A lesson for our changing times
Job's Trials and Ultimate Victory
The life of Job amazes me. Faithful to our Lord and
true to His Word, he taught his children to follow God's way and do what was
right. And through all the horrendous challenges ahead,
The life of Job amazes me. Faithful to our Lord and true to His Word, he taught his children to follow God's way and do what was right. And through all the horrendous challenges ahead,Job stood firm in his faith.
The First Test
The First Test
It wasn't easy:
"There was a man of in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to Him. His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys...." Job 1:1-3
Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, 'The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants....”
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead....”
Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, that the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord."
In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong." Job 1:13-22
The First Test
"Satan has been allowed to attack Job's possessions; now his power is increased and he is free to attack Job's personal inheritance directly. When a man is hit by undeserved destruction, the immediate result is a slander against God: 'Why does God allow this thing to happen.
"There are people today who are going through an onslaught of destruction that paralyzes all our platitudes.... the only things that will ring relief is the consolations of Christ...' [T]he only thing that will bring relief is the consolations of Christ." [Oswald Chambers, p. 740-741]
Job's so-called "friends" did charge Job with wrongdoing --
both for the initial deaths and for the almost unbearable pain and struggles
They simply couldn't understand why God would allow such
suffering. Why punish a guiltless person? It made no sense to those who
witnessed Job's loss and suffering. But Job gave an honest answer:
are you all! ...
I also could speak as you
if your soul were in my soul’s place. ...but I would
strengthen you with my mouth, and the comfort of my lips would
relieve your grief. "
Job's experience was a verification of his amazing faith and extraordinary endurance. What's more, in the midst of the pain and horror, he steadfastly refused to blame God. Instead he honored Him to the end:
". . . I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;
Even after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 19:23-26)
Amazing! How would you and I have handled even a tiny portion of the horrors aimed at Job?
The Second Test
"Job feels that in spite of all that is happening, God's integrity remains, and his own integrity. ... The friends have accused Job of being a hypocrite, but just at this very time Job gives expression to the most sublime utterance of faith in the whole Old Testament: 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."[Oswald Chambers, p. 758]
Satan was the master mind behind those agonizing losses. And now, once again, he would prove his might through devastating cruelties against God's faithful servant, Job.His aim was to crush Job's faith and loyalty by inflicting unthinkable bodily pain and agony.
"Then the Lord said to Satan. 'Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him. . . ."
"So Satan answered the Lord and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a many has he will give for his life. But stretch our Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to your face!'
And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life." (Job 2:6)
Such a permission from God may seem totally irrational to compassionate Christians. How could our Lord allow His enemy to inflict such pain? Why burden Job with a new set of horrors? It doesn't make sense...
Or does it? After all, we know that God has a special purpose for Job -- one that is sure to make sense by the end of this terrible trial.
Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
"Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And [Job] took for himself a potsherd [a broken pottery fragment] with which to scratch himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.'
"Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!'
"But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.
"Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity.... each one came from his own place -- Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him....
"And when they lifted up their eyes at a distance, and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe, and they threw dust over the heads toward the sky. Then they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great." (Job 2:7-13)
Job never saw his real tormentor. He didn't know why he was struck by evil and tortured by Satan. Nor would we understand the unthinkable challenges of such a spiritual war. The reality of Satan is anything but clear in today's culture. We rarely mention his name, and few would consider the devil a threat to our life and happiness. After all, he is neither visible nor audible to his suffering victims.
It would make sense to Job's friends if this tortured "victim" had simply confessed his supposed sins. But according to God own view, he didn't sin. Nor did he understand what was happening. He just didn't realize the power behind the evil forces wielded by Satan. He was troubled and perplexed but never never deceived by the evil one. And, what's most comforting, he trusted God absolutely -- even when the enemy seemed to take full control!
No wonder he longed for the old days:
"Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God watched over me;
When His lamp shone upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness...
