Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Book of Job...


There are forty-two (42) chapters in "The Book of Job," and this Post will be centered on this amazing book of the Bible. Keep in mind that Job was the great-grandson or the great-great grandson of Noah, so he was part of the fourth or fifth generation after the flood. Depending on whose genealogy you study, it is possible that Job not only knew Noah, but could have spent time with him in the new world, you see Noah lived to be 950 years old and Job lived to be 350 years old. At the very least, he must have heard all of the stories passed down from each generation by word of mouth.

My family was lucky to have four generations together for a family photo, including my grandfather, father and my son. My children had their great-grandfather for quite a few years, but never fully appreciated his status as the grand patriarch of the family on my father's side. Today there is little respect for parents, much less grandparents or great-grandparents. Genealogy and the rich traditions of family heritage have been replaced by the "now" generation. After all, what can possibly be gained by looking backwards, when people actually spoke to people around the family dinner table. 

One of the things that I have admired about the Jewish community is that they have held on to their beliefs and tradition to this day. Certainly the orthodox Jews remain steeped in their past, but even the most modern of Jews still becomes a man at his "bar mitzvah." A Jewish man is taught the importance of his heritage at a very young age, along with the Hebrew language, all in an effort to keep Judaism a vibrant part of all their lives.

Job, or Jobab as some like to refer to him, was a model believer in his God. God makes it crystal clear that He has found a "perfect" man. His definition of perfection is right in verse one.
    1. Job is Upright.
    2. Job fears God.
    3. Job eschewed Evil.
Upright is not discussing his posture, it is used here to describe morality, honesty and integrity; traits found in few people back then and fewer now. Fearing God here clearly means that he had not only a deep respect for his creator, but quite literally feared his power and might. Remember we are only four or five generations from Noah, when the entire world was destroyed by flooding. This healthy fear of God is referred to in the OT. Psalm 1:7 states that "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom," meaning that Job had no illusions about his station as, the created man, in the scheme of divine creation. So without ego or prejudice blocking the path, God could fill him with wisdom that would have otherwise never happened. Lastly, he eschewed evil...This is a great ten cent word that captures Job's personality, in that he deliberately avoided evil, almost like abstaining from it. He went out of his way not to allow evil into his life or the lives of his family, and then took it one step further for all ten of them. Every day, not weekly or monthly, but every day, he performed a sacrifice for himself and each child, according to Mosaic Law, to be certain that that there was no sin in his family.

All I can say is, WOW!" He gave his whole life to God, and our Lord did nothing but reward him at every turn for his loyalty, love, and sinlessness. I don't know about you, but I find the biblical account of this man, as humbling, as I do inspirational. God recognized his devotion from Heaven, while he was living his life in Uz, which is modern day Syria. My life and probably yours pales in comparison to this faithful servant of God.


All of this comes out in a meeting that God is having up in Heaven, yes, Heaven is a real place! God had invited, "the sons of God," to this meeting to discuss business, I guess. Scholars argue over who these, "sons" were, but they all kind of agree that they were angels of some sort. Could they have been Michael, Gabriel and the lot of them? We just don't know anything accept they weren't human. So who shows up for this meeting of angels? Satan himself decides to attend and give God a personal update on what was happening on our planet. Seems like God my have been surprised, but it is apparent that Satan had access to Heaven and Earth with no problem, even after having been banished. So Lucifer, the beautiful and powerful angel had his named changed to Satan, "the adversary," for all time, but God talked to him, nonetheless. Regardless of when he actually became Satan, this is the first mention of him personally in the OT. Many are confused by this, but my take is simple. Lucifer became a sinner at some point for his pride, his arrogance and his undermining of God. Instead of being perfectly pure white, he had the black stripes of sin on his soul, viewable to all. God allowed him to attend this meeting in Heaven, not because Satan was a sinner and destroyed Adam & Eve in the Garden, but because God, the Creator of all existence, loved him anyway. I believe that Satan would be welcomed back into the fold with open arms, if he genuinely repented of his sin and loved God. How's that for some liturgical firewood? Further I believe that if events unfold according to prophesy, and Satan is chained in Hell for eternity, that God will still love him even then. What a powerful example of how divine love and loyalty shines bright even in the darkest hour of evil incarnate.

