Monday, July 25, 2016

Job's wife


We don't even know the name of this week's lady. And that is a shame.
We can learn a lot from Job's wife!

She has been the subject of many a sermon; usually she is held up and condemned. Some people even think that Job's wife was just another "cross" that Job was called upon to bear. Did you know that Augustine, living and writing centuries ago, called her "the devil's accomplice"!

We often talk about the Bible's Hall of Fame . . . surely if there was a Hall of Shame, then Jezebel, Delilah, and others would be there. But does Job's wife belong there? Maybe we have rushed to judge her. We're all caught up in Job's part of the story; we feel for him. Our sympathies go out to him. But what about his wife?
Not so much, usually.
Let's see if perhaps there are some gaps in our understanding. We might need to set the record straight, or we might find that she truly was a harpie!
The book of Job begins with a fairly cosmic argument. I mean, it's not all that often that Satan and God have a chat about how things are going on the earth, much less single out one person to critique, right? (Grin)

Let's read some verses for background, before we dive in. This is lengthy, but we need to refresh our memories before we study this:

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,    and naked I will depart.The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;    may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1)

On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him.And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:1-10)


Wow!
What a story . . . . like many in the Bible, it has been the topic of heated discussions. But we don't need to get involved in questions about why Satan talked to God, why God allowed these things to happen, or anything like that. Our focus is going to be on two godly people -- Job and his wife.

She may not have been the primary target here, but she was definitely caught in the crossfire, right? It would seem logical that every hardship that Job endured was also keenly felt by her.

Let's think on this till we study next time. I'll be interested in opinions on our study; feel free to comment.


3 comments:

Austin Towers said...

Job's story is such an interesting one! Seeing it from the perspective of his wife could be illuminating!

Cathy said...

Looking forward to this one.

Katie Isabella said...

But I want to get into the whys! I avoid reading that story unless I come across it in a journey through the Bible because I do not understand it at all...the whys of it.