When we pick back up in Job 2:11, Job is sitting in the dirt, covered in sores all over his body, mourning the loss of his ten children and all his livestock and possessions, having shaved his head in grief. His wife has just told him to curse God and die because she too has just experienced the same losses. We are privy to the heavenly conversation between God and Satan, but Job and his wife were not. They don’t know why any of this tragedy has struck. They are dumbfounded.
Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar come to visit Job to show him some sympathy and comfort. They wailed and wept and tore their robes and sat in ashes in silence next to Job for seven days. These are some dedicated friends – not just acquaintances that offer Job a few platitudes, but true friends who mourn with Job in his greatest despair.
In chapter three, Job curses the day he was born, wishing that he had died at birth instead of going on to live a life in which he would lose everything precious to him. Then in the following chapters, Job’s three friends take turns telling him why they think he has suffered so much. They all three agree that Job’s suffering must be due to some sin in his life. As they argue back and forth, Job insists that he is righteous, that he has done nothing wrong.
We know the truth. Job was a righteous man and God had full confidence that Job’s faith was strong enough to withstand the tests that he endured. Even God called Job blameless and upright! We also know that in all of Satan’s efforts to get Job to curse God and die, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. But we also know that Job wasn’t perfect – there’s only one man who has ever been perfect. So what was the standard by which God judged Job as “blameless and upright”?
Job was judged against the Law. He kept most of God’s commands and laws and made sacrifices continually for him and his children in case any of them had sinned. Job worked really hard to stay in right standing with God because he loved God and wanted to please Him.
This leaves us wondering if we too have to work hard to meet God’s “acceptable” standard. Job was good – do we have to be as righteous and blameless as Job in order for God to deem us righteous?
The answer is NO!
So what’s the difference? The difference is Jesus.
God is perfect and He cannot tolerate sin, but all of us have sin! Romans 3:23 says that we’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So back in the Old Testament, people had to follow the law and make sacrifices for their sins in order to atone for them. They could even make sacrifices for the sins of other people! (Do you ever wish you could do that???) Job sacrificed for his kids in case any of them had sinned! Sin requires punishment. It requires a sacrifice. This is the good news! God’s plan all along was to show us our need for redemption and for Someone to pay the price for our sin. He did that by giving the people of the Old Testament the Law. It shows us that we can never measure up. We can never be good enough or do enough good things to be righteous on our own. We need another way!
So the GOOD NEWS is, the GOSPEL is, that God provided another way. He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price for our sins – to make the sacrifice once and for all so that we wouldn’t have to follow the law and make the sacrifices any more. Jesus paid for all of our sins when he died on the cross. But there’s more – Jesus didn’t stay dead! He rose from the grave on the third day and revealed himself to his disciples and many others as he walked the earth. Then he ascended back into heaven.
So Jesus paid the price for all of our sin. We know that. So why do we still feel the need to be good all the time? To make sure we’re checking off all the boxes and doing all the right things? God created each of us with this desire, so it’s not an accident. This desire, instead of pointing us to work work work work, is supposed to point us to our desperate need of Jesus. When you feel the urge to do good and be good and say all the right things, when you beat yourself up because you’re just not getting it right, remember that this is supposed to remind you to look to Jesus!
Job was a righteous man because of his sacrifices under the law.
We are righteous women because of the sacrifice of Jesus!