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Of

The Daughter Of Zion

JOB: A Closer Look

 

In my succesive readings of the "year through the bible" plan, I have read Job 5 or 6 times already. Most people wont talk about this book because its too depressing. Pastors will point out the obvious that Job was found to be self righteous and say "see? there is the sin" Self righteousness is a sin, make no mistake, because it excludes the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Most people wont read this book because either they cant understand it at all or they say, "Oh God no! I dont want to read this, I am LIVING this!"

Job is a really heavy depressing book until you look past all the words to the actually story. Then it gets really interesting.

Job is the part of Jesus where we are told by the prophet Isaiah that He was "a man of sorrows aquainted with grief".(Isaiah 53:3) But look a little closer at what Job DOESNT know. Its the portion of the book which deals with God's side of the story.

Here is God bragging on this man and along comes someone whose name has already been changed from Lucifer the Light Bearer, The Anointed Cherub who covers to Satan, The Adversary. Jesus when His disciples gushed on about how the demons were subject to them said "I beheld Satan fall like lightening" I must confess to wondering when that might have been. I suspect that it might have been in the days of Enoch.

Enoch wrote this book which details the fall of angels from grace and much more, its an interesting study but not to be held to the same aouthority as Scripture. One thing I will say, it is a stark contrast of God without mercy on those for whom there should be no excuse or mercy and God who sends His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON in an act of mercy that is immeasurable.

So here is this meeting in heaven and in the midst is the Satan. Then there is this dialogue (Job 1:8) Have you considered My servant Job? There is none like him on earth a perfect and upright man who fears God and eschews evil. I allow the use of the King James version's word, eschew, because of its distinct meaning. It is a verb and it means to deliberately avoid using or abstain from. Its like premarital sex, to be deliberately avoided and abstained from, or like church for young people who do not wish to eschew the former.

Now to understand that statement you read what Job did to ensure a happy God with his family. Basically what he was .... was a priest. This speaks to the Priesthood of every believer. In those days one offered live sacrifice and prayer to God. One interceeded for ones family. Job was the husband and head of home so he took his duty seriously. Apparently Job was more than that. He serviced his community as well and as such might have been a respected elder. Some may call Job's actions the Victorious Christian Life. Others may call it what it takes to be blessed of God.

But Satan has this challenge in God's face and God... goes for it. Now either God has fallen into this neatly laid trap or He is up to something. God calls Job a perfect man and upright man who fears Him and deliberately avoids and abstains from evil. This man in a Chronological sense might have lived around the time of Abraham but is not reflected in Jesus' Lineage. He is most certainly after the time of the Noadic Flood or so it would appear. For the most part mankind is just evil of heart but here is this shining man among men and God notices. So why does God let all this happen?

Two reasons. One, to show the spirit world and history how well worth His confidence has been placed in the CHARACTER of the man and Two, to open the door to Job to enter into a real relationship. Heretofore Job feared and revered and did the things required by whatever traditions he had learned of God for he says He had heard with the ear but now he KNOWS. (Job 42:5) Most religious folks do the "Victorious Christian Life" routine and they really dont KNOW God. They are well and truly redeemed like the Israelites of old but they are not "RELATING to " God. Job is "doing the do" toward God but is not in a real RELATIONSHIP WITH God. In fact after he does hear from God himself he basically retracts his statements saying basically "I am the idiot who had no idea what he was talking about" followed by, "I retract or abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:3,6) We also never hear any more about Job other than all that he had lost was restored twice over.

So why have the dialogue and allow the Satan to do what he did? Look at the wording carefully. Job is the Perfect man, Upright man, who fears God but the Satan keeps on about why apparently Job is so very good. God has blessed Job and hedged him in with protection on all sides like propping him up and thus Satan reasons that this is why Job does not "curse God and die". Job when admonished by his own wife to do just that tells her "should we recieve only the good and not also the adversity from God?" (Job 2:10) So God lets Satan enter into the protection by removing the hedge.

