Fellowship of Suffering: Who is Job?

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”[1]

                The word ‘fellowship’ means ‘partnership.’ As believers in Christ, we are to have fellowship or partnership with one another. The body of Christ should engage in a fellowship of joy, discipleship, and the Gospel. We should also engage in a fellowship of suffering. We are to partner with one another in our sufferings. We are to share in each other’s sufferings that we may have the strength to endure the trials of life.

                Job was a man that was no stranger to suffering. He is often looked at as the hero of suffering. He suffered more than most any man has suffered. Very few of us has ever suffered like Job. “The Book of Job confuses modern readers. Often said to be about the problem of why the righteous suffer, it never really solves that problem.” [2]

                No one really knows when or by whom the book of Job was written. However, it should be noted that within the book of Job we find various other Biblical passages suggested such as the first few chapters of Genesis and even perhaps some of the Psalms of David. Therefore, we could ascertain that the book of Job may have been written sometime after David. However, there is also indication that Job was a contemporary of the patriarchs and lived before the time of the law. If this is the case, then Job living after the time of David would not compute.

                Job lived in the land of Uz, which was probably located in the eastern part of Arabia. He lived in close proximity to the area in which Abraham came from, Ur of the Chaldees. This place where Job lived was not a very Godly place. It was filled with idol worship and great evil. Job was a good man in the midst of a wicked world.

                “The Book of Job is not religious fiction. Job was a real person, not an imaginary character; both Ezekiel (14:14, 20) and James (5:11) attest to that. Because he was a real man who had real experiences, he can tell us what we need to know about life and its problems in this real world.”[3] As we dive into this study on the Fellowship of Suffering, we must first examine who Job, the man, is.

                The Character of Job. The Character of Job is seen in verse one where it says: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”[4] There are four descriptions of Job’s character see here. (1) Job was perfect. The word ‘perfect’ in the King James may be a little too strong for our understanding. The New King James uses the word ‘blameless.’ This is probably a little easier for us to understand for we know that no one is perfect other than God. To say that Job was blameless is not saying that he was perfect, rather, that he was without blame. He was not someone that was easily accused of wrong. He was a man of great integrity. You and I should also be people of great integrity. We should be ‘blameless.’ Job was an innocent man. Even though he lived in a wicked world, he did not associate with that world. He lived a separated life, and he did not allow himself to be influenced by the evil around him. If Job lived in modern times, he would have been one that did not have a cell phone or television. He would have lived a simple life that would be the envy of us all. Job had a child-like innocence about him. Oh, that we could go back to the days of our innocence! I would love to go back to the days when there was no internet or cell phones or even television. With the influence of our modern society, we lose our innocence too quickly and we are not just exposed to evil, but we are consumed by evil. Job’s world was not unlike ours. It was very wicked. Yet, he chose to live a different lifestyle. This is why the Bible describes Job as being blameless. In the midst of an evil world, Job was able to maintain his innocence. The encouragement we receive here is that if Job could be blameless in the midst of a wicked world, so can we. It is a matter of choice and determination. Job was a blameless man because he chose to honor God. He chose a lifestyle that was different than the rest of the world.

                (2) Job was upright. To be ‘upright’ is to be pleasing or agreeable in the eyes of God. Because Job chose a simpler life. Because he chose to not be influenced by the wicked world around him, he was therefore, pleasing in the eyes of God. This should be the goal of every Christian, that we would be pleasing in the eyes of God. Too often we seek the approval of man and of the world. Instead, we should seek the approval of God. It is easy to get caught up in the desire to be approved and praised by others. However, the only praise or approval that we should desire is that which comes from the Lord. Our greatest mistakes are made when we set out to gain the approval of man rather than the approval of God.

                (3) Job feared God. Job was known as a man who had an healthy fear of God. Warren Wiersbe writes: “To fear the Lord means to respect who He is, what He says, and what He does. It is not the cringing fear of a slave before a master but the loving reverence of a child before a father, a respect that leads to obedience.”[5] The New American Commentary says, “Fear” in Hebrew has a wider range of meaning than it does in English, including fright and scare, but it also encompasses reverence and awe. The picture here is not of a man cowering before an offended deity but of a devout man who respects God and obeys his laws.”[6] When we have a healthy fear of God, we are at peace and there is no need to fear anything else. “The remarkable thing about fearing God,” said Oswald Chambers, “is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”[7] Fearing God always leads to obedient and righteous living. The more in awe we are of God, the great level our obedience will be. As you study Job’s life, it is obvious that he had a close relationship with God that very few experience. His fear of God permeated every facet of his life. There was no part of Job’s life that was not touched or influenced by his personal relationship with God.

