For many people, the Book of Job is a troublesome book. It tells the story of a righteous man who loses everything dear to him, who suffers horribly, who seems victimized by the very God he worships. Let’s take a quick look at Job’s story. We only have space for a few snapshots because our journey will take us through the entire book of Job, chapters 1 through 42.
The narrative begins with a description of Job as a man ‘perfect and upright, one that feared God, and turned away from evil.’ (1:1) Job’s goodness is so great that God says to Satan in (1:8) ‘There is none like him on earth.’
Satan insinuates that Job is pious because he has been blessed and protected. Satan says, ‘Put forth thy hand and touch all that he has and he will renounce you to your face.’ (1:11)
Jehovah gives Satan permission to deprive Job of all that he has in order to test him. Job loses all of his material possessions, his sons and daughters, his livestock, his servants, everything! Job is crushed, but he still professes discipleship.
When Jehovah rejoices that Job continues to praise Him, Satan hints that only Job’s possessions have been affected. He suggests to God that if Job himself is afflicted, he will turn from God.
So Jehovah says to Satan, “Behold he is in thy hand, only spare his life.” (2:6) Job is smitten with painful sores and boils from head to foot. (2:7) Chp. 3 verse 25 explains Job’s dilemma. It says: “What Job feared came upon him.” Sound familiar? Have you ever found yourself in the same situation? Listen to what happens next.
Three of his closest friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) hear of his plight and come to comfort him. Chapters 3-31 are discourses between Job and his friends:
Eliphaz believes Job is suffering because he has sinned; Bildad believes that if Job was more upright he would not be in the trouble he’s in; Zophar rebukes Job for being so self-righteous and fearful, and urges him to repent.
Job reproaches them for their judgmentalness and feels forsaken by his friends and Jehovah. “I have been wronged. I cry for help, but there is no justice.” (19:7)
Finally Job looks deeply within himself, and then declares in (31:35) “Let the Almighty answer me!” When he does, his three friends leave him and Elihu comes to his rescue. With the arrival of Elihu, Satan backs off. The story ends with Jehovah giving Job twice as much as he had before (42:10) and Job lives happily ever after.
Despite the happy ending, the literal interpretation of this story leaves more questions than answers. Why did Job have to suffer in the first place? Why did God co-conspire with Satan to cause Job’s suffering? Are we pawns in the battle between good and evil? What was God thinking, you might ask?
All of these questions are perfectly natural questions — if we take this extraordinary story literally. The spiritual meaning of Job’s suffering becomes clear when we take a metaphysical look. Metaphysically, the Book of Job is a case study in Mind Action. And as I mentioned earlier, Chapter 3:25 tells us why Job suffered: “What Job feared came upon him.”
The characters mentioned in the Book of Job are the thoughts, personal qualities, attitudes, and beliefs we hold in our consciousness. Their metaphysical interpretations are as follows:
- Zehovah represents the Christ of us, our God-Self
- Satan symbolizes the tendency within each of us to forsake our divinity.
- Eliphaz represents our lukewarm desire for spiritual wholeness
- Bildad is our on-again/off-again awareness of our Christ potential
- Zophar is our fault-finding nature which blames others for our troubles
- Elihu is the Holy Spirit, the still small voice
- Job represents that aspect of us that outwardly seems centered and dedicated to truth principles, but inwardly chooses to be fooled by outer appearances and then allows fears, doubts, and a sense of unworthiness to get the best of us.
So, here’s a metaphysical meaning: Our God-Self (Zehovah) honors our power of choice even if it means allowing us to deny our divinity(Satan). When we fall upon hard times, the Job in us, (represented by Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zohar) fears the worst in outer appearances and allows them to get the best of us. However, once we remind ourselves that it is our own error thoughts which have caused us to miss the mark, we can go to our Christ Center (Elihu) and listen for that still small voice. In the story God doubled Job’s prosperity. In this story the number ‘2’ represents the two natures of us, human and divine, becoming one.
So what can we do?
- We can change the outer world by changing our inner world. Become aware of what you are really thinking, and claim power over your thoughts. Choose to remember your Spiritual nature.
- We can refuse to give power to outer appearance. When the ‘Job’ in us stops giving power to outer appearances and accepts our divinity, it will be the second time fire is discovered by the human race — the fire of the discovery of our divinity. When that happens there will be no more suffering, wars, or dis-ease. What a wonderful world that will be!
- We can claim our oneness with God. We suffer because we believe we are separated from God. And because we believe we are separated from God, we believe we are separate from one another. And because we deny our oneness with one another, we perpetuate a collective error consciousness which gives power to outer appearances that reinforce our belief in our separation from our God-ness. That belief is the cause of all suffering.