Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Job Chapter 1

I've decided to change my daily motivational reading to an analysis of each chapter of Job, one of the books of the Old Testament. The study of religion has always fascinated me, and I believe that Job represents one of the best teachings in the Bible. In short, the Book of Job tells us that no matter what happens to us, even if we lose everything, we should still remain humble and thankful that we are alive.


Job Chapter 1 introduces the character called Job. Job was righteous, in the sense that he was blameless and upright – he feared God and shunned evil. He was wealthy and powerful not only in terms of material wealth (many animals and servants), but was also blessed with many children. It would seem that his initially wealth and power was God’s reward for his righteousness.

Job was simple. This is shown by the fact that he sacrificed an animal for each of his children after they had feasted. He did so without knowing whether or not his children had sinned and cursed God in their hearts, even though feasting is not necessarily a sin. Even then, Job prays for his children.

In Job 1:6, the enemy appears. However, in the original version of this Book, the enemy is represented by the “sons of God” and the “adversary”. In the Christian Bible, we interpret this as the angels and Satan. However, in the original text, Satan is not stated directly and angels were not mentioned as well. Upon further research, it seems that the “sons of God” were the old gods of the Jews, who have been put under the control of the one, Yahweh. In Job 1:7, the “adversary”, was divine being who has been sent to the world to search out man’s sins and accuse them.

The “adversary” has come to report to God that man has been sinning. God told him that Job is one who does not sin. However, the “adversary” counter-argues that Job is only blameless because he is materially well-to-do, and asks God to take away everything Job has to see if he would still be pious to God. And so God did it, by taking everything away from – his herd, his home, his servants and his family.

Interesting note: God works through both natural disasters and man. He acts through fire, and through a mighty wind. He sent the Sabeans and Chaldeans to destroy his herd and servants. Interesting how God performs his acts through man so quickly. Is there really free will?

When he found out about this through a few messengers, he remained pious by cutting his hair and tearing his robe, and fell to the ground to worship. Through his wisdom, he knows that we come to the world naked, and we will depart naked. All material things are ephemeral and will be taken away, one way or another (refer to Ecclesiastes). Knowing this, he praises God and thus does not sin.

From this Chapter, we can tell that by not blaming God, but instead, praising God, we do not sin. Hence, we should give our life to God, and always praise him.

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