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23. The Story of Job the Long-suffering.


In ancient times, east of Palestine, there lived a righteous man by the name of Job. He was a just and good man, who always strove to please God throughout his life. The Lord rewarded him for his piety with great wealth. He had many hundreds of large and thousands of small cattle. His large and close family of seven sons and three daughters comforted him.

But the Devil was jealous of Job. He began to vilify him before God, "Doth Job fear God for nothing?... But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face." Then God, in order to reveal to all how faithful Job was to Him and in order to teach people patience in their sufferings, permitted the Devil to take away all of Job’s possessions. One day robbers came and drove away all his cattle, slew his servants, and a terrible tornado from the desert destroyed the house in which Job’s children had gathered together, killing them all. Job not only did not complain against God, but he said, "God gave, and God hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

The Devil, put to shame, was not satisfied with this. Again he began to slander Job, "All a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh (that is, strike him down with disease), and he will curse Thee to Thy face." God permitted the Devil to deprive Job even of his health, and Job was stricken with the most terrible disease — leprosy. Then even his wife began to persuade him to complain against God. His friends, instead of consolation, only further grieved the innocent sufferer with their unjust suspicions. But Job remained firm, did not lose hope in the mercy of God and only begged the Lord to testify that he was suffering in innocence.

In his discourse with his friends, Job prophesied about the Redeemer and of the future resurrection: I know that my Redeemer liveth and on the last day He shall raise from the dust this my corrupted skin, and in my flesh I shall see God. I shall see Him myself; mine eyes, and not the eyes of another, shall behold Him (Job 19:25-27, Septuagint).

After this, God, having shown to all the example of devotion and long-suffering in His servant Job, appeared Himself and commanded his friends, who had regarded Job as a great sinner, to ask for prayers from him for themselves. God rewarded His faithful servant. Job regained his health. He had seven more sons and three daughters, gained back twice as much cattle as he had before, and lived another one hundred and forty years in honor, quietly, piously and happily.

The story of long-suffering Job teaches us that God sends misfortunes not just for sins, but that sometimes God sends misfortunes even to the righteous for an even greater confirmation in goodness, for the shaming of the Devil, and for the glorification of the righteousness of God. The history of the life of Job also reveals to us that earthly welfare does not always accompany a virtuous life for men and teaches us also to be sympathetic to those in misfortune. Job, by his innocent sufferings and patience, foreshadowed the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, in the days of the commemoration of the sufferings of Jesus Christ during Passion Week, this story in the Book of Job is read in church.

Note: See the Book of Job.

Bondage in Egypt.

At first the Hebrews lived well in Egypt. But new pharaohs, as they mounted the throne of Egypt, began to forget Joseph and his services. They began to fear the increase of the Hebrew people and were afraid that the Hebrews would become more powerful than the Egyptians and rebel against them. The pharaohs began to burden them with forced labor. But the more they burdened them, the more they increased. Then one of the pharaohs gave the order to kill all the male infants that were born to the Hebrews.

At the time when the Hebrews still lived well, they had begun to forget God and to adopt pagan customs from the Egyptians. Now, when misfortunes came upon them, they remembered God and turned to Him with prayer for their salvation. The compassionate Lord heard them and sent them deliverance through the Prophet and leader Moses.

Note: See Exodus, chap. 1.

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