When the friendly counsel of God was over my tent; when the Almighty was yet with me,
When my children were round about me..." Job 29:3-5
"When I went out to the gate... when I took my seat in the open square...
The aged arose and stood; the princes refrained from talking....
I was eyes to the blind, and I was feet to the lame." Job 29:7-16
"And now I am their taunting son; yes I am their byword. They abhor me, the keep far from me;
They do not hesitate to spit in my face...." Job 30:9-10
The Third Test
"A certain type of religious hypocrisy
makes men hide what they feel, but Job has come to the place where
he cannot hide it -- 'I cannot pretend I am comforted of God," he
says. If only Job could have taken on the pose that he had the
comfort of God, his friends would not have challenged him, but he
says, I have no comfort; I do not see God, neither can I talk to
Him. ...but I am certain that God will prove that He is just and
true and right." (Oswald Chambers,
"A certain type of religious hypocrisy makes men hide what they feel, but Job has come to the place where he cannot hide it -- 'I cannot pretend I am comforted of God," he says. If only Job could have taken on the pose that he had the comfort of God, his friends would not have challenged him, but he says, I have no comfort; I do not see God, neither can I talk to Him. ...but I am certain that God will prove that He is just and true and right." (Oswald Chambers, p. 764)
In a sense, Job became a victim of his own integrity. In the face of rejection, disaster, criticism and excruciating pain, no one stood by him. No one cared or encouraged him with friendship or hope. He was totally alone in the spiritual darkness sustained by Satan -- with God's permission.
God didn't explain why He had allowed such horrendous suffering -- both physically and mentally -- in the life of his bewildered servant. In fact, he doesn't usually give us explanations when He allows us to suffer. Yet -- when the time of pain and confusion ended -- He did show Job the victory behind the truth he knew and the suffering he endured. The horrendous pain, torment, rejection and hostility helped serve that purpose. Meanwhile, Job's integrity in the midst of the hostility and confusion was central to God's plan for Job's restoration and victory.
After Job's three former friends had finished their complaints against Job, Elihu began his accusations:
"Job has said, 'I am righteous, but God has taken away my justice; should I lie concerning my right? My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.
"What man is like Job, who drinks scorn like water, who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, and walks with wicked men. For he has said, 'It profits a man nothing that he would delight in God.'...
"Job speaks without knowledge, His words are without wisdom. Oh that Job were tried to the utmost, because his answer are like those of wicked men. For he adds rebellion to his sin.... and multiplies his words against God." [p. 787-788]
Finally the Lord speaks to Job and begins to clarify the confusion and rejection that had dismayed Job during his time of testing under the power of Satan. And Job answers:
"Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer you? I lay my hand over my mouth...." [p. 797]
"I know that You can do everything and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from You. You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
"I have heard of you by the hearing of ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." [p. 799]788]
"After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanit. "My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has...
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job.
And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
"Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who have been his acquaintances before came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. He also has seven sons and three daughters....
After his Job lived one hundred and forty years and saw his children and grandchildren of four generation. So Job died, old and full of days."
Job illustrates the dilemma of an innocent man who trusts God, while everything seems to go wrong. His friends turned against him, and life became almost unbearable. Job himself longed for death. But during all the time of pain and suffering, Job never denied God or blamed him for his torment.
And at the end of his excruciating experience, Job once again proved to be a wise and kind leader who treasured his family and cared for his servants. and friends.
Job 3:1-4:21 Romans 8:6-8
Will you trust Me if every visible sign suggests death and disaster? Will you trust Me if all the paths before you point to pain and trouble? That question tormented Job through most of his dialogue with God Almighty. But in the end, God pronounced him true and righteous! The trial were excruciating, but Job passed the test and won the victory!
"Job: Quick summary. Was rich beyond his peers. Had integrity and loved and trusted God. All seems well as he raised his children. Preotected from danger. But God turned it all around . Job's life seemed to crumble. One disaster after another led to despari and destruction. ....