Imagine having a Hiroshema day. You woke up and were having your morning tea and it was a nice day when suddenly your entire world is blown away. You survive it but you will live to wish you had died many times over. So was often the fate of those who survived America's gift to Hiroshema and Nagasaki. Job was up and having a nice day perhaps and then one by one the servants come. One after another in the space of however long it took to tell it, Job is informed that every one of his cottage industries has been destroyed by one thing or another and then to top it off, an "act of God" which took one of his industries also took his kids. How would you react? Job gets up shaves himself bald and says "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away, blessed be the Name of The LORD".

I have lost a home in my life twice and been homeless twice. I have now lost a husband to disease and am caring for my mother who is all that is left of my parantage who is fading away from Dementia. Indeed the LORD gave all these things in their day and is now taken or is taking them all away. My eldest has moved out and is marrying and my youngest may want to leave when my mother gets to much to live with or he gets a job offer away from home or CoVid exposure means he has to move out. I dont believe I handled my times of adversity with quite that level of grace.

But it gets worse. There is a second meeting and this time it gets truly personal. GOd again uses the same language and adds "and stil upholds his integrity though you moved me against him to destroy him without cause" (Job 2:3) Really is God that soft a touch or is He up to something? God accuses the Adversary of causing Him to "move against and destroy" a man in whom He was pleased. But we all know that those with whom He is pleased, he will chasten or purify. Yet Job is still doing the do. He doesnt know His God but he is still doing the do toward this God. Mores the like he is quite possibly trying to rebuild. He apparently did not lose his house and wife so that was helpful. Children are mourned but industry can be replaced. So now Satan says "skin for skin". (Job 2:4) Take the health of the man and he will curse you to your face. Here is where it gets interesting.
The whole rest of the book is how Job deals with what happens next.

I can only imagine what stress his body went under as he scrambles to rebuild, save a tattered marriage and save face in his community. He now is broken out into boils. He has a hardening crusting oozing bleeding condition and food is loathesome or maybe painful to digest. I will let the med students write their speculative papers here but suffice it to say. If Job was trying to rebuild this was definitely going to call a halt to that and to top it off the good wife tells him to just get it over with. "curse God and die". (Job 2:9) So now Job has no real marriage. Job is stripped clean and left dangling and like the Hiroshema survivor is wondering just how that bomb got dropped on the morning tea.

Then come Job's Comforters who are definately NOT the Holy Spirit. Satan has touched Job's life and God has allowed it. Satan has touched Job's body and now Job wishes he could die but God while allowing the sickness does not allow Job to die. Job is in pain, his servants wont come near him, his wife is waiting for him to die so she can remarry. His community is in shock over what has happened and his three friends actually have nothing to say for seven whole days while they are taking in the magnitude of what has happened. Meanwhile until God shows up and shines forth there is utter silence. Job is on display for the whole world of his day and the heaven's to see. But as you read the conversations that Job and his so called friends have, you see him trying to wrap his head around it all. Job is apparently not a leper for in the Levitical text we come to understand how that presents; or is he not a leper? He is losing weight like water shedding off a roof. He is in agony of grief, mourning the loss of his children and especially the sons who were his legacy. No one on the planet can blame Job for trying to understand the why behind the what and this is exactly what most of the time in this situation one must not do.

One can come in repentance and implore God to reveal what needs repenting for but to rightly or wrongly accuse God of turning on one is a very bad place to get to. But God while displaying Job is about to answer the man's deepest need. Here he had for all this time been slavishly pleasing a God he had only ever heard about. God had been so pleased with this that He was pleased to put Job to the test of allowing the Adversary to come in wreck and ruin by simply removing His blessings. Yet God KNOWS that Job is doing this to someone he DOESNT KNOW. It is motivated from fear.

Folks God wants our actions toward Him to be motivated out of love. He wants to "Love first" that we might know what "love" is in purity and holiness. For all of you out there who are into The Great JC as boyfriend, have a care there, because He is ever so much more than that. He doesnt want a Paramor but a Faithful Bride. Job's actions were motivated from fear to please a God he had no personal knowledge of.

