4 things we can learn from Job

In the blog, Ex-Christian.net and JobTasmanian devil, we started our commentary on Neal Stone’s summary of Job. He says, ‘You have an enemy who challenges one of your children’s belief in you. To prove yourself and your child’s belief, you kill all the child’s offspring, destroy his property and make him sick with boils and suffer great agony to prove a bet. On top of that this enemy can talk to you face to face, but your own creation can not because they once obeyed this enemy.’ 1

Despite his mangled version, what is the significance of the book of Job for Christians today?

# 1. The testing of our faith develops perseverance.2 God was confident that Job’s faith in Him was more than skin deep. It is for the same reason that God allowed Peter to be sifted by the devil. ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.’ 3 It is for the same reason that God allows us to be tested, ‘In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, gory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.’ 4

# 2. God is invisible to test our faith. There is no guarantee that people will remain loyal to God if they see Him. The devil saw God and rebelled. Adam and Eve saw Him and disobeyed. Therefore all people are subjected to the basic test of faith. Will we believe in God based only on Scripture and the evidence of creation (as demonstrated to Job)?  God is looking for a tested faith.

The fact that God is invisible does not mean one cannot address Him. God was well aware of Job’s every word, but gave him time to exhaust his anger, pain, frustration, helplessness and hopelessness towards heaven. Then God began by asking Job, ‘Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ We can pray with confidence, God hears.

# 3. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. The devil was sure he could trip up Job. In Job, God demonstrated a New Testament principle, ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness of danger or sword? …For I am convinced that neither …nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ 6

# 4. God’s rewards are far greater that we can imagine.God makes very sure, on this side of the grave, who the people are who will trust, obey and love Him eternally. On the new heavens and earth there will be nothing that will disturb the peace, happiness, love, unity and security that our close relationship with Jesus will give us. There will be no insurrection and rebellion. Since eternity is such a big issue, God sometimes uses methods to test our faith that are not pleasant, but they produce very good results, as we saw with Job.

Satan failed to dislodge Job’s faith, and we should follow suit. Never consider to let go of your precious faith because of the writings of those who left the faith. Cling to the King!

References

  1. Neal Stone, Does this makes sense to you? It makes sense to Christians! Ex-Christians.net, 7/12/2009
  2. James 1:2-4
  3. Luke 22:31
  4. 1 Peter 1:6,7.
  5. Job 38:2-3
  6. Romans 8:35-39
  7. Ephesians 3:20

Ex-Christian.net and Job

Contributor, Neal Stone, of Ex-Christian.net says, ‘You have an enemy who challenges one of your children’s Jobbelief in you. To prove yourself and your child’s belief you kill all the child’s offspring, destroy his property and make him sick with boils and suffer agony all to prove a bet. On top of that this enemy can talk to you face to face, but your own creation can not because they once obeyed this enemy.’ 1

Then he asks, ‘Does this make sense to you? It makes sense to Christians.’  Unless Neal Stone possesses omniscience, I don’t know how this makes sense to any Christian. Though the book of Job is not the easiest book of the Bible to understand, it doesn’t justify his mangled version. We have to look first of all at some of the main objectives of the book of Job.

# 1. Job was tested by the devil, although God allowed it. Superficially, it seems as if the argument of Satan is that Job only loves God because of his great wealth: ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? …Have you [God] not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands….’ 2 The reason why God allows the devil to inflict trouble on Job and test his love and loyalty to God, is because He has so much confidence in Job. That is quite something!

# 2. God taught Job through His Creation to trust Him. Job was successful and probably busy. Did he know God very well at that time? It doesn’t seem so.  As he acknowledges after his severe trial, ‘My ears have heard of you [God], but now my eyes have seen you.’ 3  What did he see?

God asked Job, ‘Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell, if you understand.’ Job couldn’t answer. Yet when Job saw God as the Creator, it caused him to repent, his faith was restored and he found peace.

# 3. God rewarded Job. Some people think the book of Job only teaches us to persevere, ‘Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering…. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.’ However, it is important that the test ended in reward, ‘…the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.’ 6 

Application: We can view Job’s restoration as an image of the new heavens and earth. Tests and suffering come our way on this side of the grave, but something far better is waiting, because the Ruler of the universe can deliver.  He is the one who created it all, ‘I know you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.’ 7 

In the next blog we will look at more details of Neil Stone’s mangled version. There is usually quite a difference between what God is accused of, and what the truth is.

References

1.  Neal Stone, Does this makes sense to you? It makes sense to Christians! Ex-Christians.net, 7/12/2009.

2.  Job 1:10

3.  Job 42:5

4.  Job 38:4

5.  James 5:10-11

6.  Job 42:10,12

7.  Job 42:2

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