The background of the story of Job is difficult to determine. His was a life of incredible suffering, tried faith, and restored blessings but the timeframe for when the book was written is hard to pinpoint. Job lived even before Abraham and it is possible that the account of his life had been passed down orally from generation to generation, each father telling his family. If ever God’s people needed a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the midst of tremendous suffering, now was that time. Due to on-going national sin, the faithless, the unfaithful as well as those loyal to God were oppressed in Babylon and stripped of familiarity and of comfort. Turning bitter would have been easy, returning to God offered hope and the blessing of restoration.
Being reminded of Job’s life still spurs us on to much needed hope. Job’s story begins with a dialogue between God and Satan, and Satan posed this question: “Does Job fear God for nothing? Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” This sets the stage for what was a sobering and life-changing time for Job and for those in his sphere of influence. What did Job do when the hedge of protection around him was removed? We can learn so much from his integrity during hard times.