I do not think there are many people who would want to be thought of as a fool. And I doubt very much if anyone, especially one who is a believer in Christ would want to be spoken of as giving the appearance of a fool. But any believer is vulnerable if not susceptible. It is therefore important to watch against potential slip ups. To help us, we shall look at and try to learn from the life of one of the believers of old.
In the book of Job God testified to the enviable qualities of the man Job. Job was the servant of God. There was none like him in the earth, a perfect man. And Job feared God and eschewed evil (Job 1:8). It was God who initiated the conversation that led to the problems of Job.
At the end of the first conversation, God gave Satan permission to afflict Job, but to spare his life (Job 2:6).
As a result of being allowed by God Satan went to work with a vengeance. He must have been shocked to his bones to hear God’s permission to go out and do what he does best: to do as much damage including grave bodily harm to job. One can be assured that this personality would go to the maximum limit allowed. He immediately went to work with unfathomable zeal. Little wonder then that as a result of and at the end of the Satan’s acts of aggression, Job had lost ALL except his life and his wife.
Yes, Job had lost ALL:
- He had lost all his property.
- He had lost all his children.
- He had lost all his wealth.
- He had lost his enviable position in society.
- He had lost his health.
- Everything was gone, and he was in a terrible state.
Job’s wife was there too!
What is seldom mentioned is that in all his plenty and adversity, the wife of Job was equally affected, and she stayed with him. Even when she is mentioned, it is often in bad light and many even speak of her in venomous outbursts of vituperation.
The personal situation of Job was so terrible that he was now sitting outside on a heap of ashes, scratching his rotten sores with a potsherd (Job 2:8).
Do remember that Job was not privileged to know that God held a council meeting with the sons of God in heaven in which he was a prominent item on the agenda, neither was he informed of what transpired in that meeting (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6).
Only the readers of this book down the ages, including us are given that privileged information. We are reading the story after the events and many therefore frequently think they would have acted differently and better were they in the place and position of Job.
A wife in agony
“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die” (Job 2:9).
It is important to remember that this was a woman married to Job in a covenant relationship. She had lived with him for a long time and was the mother of his 10 children (7 sons and 3 daughters). The wife of Job knew him very well. She knew his devotion to God to be real, and not a pretension. Naturally Job also knew his wife very well.
Job’s wife had enjoyed the period of prosperity with her husband and so was not a stranger to God’s goodness in their lives. But she lost everything, and even her husband though still alive was now a caricature of his old healthy self. She was now a woman deeply grieving and finding adversity with her husband unbearable. Hence, she spoke out of the depth of her sorrow and grief. She was in agony with apparently nobody to help.
Her husband’s attitude towards their calamity must have been a big area of perplexity to her. She just could not understand how someone in his position could still be talking positively about God!
Integrity: (in this context), spotless character in regard to God; blamelessness before God.
God Himself testified to Job’s integrity before Him though Job and his wife were not privy to that testimony given by God at the council meeting.
Job’s wife knew Job was still maintaining his relationship with God. That he had refused to charge God with error or wickedness. Hence, her question. She was like asking:
- Are you still maintaining your integrity?
- Are you still continuing to have faith in your God, the God who has done all these terrible things to us?
She asked the question “Dost thou still retain thine integrity?”, knowing fully well that Job was still faithful to God, and that he was still refusing to blame God for their calamity.
The serpent’s strategy re-enacted
Remember the adversary uses the same strategy of questioning and undermining the integrity of his would-be victim all the time.
Observe the serpent in the conversation with Eve in the garden:
Eve was in a place of plenty. A place where all their needs, including regular fellowship with God were met. Yet, the devil came there. Knowing what God has said to Eve, he said,
“Yea, hath God said?” (Gen 3:1).
With the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord was in the wilderness. The wilderness was a place of deprivation, preparation and testing. The Lord was fasting as part of the preparation for His soon-to-be lunched ministry of Salvation.
So, further down the line, the devil used the same ploy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Though, he knew Jesus to be the Son of God, he still went ahead to challenge that truth. He wanted the Jesus to use His privileged position to attain an aim in a manner contrary to the purpose of God. He said,
“If thou be the son of God” (Mat 4:3, 6).
