Summary of Job

Summary of Job

Chapter by Chapter:

Job 1-2: Job, a Just and Perfect Man/Job is Smitten with Boils

Job 3-4: Job Curses his Birthday/Eliphaz Criticizes Job

Job 5-6: Happy is the Man that God Corrects/The Right Words

Job 7-8: What is our time on earth?/Our time on earth is short

Job 9-10: Man cannot contend with God/Why are we born?

Job 11-12: By searching we can find God/The souls of all things are in God’s hands

Job 13-14: I will trust the Lord/Shall man live again?

Job 15-16: The wicked do not believe/The witness is in heaven

Job 17-18: The body returns to dust/The wicked know not God

Job 19-20: In the flesh we will see God/The inheritance of Good and Evil

Job 21-22: The Wicked Sometimes Prosper in this Life/Eliphaz Accuses Job of Sinning

Job 23-24: After Trials, We are Refined/The Wicked Often Go Unpunished

Job 25-27: The Lowly State of Man/God and His Power are Great/Terrors of Death

Job 28-29: Wisdom Can Not be Bought/Job and His Former Prosperity

Job 30-31: Job Weeps for Those in Trouble/Job Invites Judgment from God

Job 32-33: Great Men are Not Always Wise/God Speak to Men in Dreams

Job 34-35: God Cannot Be Unjust/Men Should Trust in God

Job 36-37: The Wicked Die without Knowledge/God Controls Nature and Science

Job 38-39: Nature and God/Man Knows Nothing

Job 40-42: The Arm of God/All Things are God (The Body of God)

 

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

We can learn a very simple, yet important lesson from the story of Job… bad things happen. I personally believe that EVERYTHING has a reason, bad or good. We learn from Job that EVERYTHING was taken from him, including a close encounter with his own life through sickness! Yet, Job prevailed and pushed through the challenges that God presented him… and because of it he became a stronger and more powerful man.

Sometimes we are burdened by challenges or trials in our lives. More often than not, we feel like we cannot carry the weight of these trials. But every trial or challenge that is presented to us, is unique to the individual and its end purpose is designed for that specific individual. When presented with a trial, you must ask yourself; WHY? What do I NEED to gain from this experience? There is a purpose for everything and in the end; for “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28). If you are struggling, just know that you are NOT ALONE! Keep your head up and everything will work for the good!

Summary of Job:

The book of Job is one of the oldest books in the Bible, although we don’t know exactly how old the book is, there is no doubt that it is ancient. Some scholars believe that Job, is mentioned early on in the Bible in the book of Genesis as “Jobab” (Genesis 10:29), one of the sons of Joktan, which would put Job in the year between Noah and Abraham. In the opening chapter of the Book of Job, we learn that he is from the land of Uz, well there was a man named Huz (Uz?), who was Abraham’s nephew (see Genesis 22:21), perhaps the land of Uz was named after him?

Eliphaz (Job 2:11) was the son of Esau (Genesis 34:10-11); this son of Esau had another son named Teman (Genesis 36:10-11), and the descendants of Teman were known for their wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7). Bildad is called a Shuhite (Job 2:11), and Shuah was a son of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 35:2).

Here is how the story of Job goes…

Job was a wealthy man living in a land called Uz with his large family and extensive flocks. He is “…perfect and upright, and one that feared God and eschewed (abstained from) evil” (Job1:1). One day Satan appears before God in heaven. God boasts to Satan about Job’s goodness, but Satan argues that Job is only good because God has blessed him abundantly. Satan challenges God that, if given permission to punish the man, Job will turn and curse God. God allows Satan to try Job and test this bold claim, but he forbids Satan to take Job’s life in the process.

In one day, Job receives four messages. Each message brought separate news that his livestock, servants, and ten children have all died due to invaders or natural catastrophes. Job rents (tears) his clothes and shaves his head, but he still blesses God in his prayers. Satan, presumably upset that his plan was thwarted appears in heaven again, and God grants him another chance to test Job. This time, Job is afflicted with horrible skin sores. His wife encourages him to curse God and to give up and die, but Job refuses, struggling to accept his circumstances.

Three of Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, come to visit him, sitting with Job in silence for seven days out of respect for his mourning. On the seventh day, Job speaks, beginning a conversation in which each of the four men shares their thoughts on Job’s afflictions, in long, poetic and berating way.

