Job is part of the Wisdom Literature section of the Old Testament, along with Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Although we are not given direct information that dates the book of Job, it could be the earliest of the Scriptures to be put in writing.
If it is the earliest book committed to writing, it is appropriate, for the book of Job addresses some of the most fundamental philosophical questions humans can ask, including:
THEMES AND LESSONS
From Job we gain an understanding that God has a specific design for humans. However, although God is sovereign, He interacts with humans, and our choices are real. It appears that humans play a key role in a grand, cosmic drama to determine who should rightfully rule the earth. Through faithful living, humans can repudiate God’s enemy.
We also learn from Job our natural tendency to treat God in a transactional manner, and seek to bend Him to do our will. However, that is not possible with God, because He is God (not us). Rather, it is our greatest privilege to seek to know God, our greatest source of fulfillment. And this life is our one and only opportunity to come to know God by faith.
Three of Job’s friends, key characters in the story of Job, express a perspective indicating that they can manipulate God through their actions. These three are soundly chastised by God, although He forgives them through Job’s intercession. Job, on the other hand, suffers greatly from adverse circumstances, but is the one who is presented as being greatly blessed. Job gives us insight that allows us to adopt a heavenly and eternal perspective, and equips us to view our earthly journey as a unique, once-in-our-existence opportunity to gain the immense blessing to know God by faith. When combined with other promises (such as Revelation 3:21) the picture that emerges allows us to view any circumstance as an opportunity.
In Job’s story, we see a full manifestation of the New Testament promise that God causes all things to work together for our good, and that the ultimate good for each of us is to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:28-29).
With Job, we also see an illustration of Jesus’s statement that the greatest fulfillment of life (which He calls “eternal life”) for any believer is to know God (John 17:3). Job comes to know God in a much deeper and fuller manner through God’s interaction with his circumstances, which greatly enhances Job’s human fulfillment. Since Job is presented as someone that God highly favors, Job’s faith is an inspiration. Through Job we can discover timeless wisdom, and how to prosper and flourish in any circumstance, whether we enjoy plenty or suffer scarcity.