“God is good when things are going my way. God is good when things are not optimal. God is good when life is smooth and peaceful. God is good when calamity strikes. The fact that God allows painful things to happen does not change who He is.”
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10
Job’s wife is a mystery lady.
Scripture gives us the name of Job’s daughters, but not the name of his wife. There is no background information about her and no real follow up either. We know she was chosen to be the bride of a very upright and successful man. She was blessed with prosperity and a home filled with children. It is probable that she was respected and admired in her community. I am sure she received the same care and attention from her husband that he gave to their children. Up until her infamous “curse God, and die” moment, there is no evidence that she was any worse a helpmeet than the rest of us.
So, what happened? What led her to allow her tongue be used to tear down her husband, just when he needed her most?
“Dost thou still retain thine integrity?” In other words, why do you continue to serve God? What has it gotten you? Look what He has allowed. Look at our life. Everything is gone. Our children are dead. Your flesh is putrid. We have followed God all our lives and this is what we get? Fearing God and leading an upright life has gotten us nowhere. I’m done.
And then she says it. She urges Job to do the very thing Satan predicted Job would do if God took away all he had: “touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.”
“Curse God and die.”
And then, Job responds to her with the exact, God-breathed words she needed to hear at that moment: What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? Do we serve Him only because He blesses us with peace, safety, and goodness? Shall we not accept whatever He is pleased to allow in our life? Does disaster change who God is?
Satan was given permission to touch all Job had – all that he had was placed by God into Satan’s power (Job 1:11-12). That would include Job’s wife. What better way to really get at Job and provoke him to curse God, than to incite his own wife to desert him in his desolation? But despite his wife’s defection, In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. Job 1:22
So, how does a person come to a place where they succumb to the pain of loss and fall into a bitter rage against the Almighty? I doubt if Mrs. Job was in the habit of cursing God. Perhaps this was a brief and terrible moment of doubt, fear, and bitterness that welled up and spilled over onto her husband as he sat there in the ashes. Maybe in her overwhelming grief she lashed out in a way that was entirely out of character for her.
Or, on the other hand, perhaps she felt betrayed. Perhaps she felt she and Job deserved a better deal. Maybe she enjoyed the benefits of being the wife of patient, prosperous Job without herself ever having much of a relationship with the God of her righteous husband.
Was she a habitual self-absorbed shrew, or was this just a moment of weakness? It is hard to tell from Scripture. I find it interesting that Job offered sacrifice on his sons’ behalf (and presumably his daughters’) but not for his wife (Job 1:5). Was he confident that she herself kept close accounts with God? We just don’t know.
So back to my original question: What happened with Job’s wife? What led her to allow her tongue be used to tear down her husband, just when he needed her most?
It seems this woman had her eyes focused on the devastation around her and could not, or would not, see God’s hand in it. Possibly, she was very accustomed to blessing and prosperity and was terribly shaken to discover that bad things happen to “good” people, too. She forgot that God has the right to do what He wants to do because He is God. She needed to be reminded that God is good and that everything He allows in our lives is meant for our ultimate good.
When your world flies apart and you cannot begin to make sense out of any of it; when you are overwhelmed with pain and you begin to doubt God’s motives and speculate on the truth of His Word and the integrity of His character; when Satan starts to whisper that God does not care about you, that God is not the good God you thought you knew, that this devastation is all there is for you – remind yourself of this truth:
God is good and He loves me. That is all I need to know.
Whether God caused our losses directly, or allowed Satan a free hand to inflict pain and suffering, should we not count it an honor to be chosen to praise Him in our adversity, to prove to a hurting world that our God is worthy to be praised in all circumstances?
Believers and unbelievers both need to see real flesh and blood people of God following hard after Him during the rough times. Not just because He is a Santa Clause sugar-daddy or some kind of crutch for the unthinking dupe. No, they need to see we follow God because He is Wonderful. By God’s grace, this is what we as believers are called to do. It’s called bearing witness or testifying:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:1-4
Job’s faithfulness forever settled the question in Satan’s accusation:
Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. Job 1:9-11
With the help of the Adversary, it is easy to focus on our suffering instead of remembering who this God is that we have been praising all the days of our abundance. Job (and hopefully his wife) recognized this and found peace.
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:5-6
God is good when things are going my way. God is good when things are not optimal. God is good when life is smooth and peaceful. God is good when calamity strikes. The fact that God allows painful things to happen does not change who He is.
We can waste an awful lot of time and energy trying to figure out why God allows suffering, questioning His motives, and doubting His goodness. Let us not speak as the foolish women speak. Let us praise Him for who He is, not just for what he gives us. And if, in His love and wisdom, He decides to take away all that is precious to us, let us worship and say with Job:
the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Don’t wait to feel it before you will say it. Say it because it is true.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12