Job’s friends accuse him of being a sinner and not accepting the consequences of his sins. They don’t ever believe that Job had actual done nothing wrong to receive this kind of treatment. Because of this; Job curses the day he was born, comparing life and death to light and darkness. He wishes that his birth had been shrouded in darkness and longs to have never been born, feeling that light, or life, only intensifies his misery.

Job, slowly gets more and more upset with his so called friends that he calls them “…forgers of lies… physicians of no value.” (Job 13:4)

After trying to assert his blameless/innocent character, Job ponders man’s relationship to God. He wonders why God judges people by their actions if God can just as easily alter or forgive their behavior.

Job’s friends are offended that he attacks their wisdom. They still believe that Job actually deserves what has happened to him. Job continues to stay strong with his values and never loses his confidence of righteousness. Everyone however can only take so much berating, which proves true with Job, he grows sarcastic, impatient, and afraid. He cries about the injustice that God lets wicked people prosper while he and countless other innocent people suffer. Job wants to confront God and complain, but he cannot physically find God to do it.

Towards the end of Job Elihu, randomly shows up to add to the conversation. The young Elihu believes that Job has spent too much time and energy justifying himself rather than God. Elihu explains that God communicates with humans by two ways; visions and physical pain. Elihu elaborates by saying that physical suffering provides the sufferer with an opportunity to realize God’s love and forgiveness when he is well again.

Finally at the very end of the story, God shows up and interrupts Elihu. God calls for Job to be brave and answer His questions, which turn out to be rhetorical.  God describes many detailed aspects of his creation, praising especially his creation of two large beasts, the Behemoth and Leviathan. This was to prove how little man was compared to the power and wisdom of God.

Job admits that he is not perfect and that his knowledge and wisdom is nothing compared to the knowledge, wisdom and power of God. This answer pleases God, yet God gets upset with Job’s friends. Job, even after having been berated by his friends comes to their rescue and makes a case for them, God forgives them.

God returns Job’s health, providing him with twice as much property as before, new children, and an extremely long life. Job comes out victorious, because he kept with God the entire time!

Job 40-42

Job 40-42

                I think we learn a lot about the importance of mankind and the relationship we have with the Almighty (God). We learn that God is all powerful and that we should not contend with him. Even when times are tough, the Lord will bless us greatly. In the case of Job he blessed him with double of what he had, as reward for being good and prevailing through the tough trials. We must also endure through the tough trials, so that we can come out ahead and the Lord will bless us for it.

Chapter 40: The Arm of God

God asks Job; “Shall he that condendeth with the Almighty instruct him? (Job 20:2). Job needed not to contend with God and try to instruct him, God will instruct Job.

Job responds; “…I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth” (Job 40:4)

                Job knew his place and knew that he must not contend with God.  Job only changed his tone from blaming God to humbling himself before him, but not because circumstances had changed. Job was still in misery and had lost virtually everything. The tone changed because while he once felt that God had forsaken him, now he felt and knew that God was with Him.

 “Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee…” (Job 40:15)

God gave Job a remarkable survey of the wonders of creation in Job 38-39, including a look at many remarkable animals and their ways. Now lastly, God gives Job a look at two remarkable creatures: Behemoth (Job 40:15-24) and Leviathan (Job 41).

**We don’t know much about behemoth, except that some identities range from dinosaur to crocodile to a mythological creature. Most think God had in mind what we would call the hippopotamus, one of the largest, strongest, and most dangerous land creatures in the world.

Nevertheless and extremely powerful animal.**

“…his strength in in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly” (Job 40:16)

God is essentially telling Job that if he can’t full understand or contend with a creature that God has created, then how will he contend with God (the Maker) Himself?

Chapter 41: All Things are God (The Body of God)

After the discussion of Behemoth in Job 40:15-24, God now called Job to consider another fearful monster, Leviathan (sea monster or what some scholars believe to be a very large whale). This creature was first mentioned in Job 3:8; in that verse, Job considered how sailors and fishermen would curse the threatening Leviathan, and with the same passion he cursed the day of his birth.

Leviathan is mentioned several places in the scriptures;

Psalm 74:12-14 refers to Leviathan as a sea serpent, and that God broke the head of the Leviathan long ago, perhaps at the creation.

Psalm 104:26 also refers to Leviathan as a sea creature.

Isaiah 27:1 speaks of the future defeat of Leviathan, also associating it with a twisted serpent that lives in the sea.

Isaiah 51:9 and Psalm 89-8-10 also speak of a serpent associated with the sea that God defeated as a demonstration of His great strength, and identifies this serpent with the name Rahab, meaning proud one.

Job 26:12-13 also refers to God’s piercing defeat of a fleeing serpent associated with the sea.

God’s point with this description of Leviathan is to show Job just how powerless he is against this creature. If Job cannot defeat this monster, how can he contend and defeat God?

From verses 12-34 God describes Leviathan.

The most prominent features mentioned;

“…his teeth are terrible…” (Job 41:14)

                “…his neesings (sneezing’s) a light doth shine…” (Jib 41:18)

                “Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.” (Job 41:19)

                “Out of his nostrils goeth smokes…” (Job 41:20)

                “His breath kindeleth coals…” (Job 41:21)

                “…his neck remaineth strength…” (Job 41:22)

                “His heart is as firm as stone…” (Job 41:24) 

If mankind can’t overpower Leviathan, it can’t hope to overpower God.

Chapter 42: Job Sees God

Job answers the Lord; “I know that… no thought can be witholden from thee” (Job 42:2)

                He continues to say; “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee” (Job 42:5)

Job here, SEES God! He commands his friends to repent and make their standings with the Lord right, through sacrifices.

The Lord then “…gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10)

Job is reunited with his family; his brothers and sisters and then ate bread with him in his house.

The Lord “…blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…” (Job 42:12)

Job lived 140 years and saw four generations of his posterity.

 

Job 38-39

Job 38-39

Chapter 38: Nature and God

The Lord speaks to Job from the whirlwind;

“Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou had understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7)

Over the previous 35 chapters (since Job 2), God has been directly absent from the account. We read nothing of God’s direct role in comforting, speaking to, or sustaining Job in the midst of his crisis. Over that time, Job has ached repeatedly for a word from God.

Here, God responds to Job and asks him where he was when the Lord set the foundation of the world. Some scholars would say that God was using this to explain that Job was nowhere to be found, and that only God would answer this question. However, this is where I and the LDS church disagree. I believe that God was referencing our pre-earth life where we lived with God. Notice how is says that when all the sons of God “shouted for joy” – they shouted for joy because God created the Earth for us, so we could come down and have the experiences we are now having. God was reminding Job of what he had forgotten, God is his Heavenly Father and he has a heavenly home.

From verse 8-41 God asks Job a lot of questions about the nature of man and the power of God and how God created and controls nature. 8-12 specifically references God’s work on the second day of creation (Genesis 1:6-8) when God divided the waters and separated the land from the sea.

                It mentions a lot of interesting things about the creation of the Earth;

                “…the springs of the sea…” (Job 38:16)

                “…the gates of death…” (Job 38:17)

                “…the breadth (vast expanses) of the earth…” (Job 38:18)

                “…the treasures (storehouses) of the snow…” (Job 38:22)

                “…rain on the earth…” (Job 38:27)

                “…the face of the deep…” (Job 38:30)

“…the ordinances of heaven…” (Job 38:33)

“…bottles of heaven…” (Job 38:37)

Chapter 39: Man Knows Nothing

“Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth?” (Job 39:1) God kept bringing the level of knowledge down for Job. He could, quite possibly, know such facts of nature from simple observation. Yet even this low level of knowledge was beyond Job, or really any man for that matter.

God continues to go on about fairly simple truths of science and nature that neither Job nor his friends knew. God essentially makes the point that Man’s weakness and ignorance is nothing like Gods. God is mighty and his works are mighty.

 

Job 36-37

Job 36-37

Chapter 36: The Wicked Die without Knowledge

“Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf” (Job 36:2) Apparently Elihu saw that his listeners were becoming uncomfortable with his condemnation. He begs for them to keep listening, and insists that he is speaking on God’s behalf.

God is mighty and with wisdom, Elihu again promoted the ideas of God’s power and perfect justice. In His perfect justice, God punishes the wicked and works for the oppressed. Since Job often said and felt that God was ignoring him, Elihu is clearly counting Job among the wicked. In Elihu’s mind, the freedom God has for the righteous does not belong to Job because Job is not among the righteous.

