What Is the Story of Job?

The story of Job is one of the darkest, yet most interesting stories in the Bible. Not only that, but it has some surprisingly current lessons to teach us today.

Freelance writer
Updated Mar 05, 2024
What Is the Story of Job?

Many of us go through some of the challenges that Job went through in his life, though not all at once. Loss of property, financial decline, humiliation, and death of a loved one are only some of the things that seem to follow us in our lifetimes. For those of us who have experienced tragedy, the story of Job holds a special place in our hearts because it teaches us always to trust God no matter what we might face in this world.

Here are some things you might have never known about Job.   

Story of Job: Table of Contents

What Happened in the Story of Job? 

According to the Bible, Job was a devout man who always prayed and worshipped God. God spoke highly of His servant Job and his faithfulness to Him (Job 1:1, 8). God brought Satan’s attention to Job’s love for God, which made Satan jealous. Satan issued a challenge to God, and God accepted it with a condition. Below you can follow the conversation between God and Satan concerning Job.  

God: “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil? (Job 1:8 ESV)  

Satan: “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face” (Job 1:9-11 ESV).

God: “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand” (Job 1:12 ESV).

So, Satan began to remove all that Job, hoping that Job would curse God to His face.

One day while at home, one of Job’s servants came to him and reported that the Sabeans had stolen all of Job’s oxen and donkeys and killed the attending servants (Job 1:13-15). Before Job could digest the news, another servant came and told him that fire from heaven had destroyed all his sheep and the servants looking after the sheep (Job 1:16). Yet again, while Job was hearing the bad news of the second messenger, another servant joined in. The third servant told Job that the Chaldeans had stolen his entire stock of mules and killed the workers (Job 1:17).

All those bad news was enough to make Job start worrying. However, the news about Job’s property being stolen was nothing compared to the fourth and last servant who arrived. Before Job could process the news about the thefts and the deaths, the final blow was yet to come. A final servant came to Job and told him that a desert wind had knocked down the house where all his sons and daughters were having a party (Job 1:18).

This last news would have havoc on any sane man’s mind. Yet, Job kept his head. Instead of blaming God, Job fell on His face in worship and reverence to the Almighty Lord (Job 1:20-22).

Satan was not satisfied stopping there; instead, he continued his evil test on Job by bringing sickness to him through painful boils appearing on his skin (Job 2:7).

However, the Bible says in everything that Satan tried to defeat Job; Job did not sin or blame God for all the bad things that happened to him (Job 2:10).

Why Did Job’s Friends Assume His Suffering Is His Fault? 

Job’s friends visited him after these terrible events. Three of these friends—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar—questioned what actions he committed that could lead to such suffering (Job 4-32). They blamed Job for the evil things that happened to him because they did not see or know the plans of God. In their fleshly minds, they could not understand why God would allow his faithful servant to suffer such woes.

The New Testament provides an answer to this question. God allowed Jesus to suffer pain and shame on the cross because God had a plan for humanity. If the Father allowed His beloved Son to suffer the way Jesus did on the cross, why can’t He allow a simple man such as Job to suffer so that the Father’s purpose may be accomplished? The story of Job reminds us that God has a plan in everything he does.    

Who Is Job’s Friend Elihu?  

Elihu was a fourth group member who visited Job. He was the offspring of the Buzite Barachel and also a descendant of the tribe of Ram (Job 32:2). Barachel’s ancestor Buz was mentioned in Genesis 22:20-23 as being the son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. Elihu was angry toward Job’s three friends for not presenting a ‘right answer’ to Job; yet when his time came to speak, he did not have a proper answer to give Job either.   

What Did God Tell Job about His Suffering? 

God told Job about his suffering by giving two answers. First, the Lord reminded Job that He (God) was in charge of the universe and that He had not fallen asleep (Job 38-39). God’s first response made Job understand that the great universe in which Job lived could only function due to God’s mighty power that keeps everything in place. God’s first point, therefore, is letting Job know that He has everything under control. Nothing can fall out of place unless He allows it, even humanity’s suffering. Job responded to God by saying, “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to you? I lay my hand on my mouth. Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; even twice, and I will add nothing more” (Job 40:3-5 NASB 1995).  

God’s second point was to ask whether Job had the power to control the creatures he had made, like the Leviathan, a dangerous creature that lives far away from human interference (Job 40-41). Of course, Job’s answer was a resounding no. God’s point is this: if Job cannot control such a dangerous creature, how can he control the events in his life? Only God has total control over the events in every human being’s life.

In both points, God helped Job see that He controls everything that happens, regardless of how bad the situation seems.  

Meaning of Job's Story

What can we take away from the tragedies of Job's life?

1. Never to give up: Job never gave up on life or God, regardless of how impossible things might seem. As Christians, we must never give up easily. Although things might seem hopeless, still, in Christ, we have the upper hand. We are victors and not victims.

2. We must not curse God: Job’s wife told him to curse God and die, but Job did not because he knew better. God knows what’s best for us. Even though He might cause us to go through the grind with no possible humane way out, still, His love and protection are ever with us. God wants us to bring our anger to him, like David did many times in his Psalms. However, as Robert Hampshire explains, cursing God enters into sin. When we start to harbor bitterness in our hearts for God (or anyone for that matter), we defeat the Creator’s purpose for our lives, and give Satan an advantage in our lives.  

3. Better is coming: when Job’s test was over, God rewarded him with double what he lost. Even if we lose something from our lives, God has something redemptive planned. He often replaces what we have lost with something better and greater. Therefore, we must not despair when things seem to start going haywire in our lives. Instead, we must wait for God to deliver us, bringing us into a new dimension of His goodness. Better days are ahead. We must hold on to the unshakeable hand of God and trust Him to provide for our everyday needs.

The story of Job holds for us many lessons to learn. It makes us know that we have a sovereign God who always watches over us, even in the worst times.

Further Reading:

Who Was Job in the Bible?

What Does Job Mean by ‘I Know My Redeemer Lives’ in Job 19:25?

What is the Meaning and Origin of ‘Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust’?

Photo Credit: ©SparrowStock

Lancelot Tucker is a book author and freelance writer who writes on a vast amount of topics. In addition, he serves as an associate pastor in his hometown, Spanish Town. Lancelot loves to do research and write, and is an avid reader of other authors' works. When not writing or reading, he spends his time reaching out to the less fortunate residing in his community.

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