Notice that the questions and statements are calculated and framed in a way to create doubt in the hearer. They are coiled like a powerful spring that will spring up with force as the intended victims tries to prove the devil wrong. In attempting to prove the devil wrong or reject his insinuations, the would-be victim actually falls into the snare of the devil!
The devil was saying to the Lord, “you are the Son of God eh! I know but put your power into action for me to see me now!”
Remember that Eve was wallowing in abundance, while the Lord was in a 40-day fast. They were both confronted by the tempter with things that would be quite enticing and irresistible.
The situation of the believer matters little to the devil. All he is concerned with is the possibility of success in whatever he wants to do concerning his would-be victim. Hence, being in plenty or lack is all game to him.
Yes, the devil makes his moves at the moments of maximum vulnerability! The time he is most likely to succeed in his deception against his would-be victim. He presents his case in a most believable way, attractively packaged to make it seem to be in the best interest of the would-be victim. It is done in ways and situations that even others, especially some in the inner circle of the would-be victim will join in to put pressure upon the intended victim.
Hence, in this case, seeing the possibility of the failure of the friends of Job, next one to try to ally with himself was Job’s unsuspecting.
And so, the devil did not stop with Job nor with his three friends. Rather, he got around to the human being closest to him, his wife.
Who else could Job have trusted other than his wife?
Job’s wife was advertently acting doing what the devil wanted
The heathens around them were in the habit of heaping curses upon their idol gods when they thought such false gods had brought misfortune and evil upon them. Job’s wife would have seen them berating and reproaching their gods on many occasions.
Job as the head of the family is the one with authority to call time on the family’s relationship with God. Through him, both blessings and curses come. And in this case, all the calamity that befell the family was because his faithfulness pleased God but angered Satan. It led to God allowing him to be further tested by the devil.
And he is the one who could end their relationship with God. Hence, she was asking her husband to do the ultimate: curse God and let Him kill us out of anger and save us from this miserable life!
What she might have forgotten because of her deep sorrow was that Yahweh, their God was the true God and not an idol. The idea was that Job should make an end of everything, because by what had happened to them, God had proved to be unworthy of their devotion and worship.
What worse thing could befall them other than what they had suffered?
It is better to die and end all than to live such a miserable life she must have thought. Anything else but this horrible existence!
Be aware and beware for suffering and pain can do much damage to a believer’s thinking.
So, mind your thinking and words when you are in unpleasant circumstances.
Job’s wife’s words would have had very heavy and devastating impact on Job, even more than whatever Job’s friends might have said to him. She was the closest to Him, the only one after God that he could trust, and rely upon. His long-term confidant. And so, to hear her spoke like she did would ordinarily have deflated Him.
Job’s faith showed forth in dealing with his wife
But he showed that he was really a man of faith as he refused to lash out at her.
Job demonstrated perseverance in His faith and trust in God. But Job’s wife misconstrued his perseverance as possibly religious fanaticism. She might have thought Job was blindly refusing to face the reality of their very desperate situation.
She showed her bitterness against God by lashing out at her husband. Her action would have been another terrible blow to Job, her husband.
Notice that, though Job and his wife were unaware of what was going on in the heavenly council: The suggestion of his wife that Job should curse God was exactly what Satan had twice predicted in the presence of God that Job would do if God should allow him to attack Job (Job 1:11; 2:5).
Job cautioned his wife
“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10).
Her husband, who was in addition to the loss of their children and all their material wealth, was in serious physical sickness responded but not in harsh tone as some would have.
Foolish here means spiritually ignorant or undiscerning of spiritual things. Someone lacking understanding or even the capacity for understanding, implying a willful moral insolence and impudence and disobedience to the law of God. See also Deut. 32:6; Ps 74:18.
Notice that her husband, Job, did not call her foolish. No right-thinking believer should call his wife foolish, neither should the wife her husband. There should be no derogatory language between spouses under any circumstances.
Rather, Job was cautioning his wife. It is as if saying, be careful now. Do not speak like one of the foolish women.
Foolish women here likely referred to the heathen unbelievers around them. Job was cautioning her not to let her situation overwhelmed her to the extent that she would disparage and charge God with error.
Who is the fool?
- The fool is the one who has said in his heart, that there is no God.
- The fool is the one who worships idols and other false gods.
- The fool is the one who claims to be a Christian while living contrary to the word of God, and says it is neither God’s nor the devil’s business.