His precious children were killed, only he (and his wife) survived. Why? Why would God let his faith be so severely tested?
Are we approaching the prophesied end times? It makes some sense when we consider the rapid changes and the devastating persecution in many parts of the world. We don't understand it. ....
But His timing differs from ours! We are impatient and seek rapid answers and quick fixes. God is patient and His time schedule rarely matches ours.
No longer local wars. Now global wars. Times of testing. Global weapons and mass killing.
Hard to see how we can turn back and repair what is broken. Yet one thing is certain. His is the ultimate victory!
Today's social decay is all around us. Hatred for God and His people is spreading. And the masses are taking a stand: reject God's truth and pursue a supposed new freedom. World is changing fast.
One generation away.... School officials are banning the Word of God and the name of Jesus. No freedom of expression for Christians.
We know God has allowed Satan to test and try his faith and persistence.. Job 17 despair.
How often do we face such confusion and pain?
God didn't explain why He had allowed such horrendous suffering -- both physically and mentally -- in the life of his bewildered servant. In fact, he doesn't owe us an explanation. Yet -- when the time of pain and confusion ended -- He did show Job the victory behind the truth and the suffering. The horrendous [ordeal) pain and loss had served its purpose. Job's integrity in the midst of the confusion was God's example.
What do we learn from Job's heartbreaking trials? How would you and I respond to such a challenge? (The reality of God's love and justice?)
For most people, life is hard. Today's world - ans in Job's tiem - Life is hard. And for Job, it became excruciating. But the test didn't last forever.
We don't know exactly why God tested Job as He did. Nor do we understand why we face loss, disease, rejection and unthinkable difficulties.
But God has a purpose for each of His "children" and the difficulties are part of that purpose. Today, those difficulties might be preparations for the challenging times ahead. Obviously America is changing, and the faith and kindness that has been one of its trademarks, is now fading away.
"Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity.... each one came from his own place -- Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and
1 “Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends,
For the hand of God has struck me!
22 Why do you persecute me as God does,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?
23 “Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
24 That they were engraved on a rock
With an iron pen and lead, forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is 6destroyed, this I know,
That lin my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my 7heart yearns within me!
28 If you should say, ‘How shall we persecute him?’—
Since the root of the matter is found in me,
29 Be afraid of the sword for yourselves;
For wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
That you may know there is a judgment.” (Job 19:21-29)
22:1-3) Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
2 “Can ba man be profitable to God,
Though he who is wise may be profitable to himself?
3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous?
Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless?
Then Job answered and said:
2 “Even today my acomplaint is bitter;
1My hand is listless because of my groaning.
3 bOh, that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come to His seat!
4 I would present my case before Him,
And fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would know the words which He would answer me,
And understand what He would say to me.
6 cWould He contend with me in His great power?
No! But He would take note of me.
7 There the upright could reason with Him,
And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.
8 “Look, dI go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him; (Job 23:1-8)
He apparently grew up in Arabia, near the river Euphrates. A wise and kind man with a large family and huge flocks of sheep and camels, he served God and faithfully taught his family to follow His ways. In fact, he puts most American "Christians" to shame. His model of trust and obedience toward God and man is rarely seen today.
As I ponder his life, I have to admit that our Christian culture tends to be both weak and self-centered compared to Job and his family.
Scholars believe that Job (Ezekiel 14:14) tuned lived in the times of Noah,...
Ancient Genesis 22:11-14 before Moses.
Patience of Job: suffering patience, and
Many are the afflictions of the Righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them. ...
Today, he serves as a faithful kind and wise model for us America. Live back (before Moses) Satan to torment innocent Job
"God didn't explain why He had allowed such horrendous suffering -- both physically and mentally -- in the life of his bewildered servant. In fact, he doesn't owe us an explanation. Yet -- when the time of pain and confusion ended -- He did show Job the victory behind the truth and the suffering. ... Job's integrity in the midst of the confusion was God's example." [Oswald Chambers]