Angels in Job — Job 4

[Note: essays on every chapter of the Bible may be accessed by going to www.amazinggraceinternational.com/blog. The on-going articles in this space are meant to supplement those and follow along with our daily Bible reading schedule, found at the calendar tab on this site.]

To be such an old book, Job has a rather sophisticated sense of the heavenly. Angels “present” themselves before God, and evidently Satan too has access. These angels are also called the “sons of God” – though one should be careful about reading “angels” back into Genesis 6:2 – and comprise, at least partly, the council of the Lord.

Does God really have a council of advisers?

It’s easy sometimes to confuse what the Bible says with what the Bible teaches. There is an intimation that God does have a council (15:8), and this is seen also in the 24 elders who sit on thrones in God’s presence in Revelation 4.

But then again, why would God need a council? Is He not capable of making His own decisions? Might there be a wise one in that council who has thought of something God missed, or is privy to information God is not?

This is what I mean about the difference between what the Bible says and what it teaches. The depiction of God, surrounded by heavenly beings, is a legitimate one, but it also heightens the image of the greatness of God (the real point of the image). The angels may rejoice together at what God creates (Job 38:7), but make no mistake: it is God who creates, not angels. His superiority to the heavenly host is seen several times in Job: they “present” themselves before the Lord. God judges them (Job 4:18). Though they may be addressed in prayer, they have no power to answer (and therefore are unsuitable objects of prayer – 5:1). Though they may be able to influence and even attack human beings, God is able to overpower them and rescue mankind (perhaps the point of Job 5:15). They may act as God’s representatives to care for mankind (Job 33:23-25), but it is God who decides a man’s fate.

The point of all of this in Job is not to offer insight to the workings of heaven, but to acknowledge what may be in the minds of humanity about the spirit world and affirm, with crystal clarity, that no matter who or what these beings are – their purpose or power – God is supreme. To place one’s faith in anyone less than the Almighty Himself is to lean on a broken reed for a staff.

Reading Through the Bible, Sunday, May 15. Job 4-7

    If not the oldest book in the Bible, Job certainly reaches back to the earliest of times – to the days of Abraham or before.  The book tells the story of man named “Job” whose fortunes went from great to abysmal virtually overnight simply because of a conflict between Satan and God.  The story of Job is set at a time when a family’s patriarch offered sacrifices on behalf of his children.  Job is not listed in any of the genealogies of Abraham’s descendants and therefore he is not a part of Israel.  He is from the land of “Uz,” a place whose geographical location is unknown.

    Despite not being a Jew and of unknown origin, the story of Job’s faith is a treasure of Jewish literature.  He is considered in the Old Testament to be one of three most righteous people (Daniel and Noah being the other two – cf. Ezekiel 14:14,20).

    Chapters 1-3 set the stage for the story and introduce us to all the players but one.  Job is a righteous man, well-blessed by God with everything a man can desire: wealth, respect in the community, family, and a close relationship with God.  He is “the greatest man among all the people of the East.” God brags to Satan: “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

    It sounds more like a taunt to Satan.  Satan replies: ‘Sure he’s good.  Why shouldn’t he be?  You’ve bought his goodness with all your blessings.  Take them away, and he will curse you to your face.’

    And so the conflict begins.  God allows Satan to strip Job of everything – including his dignity.  Job doesn’t know that he’s become a pawn in a holy war.  He’s just confused that such awful things have happened.  Despite then however, and despite encouragement from his wife to turn from God.  Job remains true.  He said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

    Three of Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar come to provide support, and the condition they find him in leaves them speechless – at least at first.  For Job’s part, he wishes he had never been born. 

    Chapters 4-31 contain three rounds of speeches where each of Job’s friends speak, trying to put things into perspective.  Job replies to each of them.