Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Consider Job's Wife

God led me to study the Book of Job in 2012. It certainly wasn't my choice. I tried to suggest other books, like Romans, or Philippians, but I couldn't get Job out of my head. I sang through ALL the books, but Job was always at the forefront. What has God got planned for me in 2012 that He has me studying the Book of Job? I don't know, but I will be better prepared for whatever it is if I am obedient and study His Word. And guess what? I am actually enjoying it! Before I started the study, I had already read through it this year because I am following the chronological plan for reading through the Bible again this year. So, it was fresh on my mind. I prayed to the Holy Spirit to teach me all I need to learn as I sit at my Savior's feet and listen to His Word. First, I read through the chapter and make my own notes as I go. The next day, I read commentaries by others, and take more notes. The following day, I read through the chapter again and all my notes and try to synthesize what I've learned and want to remember, and I write again. I'm in chapter two now, and I particularly wanted to learn what I could about Job's wife.
We first read about Job's nameless wife in chapter 2:9, " Then his wife said to him, ' Do you still hold fast your integrity Curse God and die!' "The blogs and commentaries aren't very favorable, and often quite critical. We have to remember that she lost everything, too. All of their livestock, and all their servants but perhaps the four who were spared to tell the terrible news. Worst of all, ten children she gave birth to-sons who would be her provider and protector when Job dies, and daughters who would give her grandchildren. Some commentaries state that a year would have elapsed between all the loses, and Job's physical afflictions because of the annual day of atonement when the sons of God gathered. That's a long time. After all the loss, Job breaks out in terrible, painful boils from head to toe. She also suffered great loss, and as anyone who has been a caregiver to someone suffering from a terminal illness, or grievous injury, watching them slowly die is in itself agonizing. It is an awful feeling of helplessness watching a loved one suffer, and not be able to do anything about it. She heard Job cry out to God, but where did it get him? So even God gave her no comfort. Perhaps she was even angry with God for allowing her husband, whom she knew to be upright and devout, to continue to suffer, when evil people appeared to prosper. She wanted to see an end to his suffering, knowing that it meant she would be totally alone with no provider or protector. Job's brothers and sisters mentioned in 42:11 didn't show up with casseroles and condolences during their catastrophic loses. Isn't it mercy instead of hatred to want to see your husband's suffering come to an end? Satan was using her as he did Eve with her husband, but I still see that perhaps she was saying what she said out of mercy and pity, wanting to see an end to her husband's suffering.
Job's wife is not mentioned again until 31:9-10, when Job asserts that if he were guilty of adultery, let another man have sexual relations with his wife. Although she isn't mentioned in 42:13, God's Word says Job had seven sons and three daughters. If his wife were not still around, then who had the kids? If she did stick around, isn't it a testament to her character?
So, while she may not be the Proverbs 31 wife, she can't be all bad if she stuck by him. There just isn't enough information to truly know her, but I see some good in her, and I see some lessons to be learned from her story:
1. God is in control.
2. God knows best.
3. God's timing is perfect.Wait patiently.
4. Don't listen to Satan.
5. Bad times help us appreciate all the good times we have.
6. Be thankful to God in all circumstances.
7. Trust our loved ones with God.