Saturday, September 21, 2013

The (Im)patience of Job

Over the next few weeks I want to share what I learned in my recent reading in the book of Job.  Using the Touch Bible with Strong's Concordance I looked up almost every word in the book and learned a lot.

Job is a favored book to many of us CIs.  His unremitting exposure to trials seems to resonate with us for some reason.  And going word-by-word through the book taught me a lot about why it does.  Unfortunately, I don't get online to post every single day.  Sometimes it is a week or two or more between posts.  I'll try to do it more often, but I can't promise.  And there is a lot to cover!

The first word I clicked on was his name.  I never knew that the name "Job" means "hated."

Who would name their child "hated?"

I can't imagine what life must have been like growing up with that name.  Perhaps his rejection by being named "hated" is the reason he was such a loving father to his 7 sons and his daughters.  He would have first-hand knowledge of what it feels like to be devalued - to have one or both parents not caring what happens to you, or actually wishing you ill.  It seems from his attitude, though, that that life sent him into the arms of God - that he found comfort and love there.

Time-wise, Job was a contemporary of Abraham.  The law hadn't been given yet, but Job has a highly developed understanding that sin needed to be covered with a blood sacrifice.  He is in Uz, which was a city somewhere in the Arabian desert.  And he tried so diligently to live a life pleasing to God that the Word describes him as "...perfect and upright..."

"Perfect" here means "one who lacks nothing in physical strength, beauty etc, sound, wholesome, an ordinary, quiet sort of person, complete, morally innocent, having integrity, morally and ethically pure."


And "upright" means "straight, pleasing, correct, fitting, proper."

What an amazing man!  His name and treatment caused no bitterness, no anger against God, just a desire to please Him and an impetus towards diligence.

The Word goes on to say "...and that feared God and eschewed evil."  "Eschewed" means "to turn off, turn aside from, depart, remove, take away, put aside, leave undone, retract, reject, abolish."  To eschew evil would mean that he was tempted towards it, but turned away and "left it undone."

So he is a man of great character and moral strength living, as Moses was described - choosing God rather than the pleasures of sin for a season.  And that's just the first verse!!

In verse 2 we are told that he has seven sons.  Seven besides the number, means "the sacred, full one."  So having seven sons to love and nurture was satisfying to Job's heart, filled up the emptiness he had growing up.

And the kids evidently were full of love for each other, getting together often for a feast. The Word mentions specifically that the sisters were included - noteworthy in a patriarchal society where women could easily be undervalued.  Not Job's sons!  They had obviously been raised to treasure family and each other.

Even so, verse 5 tells us that even tho they were grown, Job never stopped wanting to protect them, and sacrificed daily on their behalf, just in case " may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts."  "Sin" means "miss the mark" and also "miss oneself, lose oneself, wander from the way."  "Cursed" is a euphemism for "blaspheme."  The word originally meant "to kneel before (adore), to bless, praise, salute".  Interesting how satan corrupts even words, isn't it?

Ah yes, here comes the evil one, twisting and casting aspersions. In verse 9 we are told he comes before God with the other "sons of God", the angels, and instead of worshipping he accuses.  Twisting facts as he did in Eden, he starts in on Job. "Doth Job fear God for nought?" his questions always denigrate God's character.  Always. When a doubt enters my mind - "Can I really trust God to do that?"  - it bears within it the breath of hell, the sure mark of the evil one.

OR the question accuses God's child - that's why Romans 12:10 calls him "the accuser of the brethren", as we see in verse 10:
"Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all he has on every side?"  I can just hear his frustration - oh how he longs to afflict God's beloved! "You have blessed the work of his hands and his substance is increased in the land."  "Substance" means "cattle, livestock, herds."

verse 11: "BUT...(here it comes, the accusation of the brethren) put forth Thine hand now and touch all that he has (note that satan would not be satisfied if God touched one thing - nope, satan wants God to touch all that he has - he will not be content with anything less than a catastrophic action against Job) and he will (not "doubt" not "wonder" not "feel crushed" but) curse Thee to Thy face."  satan doesn't just say "curse You" but adds on all the defamation he thinks he can get away with: " Thy face."  In other words, "he will throw away everything good he has learned about You, and hate You so much he will shake his fist and spit in Your face!"

So God says, "Oh yeah?" (my translation) "OK.  You got it."  verse 11: "Behold, all he has is in your power...(note that satan's power is greatly limited; he can touch ONLY what he is specifically allowed to touch, NOTHING more) ...only upon himself keep your fingers to yourself (my translation)"

So satan ran from God's presence chuckling to himself: "Oh, He fell for that one!  c'mon boys, we got some nasty stuff to plan!" (my translation)

And that's where we will leave off for this installment.

Hope you are getting blessed!

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