Friday, May 6, 2022

Life of the Holy and Righteous and Much-Suffering Job (St. Justin Popovich)


By St. Justin Popovich

Righteous Job was from the tribe of Abraham, and lived in the land of Uz, in Arabia. Job was a man of truth, blameless, just, and godly, and he shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He also had seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and very many servants; and his works were great in the earth; with nobility and honor he was the greatest of all men in the East. His sons gathered themselves together, and gave feasts at home every day, and called their three sisters to eat and drink with them. The sons of Job lived in such love and harmony with each other that, although they lived in separate houses, they never liked to eat or drink without each other. So, one day they had lunch together with the eldest brother, and the next day with the other brother, and thus having celebrated in seven days, they started again from the eldest. And their feasts were moderate and honorable, neat and quiet, without drunkenness, disorder and noise. This is because their good and righteous father would not allow gatherings, in which the sin of overeating, drunkenness and indecency would have a share, but he would surely forbid them. But he, seeing their good nature and meekness and so much mutual love that is rarely found among siblings, did not forbid them feasts but enjoyed it. And when they had prepared a feast for seven days, Job sent to them, admonishing them and advising them to examine their conscience carefully, whether they had sinned against the Lord in word or thought, because righteous Job feared God very much, fearing not with the fear of a slave but with the fear of a son of love, and he took care of himself and all his house, so that nothing would be done that would anger the Lord God.

The God-fearing righteous man not only instructed his children to lead a flawless life and not to sin before their Creator, but he himself, rising early, offered burnt offerings according to the number of all of them for their sins, because Job said in himself: "It may be that my sons have sinned and blasphemed against God in their hearts." This is what the righteous Job did every time (Job 1:5).

One day the angels of God, the guardians of the human race, came before the Lord to submit to Him human prayers and expose their all kinds of troubles. Going out with them before the Lord was Satan, the tempter and slanderer of man, and not as one who can present himself with angels to God in heaven, from whence he was cast out, but standing from afar out of heaven before the all-seeing eye of God. "And the Lord said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' So Satan answered the Lord and said, 'From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.' Then the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?' So Satan answered the Lord and said, 'Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!' And the Lord said to Satan, 'Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.' So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord" (Job 1:6-12).

"Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, 'The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!' While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!' While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!' While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!' Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:

'Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.'

In all this, Job did not sin against the Lord, nor did his mouth blaspheme against God" (Job 1:13-22).

"Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' Satan answered the Lord and said, 'From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.' Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.' So Satan answered the Lord and said, 'Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!' And the Lord said to Satan, 'Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life'" (Job 2:1-6).

"So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!' But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?' In all this, Job did not sin against the Lord, nor did his mouth blaspheme against God" (Job 2:7-10).

"Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place — Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great" (Job 2:11-13).

But Job did not complain about God, but patiently endured all the torments to the end. That is why God appeared to him and restored his health, and gave him much greater wealth than he had before. And his sons and three daughters were born to him again, as many as he had before. And Job lived 248 years, praising and glorifying God.

Job is considered a model of patient endurance of all suffering, which God sends to us according to his unspoken providence, as a type of the suffering Lord Jesus. Due to the prototypical significance of the life and suffering of righteous Job, the Book of Job is read in excerpts during the Holy Week, that is, the Passion Week, as follows: on Holy Monday, in the evening (1:1-12); on Holy Tuesday, in the evening (1:13-22); on Holy Wednesday, in the evening (2:1-10); on Holy Thursday, in the evening (38:1-23); on Great Friday, in the evening (42:12-17).

Source: Lives of the Saints. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.


Become a Patreon supporter:

To read more about supporting the ministry of the Mystagogy Resource Center, either as a monthly supporter or an annual supporter, please visit the DONATE page.

Thank you!