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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Observations on Job

The book of Job makes a loud statement, it is that one who is blameless and upright, who fears God and turns away from evil, and who prays for his family will not necessarily escape testing which involves suffering and hardship.  It is very easy to speak well of God when you are living in total comfort.  The real test comes when you are suffering.  Job was tested in his possessions, his family and finally his flesh, but even when he became sick he did not sin with his lips.  He cursed the day of his birth but did not curse God.  On losing his possessions he did not sin or charge God with wrong.  While Job was defending his integrity with his friends, his friends felt that through his declaring his innocence he was exalting himself above them.  Job accuses his comforters of using earthly wisdom to defend God's case against him and goes on to say that even though he may not understand the reasons for his affliction he will not accept it without questioning and reasoning with God, indeed he would rather risk being slain than be a hypocrite.  He decides to complain to God about his situation, accusing God of trying to destroy him.  Job praises all the handiwork of God and yet acknowledges that all that is known of God through nature itself is a minute part of His glory and that no man understands His power.  Job's friends insist that all that Job is suffering is what the wicked suffer when they err and is a form of divine punishment.  They do not connect suffering with godliness.  However in truth Job, just as it says Jesus did, learned obedience through the things that he suffered.  In ch.19 Job discerns that he is completely isolated and that his friends do not understand.  He argues that even if he has erred then it is God that has brought it all about and he doesn't need scorn from them as well.  In spite of all hes suffering and rejection from friends he knows that there is a redeemer and believes that even after his body perishes he shall stand vindicated before God.  He maintains that God knows the way he will take and that when God has tried him he shall come forth as fine gold.
Job came to understand that the man that is acceptable to God is not the flesh and blood man that tries to keep the law in order to be righteous before God, but the spiritual man that seeks God for mercy and grace.  God seeks in man a relationship that is intimate, one which cannot be understood by the carnal mind, nor attained through the flesh.  When Job tried to understand God with the carnal mind he became confused, his reverence for God had been birthed in his financial security and his pyysical well being.  He learned that absolute authority over everything was held by God, whether it be good or evil, and that nothing could happen to him except it be allowed by God. 
It was not to punish Job that God allowed Satan to afflict him, affliction is to strengthen, not to weaken.  Only when one is placed in darkness will one search for light.  During his affliction Job came to know God in truth as a God who could do all things, a God who was to bless Job with even more in his latter days than he'd had in the former, and also a long life.  Job's house had to be built on a rock, not on sand.
Job's friends' advice was based on a knowledge of a far off God who rewarded according to mans' righteousness and punished according to mans' unrighteousness.  Once God had revealed himself to Job, Job could see how unrighteous he was in comparison to God and this took all pride from him and brought him to a place of repentance and humility.
Job, in a sense, is a type of the born again believer, being made righteous in Christ yet having to mature in Christ through suffering in order to fully come to learn God's ways and see Him as He is.  Before his suffering Job, like his friends, knew God only at a distance.  Suffering was the vessel which carried him to the point where he sought out God to ask that which he felt no need to ask before, and the means by which he came to know God as his redeemer.  A redeemer is one who improves to the best advantage.  White marble can only be had through extreme heat and pressure.  It was only when Job truly suffered did he seek God, only when he sought God did he see Him as he really is, and only when he saw Him as all powerful did he see himself as unrighteous.  Only then was he acceptable to God.
In Job ch. 36 v. 16 Elihu tells Job ' He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction.'  Suffering is a temporary circumstance that God can bring us through if we have faith in Jesus.  I have come through, and still experience, many Job situations, as I am sure everyone does, and I would encourage everyone to question God, read the Bible.  He will come back with all the answers, as he did with Job.


T-Childs said...

This is an excellent and well-written and thought out piece Brenda; one of the best blog posts I have ever read. It flows beautifully and you say exactly what you want to say. I looked at this piece: "Only when one is placed in darkness will one search for light." That is so true; often we have to suffer just to see what peace and contentment is really like, and how important spiritual values are compared to material wealth for instance.

You encourage everyone to question God; well done! How often do we hear of Christians or religious people who think that we should blindly accept everything that happens when I believe God Himself placed in us a questioning nature; we as humans are all curious, about so many things, and I can speak for myself and say that I am ever curious about the Creator who created me and everyone and everything else; isn't that normal after all?

Thanks for posting such an interesting and informative post; I look forward to many more.

Unknown said...

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Brenda said...

Thank you so much, I have found that I really love sharing my experiences and reading other people's experiences but, because of the fact that I have not been on the internet at home, I have only been able to spend about an hour or two a week on my blog. As from 13th March I will be on line at home, co I will be able to spend far more time connecting with people. Brenda

Brenda said...

Thand you so much for your kind comment. I really love interacting with other Christians, this is how we can be built up and encouraged by one another, which is how it is meant to be. I believe that transparancy is a main ingredient for a good relationship with God, and with all humanity. I shall be on line at home soon and will be able to spend more time reading other people's blogs Brenda