Elihu continues to berate Job and considered Job a hypocrite for continuing to deny his guilt. He felt Job was putting himself under a greater and greater outpouring of God’s wrath.

“Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out” (Job 36:26). Elihu continues to expound on how great and power God is, insulting Job’s own knowledge and wisdom.

Chapter 37: God Controls Nature and Science

Elihu felt that Job needed a good dose of the greatness of God. So he continues to impress upon him the great power and wonders of God. Elihu explains that man hears the thunder and through that hears the voice of God. Again, insulting Job’s knowledge of the Lord, it was good advice wrongly applied to Job’s situation. This chapter to me, explains that God in his greatness controls nature and science, because he invented it!

“By the breath of God frost is given…” (Job 37:10), we can’t take this verse literally… but I like how this shows that nature is controlled by the Lord.

Job 34-35

Job 34-35

Chapter 34: God Cannot Be Unjust

Elihu denounces Job for losing faith and denying God’s justice.

“Hear my words…give ear unto me…” (Job 34:2), here it sounds like Elihu is talking down to Job and telling him to listen, because he has all the answers.

Elihu falsely accuses Job of not understanding God’s ways, essentially telling Job that God could not be unjust.

“If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words” (Job 34:16)

Again, Elihu is talking down to Job. If you have understanding, then listen to me. But if Job chooses to not listen to Elihu, he is without understanding?

Elihu took Job’s agonized cries to God as Job condemning God. It was an unfair assumption; Job’s agony was deeply rooted in the sense that he did love God and respect His justice.

Elihu then continues to tell Job about what he should have said to God;

“Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: That which I see not teach thou me: If I have done iniquity, I will do no more.” (Job 34:31-32)

According to Elihu, Job should have accepted that he was a great sinner, repented and done no more wickedness. Well, the problem with this, is that Job did nothing wrong. If Job however had done wickedly, then yes this would have been the appropriate thing to do. We can learn from Elihu, and apply this principle in our daily lives. If you mess up, say you’re sorry and don’t do it anymore!

Chapter 35: Men Should Trust in God

Elihu confronts Job and asks him, if he believes himself to be more righteous than God. Elihu had just destroyed Job from the previous chapter, accusing him of adding rebellion to his sin, ignoring the wise counsel of his friends, and of speaking wrongly against God.

Elihu’s arguments and ideas were essentially the same as those of Job’s friends. Yet he thought of himself as different, and though that he could correct Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Afterall Elihu had the most wisdom! – Sarcasm implied.

Elihu wanted Job (and his friends) to understand an idea that they had already discussed and agreed upon, the idea that God is greater than man and beyond man.

Our wickedness hurts other men, but our righteousness can help them. Put your trust in the Lord!

Job 32-33

Job 32-33

Chapter 32: Great Men are Not Always Wise

At the end of Job’s persuasive arguments in Job 28-30, his friends had nothing more to say. They still thought that Job was completely wrong, but they felt he was so grounded in his own opinions that it was useless to keep talking with him.

Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram (who is only mentioned briefly in the book of Job critizes Job and tells him; “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.” (Job 32:8-9). Although this was an unjust attack on Job, Elihu brought up a good point, great men, even men of great age and experience do not always have the most wisdom. Wisdom is hard to attain, but those who have it and those who are willing to share that wisdom, should be listened to carefully!

Chapter 33: God Speak to Men in Dreams

Elihu continues to challenge Job’s defense. Elihu claims to be a spokesperson for God, while telling Job to listen to all of his words.

“…God is greater than man.” (Job 33:12) Elihu is telling Job, that he needs to be more humble, because God is truly greater than man. Even though Elihu was missing the point that Job was actually a good, humble guy… we can still learn from this. We are not on the same level as God, we need to remember that.

For a man who claims to have so much wisdom, he doesn’t walk the walk, but surely talks the talk.

“For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man percieveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night…” (Job 33:14-15)

Again, we can ignore the words to Job, as I am sure he also ignored them. But take away from the scriptures that God is always trying to communicate with us, so we need to listen. Elihu insists that God has indeed answered Job.

