MONDAY MINUTES With Pastor Chris McCool (October 25, 2021)

The Book of Job is a masterpiece of Hebrew poetry and literature; in the canon of Scripture, it is placed as the first “poetic” book of the Bible, followed by Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, et al. Also, according to biblical history and archaeology, Job is likely the oldest book in the Bible, possibly having been written in the time period between Noah and Abraham. To be clear, Job does not give us an account of the oldest things of history – Genesis does that – but Job’s divinely inspired account was probably written before Moses penned his divinely inspired account of Creation and the events following in the Five Books of Moses.

If it is true that Job was written before any other book of the Bible, then it is the oldest account of a human being’s relationship with Jehovah God. It recounts a portion of the life of a man named Job, who was a great and godly man in his day, but one who suffered greatly as well. Job’s suffering is well known, and often used as a standard by which to judge suffering that we experience in the world.

I also do not believe that Job’s story is a fictional account. It is true that, sometimes in His earthly ministry, Jesus used parables to teach allegorical lessons. However, this account of Job does not bear the hallmarks of a fictional account, and in fact, later divinely inspired writers cite Job alongside real characters: “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 14:14). Thus, I believe we can accept that Job was a real man, and his was a real life filled with real sufferings.

If we misunderstand the Book of Job, we run the risk of misunderstanding the very nature of God Himself. Thus, it is very important that we “rightly divide” (2 Tim. 2:15) this account. In doing so, we need to understand some of the main themes of this Book. You see, the book of Job is NOT primarily a book about Job’s suffering!  Job’s problem is NOT so much physical or material, but theological. He and his three friends see and feel the suffering, but they mostly misunderstand God’s role in this sad situation. Because of their misunderstandings and misapplication of truth, they fail to comfort their friend Job, and more importantly, misrepresent the Almighty God!

In Job, we find this important truth: God is NOT the afflicter of the brethren, He is the Keeper of the Hedge! That is the role of Satan, as we see in Chapters 1 and 2. James sums up God’s role very well: “. . . Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (Jas. 5:11). If we read Job and come away with any understanding of God other than that He is “very pitiful and of tender mercy”, we have misunderstood the Book of Job!

This is one of the primary problems that Job and his friends have: they understand many truths about God, but they miss the point that He is full of pity and mercy. Each of these men believe that God is the one Who is afflicting Job, when nothing could be farther from the truth! It is Satan – the great accuser and slanderer – who is afflicting Job.

If we will read these first two chapters carefully, we will see that Satan does indeed try to tempt God into afflcting Job: “And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin,yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face” (Job 2:4-5). Do you see what Satan did? He basically “dared” God to afflict Job with His own hand! What an affront to the holy and righteous nature of God Himself, Whom James tells us is “very pitiful and of tender mercies” (Jas. 5:11).

You see, it is NOT in the nature of God to afflict His children. In fact, God has made provision for them in an eternal sense to afflict His own Son on their behalf, and thereby spare them an eternity of afflictions! As we have already said, God is NOT the afflicter of the brethren; rather, His role is the Keeper of the Hedge! Satan had accused God of keeping the hedge around Job to bribe him to service, and now he tempts God by daring Him to touch Job with His own hand and afflict him.

But isn’t it wonderful to see how God never varies from His own nature? We are told in many places about the eternal constancy of God: He is “the Father of lights, with whom is novariableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas. 1:17); “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever” (Heb. 13:8); “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6). Here He displays it as well: “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath isin thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” (Job 1:12).

In other words, God fulfilled His role as the Holy and Righteous Judge, the loving Father and Savior of His people, even though Satan played his role as the slanderer and tempter! When people read the book of Job and come to the conclusion that God is the One Who afflicted Job, they misread the text and misunderstand the role of God. While God sometimes brings chastening upon His children, He NEVER afflicts them in an arbitrary, sinful way! That Satan’s role! And boy, does Satan fill that role well! No wonder Peter declares him to be a “roaring lion,” seeking to devour God’s children! (1 Pet. 5:8).

One other important point: God DID remove the hedge, but He did not do so in an arbitrary and malicious manner. This was NOT just some “contest” between God and Satan! We will see later on, as Job begins to speak, that there are some problems in Job’s life. While he was generally a very godly and righteous man, he wasn’t perfect: in fact, he had some pride and self-righteousness that needed to be dealt with! I believe that one of the reasons God removed the hedge and suffered Satan to afflict Job was to identify and burn away some of that self-righteousness.

We should not miss one final point about the afflictions of Job. Notice that Satan had much freedom in how he afflicted him, but ultimately God had the final say in the matter! God removed the hedge to the extent of suffering Satan to destroy Job’s material possessions, family, and health, but God set a boundary beyond which Satan could not pass: “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life” (Job 2:6). In the midst of suffering, it is comforting to know that God has not abdicated His sovereignty in the area of providentially caring for His children! God does NOT afflict us, but He DOES protect us!

There is much more in Job. It would take hours, if not days or weeks, to plumb the depths of this rich book, and even then we would never gain a full understanding of it. I started preaching a series on Job several weeks ago, and I encourage you to go to our podcast or our website ( and listen to the sermons. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but there are definitely some rich truths in Job that will help us in the trials of life.

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor