Bible Studies Sermons Words Of Encouragement By James Thornton / last year Share Tweet Pin Share THE GREATNESS AND THE INTEGRITY OF JOB: We want to spend some time with Job. I feel that Job lived just prior to Abraham, during what is called the generation of Shem. Job 1:1. “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 3b. … so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.” When the Holy Spirit began the narrative of a particular season in the life of this Old Testament saint, Job is described as “the greatest of all the men of the east.” Not only was Job wealthy in family and ancestry, lands and livestock, but also he is described as a man who “was perfect (blameless) and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed (turned away from) evil.” Job’s uprightness and lifestyle was well known. We note Job’s concern for the spiritual welfare of his family. Job “continually” offered burnt offerings for his family, lest they might have turned their backs on God and sinned (v. 4-5). He was the priest of the family, and at his altar they all attended, valuing their share in his prayers more than their share in his estate. Job’s life was “perfect” (v. 1); he treasured God’s words more than his food (Job 23:12): Job wasn’t aware of any inner secret sins (Job 31:33): was a respected Judge in the community (Job 29:7-14); didn’t abuse his power (Job 29:15); maintained moral purity (Job 31:1, 5, 7); and didn’t put his confidence in his great wealth (Job 31: 24-24). God testified of him “that there is none like him in the earth,” (Job 1:8). All of the above could be said of few, if any, other man who ever lived, only of the Lord Jesus Himself. Job was not only so rich and great, but also so wise and good, and had such an interest in spiritual things, that one would think the mountain of his prosperity stood so strong that it could not be moved; but there is a thick dark cloud gathering over his head boiling with a horrible tempest. We must never think ourselves secure from storms as long as we are in this life. The storms come in our lives suddenly unexpectedly, even though we feel we do not deserve to be treated that way. We have gone to church, read our Bible, prayed every day, lived the best we know how, yet the storm came and took almost everything, including our health. We cry as Job did, “Why Lord?” SATAN, APPEARING BEFORE GOD: We live in two worlds, a spiritual world and a natural world, and what takes place in the natural world is controlled by the spiritual. Job 1:6. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. Satan is likely to show up anywhere, even in a holy spiritual environment. From time immemorial Satan has been involved in the affairs of man. He was in the Holiest environment ever on earth, the Garden of Eden, he attended our Lord’s Prayer and fasting in the wilderness, he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he has attended every religious service since that day. Now here we have Satan (an adversary to God, to men, to all good) coming into an assembly of the “sons of God that came to present themselves before the Lord.” What an intrusion! One would think that he would be barred from the place of the holy. So we can expect him to show up at our Church, to distract, to lull you mind off the service, to try to keep you from worshiping. Some feel that our scripture reading took place in heaven when the angels came to a meeting with God. But I feel that Satan is barred from heaven since he was thrown out when sin was found in him. This must have been a meeting of saints on earth. Men of religious nature in the patriarchal age, were called “sons of God” (Genesis 6:2); they had their religious assemblies and the stated times for them. In our reading God inquires of Satan where he had been, although He already knew, “give account of yourself.” Every one, including Satan, is accountable to God for all our time, where we have been, where we are going, what we were doing. I come from “going to and fro on the earth.” (walking about in his own territory) He could not pretend he had been doing any good as the son’s of God could, yet he would not own that he had been deceiving people, destroying souls, causing pain and havoc everywhere he went. While we are on this earth we are within his reach, and with so much subtlety, swiftness, and persistence does he penetrate into every corner of it, that we cannot be in any place secure from his temptations. 1 Peter 5:8 cautions us and warns us of Satan’s actions. SATAN, BY SLANDER, OBTAINS PERMISSION TO TEST JOB God directs Satan’s attention to Job and testifies of him, “there is none like him in the earth.” Job 1:8. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9. Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10. Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. Of course Satan hated Job; he stood for everything Satan despised, a life lived for the glory of the God he hated. So he makes his accusations; “does Job fear God for naught” (no reason)? “You protect him and prosper him, of course he loves you? Or what you do for him.” “He loves you because you pay him well. If you take away what he has, he’ll curse you to your face.” Satan throws down a challenge at the feet of the Almighty, and God, for His glory, and Job’s good (although Job didn’t know that), allowed the devil to afflict him. Job’s fall from influence and prosperity is so great, it’s almost impossible to imagine. On one day he lost all of his wealth; eleven thousand animals and the servants who were guarding them by raiders or by fire falling from heaven. While Job was recovering from these reports, an even more grievous one reached him. “While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee” (Job 1:18-19). At this news, Job’s faith burst into white-hot flame, and he spoke these celebrated words, “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:21-22). SATAN, APPEARING AGAIN BEFORE GOD, OBTAINS FURTHER PERMISSION TO TEST JOB; HE SMITES JOB WITH BOILS: The loss of all of his children and his property