If we are to discuss Job, then we must start with the assessment of him uttered from God’s own mouth: “there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil.”
Let us first learn about Job’s perfection and uprightness.
What is your understanding of the words “perfect” and “upright”? Do you believe that Job was without reproach, and honorable? This, of course, would be a literal interpretation and understanding of “perfect” and “upright.” Integral to a true understanding of Job is real life—words, books, and theory alone won’t provide any answers. We’ll start by looking at Job’s home life, at what his normal conduct was like during his life. This will tell us about his principles and objectives in life, as well as about his personality and pursuit. Now, let us read the final words of Job 1:3: “this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.” What these words are saying is that Job’s status and standing were very high, and though we are not told whether he was the greatest of all men of the east because of his abundant assets, or because he was perfect and upright, and feared God and shunned evil, overall, we know that Job’s status and standing were much prized. As recorded in , people’s first impressions of Job were that Job was perfect, that he feared God and shunned evil, and that he was possessed of great wealth and venerable status. For a normal person living in such an environment and under such conditions, Job’s diet, quality of life, and the various aspects of his personal life would be the focus of most people’s attention; thus we must continue reading the scriptures: “And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually” (Job 1:4-5). This passage tells us two things: The first is that Job’s sons and daughters regularly feasted, eating and drinking; the second is that Job frequently offered burnt sacrifices because he often worried for them, fearful that they were sinning, that in their hearts they had cursed God. In this are described the lives of two different types of people. The first, Job’s sons and daughters, often feasted because of their affluence, they lived extravagantly, they wined and dined to their heart’s content, enjoying the high quality of life brought by material wealth. Living such a life, it was inevitable that they would often sin and offend God—yet they did not sanctify themselves or offer burnt offerings as a result. You see, then, that God had no place in their hearts, that they gave no thought to God’s graces, nor feared offending God, much less did they fear renouncing God in their hearts. Of course, our focus is not on Job’s children, but on what Job did when faced with such things; this is the other matter described in the passage, and which involves Job’s daily life and the substance of his humanity. When the Bible describes the feasting of Job’s sons and daughters, there is no mention of Job; it is said only that his sons and daughters often ate and drank together. In other words, he did not hold feasts, nor did he join his sons and daughters in eating to extravagance. Though affluent, and possessed of many assets and servants, Job’s life was not a luxurious one. He was not beguiled by his superlative living environment, and he did not gorge himself on the enjoyments of the flesh or forget to offer burnt offerings because of his wealth, much less did it cause him to gradually shun God in his heart. Evidently, then, Job was disciplined in his lifestyle, and was not greedy or hedonistic, nor did he fixate upon quality of life, as a result of God’s blessings to him. Instead, he was humble and modest, and cautious and careful before God, he often gave thought to God’s graces and blessings, and was continually fearful of God. In his daily life, Job often rose early to offer burnt offerings for his sons and daughters. In other words, not only did Job himself fear God, but he also hoped that his children would likewise fear God and not sin against God. Job’s material wealth held no place within his heart, nor did it replace the position held by God; whether for the sake of himself or his children, Job’s daily actions were all connected to fearing God and shunning evil. His fear of God did not stop at his mouth, but was put into action, and reflected in each and every part of his daily life. This actual conduct by Job shows us that he was honest, and was possessed of a substance that loved justice and things that were positive. That Job often sent and sanctified his sons and daughters means he did not sanction or approve of his children’s behavior; instead, in his heart he was fed up with their behavior, and condemned them. He had concluded that the behavior of his sons and daughters was not pleasing to Jehovah God, and thus he often called on them to go before Jehovah God and confess their sins. Job’s actions show us another side of his humanity: one in which he never walked with those who often sinned and offended God, but instead shunned and avoided them. Even though these people were his sons and daughters, he did not forsake his own principles because they were his own kin, nor did he indulge their sins because of his own sentiments. Rather, he urged them to confess and gain Jehovah God’s forbearance, and he warned them not to forsake God for the sake of their own greedy enjoyment. The principles of how Job treated others are inseparable from the principles of his fear of God and shunning of evil. He loved that which was accepted by God, and loathed that which repulsed God, and he loved those who feared God in their hearts, and loathed those who committed evil or sinned against God. Such love and loathing was demonstrated in his everyday life, and was the very uprightness of Job seen by God’s eyes. Naturally, this is also the expression and living out of Job’s true humanity in his relations with others in his daily life that we must learn about.
From God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II
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