Elihu had just suggested that God spoke to Job in a dream; now he suggests that perhaps God spoke to him through his physical suffering. In the view of Elihu, if Job would only receive and respond to God’s messenger, if he would only admit to God’s uprightness, then he would be restored to God’s favor.

 

Job 30-31

Job 30-31

Chapter 30: Job Weeps for Those in Trouble

At this point Job is pretty upset, men younger than him are mocking him, Job was tortured by the irony of it all. The sons of men whom Job would not even put with the dogs of his flock were now his mockers and critics.

Job was now low in the eyes of these worthless men. Job, continues again to describe his present crisis. He described the persistent, gnawing pains that were ever with him; but for him it was first a crisis of the soul.

Chapter 31: Job Invites Judgment from God

This chapter covers Job’s final answer to his friends and their arguments.

“Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity. If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mind hands; Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out” (Job 31:4-8)

Job says that he is not in the wrong… however, if he is infact in the wrong and he has walked in vanity, he says that he should be punished. Job did not want to lose his integrity before the Lord and therefore, essentially, said let me “reap what I sow”, don’t punish anyone but Job.

Job then continues to expound; “For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure. If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;” (Job 31:23-24)

Here Job is saying that he was afraid of the Lord and did not put his trust in worldly, material things. This is a lesson we all must remember.

 

Job 28-29

Job 28-29

Chapter 28: Wisdom Can Not be bought

Job gives a  little discourse on Wisdom…. Job asks; “…where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:12)

Job tells us that Wisdom cannot be purchased with the vein things of the world. He says that; gold, silver, sapphires, gold of Ophir, coral, pearls, and topaz of Ethiopia cannot buy wisdom or knowledge.

He reminds his friends (and the reader) that “God understandeth the way thereof, and knoweth the place thereof” (Job 28:23), with God you can find Wisdom.

“…Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28)

                If we refrain from evil, we will have understanding. If we fear the Lord (by following His commandments) we can find Wisdom.

Chapter 29: Job and His Former Prosperity

Job continues his discourse by telling his friends and the reader about his former days…

“Oh that I were as in months past, as in the ways when God preserved me; When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness” (Job 29:2-3)

It is clear that Job was longing for his old days, the days that were filled with joy instead of pain and suffering. He mentions that he lived a life of prosperity and greatness. Because of his many blessings, he reached out to those who were not so blessed…

“…I delivered the poor that cried…” (Job 29:12)

                “…I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.” (Job 29:13)

                “I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame” (Job 29:15)

Job reached out to his fellow man and helped those who could not help themselves, and lent a hand of help, love and service to those who were overwhelmed or tired.

Job even served justice when needed; “…I break the jaws of the wicked, and pluck the spoil out of his teeth.” (Job 29:17)

This to me says that violence, on occasion is OK. After all we can learn that EVEN Jesus had to cause a little disturbance at times… “And Jesus went into the temple of God… and overthrew the tables of the money-changers…” (Matthew 21:12)

Job 25-27

Job 25-27

Chapter 25: The Lowly State of Man

We read about Bildad’s final speech. In his final words he classifies man as a “worm” in the presence of the Lord. “How then can man be justified with God? … Behold even to the moon, and… the stars are not pure in his sight.” (Job 25:4-5)

Chapter 26: God and His Power are great

Job challenges his friends, and asks them; “How hast thou helped him that is without power? How savest thou the arm that hath no strength?” (Job 26:2) OR in other words, how are they helping him or anyone else by berating him?

“How has thou counseled him that hath no wisdom?” (Job 26:3). Job made these statements broad enough to include not only himself, but also anyone else that Bildad and his friends failed to help. Often times we are too easy to jump to conclusions or judgment, when we should lend an ear and not just hear… but LISTEN to those that are afflicted. I kind of like the phrase;

“Don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you do.”

We all sin in one way or another… yes some sins are worse than others… but no one is perfect, so don’t judge! Instead we can help by listening and counseling, rather than scorning and berating!

Chapter 27: Terrors of Death

Job asserts his righteousness and tells his friends that “God forbid that I should justify you: till I did I will not remove mine integrity from me.” (Job 27:5). What do we have to prove to others? Nothing. God forbid that we waste our time or remove our own integrity to suit others.

“For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him? Will he delight himself in the Almighty? Will he always call upon God? (Job 27:8-10) Essentially Job is asking his friends; “What hope do the godless have, when their life is taken by God?” They have nothing! What purpose is there in this life to build up material things, or berate others, when you are a hypocrite?