Brother, sister, how do you speak? Like one of the foolish?
Please, speak as one of the wise ones.
Job’s next statement was framed as a question:
“What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”
It was as if Job was reminding his wife of who she was in God, and their previous blessings from God. By his statement in put to her as a question, Job was not being a fatalist who resigned to the will of an unknown God.
Rather, Job recognised the sovereignty of God over their lives, and indeed, over all of creation. He believed nothing would happen to them except God allowed it. He trusted God so much that despite their terrible situation he continued to believe that God knows all things, and especially in their situation, that God knew what He was doing.
His life is the life of one totally submitted to God. In spite of his own personal pain, he found time to be the pillar of support for his wife. Hence, he was still able to be gracious towards her.
Job remained faithful
Through all his travails Job remained faithful to the only true God.
In all this did not Job sin with his lips:
Try to picture the level of personal agony he must have been in because of his sickness, add to that the loss of all he possessed except his wife. And all friends and relatives had deserted them. He had lost his high status in society. Yet, he refused to charge God with error. Though in serious pain, he did not sin!
Only the true and living God could see a person through what Job and his wife went through and still remain in faith to the Living God.
Observe that this strongly positive affirmation of the God-pleasing character of Job that, “in all this did Job sin not with his lips”:
- Proved Satan’s prediction wrong: Satan had twice predicted to God that if Job was attacked severely enough, Job would curse God.
- It also vindicated God’s confidence in Job, and God’s words about Job (Job 1:22, Job 1:8, 11; 2:3, 5).
How would you have fared? Or should I ask how you are faring now? Yes, how are you faring in the face of your challenges and troubles?
- Brother, sister, how is your relationship with God.
- In what ways may Satan be challenging your integrity before God?
- What may the devil be predicting concerning you before God?
- Will God have such confidence in your integrity or faithfulness if Satan were to argue in the court of heaven that he be allowed to attack you to test your faith in God?
- If such were to happen, or perhaps, is already happening, how will you respond?
- Like Job or like Job’s wife? Or like the friends of Job?
Please, this is a serious issue. Do not dismiss it flippantly. As the Word of God counsels, examine yourself to see if you are still in the faith!
Rather than berating God as some would have, Job confidently affirmed that trouble (evil) as well as good come from God. Scripture confirms the same (cf. Eccl. 7:14; Lam 3:38). This is in contrast with the view of most people, including Christians.
Problem is no indication of the absence of God
Many people’s view is that bad things happening means the very existence of God is questionable. For if God truly exists and have all the powers ascribed to Him, everything should just be good, and with the complete absence of evil or trouble.
Many Christians even claim if bad things happen to you, you are either not a true Christian, or have some hidden sin in your life, or you are suffering from the sins of your ancestors or the enemy is just more powerful than God! Many of us still have many friends who are not wiser, and oftentimes worse than Job’s friends. Just be aware!
Have a serious problem is not always an indication that God is not there or that God is angry with that person. We should as fallible human beings be humble enough to admit that we don’t always have the answer as to why bad things happen to people.
Such humility will help us to at least reduce our numerous but often ungodly speculations. It will help us to resist from giving grievous advice like the friends of job in our attempts to sound spiritual while only clutching at powerless finger-piercing straws.
Such humility will help us to the realisation that oftentimes when a person is undergoing suffering or mourning a loss just being there but keeping our mouths shut from speaking unhelpful platitudes is more needful.
Remember the Word of God: Even the hairs on your head are numbered, and you are of much value to God (Mat 10:28-31).
Later, Job affirmed to his friends that he would retain his integrity till death (Job 27:5). Christ was to, much later affirm this principle of openly confessing one’s allegiance to God, and to Christ (Mat 10:32-33). And apparently that was what Job did: He remained openly faithful to God till the end.
Not all are called to be a Job
Job was a human like any, and all of us. I have heard that uncountable times. It is true that Job was a human like us. What is probably not true is to in our zealousness to help to assume that everyone having a serious issue is called to be a Job. It is thus important to recognise that though the destination is the same for all genuine Christians, the race and track for each are different. But whatever the case may be, the LORD gives enough grace to be sustained so that His perfect will takes place.
Indeed, how many of us could have stayed true to God if we were suddenly thrown into Job’s position?
Consider where you are now, and the things you think you are going through:
- How is your relationship with God?
