|Passage: Job 5-7|
On Thursday, June 11, 2015, Yujin wrote,
Job says that his only consolation, even his joy in pain, is that he has not denied God's Word. It is the testimony to the Lord's declaration, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).
What does it mean to live in integrity? Integrity means "being whole and undivided" and, with respect to morality, it means "honest, principled, and upright" (Google Dictionary). The ideal of integrity is incorruptibility, an unwillingness to compromise principle or truth.
God tested Job's integrity by allowing Satan to afflict both his possessions and his person. Satan's contention was that Job only maintained his integrity because he was blessed by God. Satan was proved wrong with respect to possessions, for even after the most precious things were taken away, Job remained faithful, declaring, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised" (Job 1:21). And even after his personal affliction, he still found consolation in remaining faithful to God's Word (Job 6:10).
Friends, I wonder how we would do if we found ourselves in a desperate situation. Would we be more willing to compromise if we could pull ourselves out, especially if God's deliverance was not immediately forthcoming? Would we find our consolation in God's Word?
My interest is not so much in how I would do if confronted by desperate circumstances, but how I can build the kind of integrity now that can weather such a storm. These are the principles that I am presently employing every day to build such itegrity in me:
This has been my deliberate practice for over ten years now. Has my integrity become stronger? I would like to think so. Have I conquered every sin? In one sense I am as vulnerable as I have ever been. Yet, I have a clearer sense of God's will. I have a deeper understanding of both God's grace and my depravity. My desperate trust in Christ has deepened, and I am less afraid of men and my circumstances. I can also add to the testimony of those that say, "The more one reads Scripture, the more interesting it becomes." Rather than becoming "old and outdated," it has become increasingly fresh and relevant.
|Passage: Job 5-7|
On Tuesday, June 11, 2013 (Last Updated on 6/10/2015), Yujin wrote,
My brothers have acted deceitfully like a wadi,
What is a wadi? Google defines "wadi" as "a valley, ravine, or channel that is dry except in the rainy season."
[What a wonderful tool Google is for a quick search of word meanings. As I teach my daughter new words, I am challenged to provide a more precise definition, even of words I know. Google has helped immensely in quickly providing such precise meanings for words through its search mechanism. If you are teaching your child new words, I encourage you to teach them precise definitions, so that they might learn words correctly from the beginning. Don't confuse words like "good' (adjective) and "well" (adverb), but use them properly, or else learn how to use them properly, so that you can teach your children the correct way.]
Back to the point. A wadi is often filled with water when it rains, giving the impression of a strong river or a stream. But when the rains stop, the wadi dries up. They are deceptive because at one time they are torrential but at other times completely dry, depending on the weather.
Job compares his unhelpful friends to wadis. They are fair-weather friends. When things were going well for Job, they were all chummy and friendly, but now they are of no encouragement and worse because they are insisting he confess sins that that he never committed against God.
Friends, let us not be fair-weather friends. But let us be such friends that we move one another, no matter the circumstances, nearer to God, for as Job says,
For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
What, after all, is the basis of Christian family and friendship? Is it not based on a shared conviction and devotion to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Even when we break fellowship on account of some unconfessed sin, it ought to be so that we might ultimately restore the wayward believer to a right relationship with God and to receive them back into fellowship with us and other believers.
Our friendship must not be based on simply human loyalties and shared experiences but more significantly on our common confession of faith. I have seen those, who were long-time dear friends, become despised enemies, and long-time enemies suddenly become friends.The strongest bonds are not human loyalties and shared experiences but the convictions of the heart.
When those convictions are temporal and worldly, they often do not last and will ultimately damage both sides of a relationship. But when those convictions are eternal and God-ward, then there is greater possibility of healing, and there is great benefit because God is behind, before, above, and underneath it.
Therefore friends, I pray that the motivation that underlies your friendships as well as your reason for parting from former friends is grounded in your faith. Most people decide friendships based on personal feelings or selfish advantage or they leave friendships because of resentment, greed, desperation, anger, or pride.
