dose of material blessing, family and long life. This then raises another question, do the blessings however much, justify God’s approval of the suffering in the first place? Let us consider this..
First, understand that the little drama that went on in heaven between God and the devil was much more than a mere ego match. It was the devil questioning God’s just character. Now for some reason human beings have this notion of a justice that is favorable to them or the human race alone, some subjective justice subject to their whims, caprices and opinions. They forget that God sits as judge over the entirety of His creation (both spiritual and physical) and His justice demands He is fair to all relevant stakeholders He rules over, including angels, demons and the devil. The devil was insinuating that God was unjust in not permitting him to access Job and it would have been unfair on the devil for God to deny him that request. Think about it. Why do you think Satan was given access to tempt both Adam and Jesus Christ?
Secondly, the story of Job mirrors that of salvation perfectly. For one, the name “Job” means “afflicted, persecuted or hated” and Jesus Christ, the author of salvation, is described by Isaiah as a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief, hated and despised by all men (Isaiah 53:3). Also, some sufferings of Job are exactly the same sufferings Jesus Christ went through on the cross. For example,
“They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me. God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked” (Job 16:10–11)
Remember how Jesus was smitten on the cheek (Mark 14:65) and He kept prophesying to His disciples that He would be delivered into the hands of men(Mark 9:31).
Again, notice that Jesus Christ and Job both suffered despite being innocent and righteous before God. Finally, observe that Job’s sufferings were a mixed result of Satan and God’s influence. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to draw the line between where exactly Satan’s influence stops and God’s influence begins. God even told Satan he moved Him to destroy Job without a cause (Job 2:3). In the same manner, Christ’s sufferings leading up to the cross is also a fine mix of those two factors. On the one hand, Paul writes that God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin for us(2 Corinthians 5:21), on the other hand, he also writes that if the rulers of this world (the devil and his cohorts) knew the glorious intent of God, they would not have crucified Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 2:7–8). Also remember that it was Satan who put it in Judas’ heart to betray Jesus (John 13:2)
Thirdly, much like Job, Jesus Christ was also overly compensated for His suffering. The prophet Isaiah writes,
“He shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11)
He was compensated by the many souls that have been restored to God through justification by faith in the fact that He has borne their iniquities. He was also compensated by being vested with the highest name possible, a name with authority in three realms, as Paul writes,
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philippians 2:9–10)
Fourthly, in both cases, Satan was silenced. He was afforded every reasonable opportunity to ravage Job and was free to tempt Jesus Christ both personally and throughout his earthly ministry (which he did by rebellious Israel, questioning Pharisees and Scribes and even a betraying disciple) and so cannot complain that God was unfair to him. In both cases, everybody wins; God’s just nature vindicated, the innocent victims overly compensated and the devil satisfied.
So again, did the cornucopious material blessings of Job justify God’s sanctioning of his initial suffering? That depends…Does the believer’s salvation and restoration to God justify God’s approval of Jesus Christ’s cross?