                (4) Job eschewed evil. The term ‘eschewed’ in the King James refers to turning from or resisting evil. The Holman Christian Standard Bible says, “He was a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil.”[8]The idea of turning from or resisting evil implies that Job had a hatred of evil. The wickedness of Job’s day was disgusting to him. Job was so unscathed by the evil of the world around him due to his relationship with the Lord that he had an overwhelming hatred and disgust for the world. So it should be said of you and I. Unfortunately, however, we are so bombarded on a daily basis with worldly things that it no longer bothers us like it should.

                Job was a man of great character. It behooves to strive to obtain the character of Job. May it also be said of you and I that we are blameless, upright, God-fearing, and that we turn away from evil.

                The Blessing of Job. Verses 2-4 describe how richly Job was blessed. “And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.”[9] Job was a very wealthy man. Job was blessed with a large family and with great substance. There are two things we see here about the blessing of Job. First of all, Job was blessed by the work of his hands. God did not just make Job wealthy. He was blessed by God, certainly. However, the blessings that Job received came in the form of God blessing the work of his hands due to his close walk with the Lord. When we are living in right fellowship with God, the work of our hands will be blessed. We cannot expect God just to hand us wealth. God blesses those who are in right fellowship with Him by giving them the ability, the tools, and the wisdom to achieve great success and even to obtain wealth. What God gives us is the ability, tools, and wisdom proportionate to our faithfulness to Him. What we do with those abilities, tools, and wisdom is entirely up to us. Secondly, Job was blessed by his love for his family. Job treated all his children the same. No doubt in contrast to the cultural norm of Job’s time, he treated both his sons and daughters equally. Notice what the Women’s Bible Commentary says, “Job’s daughters seem to have a status within the family that is more prominent than what is typically assumed about the position of daughters in ancient Israel. Perhaps it is the author’s way of underscoring the exceptional nature of everything that has to do with Job. In describing the cycle of banquets held by the seven sons of Job, the narrator specifically mentions that the sons would invite their three sisters to join the festivities (1:4). More intriguing is the note about the three daughters born to Job after his misfortunes. The narrator gives the names of each: Jemimah (“Dove”), Keziah (“Cinnamon”), and Keren-happuch (“Box of eye shadow”). Not only are they said to be exceptionally beautiful; Job gives them an inheritance among their brothers (42:14–15). That their inheritance is mentioned suggests that it was not a customary practice.”[10] One of the reasons for God blessing the work of Job’s hands was his fair treatment of his children and the example he set for them. God will honor the man who honors his family. God takes care of those who takes care of their own.

                The Ministry of Job. In verse 5 we read, “And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”[11]Job was not only a man of great character who obtained a great blessing, he was also a man with a great ministry. Regularly, Job got up early in the morning to pray for his family. He took his responsibility as the man of the house seriously. He interceded on behalf of his family. Matthew Henry said, “While Job beheld the harmony and comforts of his sons with satisfaction, his knowledge of the human heart made him fearful for them. He sent and sanctified them, reminding them to examine themselves, to confess their sins, to seek forgiveness; and as one who hoped for acceptance with God through the promised Saviour, he offered a burnt-offering for each.”[12] Job was an intercessor, a disciple maker, and an evangelist. He took his ministry seriously. In all of his business ventures, Job understood what mattered most. His whole life was wrapped up in reconciling others to God. This is the same responsibility given to all believers in Christ today. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation. We are called to be intercessors for our families and for the world. We are called to be disciple makers of those around us. We are called to be evangelists and share the good news.

                This overview of the life of Job leads to a place in Job’s life when the bottom falls out. Everything he worked for and lived for is wiped away in one day. How can this be? Why would God allow one of His choice servants to suffer so? These questions and more will be examined as we engage in the Fellowship of Suffering.


[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Job 1:1–5). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Garrett, D. A. (1998). The Poetic and Wisdom Books. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman concise Bible commentary (p. 203). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Patient (p. 13). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Job 1:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Patient (p. 14). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] Alden, R. L. (1993). Job (Vol. 11, p. 48). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[7] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Patient (p. 14). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Job 1:1). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

[9] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Job 1:2–4). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[10] Newsom, C. A. (2012). Job. In J. E. Lapsley & S. H. Ringe (Eds.), Women’s Bible Commentary (Revised and Updated, p. 210). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

[11] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Job 1:5). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[12] Henry, M., & Scott, T. (1997). Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary (Job 1:1). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

One thought on “Fellowship of Suffering: Who is Job?

  1. You post on Job truly blessed me and touched my heart on being a devout man. Praise God for your writing. Thank you Pastor Chris.

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