Friends, since we are Christians, people of the Bible, we should base all our decisions based on the Bible. If we are divided, let the Bible divide us. If we are united, may the Bible unite us. Division apart from biblical truth is sinful and destructive. Unity apart from biblical truth is even worse, for it just makes what is wrong that much stronger. Consider those who sought to make a name for themselves by making a tower that reached the heavens. They were united, but united in wrongdoing. Consider how in the days of Noah, every person in the whole world had the same mind: "Every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).
Let us, therefore, be united around the truth of God's Word. Let us humble ourselves and learn from one another, so that we do not exalt our personal knowledge or charisma or position over another but instead let us seek truth together, until we grow in maturity in Christ.
|Passage: Job 5-7|
On Monday, June 11, 2012 (Last Updated on 6/11/2013), Yujin wrote,
“If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would outweigh all the sands of the sea. That is why I spoke impulsively. For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows.Their poison infects my spirit.God’s terrors are lined up against me. Don’t I have a right to complain? Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass, and oxen bellow when they have no food? At least I can take comfort in this:Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One. (Job 6:2-5, 10 NLT)
In Job's response to Eliphaz, Job explains that his complaint is but an impulse reaction to the accuteness of his suffering. Even so, he has not denied the LORD, who has brought such pain upon him.
“One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty. Teach me, and I will keep quiet. Show me what I have done wrong. Do you think your words are convincing when you disregard my cry of desperation? Look at me! Would I lie to your face? Stop assuming my guilt, for I have done no wrong. Do you think I am lying? Don’t I know the difference between right and wrong? (Job 6:14, 24, 26, 28-30 NLT)
Job is frustrated with his friends because they have assumed his guilt without any evidence of it, and when he claims innocence, again they assume he is lying. Thus, their groundless accusations reveal that they don't fear God, who judges those that bear false witness. Their logic does not take into account Job's desperate situation, which should testify that he is telling the truth, for he has asked for nothing and has nothing to gain by lying.
O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness. I think, ‘My bed will comfort me,and sleep will ease my misery,’ but then you shatter me with dreamsand terrify me with visions. I hate my life and don’t want to go on living. Oh, leave me alone for my few remaining days. “What are people, that you should make so much of us,that you should think of us so often? For you examine us every morning and test us every moment. Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow! Why not just forgive my sinand take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone.” (Job 7:7, 13, 14, 16-19, 21 NLT)
Job directs his complaint from his unhelpful friends to God. He recognizes that it is God who is afflicting him, but he cannot understand why? He cannot understand why God would afflict him so persistently and so completely. Why would God regard him, whose life is like a breath, as worthy of so much attention?
Job expresses helplessness before a sovereign God, who has seen fit to afflict him without an understandable cause. He is surrounded with friends and family that give him poor advice and have proved no comfort to him. He has lost every measure of prosperity, whether wealth, family, or health. While he will not cease to acknowledge that the LORD alone is God, he will nevertheless voice his anguish and complaint.
I can hardly fault Job, who borders on attributing injustice to God. Job recognizes his innocence. Even God declared it in the opening chapters of the book. If we try to find sin in Job, even in the words of his complaint, are we not being like his unhelpful friends? And even if we found such sin, it still does not explain the suffering, because he was found upright in the beginning.
I suggest that rather than seek to parse Job's words to discern his sin, perhaps we ought to consider our understanding of God's nature. After all, God initiated everything by bringing Job to Satan's attention. God permitted the destruction of Job's wealth and family. God permitted Satan to afflict Job's health with painful boils. Job is not corrected in his assessment that the affliction was from the Lord. God also does not deny it.
Job's friends understood that there was no injustice in God, and to afflict Job without cause would be unjust; therefore, God was afflicting Job because of some sin in Job. As in all syllogistic logic, if one part breaks down, the whole breaks down. In this logic, the part that breaks down is the part that assumes that afflicting Job without cause would be unjust. It would be unjust and wrong for human beings to so afflict each other; however, God is not a human being. He is the Creator, who creates people, animals, and all things for His pleasure. He has the right to both create and destroy, even as a potter has the freedom to do with the clay what he wills. He needs no cause or explanation. This is what Job's friends did not understand. And this is what Job would come to better understand. And this is what all of us, who have a too-high view of ourselves, must understand.
