Hello. I’m Lynn Hilton Wilson with Book of Mormon Central’s. Come follow me, team, for the Old Testament. Looking at this fabulous Book of Job, it’s the most beautiful book of poetry, according to Tennyson and Carlyle and many other great authors who found it to be not only inspiring and uplifting, but textually absolutely gorgeous. But I find also that it answers the extremely hard questions why do good people have to suffer?
And the answer is not one that people are satisfied with because God says, trust me, trust me, trust me. And we want a reason. But the book is very precious to members of the Restoration because it not only addresses the restored church, but it also addresses the Council in Heaven. As we take a bird’s eye view over the whole book, we see it’s beautiful poetry. The beginning two chapters are pros and the last few verses are pros, but everything else is divided into these three cycles where Job asks his questions and one of three friends give answers.
Job asks, what answers, job asks what answers? And then they repeat themselves two times. And then the third time the third friend is changed out for a younger man who gives a very long answer, followed by the Lord’s answer. And then the pros at the closing show that Job receives this double portion. It’s really beautifully poetic, but as we look at this beginning portion of Job to get this scene set, I just want to remind you that this is referring to the Council of Heaven.
This is referring to the pre mortal life where Satan is involved in the is given permission to allow opposition to be on the earth and that he is allowed to tempt humanity. This is the first and actually it’s the second time that the word Satan is used in the entire Old Testament. And the majority of the times that the word Devil and Satan are used in the Old Testament, they are right here in the Book of Job. I spend a lot of time talking in Genesis to remind you that the words Satan and Devil and temptation are never mentioned in that great Book of the Fall. But here in the Book of Job, we have eleven of the 15 references in the entire Old Testament on the word Satan or adversary.
In English, it’s the Hebrew word that means our adversary. I also see Satan in one Chronicles 21, Psalms 109, and Zachariah chapter three. But those are the only places where that word is used. As members of the Restoration, we see that the fallen angel, Lucifer of the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Revelation is actually the same person as this adversary. He’s also the usurper of the New Testament who’s constantly trying to usurp in the Fall as well as in the temptations of our Lord.
And I see all of this context removed about who the devil and who our opposition is as part of those plain and precious things that were removed according to one nephi, chapter 13, that were taken away. But in the Book of Job, we have them. Even though historically the Book of Job fits very early, it’s listed here because of its size and the way that it fits into the history writings. My assignment today is to look at the second cycle of the three cycles of the friends attacks. And I hope that we can gain empathy and compassion and that we can become better listeners as we listen to the way that Job’s friends deal with him.
The first friend is Elafaz. The second is Bill dad. And the third, at least on the first two cycles, is Zofar. And then Zofar is traded out on the third cycle by Ellie. But Job and his wife are also present, and we hear about his wife a few times.
The most amazing thing to me about his wife is that she is there initially in her despair of losing all of her children and all of her property and her husband’s health as she cries out and encourages him to curse God and die. But she does not leave. She stays. And we are not told that it is another wife who fathers the next ten children at the end of his life. I assume it is that same woman who’s that caregiver and who stays with him.
Chapter 14 begins with Job crying out. Mortals born of women are a few days and full of trouble. He’s just forgetting the good days of his life. And as he is in such enormous pain, wishing for his life to end, but he still, as long as he lives, will wait on the Lord. I’m so touched by his witness of this in chapter 14, verses 14 through 16.
And I’ll read to you from a different translation. This is the BSB translation. It’s quite a literal translation. It’s one of my favorites. When a man dies, will he live again?
Now this is a question that Job asks. And then Job doesn’t wait for his friends. He immediately answers it all the days of my hard service, I will wait until my renewal comes. You referring to God. You will call and I will answer.
You will desire the work of your hands for when you would count my steps, but you would not keep track of my sins. My transgressions would be sealed in a bag and you would cover over my iniquity. Isn’t this a beautiful witness of our Savior, our Redeemer, our God? He knows that his very steps are counted. And we who use watches and phones to count our steps every day can appreciate that God even has more clear track of us.
And yet he will not keep track of our sins if we repent, if we forsake them and apply the atoning blood of our Savior in our life. But Jobs response is answered by one of his friends beginning the second cycle with complete lack of understanding. He says to Job, Thy mouth out of thine, iniquity thine own mouth condemnity. I wondered if the guy even listened to anything he said. He doesn’t show any compassion.
And he continues on in verse ten of chapter 15 we, meaning the friends, are both greyheaded elder than thy father. So Job has these counselors that are much more mature and expect him to be wiser. But Job says, you’re not that wise. Job answers in chapter 16 miserable comforters are you all. Shall vain words have an end?
And then skip down to verse 20 my friends scorn me, but my eyes pour out tears to God. He’s just devastated. He continues on, pleading for help from the Lord. In chapter 19, starting with verse nine, he says god has stripped me of my glory and taken away the crown from my head. And then continuing on in verse ten he hath destroyed me on every side I am gone, and my hope hath he removed like a tree.
And this is one reason why I know his wife is still there because verse 17 says my breath is strange to my wife. She doesn’t even like the way I smell anymore. Continuing down in verse 21 have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends, for the hand of God hath touched me. This is such a beautiful way to apply those people who are suffering now physically, emotionally, spiritually. We can listen better, we can develop empathy, we can learn to love.
But Job continues on with this dialogue with a testimony of Jesus Christ which is my favorite verses in the entire Book of Job, chapter 1925 26 for I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. Now, this has been turned into beautiful hymns not only by Handel and the Messiah, but also in our own hymnal, where we can praise God and join in with Jobs beautiful poetry. Or whoever edited and created this beautiful poetry to say no matter how bad earth life is and no matter how bad death is, I know that my redeemer liveth and that there will be a resurrection and that we will be able to receive a glorified body at some point. Job also says that he will be able to see the Lord and that prophecy comes true at the very end of the Book of Job, chapter 42, verse five. As part of the Lord’s answer, he shows himself to Job and Job is able to receive the greatest gift that the prophets receive the vision of the Lord.
He says in verse 542 my ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. I will continue on with more about Job in my podcast, which is much longer than I have right here. But I would ask, what have we learned from this great book? Have we learned to be better listeners? Have we learned to better endure and trust in God in our trials?
I hope that we can all stand as Job did with our faith grounded in our savior Jesus Christ, and patiently wait on him. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.