Anyway, Satan decides to challenge God in front of His angelic meeting. If you are going to show up the boss, there is safety in numbers. He tells God that Job is only "perfect," because God has him "hedged in," or protected on all sides. God gave him 10 children and made him the wealthiest man in Uz. It's great to know that God provides and protects the faithful, but Satan devised a plan to destroy this faithful servant. He tells God that if you take away all his wealth, he will, "curse thee to thy face."
Imagine the gall it takes to confront God Almighty right to his face. So God says, ok, take away his wealth, and we will see what happens. As soon as he got this permission from God, Satan bolted back to earth to get started on Job. Almost immediately, Job began to receive awful messages that his cattle and animals were taken away by the Sabeans, and that his servants were all dead. Lastly, he was told that a windstorm caused the house to fall in on his children, "and all of the young men were slain." In his grief Job tears off his clothes and shaves his head. Then, falling to the ground, he begins to worship God. He said that he came into the world with nothing, and he will die the same way. He then said that God giveth and God taketh away, finishing off with, "blessed be the name of the Lord."

The next time the "sons of God" met Satan asked God for more permission to be able to harm him physically. God says ok, but do not end his life. The rest of this story about the boils from head to toe
is known by all of us, but you may have missed the fact that his wife asks him to, "Curse God and die." Imagine having Satan and your wife against you, pushing you to sin. He tells the woman that she is foolish and simply states that he received good from God all of his life, so why should he not take some evil with it.
                                                            Job's closest friends and wife

The man was spiritually bulletproof. Satan failed, his wife failed and the final test was Job's three best friends. They came to comfort their friend in his time of need. All you need to know about them is that they said nothing to Job for the first seven days!! The sight of him and his excruciating pain shocked all of them. Some comfort for Job...While Job was constantly scraping his boils, they took in the sickening reality of the situation and basically did not know what to do. Then after a week what do they do? They lecture Job and try to tell him that he must have done something terrible. They tell him in so many words that he has to get right with God. Doesn't this message have a familiar echo in those "do-gooder" camps known as churches, where they celebrate their religiosity. There are some churches or synagogues whose pastor, reverend, priest or rabbi, really teach from the heart by the Grace of God, but many remain caught up biblical legality and religious interpretation. They leave me cold, but God loves them all anyway.

Anyway these three waste Job's time for many weeks. It reads like a courtroom drama with Job doing the best he can to respond to their accusations in his agony. At the end of he book, God restores Job's health and wealth. It appears that he even went on to have more children; however, the whole story has a surreal, unfair exploitation associated with it. Why would God put a faithful man through this ordeal? I would have failed long before my children were killed, and if I made it that far, I am afraid I would have cursed God and died. I would never have made Round #2 with Satan, or Round #3 with his "friends." May God forgive me, but I mean every word.


We live in a cynical world, where most of us continue to have our minds dulled every day by video games, the internet and television. You Tube sprung up out of nowhere, so that people could put up for viewing some of the vilest, sickest, grossest videos. The more EXTREME, the more popular they  become. Going viral means taking things global at the speed of light and portraying them in EXTREME ways. Safety, sensibility and censorship have subtly been replaced by EXTREME travel, food, vacations, sports, music, drinking and sex. We make it bigger than life, because we no longer get the jolt from traditional, normal behavior. What comes after EXTREME? I don't really want to know, but what I do know if that we are systematically being de-sensitized on all fronts.

EXTREME is how I define what happened to Job. Figuring that it happened 3-4,000 years ago, Satan was way ahead of his time. What God allowed and Satan implemented leaves me in awe of a man named Job. God used him to put Satan in his place, while testing the mettle of one of the faithful.  Despite the outcome, I cannot help but feel sorry for the man, his children and his animals. He was a pawn in the biggest chess match of all time, but the more I think about it God the Father has a divine design for each of us. My personal story is far from EXTREME, but I still feel that it's an important part of God's grand game plan, just like with Job. I pray that this portion of his life will touch you in the EXTREME, as it has me. Take stock of your spiritual station in life. Then imagine losing everything in this world that is important to you. Job turned to God...Where would you turn?

God Bless,

The Digital Disciple

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Hearing from you is certainly not a requirement. Consideration of what is researched and written is all I ask of anyone who stumbles upon my writings. I believe that my God will take it from there. With His help I try to separate fact from fiction, sense from nonsense, and ultimately clarity from chaos.


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