It is true that there is no injustice in God. But it is also true that God defines justice, and He cannot be measured and judged by the same standards that He imposes on His creation and mankind. For He is the Creator and Lawgiver. What good is it for a mere human being to pass judgment on God's justice. It would be utterly foolish. Even if we tried to do it, where would it get us? Who would enforce it? It is best that we simply submit and obey. This is true sovereignty. God is above the Law.
If God wants to severely afflict Job simply to show Satan and the angelic host that Job would remain faithful through the suffering, He has every right to do so.
Therefore, friends, if you too feel that you are suffering without cause, consider that God is sovereign. Don't necessarily assume sin, but learn from Job's example and consider that God may be testing you and putting you on display to the heavenly host, saying "Have you considered my servant ....."
I pray that you and I both, when put to the test, will be found to be "good and faithful servants of the Lord."
|Passage: Job 5-7|
On Sunday, June 12, 2011, Unmi wrote,
Was Job Sinless?
Job 1 says that "This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil" (Job 1:1). Even God acknowledges this. (Job 1:8) Does this mean he was sinless? We know that the trials that he faced were not because of his sin, however, it seems that in his trials, the condition of his true heart comes forth.
In Job 3, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. (Job 3:1) Isn't this the same as cursing God since it was God's divine creative appointment that brought for his birth and allowed him to live thus far?
In Job 5-6, he speaks out in bitterness, complains and challenges God to explain why he is being targeted? If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who sees everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? (Job 7:20) In claiming his own sinlessness, Job is challenging God for the justice in his current state of affairs and demands God to answer.
The young Elihu is listening to the conversation between Job and his three friends and finally speaks out in Job 33. Elihu confirms that Job keeps trying to justify himself but stating that he is innocent, without sin. “But you have said in my hearing—I heard the very words— ‘I am pure, I have done no wrong; I am clean and free from sin. Yet God has found fault with me; he considers me his enemy. (Job 33:8-10) Elihu rebukes Job saying that God doesn't do anything wrong. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong. He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves. It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice. (Job 34:10-12) Elihu tells Job that the very words that he is now speaking is his sin. ‘Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.’ Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man! To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God.” (Job 34:35-37) “Do you think this is just? You say, ‘I am in the right, not God.’ Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning?’ (Job 35:2-3) Paul addresses this same issue when he used the potter and clay analogy in Romans 9. But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? (Romans 9:20-21)
It was only after God revealed Himself in Job 38-42 and essentially asks, who are you that you ask such questions to the Almighty Creator of the universe, that Job finally repents. (Job 42:6)
Paul says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) No matter how blameless and upright his walk was, even Job was not a sinless man.
|Passage: Job 5-7|
On Saturday, June 11, 2011, Fernando wrote,
11What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should be patient?
C.S. Lewis described faith as something like, 'what you hold when your feelings no longer agree with your reason.' Here Job says in v11, I have no strength, I have nothing to live for; what hope can I have?
He is at his end but he says he has held true. In v9&10 he says he would like to have God crush him, at least he could die knowing he never denied God's Word.
I love this example of faith, this example of patience, this example of perseverance. A similar one is in seen in Paul and capped in 2 Timothy 4:7 when he says I have held to the faith and have persevered. He withstood his 'thorn in the flesh,' several beatings, shunnings, some point to a loss of a spouse, but he didn't give up. What I really like about Job's statement is he is essentially saying, I have no feeling to give thanks or praise, but I know it is right so I will - I'd rather be dead though.
Proverbs 9 has wisdom speaking to us, again paraphrasing, if you are simple minded come to me and I'll make you great. You don't have to be a genius to do this (living by faith) in fact all you need is dedication, simply 'live and walk!'
Job didn't have anything deep and theological to say, only that this is right: God gives and takes, I accept both. He lives and walks.
What I like about it is he lives not by feelings but by obedience. This dedication will, like C.S Lewis put it, not always be backed by feelings, but what you do at that time is your faith. The faithful will operate like Job, doing what is suppose to done even though you wish to die.
Accept both what is given and taken - live and walk for the Lord.