JΘB – A Man of Character and Compassion And an Example for All of Us

Len Addington By Len Addington, 4th Jan 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

Most people are familiar with the cliche, "...the patience of JΘB." But the hardships presented in the 1st chapter could dissuade the reader from reading on, and not see the character traits that distinguish JΘB from most men in his day.

JΘB-The man few people really know.

Most every man or woman who has ever attended a Synagogue, Church or Sunday School class, or has interacted socially with others is familiar with the story of JΘB. The losses he experiences and his response to these are also known in our secular culture. His suffering is referred to in the cliché, “the patience of JΘB”, which reflects the faith he maintained despite the loss of his children, his wealth and his health. This cliché is often used of individuals who endure on-going frustration, difficulty or hardship or show great restraint in dealing with difficult people.

There is much more, however, to JΘB’s life then the loss and afflictions for which he is best known. His story encompasses more than that of a man enduring hardship.

Enduring hardship and adversity

We may know or learn about people who endure extreme hardship and yet seem unyielding to or undaunted by their circumstances. They continue to be hopeful and undiscouraged in their plight. TEDTalks offers videos on YouTube where individuals afflicted with various medical conditions have more than survived, they have thrived! Stories of charitable organizations or Good Samaritans coming to the rescue of others with similar situations are often highlighted in television and newspaper reports. These stories serve as an inspiration to us all. We may also remember an individual or family in our past who always seemed able to see the silver lining when circumstances seemed gloomy or uncertain.

JΘB - A Man of Faith

He believes in God as his Creator and lives a life demonstrating this through his caring of others. JΘB’s response to God's sovereignty, authority and mercy is shown in his (JΘB’s) integrity, compassion, and generosity. JΘB’s reputation or standing in the community is also stellar, enviable to say the least! These traits of Job's character, in the face of his circumstances, are worthy of our examination and emulation.
“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was JΘB, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil (JΘB 1:1).*
*Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

This verse of Scripture describes many men and women in the Holy Scriptures and some in our society today. But JΘB goes beyond acknowledging God. We see a man who honors God and lives a life of holiness and obedience to God’s commands.

Satan the adversary

After we are told of JΘB’s character, family, and possessions, (JΘB 1:1-5), we are introduced to Satan, the serpent who deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden. “The LORD said to Satan, "From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant JΘB, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" JΘB 1:7-8. God’s description of JΘB reflects the character He desires of all men and women: to who recognize God's holiness and his authority over all things.

God's prospective and Satan's faulty perception.

Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does JΘB fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.”
Satan only presents his perception of why JΘB leads a life of righteousness. This accusation that JΘB is righteous because he is favored by God misses the fact of his character. JΘB’s response to God’s sovereignty is his integrity, compassion, and generosity. These traits are not presented by the adversary, but by JΘB in his conversations with his friends!

JΘB’s reaction to his loss.

JΘB 1:20 tells us that after learning of the theft of his livestock and death of his children JΘB arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. In all this JΘB did not sin or charge God with wrong (1:22). Later, JΘB will say to his friends, "I long for the years gone by when God took care of me, when he lit up the way before me and I walked safely through the darkness.".

Integrity, Compassion and Generosity

The three traits of JΘB’s personality referenced above deserve examination.

Integrity- firmness of character . In discussing his life with his three friends JΘB declares, "I have made a covenant with my eyes, how then could I gaze at a virgin? JΘB: 31:1]. He continues, "For that would be a heinous crime; that would and iniquity to be punished by the judges…. " . In continuing to defend his character JΘB asks, "Have I lied to anyone or deceived anyone?"

Compassion -sympathy, esp. with suffering or weakness. “I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him I did not know. I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made him drop his prey from his teeth.”

Generosity- giving freely. In JΘB’s defense to his three friends he presents the things he has done, and a challenge (seen in verse 22), "If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it (for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow), if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or the needy without covering, if his body has not blessed me, and if he was not warmed by the fleece of my sheep, If I have raised my hand against the fatherless, because I saw my help in the gate, then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket. .

Caring for the poor, the widow, the orphan and the homeless.

JΘB had considerable wealth and knew that this is from the hand of the Lord. He used this wealth not to further his gain by usury, but to meet the needs of others less fortunate than himself. Notice that JΘB meets the need of the poor, the widow, the orphan and homeless himself, not assuming it is someone else’s responsibility. A study of the Holy Scriptures reveals a requirement to care for the poor, the widows, and the orphans. The ancient prophets condemned the Israelites for not only their neglect of widows and orphans but their abuse.

JΘB speaks of his care for the homeless, a problem in our own society. We see him providing for their needs, and the homeless expressing gratitude, which is much less present in our society. The Federal government has taken over this, but others are stepping up to care for others, showing love and kindness that is much needed.

The value of friends.

Another reflection of JΘB’s character is his reputation. “Now when JΘB’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, …”. JΘB 2:13 says "then they sat on the ground with him seven days and seven nights. We are not told how long these three friends spend with JΘB. We read each man's dialogue and JΘB's responses, but are not told if these men were together for a few days or a few weeks.

A Good Reputation

Though these friends came some distance to show sympathy and comfort (2:11), it seems to have gotten lost during the discussion. JΘB speaks of his reputation among those who know him in Uz. "When I went out to the gate of the city, when I prepared my seat in the square, the young men saw me and withdrew, and the aged arose and stood; the princes refrained from talking and laid their hands on their mouth; the voice of the nobles was hushed, and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.” (29: 7-10)

JΘB's friends and neighbors in Uz have seen this man daily and know of his character. That he has a seat in the gate of the city shows that he has gained prominence, and is respected by all who know him. His wisdom is also evident, in that others are silent when he is present, in anticipation of his words.

JΘB continues his defense to his friends. "Men listen to me and waited and kept silent for my counsel. After I spoke they did not speak again, and my word dropped upon them. They waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain. I smiled on them when they had no confidence, and the light of my face they did not cast down." (29: 21-24).

JΘB’s care and kindness to others is shown here. We see him as a ruler among his people, respected by young and old. His words of wisdom were valued and anticipated by all who recognized that he was a man of God. No one who came into his presence left without an awareness that he valued the life of others, rich or poor, young or old, peasant or prince.

The Suffering of JΘB and our lives.

The suffering JΘB experienced was far beyond what most of us will ever endure. Most of us have thrived because of those who nurtured us. We have much to be thankful for, for had we been born centuries earlier most of us would not have lived our number of years. Yet each of us will have trials or struggles of some type if we live for any great length of time. How we handle our struggles, whether we are defeated or victorious, fail or succeed, will be noted by those around us and be part of our legacy.

Our Legacy-what will be its foundation?

Legacy: definition-something left to posterity. The word legacy has been heard more times in the past five years that probably the 25 years before that. US presidents are concerned about how history will speak to their accomplishments, their behavior, their successes and failures.

Your legacy will be a reflection of your relationship with the Lord. How much time do you spend seeking the Lord, calling on his name? Is much of your time spent in worship, in Thanksgiving? The apostle Paul commands us to "pray without ceasing."

Our legacy may not be reflected in our obituary. Those we leave behind are likely to speak well of us as we are laid to rest. But how will we be remembered? The passing of time and the memories of what we said, what we did, and how well we cared for others will not soon be forgotten.

Jesus said, "You shall love this is a great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Doing the first will make doing the second easier.


Character, Compassion, Integrity, The Holy Scriptures, The Old Testament

Meet the author

author avatar Len Addington
I worked as a Counselor for 40 years. I gave my clients dignity and worth and modeled a life of integrity. I will post articles on careers and counseling and anecdotes.S

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