“How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.” Job 21:34
The big picture of Job is that there was a man who was, in one sense, blameless in God’s sight. He was leading a basically upright life. And there is a reality called Satan who challenges God that his man is not as good as he thinks he is. God gives Satan permission to attack Job, and he does so first through his family and possessions, and then through sickness.
Then there is Job’s long illness, and his three friends come. At first they are quiet and offer some counsel, but then they begin to launch into an attack on Job that takes a true theology and distorts it all out of proportion.
Job has about about 29 chapters of misapplied theology in the middle. It’s very hard to navigate your way through those chapters and determine what is true and what is not, because these guys are mixing up truth and falsehood all over the place. I think you’re supposed to get the big picture that God was not happy with these three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.
And when Elihu shows up, he, I believe, begins to set it right. Finally God speaks and he sets it completely right.
Then there is the last chapter that puts the closure on the whole thing. There it says that God brought all of this upon Job; and Job proves in the end to be a better man than these other men, even though Job himself sinned and had to repent in dust and ashes.
The lesson from the big book of Job is
1) that God is sovereign over all our suffering;
2) he permits Satan to come into our lives and do horrible things to us;
3) he means to prove our faith and purify our lives through it;
4) in the end he will make it good, either in this life or in the life to come; and
5) Satan does not have the last word in the lives of God’s people.