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Job's Trials

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In mercy, God preserved the story of Job. It is a perfect manual for the grieving and ill, as well as caregivers.  The one who is suffers can see himself in Job and, to some degree, identify with what he went through. The book of Job also provides instruction on how to treat those who are suffering and how not to treat them. We all can take comfort in knowing God sees all and understands our needs. God reassures us that He is a compassionate God, however, He is a God of righteousness and warns us in the book of Job that we can fall into temptation during times of trial and that even in such great suffering as Job, we have no excuse to sin. The most important lesson we gain from this wonderful book is we always need to trust in God's wisdom, righteousness, justice, and compassion. No matter how bad it gets, our faith must not waver.
 



JOB'S PHYSICAL SUFFERING

Financial Loss: Servants (not that humans are in same category as animals, however, it added to loss of finances), oxen, donkeys, sheep, & camels. Job 1:13-17

Loss of Children: Job 1:18-19

Painful boils over entire body - Job 2:7-8

Constant nagging pain (I'm sure extreme itching was part of the pain and possibly nerve pain which could include numbing, tingling, and crawling sensations) - 2:8; 30:17

Physical appearance distorted - 2:12; 30:18 

Difficulty eating(?)  - 3:24

Difficulty sleeping - 7:3-4

Flesh caked with worms and dirt due to open, wet sores -  7:5

Progression of disease - new boils continually breaking out -  7:5

Terrifying nightmares probably from ongoing, agonizing discomfort - 7:13-14

Flushed face from crying and darkened eyes (literal or figurative?) - 16:16

"Breath is offensive." Repulsive symptoms that are loathsome to others, whether or not that means literal breath or that his whole being is repulsive, it stands to reason not only his breath but his body would, most likely, have a bad odor due to pus, worms, and rotting flesh. 19:17

Loss of weight - 19:20

No getting away from gnawing, painful symptoms - constant presence day and night 30:16-18

Decaying and destruction of flesh necrotizing fasciitis 30:30

Disease lasting for months - 7:3; 29:2

Fever - Fever would be a product of the body fighting infection. With infected boils covering his body, it would be my guess Job would have had high fevers, at times (the fever from  infection can produce dehydration, extreme nausea, headache, chills and sweating which would aggravate broken skin) - 30:30 

Possibility of many symptoms not mentioned (keep reading to see the description of the symptoms of infection)

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MEDICAL INFORMATION CONCERNING BOILS
The medical term for a boil is a furuncle. Recurring boils is ferunculosis and a collection of boils in one area is a carbuncle. It is usually due to the staphylococus bacteria. Small boils may drain in 5 to 7 days. Large ones may not drain spontaneously and may need to be surgically lanced. These usually cause scarring. They are usually 3 to 10 cm wide, sometimes more. Some can get as large as a golf ball. There are a number of complications that can develop and the scriptures do point to complications in Job (see scriptures at top of page). If the following complications can occur with much less outbreaks, what in the world did Job have to go through!!
The Complications That May Arise From a Boil/Boils:
  • Cellulitis: Infection of outer skin, producing inflammation, tenderness, pain, redness, area feeling hot, swollen. 
  • The bacteria from the boil can easily spread to other areas of the skin and even into the bloodstream, if the skin around the boil is injured by squeezing. If the infection spreads, the patient will usually develop chills and fever, swollen lymph nodes and red lines in the skin running outward from the boil.
  • Scarring.
  • Gangrene.
  • Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection (deep infection): Skin friable (easily crumbled or pulverized; also : marked by erosion and bleeding), bluish, maroon or black. Extensive thrombosis (blood clot) or impairment or congestion of dermal blood vessels.  
  • Spread of more boils and infection.
  • Sepsis (bacteria in bloodstream): infection could pass into kidneys, liver, gallbladder, bowel, skin, lungs (pneumonia), bone, heart, brain or spinal cord. This can cause death, but of course, Satan was limited in the case of Job, he could not kill him.
  • With various infections come added pain, swelling, fever, nausea, malaise, ill feeling, drainage of pus through skin, weeping, oozing and crusting of infection on skin, pus, dead tissue of skin, severe itching, excessive sweating, chills, low back pain, swelling of legs, ankles, feet, anorexia, muscle pain, night sweats, shortness of breath, cough, joint pains, seizures, vomiting, rapid heart rate, extensive peeling of dead tissue of skin, feeling of being extremely ill, swelling of lymph nodes, loss of bladder or bowel control, weakness, muscle spasms, sinus drainage and permanent scarring.
  • Staph bacteria that cause boils generally enter through a cut, scratch or other break in your skin. As soon as this occurs, specialized white blood cells called neutrophils rush to the site to fight the infection. This leads to inflammation and eventually to the formation of pus — a mixture of old white blood cells, bacteria and dead skin cells. Most skin infections do not result in death of skin and nearby tissues. Sometimes, however, bacterial infection can cause small blood vessels in the infected area to clot. This clotting causes the tissue fed by these vessels to die from lack of blood. Because the body's immune defenses that travel through the bloodstream (such as white blood cells and antibodies) can no longer reach this area, the infection spreads rapidly and may be difficult to control.

