Job 2:1-10

Sermon preached on July 26, 2015 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

In his book,
The Korean Pentecost, missionary Bruce Hunt told the story of a Korean girl who gave her life for Christ during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. She and a Christian widow from her church rented an apartment together. The older woman was a leader in their church and was arrested. Ahn went to the prison where her apartment mate was being held with the hope of giving her some clothes, a Bible, and toilet paper. When she arrived at the prison with these items she was questioned about her connection with the prisoner. She was also asked about her opinion of shrine worship. She replied that she believed shrine worship to be idolatry. She herself was imprisoned and suffered horribly for a year. At that point she was near death so she was released. She clung to life for a month after her release. During that time she had periods of discouragement because she was neglected by some friends and loved ones. One Christian even questioned her faith because of her discouragement. It's almost unbelievable. She's dying because of her faithfulness to Christ and another Christian has the nerve to question her faith! That person was like Job's three friends. This poor girl suffered at the hands of unbelievers and then she suffered abuse at the hand of a professing Christian. Hunt wrote,

"I only realized as I never realized before, that the devil has no mercy, and does not even leave 'the brand snatched from the burning' to die in peace. He tempts and torments to the very end."

We see much the same in the second chapter of Job. Satan is so cruel. After God gives him permission to attack Job's person—Satan ups the ante. Job is afflicted by a very distressing illness. We're not sure exactly what kind of illness it was. Verses 7-8 tells us that Satan,

"afflicted Job with painful sores
from the soles of his feet
to the top of his head.
Then Job took a piece of broken pottery
and scraped himself with it
as he sat among the ashes."

Tremper Longman III says that, (Job, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms)

"The word 'boil' indicates a localized inflammation of the skin. Its center is hard and contains pus. It is, generally speaking, a skin infection…"

Later in the book Job reveals more of what this affliction was like. In Job 7:5 he said,

"My body is clothed
with worms and scabs,
my skin is broken and festering."

In Job 30:28 Job said that he went about 'blackened'. He elaborated a little more in verse 30 of that chapter. He said,

"My skin grows black and peels;
my body burns with fever."

It is also clear from other places that the affliction was so bad that it emaciated him—it either prevented him from eating or he couldn't digest his food properly. In Job 19:20 he said,

"I am nothing but skin and bones;"

It also prevented Job from sleeping. In Job 7:4 he said,

"When I lie down I think,
'How long before I get up?'
The night drags on,
and I toss till dawn."

Job 19:17 provides even more details. Job said,

"My breath is offensive to my wife;
I am loathsome to my own brothers."

But there's even more. Satan's attack on Job was more than just physical. He suffered from nightmares. In Job 7:13-14 he said,

"When I think my bed will comfort me
and my couch will ease my complaint,
even then you frighten me with
dreams and terrify me with visions,"

Job suffered with bouts of depression and despair. In And in Job 3:1f we read that Job cursed the day of his birth and regretted that he had ever been born. And in Job 7:16 he said,

"I despise my life;
I would not live forever.
Let me alone;
my days have no meaning."

Mentally he struggled because God was doing these things to him. Job was not mistaken in this. In Job 2:5 Satan said to God,

"But stretch out your hand
and strike his flesh and bones,
and he will surely
curse you to your face."

It is true that verse 7 says that Satan went out and afflicted Job with painful sores—but that does not take away God's role in it. Both were involved. It was just like Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery. In Genesis 50:20 spoke to his brothers about them selling him into slavery,

"You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good
to accomplish what is now being done,
the saving of many lives."

Job knew that God controlled all things and that ultimately it was God who gave and who took away. (Job 1:21) Job had a great deal of anguish about why God was doing this to him.

Job suffered incredibly. The picture we are given of Job's sufferings is that they were unrelenting. He was tormented both day and night both physically and mentally. Job summarized his whole situation in Job 6:1–4,

"If only my anguish
could be weighed and all my misery
be placed on the scales!
It would surely outweigh
the sand of the seas—
no wonder my words
have been impetuous.
The arrows of the Almighty are in me,
my spirit drinks in their poison;
God's terrors are marshaled against me."

How horribly Job was afflicted. His sufferings were incredible. Verse 12 tells us that when Job's friends saw him from a distance,

"they could hardly recognize him;
they began to weep aloud,
and they tore their robes
and sprinkled dust on their heads."

Job was a sorrowful sight, one that moved his friends to profound grief.

There are five lessons I want to draw from this.

First, Job's sufferings ought to open our eyes to what sin deserves.

What are we to make of all this—the best man on the face of the earth suffering like this? Job was blameless and upright, he feared God and shunned evil. Yet look at him here. His suffering is so very horrible.

Job's sufferings, show, in part, what sin deserves. Sometimes we have no idea in practical terms, what sin deserves. As Christians we know that the wages of sin is death. But it's like we often don't grasp the implications of this fact. When trouble comes we think, "I don't deserve this." We think that God is treating us unfairly. Deep down the idea is strong that God ought to treat us well. We think that's what we deserve.