So now what about the Friends? They have all this philosphy to spew out. It concerns the fate of the wicked. They seem to be not listening to Job. Sometimes you just want someone to hear you in the midst of pain and suffering. I consider my husband who battled stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to the liver and actually beat it once and then it came back. The second brush took him. I was not a comforter to him at all. I was to busy taking over all that sickness made him abandon. I worked, I ran the house, I begged for money from my mother to help cover costs. My mother did actually help us for years. I was a Job's Comforter to my husband. Now I have virtually no one to talk to in my moments. But there is always for me, The Living God. Job didnt have that. Job starts by cursing the day of his birth and raising his complaint. In chapter the first round of "Comfort" comes. Look at this.
(Job 4:1-7)
1 "Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
2 If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?
3 Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.
4 Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.
5 But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.
6 Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?
7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?"

Wow! Here we have the opinion of the community. They are thinking it but this guy says it out loud. Job had been a pillar in the community. He was a teacher in this way he followed, he was an able comforter to come alongside when others went through catastrophic events in their lives but when he is going through it, of course he is complaining. They would've complained to! Right here is where they fail to enlighten Job's darkening of sound counsel. Job did not want a philisophical discussion. He wanted to cry out to God and understand why this was happening. What had he done or failed to do to deserve this? God had wronged him. Right there in that later chapter's statement Job is sinning in that he is saying wrong things about God. BUT JOB HAS NO IDEA WHO GOD IS. This is the whole point! Here is a man God is pleased with and about to enter into fellowship with who has made him a spectacle to the world and is testing him to see the interior of the heart.
Folks, God doesnt WRONG anyone. He will however make you a spectacle or chastise you to make you holy. He isnt necesarily after your earthly happiness but He is after your Eternal Holiness. That is usually what we percieve as the WRONG done.

Self Righteousness is the indictment against Job. But just like Jesus prays on the Cross for Father to FORGIVE everyone involved in bringing Him to His place of death and the nation of the people who are rejecting Him and the peoples who are being used to condemn Him, all this is in INNOCENCE. They DONT KNOW. Job DOESNT KNOW. God when He shows up smacks Job with the "I will ask and you will answer" (Job 38:3) since you apparently know it all. Job confronted with God in reality simply bows the knee and repents and retracts his words. (Job 40:4-5,42:3-6) God grants forgiveness. But Job never lost his integrity. He never CURSED God. Ironically Job was called to duty to intercede for his friends, right out of the gate and the restoration made Job greater than he had ever been previously.
We never hear more about Job.

Job is the lesson of suffering. God doesnt have to be chastising you for you to go through hell on Earth. Sometimes God is making a spectacle out of you to parade you before His adversaries because He knows you. The point of the discussion between the Satan and The Living God was that if God were to allow him to touch what Job has, Job would curse God. Job did not.
If God were to allow him to touch Job personally he would curse God. Job's wife all but mouthed the request of the Devil himself to Curse God and Die. Job did not.
Whatever else Job could be accused of and there was plenty, Job did not fail that test. Job held to his integrity and did not curse God. What Job did do was defend himself before God and demand an explanation. This is the self righteousness and offensive jesture that we as Believers must NEVER do. It is murderously hard not to when we are "going through it", however.

Satan never said anything about Self Righteousness or getting a false perception of God or speaking wrong things about God. Of course the discourses of Job with his friends dont help the matter. In Chapter 22 Elipaz not only starts to seriously "darken" sound counsel but he begins to hurl accusation at Job. I read this and consider what they did to Jesus Himself. Jesus was and should absolutely be "SELF Righteous" He is the only being to ever EARN Salvation. He should be the Only Being in flesh to pull that off because He is God in flesh. He is the strong right arm bringing the world back in righteousness unto His Father. But the Sanhedrin had all sorts of false witnesses turn out to stack up the sins.

When real and seemingly unreasonable suffering occurs, do indeed seek God to know if He is angry, if there is sin, how might it be dealt with. But if this is a true parading forth to display you as a spectacle, silence might be what you get. Its not that God doesnt hear you its that you have asked the wrong question. In fact God's silence in sincere seeking during a "Job-ing" might be that you have not done anything to merit wrath or even Fatherly displeasure. God was actually aggreable to letting the Satan in and pulling back His hedge of protection because he KNEW Job would never curse Him. He also had to know Job would get it all wrong in the midst of suffering.