wasn’t the end of Job’s suffering, his suffering had just begun. Job 2:7. “So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 8.And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. At some later date, to his horror, Job began to sense an excruciating pain spreading throughout his whole body and breaking out in sores and boils from the top of his head to the sole of his feet. The exact nature of these offensive and painful ulcers is unknown, probably like the shingles, which is very painful indeed, but the Bible does give us enough information to get a glimpse into his suffering. He had “boils” (Job 2:7), “My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome” (Job 7:5), fetid breath (Job 19:17), emaciated body (Job 19:20), erosion of his bones (Job 30:17), blackening and peeling of the skin (Job 30:30). Added to all this was the broken-hearted and faltering admonition of his wife, and the unkind and heartless counsel of his friends. Yet the struggle that almost over-whelmed Job’s soul and tortured his faithful heart was his inability to reconcile his present circumstances with what he believed about God’s goodness and his own character. The same feeling creeps over most of us when unexpected tragedy, or grave illness, or breakup of homes, loss of financial security etc. We question, “what did I do wrong,” “why me Lord” “what is going to be the end?” Job believed in the absolute sovereignty of God but he wondered, like us, why would He afflict his righteous soul? This is the precious truth that the book of Job reveals to us. Perhaps you have discovered, as Job did, that your afflictions has layers. There is the present affliction: the trial as it has first come to you, whether it’s home-lessness after a disaster, the loss of a loved one, a broken marriage, an ongoing wasting disease, difficulty at home or at work, or whatever affliction you’re facing. Then the underlying problem: the questions, the doubts and uncertainty about God and your relationship to Him. “Is God Angry?” “Is He punishing me?” “Have I committed a sin that has severed my relationship with Him?” The book of Job helps answers these questions. Whatever you’re going through don’t loose hope. JOB’S HEART IS TRANSFORMED: Job wrestles with God, and he does stumble, but the faith that God had planted in his heart remains true. Job 19:25. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. Up until chapter 19, Job’s complaint and misery is almost completely hopeless and despairing. He wonders, “Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; (Job 3:20-21). One question after the other follows. And then, miraculously, the Spirit brings Job a revelation of someone who will rescue him from his despair. Job realizes God is not his enemy and cries out, “for I know that my redeemer liveth, …” Job is not rejoicing because he believes his trial is ending. He is rejoicing because he now believes, by the Spirit, that he has a Redeemer, a heavenly kinsman who will come to his aid. The role of the kinsman-redeemer was well known in the ancient Near East, and it is this Job is referring to. The next of kin was to redeem his (relatives) property, and restore it to him if in any way he had forfeited it or been obliged to sell it; to defend him against injury and wrong, especially, to avenge his blood if he had been unrighteously slain. Job now sees God as his redeemer, and although he is convinced that he will shortly die from his disease, he confidently announces that even after his skin has been destroyed, he will in his flesh see God. In Job’s sorely tried heart, God is no longer his enemy who is pursuing him unjustly; He is now his friend, his Redeemer, his next of kin. We also have a “next of kin,” “a redeemer” “a brother,” someone who has come to our aid. We’ve studied His words and observed His life. We know that our Redeemer lives and we will behold Him one day! Galatians 4:4 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. We are no longer strangers or slaves, but we are children of God. TRUTH FROM A TRANSFORMED HEART, A HUMBLED HEART: The true knowledge of God humbles all his creation, and places us on our knees before Him, which is our rightful place. Job 42:5. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” After Job exclaimed that his “Redeemer Liveth,” there was a dramatic change which came over him. From this point on the course of his complaints change. That’s not to say he no longer struggled or sought to determine why the wicked prosper; its just that the deep despair and bitterness is gone from him. He receives council of Elihu, the younger of his friends, who helped prepare him for the astounding council from the Lord. His heart is prepared: Job is about to receive the most precious treasures ever imagined. In the longest, and most awesome conversation from God recorded in the Bible, Job is brought to his Knees. “Now my eyes see thee,” and “I am humbled,” “I repent in dust and ashes,” is Job’s final speech. Job is humbled, instructed, and comforted by God’s sustaining grace, and in the end God is glorified. What was God’s purpose in Job’s trial? It was to silence the lying tongue of Satan, but that was not the only purpose. His purpose was to open Job’s eyes to who He is, a God who is compassionate and merciful, and to sustain within him a steadfastness that would be spoken of for thousands of years. Do you know that your Redeemer lives? I hope that you do. Do you want to exalt Him and see His glory exemplified in your suffering? God knows that you do, He knows this, and loves you, and will see that your life annuls your enemy’s lies. And it will bring Him great joy, when on that last day you stand on the new earth with your near Kinsman and gaze upon His beautiful, compassionate, and merciful face. Repeat these words with me, “That I with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ: who with His precious blood, has full satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head. He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live for Him” Amen.