- How are you bearing up under the burden if you are carrying any?
- Could you have gone further than Job’s wife and taken the laws into your hands?
Watch where you look for help
It is natural to seek help when there is a problem. It is better still to have help that can help prevent a problem from taking place. Sometimes, in spite of all the best efforts or even because of the best efforts problem occurs. And the need to seek help arises.
Please, be careful where you look for help. Do not look for help in places where there is none. There are places that have the appearance of righteousness but are actual citadels of wickedness. Those who go to such places receive no help but are fleeced. They end up spending all their livelihood on wolves in sheep’s clothing and their false promises that profit nothing, and the situation will in all probability get worse like that of the woman with the issue of blood before she met Christ (Mark 5:25-26).
Rather, affirm your faith in the LORD as you seek godly counsel.
Be grateful to God that in His wisdom, not many of us are called by God to be a Job.
Remember, Job’s wife stayed with her husband till the end and they were restored together.
What if there is no evidence of blessing?
Each person has his own idea of what things should be present to indicate the presence and blessings of God. Sometimes, such criteria are man-made and may even not have any support from Scripture. But many still insist on them all the same!
So, what would you do when you are in that place where though you are a believer in Christ, there is no evidence of God’s presence, and blessing, as in this case of Job?
How long do you think you will stay true to God before seeking additions, and or alternatives?
This is especially important in this day of benefits Christianity. We have a deluge of prosperity gospel, instant gratifications, and so-called instant miracles.
Please, it is important to look intently at yourself and sincerely re-evaluate your relationship with the Lord and make necessary adjustment.
While not everyone is called to be a Job and his wife, each of us have our place and time of testing.
Believers respond differently and so, need to grow
Remember that, both husband and wife were believers in God and had walked with God for many years. God had been very good to them. But suddenly as if from thin air, they were both beset with an overwhelming tsunami of calamity, though the husband more so, as he was also physically afflicted in his body.
Both were grieving due to their devastating loss. Yet, their response concerning their faith and trust in God were so different. One possible reason for this may be their different levels of spiritual growth. We must always realise that though we may all be true believers in and followers of Christ, we are all at different levels of spiritual growth. The response of the individual Christian to a situation will be commensurate to that person’s level.
This is not to say some are super spiritual while others are not.
At the base level all are fallible. At the Spirit level all can avail themselves of the help of the Holy Spirit. In-between, each person must make use of the means for spiritual growth that God has graciously provided so that he can grow towards spiritual maturity rather than remaining “babes in Christ” (1Cor 3:1).
Each should strive to get to the level thus described, “14 that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Eph. 4:14-15).
As people of faith in God, and followers of Christ, we must have faith and trust in God in both prosperity and adversity, even while we are unable to understand why bad things happen.
Watch for you may not be better than Job’s wife
From the foregoing, we have seen a behaviour that could best be characterised as akin to that found amongst the ungodly and which should to be that of a believer in God.
Job cautioned his wife against anything that could have such appearance in her. It was as if Job, her husband of many years who knew her well warned her to watch herself so as not to fall into the trap of the devil because of her grief.
What will be foolishness on our part as New Testament believers in Christ?
That calls for serious reflection on your part. This is so you do not find yourself inadvertently manifesting a type of behaviour that ordinarily is a preserve of the ungodly. And who is there to graciously caution you as Job did his wife?
No excuse for unfaithfulness
What Job’s wife said was unbecoming and bad. She seemed to think that Job had good reason to rebel against God in view of all they had lost. And many us were we in her shoes would have done the same if not worse. Hence, her question, and the following statement. Job, her husband knew and understood her. And he was able to show that he was not serving God for profit.
New Testament believers have an even more obvious or objective thing to look up to: The suffering and sacrifice of Christ on Calvary on our behalf.
And because the believer’s sacrifice and persecution cannot be compared to that of Christ, it will be foolish to claim any excuse from not being faithful to God.
This is not to shy away from the pain and suffering of believers in this world. Such are real and are often devastating. However, as the word of God makes clear, whatever level of suffering and deprivation a believer goes through in this world can never be compared to the glory and blessings that await the believer in the presence of the glorified Christ.
Hence, as a believer in and a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, you should recognise that there is no excuse for being unfaithful to your Saviour and Lord. Rather, ask the Lord for more grace in time of need.
