Two weeks ago at Harbins Community Baptist Church we launched a new sermon series called, “Job: Out of the Whirlwind.” I am very excited to go through this book because I believe it’s Spirit-inspired message is radically life-changing. Nevertheless, Job can be a confusing book that can prompt all kinds of questions. In my first sermon I brought our congregation’s attention to Job chapter 2:10, where the author summarizes Job’s response to his painful trials by simply saying, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
Well, that prompted a question that I received from a careful Bible reader who asked,
I noticed multiple times in last week’s sermon you read/mentioned that Job did not sin with his lips. Does that mean that he was sinful in his thoughts or heart as he tried to make sense of all these tragedies? Just curious since it’s so specific that he didn’t sin with his lips/words.
The reason this question is so important is that understanding Job’s spiritual condition is critical to understanding the whole book.
Part of the set-up to the book of Job in chapters 1&2 is that the author is establishing the righteous integrity of Job. Indeed, Job’s righteousness is actually what makes him a target of Satan. Satan is convinced that if God removes from Job the blessings of wealth and family, that Job will curse God. In response, God allows Satan to attack Job, and the reader is on the edge of her seat, wondering, “Is Satan right? Will Job curse God?”
After the first wave of tragedy strikes, Job’s response is praise and worship and we are told in Job 1:22 that, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” In chapter 2, God says that Satan was wrong and asserts that despite the trials, Job “still holds fast his integrity.” (2:3) So we know for certain that Job did not sin in the wake of Satan’s first assault.
As chapter 2 progresses a second assault begins and Satan strikes Job’s body with disease. As difficult as this was for him, all of the evidence points towards the steadfast, righteous perseverance of Job. In fact, it seems that Job’s response is so godly that his wife is dismayed. She says to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (2:9 Emphasis mine)
Shockingly, Job’s poor wife becomes an unwitting pawn of the Enemy as she counsels her husband to do exactly what Satan wants!
But Job’s response is not to give in to temptation. When he opens his mouth he doesn’t curse God, instead, he rebukes his wife! And his rebuke includes an affirmation of God’s sovereignty over good things and bad things. (Job 2:10)
Finally, the author gives us his commentary on all of this at the end of the verse when he says, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
In both the first assault (chapter 1) and the second (chapter 2), the author wants us to see Satan proved wrong. I don’t think the author is trying to say, “Job did not sin with his lips but boy was he sinning in his heart!”
In the New Testament, Jesus tells us that, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt 12:34) The sentiments expressed from Job’s mouth in chapter 2 are an expression of his heart, just as in chapter 1, the praise and worship that comes from Job surely are an overflow of a godly heart. (1:21) “Job did not sin with his lips”, is simply the author’s way of telling us, “Satan thought Job would curse God and Job didn’t do it.”
Job’s initial response is beautiful and instructive for us. However, the story does not end at chapter 2, verse 10. This is only the beginning of a very long, hard trial for Job. Moving forward in this sermon series we will see that the strength of Job’s faith begins to waver. He begins to wrestle with serious questions about his plight, about justice, and about God’s character. Yes, Job is a good man, but he is still a flawed sinner, which means that his heart is not perfect, and as Job’s trial wears on and wears him down, some dark things will begin to emerge from Job’s lips, the same lips that praised God.
So as we explore Job, the question hangs, will Job break down and curse God, giving up and abandoning Him altogether? Is Satan right? And what does Job’s story mean for us? Job’s response from chapter 3-31 is certainly different than chapters 1 & 2, and we will deal with that in the weeks to come. In fact, in this past Sunday’s sermon we began to do that a little bit so be sure to check out that message. Whether you attend Harbins Church or listen online, stay tuned for more and please pray with me that our church will be richly blessed through exploring this incredible book!
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Steve and I welcome your comments and questions about life, God, the Bible, theology and anything else you think we may be able to help you with. You can reach us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com