Suffering like chronic pain or discomfort will indeed mess with the mind. A person going through this believing that a blessed man only ever lives in perpetual soothing comfort and the lap of luxury only knows God as a Santa Clause. Jesus suffered the Human Condition and for a member of the Triune Godhead to stoop into a physical body and "suffer" the limitations and privations of Humanity was real suffering. Jesus however KNEW God. Job did not.

We can begin to think of God in wrong ways if we are not in His word. Job had no bible and no means to actually know the LORD other than his traditions. As Christians today we need to be reading and studying the Bible daily so that when this type of suffering occurs we KNOW better than to choke down false impresssions of who God is. Job was getting the character of God wrong. Job was smearing God's good name but, when Job was confronted with the reality of God he retracted his words. It is important to learn to come before God when we find we have gotten it wrong and smeared His Glorious Name and repent of the words and retract them. Being in His Word will go a long way to keeping us from that Offense and Defilation.

However Job does do something that absolutely gets God's attention. He declares his resume and it is recorded that everyone stopped talking to Job except for the last speaker. When in the midst of a Job-ing it is quite understandable that one will reflect on the days when things were easier before the "catastrophy" befell. Job does so but like all things that are hard on us there is a rosy lense that gets inserted into the mind and the picture of days gone by becomes somewhat more than it actually was. However from Job's recollection we find that indeed he was an Elder and had a place among the leadership of his community. He did do good for those in need. Apparently sometimes right out of his own provisions. But he overstates it making himself out to be better than those around him. Here is the irony. God calls the man "perfect" and Job is trotting out a "perfect" track record of the "Victorious Christian Life" One may as well put the cape on Job and call him superman!

This is the wrong picture to paint folks. Job has the indictment of declaring himself righteous in his own eyes. It is one thing to seek God out in a Job-ing, to cry out for relief or at least strength to bear up under it all. But to present like a prince before the Almighty is NOT humility it is Hubris. We MUST remember that in all catastrophic life events and the fall out thereafter, in all grief of soul and torment of mind we MUST come HUMBLY. There is no place in the face of God for Self Righteousness.

However I cannot entirely fault Job. He has been trying to wrap his mind around what has happened and KNOWS this is God's doing somehow and indeed it is. God by removing His hedge of protection and blessings has caused this devastation. It only takes a single thought in the vast mind of The Living God to effect instant change. However I have to point out here that Job DOES NOT KNOW God personally, he knows OF GOD, but does not KNOW GOD.

In going through these times and they are not a Job-ing most folks get right in God's face fist raised and trot out what they perceive to be a rightstanding based on works. Job has come perilously close to this. In fact he is about to do the one thing the Satan has been eagerly awaiting. But God knows Job's ability to endure and how much he can actually endure. He will step in and put it to an end.

Some things one does not ask God why about. One may ask if there is a guilt, offense, defilation, sin or something undealt with and uncovered by the Blood of Jesus before God that it may be dealt with. One might ask if the relationship between themselves and God is lacking on their part and there needs to be some more relating to God. One might even actually having done all this then start giving God thanks for any little thing that is going right in the storm. One might even just praise God anyway. This curries favor with God and is actually the right way to handle a Job-ing, but in the press it is hard come by. Job has been having to defend his reputation and gone on the defensive against God which is always a mistake. But God knew the capacity for self righteousness was there. So was Job actually a perfect man? No. He was DECLARED PERFECT but in process of being MADE PERFECT. Looks like a Job experience is part and parsel to Sanctification. Yet God responds by revealing Himself to Job and Job is put in his place and displays true Humility in retracting his words and repenting on the spot. This is why Job is DECLARED PERFECT.

God in His response to what He has been hearing, has one line. (Job 38:1) Who is this that darkens counsel by WORDS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE. All this time in various ways Job's friends have hinted that his speech had no real knowledge. All this time the pain the sorrow the burden of what Job was going through darkened his ability to hear. But it keeps coming back to the fact that Job DID NOT KNOW God.

In the midst of a Job-ing we can reflect on better times but be realistic. We can noodle it out and try to wrap our minds around things. God understands this for we have an High Priest who is not untouched by the human condition. He understands human weakness and sorrow and how it shuts out so much. He understands man's grapplings to come to terms with adversity. But in all this Job doesnt actually ever Curse God. Neither should we.

Think about it.

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