God always have use for His children
God has and will always have use for His children. Job’s wife calling Job, her husband to end it all by cursing God is akin to saying God had no use for them anymore. She was deep in sorrow and grief, with her understanding clouded by her grief. She was wearied and tired and she seemed not to have the strength nor the will to want to continue to live.
She therefore looked for the quickest way to end it all: There was no point to continue to live a miserable existence. “Let us make God angry so He can kill us” she might have thought.
Thankfully, God is not man. He is too powerful, long-suffering and merciful to act precipitately or irrationally. But Job, her husband was an example of patience in the face of adversity.
Job’s faith should challenge you and me and indeed, all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. For as in the case of Job whom God used to confound and silence Satan, God still wants to use His children for His glory in the way and by the means He chooses at His appointed time. It is therefore unreasonable and possibly foolish to think that because of being in adversity, God has no further use for us.
Never let adversity make you forget the goodness of God
Job’s reply to his wife showed that though his anguish was intense, he still remembered the goodness of God. God had been good to them with all they enjoyed in the past.
Though one’s circumstances could change dramatically, God never changes. God is always good even when our personal circumstances wants us to think otherwise.
And as New Testament believers, God has and continues to demonstrate His love for us through salvation, daily provision, protection, and good promises for the future. It is therefore foolish to forget the goodness of God when we have problems or challenges that are not easy to resolve.
As I often encourage us, you should never question what God had spoken or given to you in your steady state when trouble or difficulties come. God is always good and true.
- Satan will do his best to make you charge God with error.
- Satan will come, and especially at periods of vulnerability:
- He will try to sow doubt.
- He will try to tempt us with foolish questions.
- He will try to make us draw foolish conclusions from incomplete and corrupt information.
- And he will try to urge us to urgent precipitate and unwise actions that could make our situation worse if not irredeemable.
But never forget who you are in the Lord, neither forget whom your Lord over your life: God not Satan. So, whatever the circumstances may be, we should remember who we are: Job never forgot who he was. Job never forgot who God was for knew he had a living, all-powerful redeemer (Job 19:25). Though his current situation was terrible, Job knew his future was bright (Job 19:25-27).
We the New Testament believers have our future in the hands of Christ. This is a surer promise of bright future based upon His finished work on the cross. Therefore, we should be careful that our walk or anything in us does not portray us as one of the ungodly around us.
There is a possibility this could happen. Hence, the need for more grace in time of need. Determine not to allow any circumstances to cause to appear as a fool before God.
Are you getting weary? Are you becoming discouraged? Does your situation seem overwhelming? It can happen. But please ask the Lord for grace to help in time of your need.
The LORD will always supply enough grace for the circumstances He allows in your life. He did it for Job and his wife. He did it for our Lord Jesus Christ in Calvary.
He is still on the throne and reigns sovereignly over ALL: the visible, the invisible, the known and the unknown of ALL He created. You are of much value to Him. He will do it for you too. Just ask and believe.
So far so good for the believer in Christ, the child of the living God. God ever watches over all His children.
But what if you are not yet a believer in Christ?
Please understand that the above concerns the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. They can with the help of the Holy Spirit and the written word of God, and a humble spirit be able to be obedient to God, even in the worst of circumstances. This is because what God demands of His people can only be done with the help of God who superintends the lives of His people.
So, if you are not yet a believer in Christ, if Jesus Christ is not yet your Saviour and Lord, the above may sound to you as unreal or a fairy tale. But I assure you it is real and not a fairy tale. And better still, you can come in and have what genuine believers in Christ have.
By becoming a born-again child of God:
Accept God’s verdict concerning human beings:
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
That is, in the opinion of God, we all fall short of His standard. Further, our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in hell.
But while we are still in our sin, God took the initiative to reconcile us with Himself as we are told:
“But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Yes, while we were all still in our sin, God showed His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for us. God gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16). So, all we need to do is to accept that Christ has died for our sin by standing in place of us.
We do this by doing what the word of God commands all would-be believers:
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10). “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Everyone who appropriates the sacrifice of Christ is acceptable to Him. And He Himself extended the invitation to all:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
So, I encourage you to appropriate the finished work of Christ and confess Him as your Saviour and Lord NOW!
I prayer that God will accept you into His household through Christ in Jesus’ Name, Amen.