But that's not so. Look at Job here. He's the best man on earth—there is no one else like him. He is head and shoulders above everyone else. Yet, in treating Job this way God was not being unjust. He deserved these disasters. Deuteronomy 32:4 says of God.

"He is the Rock,
his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he."

God wasn't punishing Job unjustly. It is true that there was no specific sin that prompted Job's sufferings. Satan challenge prompted Job's sufferings. Nevertheless, Job was a sinner and in afflicting him like this God was not doing wrong. Job deserved these things. God is righteous and always acts righteously. Zephaniah 3:5 says,

"The LORD within her is righteous;
he does no wrong.
Morning by morning
he dispenses his justice,
and every new day he does not fail,
yet the unrighteous know no shame."

Psalm 92:14–15 says of the righteous,

"They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
'The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock,
and there is no wickedness in him.' "

We are sinners. Job was a sinner. God was not unjust in treating Job the way that He did. Isaiah 64:6 says about us.

"All of us have become
like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts
are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind
our sins sweep us away."

Job was suffering because he was a sinner and he was deserving of all these tragedies.

Now, if Job deserved such suffering—what does that mean for you and me? He was the best man on the face of the earth.

How humble we should be as Christians.

How unassuming we should be. What humility we should have when God sends hardships our way. We should not complain. We should not think that God is treating us unfairly. Rather we should, with humility, embrace the cross that Jesus gives us.

Secondly, having our eyes opened to what sin deserves, means that

we should hate sin and grieve greatly because of it.

When we see the suffering of sin, we should have incredible awe and sadness. By awe I mean that we should be struck by it's awfulness, it's horror, what it brings forth.

We should hate all sin. We should hate our sin most of all. Look at Job's sufferings. Every day you deserve to suffer more than that because of your sin. Think of that.

Secondly, you should hate the sin of others. The world around us wants everyone to celebrate sin. They have these Pride Parades where they celebrate sin. They will tell you that they were born that way and that such lifestyles are normal and good. What's bad and unacceptable is not to accept that, to say that it's sinful.

Christians, don't buy into the world's propaganda. Consider Job's sufferings. See what sin has wrought.

Remember Jesus and how He wept before the tomb of His friend Lazarus? He wept and groaned within Himself. He was seeing what sin had brought forth. It brought forth death. It brought forth grief in Lazarus' family and friends. Jesus saw all this and He wept.

Shame on us if we don't weep and have grief because of sin and what it brings forth. Shame on us if we don't tell sinners what sin will bring forth.

Thirdly, having our eyes opened to what sin deserves,

we should be amazed at God's grace that has come to us through Jesus Christ.

In my life I haven't suffered like Job suffered. Job suffered over many months. I can look back on my life and think of perhaps three days that were really horrible, where I really suffered.

What awe we ought to have as we consider how God has treated us.

If it were not for the love and grace of Jesus we would spend our whole lives suffering like Job. Life would be a living hell.

How wonderful the grace of Jesus is! How can God treat us so well? It's only because of the suffering of Jesus on our behalf. It's only because of the grace we receive in Jesus.

What deliverance we have in Christ.

I know that many of you have gone through much worse than I have. But I'm confident that all of us can say with David, (Psalm 103:10)

"he does not treat us
as our sins deserve or repay us
according to our iniquities."

Even in the midst of our sufferings we can say with the prophet Micah, (Micah 7:18–19)

"Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and
forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities
into the depths of the sea."

God is so good to us. Make sure that you appreciate His grace and mercy to you. Thank Him for it every day.

The fourth lesson we should take from our text is

no matter how bad things get, you are never to lose hope.

Job shows us that we are to have hope in the most desperate of situations. Job almost despaired of life. But he knew he should never give up. In Job 13:15 he said,

"Though he slay me,
yet will I hope in him;"

Job's hope was well founded. God never abandoned Job. God's grace never left him. God brought him through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Christian, you may have to go through unimaginable terrors in this life. But never give up hope in Jesus. The promises of God tell us this over and over. In Psalm 42:5 the Psalmist said,

"Why are you downcast,
O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God."

Psalm 46:1–3 says,

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth give way
and the mountains fall
into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake
with their surging."

In Romans 4:18 Paul spoke about Abraham and said,

"Against all hope,
Abraham in hope believed
and so became the
father of many nations,"

Psalm 112:4 says,

"Even in darkness
light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate
and righteous man."

Psalm 37:37 adds,

"Consider the blameless,
observe the upright;
there is a future for the man of peace."

We should take seriously Paul's commands to rejoice always. Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good for those who love God. Romans 8:35f tell us that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

Our lives are in the hand of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. No one can pluck you out of His hand. (John 10:28) You are safe, now, tomorrow, forever. Rejoice and thank Him.

Lastly, if there is anyone here who hasn't believed in Jesus,

you need to believe in Jesus now.

Consider Job and his sufferings. Consider them going on forever and ever. That's what your sins deserve. Sin will put you in hell. That's what sin deserves.

Repent of your sins and go to Jesus. He will accept you, forgive your sins and bring you to glory.