I am pretty sure that in this chapter, Job secretly wishes that his friends could endure the same trials that he was going through.  Then his friends would understand him a little better.

 

Job 23-24

Job 23-24

Chapter 23: After Trials, We are Refined

Job answers his friends, yet again; “Even to day is my complaint bitter… and fill my mouth with arguments.” (Job 23:2-4). The wisdom and counsel of Eliphaz and others was of no relief to him, and just made his mental and spiritual agony worse. Job felt separated from God. He had found comfort and solace in God in previous times, but in this catastrophe he felt he could not find God.

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:8-9)

Job explains to his friends that he indeed did look for God, but felt that He could not be found anywhere! Job tried with all sincerity to find God, but felt that God remained hidden. Even so, Job knew that God was still watching him, even if he couldn’t see or feel his presence. Job understood that even without seeing God, he knew that God was there and that what he was doing was for his own good. Job knew that this was a trial, even though he hated it and was suffering greatly deep down Job knew that this had to be, so that he would come forth as “gold” or in other words come forth stronger and more refined.

“My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined” (Job 23:11)

                Even after being accused of sin and abandoning God, Job proudly and boldy tells his friends that he has indeed kept the ways of God and had been and is continuing to be righteous.

Chapter 24: The Wicked Often Go Unpunished

“Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?” (Job 24:1) This is a fairly difficult verse to understand, but we might look at it in a different way; “Since God knows and will judge everything, why are the godly kept in the dark about His ways?” This also adds more application to the question of why God allows the prosperity of the wicked.

Other translations of the Bible read; in the NIV “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? The New Living Translation says “Why doesn’t the Almighty open the court and bring judgment? Why must the godly wait for him in vain?”

“Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them” (Job 24:12)

Why does God permit suffering? Job goes on to explain a little bit about WHY, but I want to share a little more insight into this question;

WHY does God PERMIT SUFFERING?

In the Book of Mormon we can find a story about a man named Jacob, Jacob was the first born of a man named Lehi. The story goes that Lehi (who was ancient prophet in Jerusalem) received divine inspiration to leave the city, before it was destroyed. Lehi and his family depart into the wilderness and while on their journey they encounter many hardships. Lehi explains to his first born son that “…God…shall consecrate thine affliction for thy gain” (2 Nephi 2:2), he goes on to explain a little about the plan of salvation (and the free gift of Salvation), agency and the sacrifices of Jesus Christ. But the most important part for us to understand take from this story is that there is opposition in all things.

“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not… righteous could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad…” (2 Nephi 2:11)

Lehi knew that in order to have good, we must also have bad. Sometimes people wonder, why do commandments exist? I would respond that they exist for the very purpose that laws exist, for our protection. For if you “…shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness… if there be no righteousness there be no happiness… no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery… if these things are not, there is no God… if there is no God, we are not, either the earth…” (2 Nephi 2:13)

So, why does God permit suffering? I would argue that we live in a world of good and evil, for our own understanding. If we have never felt joy, we cannot understand it. However, if we feel pain and then feel joy we can truly understand what joy is, while at the same time learning what pain is. “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself…” (2 Nephi 2:16). God gave us agency, and part of that agency means that we can truly act for ourselves, which means people can do bad things to others. If God were to interfere, we would not have agency.

With this agency, we can choose to be free and to “…choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of  all men, or to choose captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27)

But we know that God wants only the best for us, “Adam fell that men might be’ and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25)

We are meant to enjoy this life, learn from it and repent of our wrong doings, while still in the flesh.

Job continues to say that those who commit these atrocious acts of murder, robbery or who commit adultery and all other manner of wickedness will see the morning and to “…them even as the shadow of death…” (Job24:17). Those who are wicked may be prosperous in this life, but in the end, when the morning comes, the judgment will befall them.

At times, we may fall on our knees in despair, and even usher up a prayer… “Heavenly Father, I hope you know, I am having a hard time”. Have you ever felt this way? I know I have, maybe you feel that God has abandoned you, or that He is nowhere to be found. The truth of it all? God is there. He is always there. Sometimes we are left to suffer, that we might know the joy, and we can feel the everlasting glory of his light.