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  The Great Bible Story #7
Uprightness under test

Jacob Ninan
There was a man called Job who lived in Uz. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he was a very wealthy man who owned large flocks of sheep, camel, oxen and donkeys, and plenty of servants to take care of them. But what impressed God was that Job was the most upright man on earth at that time. He kept himself close to God with a clear conscience. Whenever any of his children met together with their siblings, Job used to offer sacrifices to God fearing that they might have sinned in their hearts.

One day Satan went to meet with God after having wandered all around the earth, and God asked him if he had ever seen any man as faithful to Him as Job. Satan's reply was that Job was faithful only because God took great care of him, putting a fence of protection around him. He dared God to take off that protection and see how Job would turn and curse Him. God accepted this challenge but set a condition that Satan would not touch Job himself.

Satan put all his power into play, and destroyed all of Job's children with a strong wind that brought the house down on them. Some marauders came and took away the oxen, the camels and the donkeys, and a fire from the sky killed all the sheep and the servants. Job was horrified to the core. But by faith he stood up and blessed God saying that He had every right to do whatever He wanted.

Satan came back before God and stated that sometimes people would bear with everything that did not touch them personally! So he asked God to take off the fence around Job himself. God was so sure of Job that He agreed, on condition that Satan would not take away Job's life.

This time Satan afflicted Job with boils all over his body, with itching and painful sores. His wife incited him to curse God and then to commit suicide, implying that there was no point continuing in faith. But Job's reply was that we should be willing to take whatever God gave us, whether we considered it good or bad.

When three of Job's friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about what had happened to him, they came from their places to comfort him and to show their care. When they saw him from a distance they could not even recognise him because of the effect of the sickness. As was the custom of their days, they tore their robes and threw dust over their heads as a mark of sympathy. Then they sat quietly with him without speaking for seven days, identifying with him in his trouble.

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Comfort & Counsel