 
 
JOB'S SOCIAL SUFFERINGS

 

Harshness and verbal cruelty from friends 11:1-6

Unwanted, untimely advice from others, not according to knowledge or wisdom 11; 13-20; 21:34 

Judgmental, ignorant "cures" from others - 11:13-20

Mocked by friends - 12:4

Desire to have answers from God, not man who wished to "play God" and to proudly speak for Him - 13:3-13

Forgotten and forsaken by friends 19:13-14

Lack of support and presence of family 19:13-15

Being treated like a stranger 19;15

Loss of authority - 19:16

Repulsive to others - 19:17

Despised by children - 19:18

 

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JOB'S EMOTIONAL SUFFERINGS

Grief 10-fold! (1:18-19) Loss of his children. The loss of one child would be suffering enough, but 10 times that grief is unthinkable. Included in this, while the Bible does not mention him going to the wreckage, but if he did, he may have had to live with the horror of the terrible scene that lay before him.

More Grief: (1:15-16) Job lost all/some(?) of his field servants (later we will see he still has house servants). Again, two gory scenes: bodies burned and others killed by the edge of the sword. Whether or not Job knew each of these servants personally, it would still be more grief than just a loss of possessions. After all, Job was a righteous man and these were human beings that were violently killed.

Financial Loss: (1:14-17) Loss of oxen, donkeys, and camels. While we may think of this just as physical loss, most, if not all of us know the emotional suffering that can occur from the loss of financial security.

Lack of understanding and support from his wife - 2:9

A wish that he had never been born - 3:1-19

A longing for death - 3:29-33

Received what he had feared - 3:25

Lack of rest and peace - 3:26 

He wishes his grief and calamity could be seen so others could understand his complaint. He knows some of his words have been rash, but he claims there is good reason for that. (6:1-3)

No hope for recovery - 6:11-13; 7:6-10 

Wants and needs kindness from his friends, rather than the contempt of their belief that his suffering and loss of children and possessions is due to his great sin. (6:14-30)

Feels the sting of having to defend himself to his friends and their lack of trust in him - 6:24-30

Feels the need to pour out his anguish and complain in the bitterness of his soul - 7:11

Hates his life and longs for it to be over 7:16

Concludes that life is full of trouble - 14:1 

Extreme grief and much weeping 16:15-16

Broken spirit - 17:1

Lack of desire and purpose - 17:11

Remembering his past and happier days, in contrast to what he is now experiencing - chapter 29

Spirit in turmoil - 30:27

Day after day, never ending affliction and pleadings for help - 30:27-28

Enjoyment of life turned to mourning - 30:31

The most difficult emotional problem was the confusion of God's role in his life (see Spiritual Trials)

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JOB'S SPIRITUAL SUFFERINGS

Tempted by his wife to curse God (2:9)  

Perhaps the beginning of his confusion about God's role in his sufferings (?)... at least wondering why his life is so full of suffering. (chapter 3), 7:20-21; chapter 31

Recognizes the wisdom, power, and righteousness of God and feels inadequate to defend himself before Him - 9:1-15; 32-35

Misunderstanding of God - 9:16-24

Days pass by swiftly in futility and despair; if he tries to maintain a happy outlook he is soon restrained by his fear of suffering and God holding him guilty -  9:25-35

Questioning what part God plays in his suffering - Chapt. 10; 13:20-27

Troubled by fact the wicked, in his present way of thinking, seems to prosper and not suffer - 21:7-14

Questions the profit of his service and prayers to God:8-10d - 21:15-16 

Although he has difficulty finding God's presence in his life, Job has confidence that God knows his heart - 23:8-10

Job is terrified of God, believing  He is unchangeable and will follow through with what He appointed for Job (suffering) 23:13-17

Feels a lack of wisdom - 28:1-21

Justifies himself rather than God - 32:2

Dwells on negatives rather than blessings - 34:9

Spoke words according to opinion and not according to knowledge, truth, and wisdom - 36:1-2 

 

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JOB'S SPIRITUAL GROWTH

He has more awareness of the needs of the infirmed - words of strength and comfort - 16:4-5

Only sure thing to hold on to is hope in his Redeemer - 19:25-26

Concludes the best man can do is to reverence God and depart from evil - 28:28

A greater awareness of the knowledge, widom, and justice of God - 40:3-5

Humility in the presence of God - 40:3-5

Peace of mind by listening to God - 42:1-5

Attitude of repentance of misjudging God and his inaccurate assessment of his Maker, as well as acceptance of his present condition - 42:1-6

Prayed for his friends who accused him as a sinner and who left God open to criticism - 42:10  

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September/October 2017