An Upright Man’s Path to Redemption (11-5-17)

The masterpiece that is the life of Job provides powerful proof that the grace of God is truly sufficient for His ailing servants, and also that His strength is made perfect in weakness (2nd Corinthians 12:9). There is no doubt that for Job, it would have been enough to be forgiven by God for his rash words spoken from profound desperation. This upright man had boldly expressed, “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments” (Job 23:3-4). It is valuable to understand that thoughts such as these were provoked by Job’s veiled understanding of why his life had fallen into such disparity. Nonetheless, this action was still inexcusable because it was laced with an attitude of self-righteousness that Jehovah God quickly corrected. Holy Writ manifests that because Job was seeking answers, he was given an opportunity to speak with Jehovah. However, the Divine response he received began with the following question: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge” (Job 38:2)? Furthermore, God commands him “prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me” (Job 38:3). Without question, the Lord was making reference to Job’s bold request of finding Him and demanding answers from Him. Yet, it is amazing to read that God clarifies Job’s unchecked emotions were cloaking his reason. Job was not speaking in contempt against God. Therefore, the Almighty responds to Job by revealing to him His Divinity that “are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20). The purpose of this magnificent revelation was to return Job to humility and allow him to remember that “the righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17, emphasis added). The woes and desperation that had risen from his lack of understanding as to why this tragedy had befallen him so suddenly, deflected his focus in the wrong direction. Job became ensconced with trying to find an adequate explanation for his dire circumstances instead of remembering that the Lord is Who delivers salvation. For this reason, Job acknowledges “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” and “You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:2-3, emphasis added). Observe how this man was not the same man from the beginning of the book. He was transformed from a self-righteous man demanding answers from the King of kings, to a man who now meekly announced “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). This expression of penitence from Job makes an echo of the action taken by the king of Nineveh when the prophet cried “yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4b)! The inspired text reveals that “the people of Nineveh believed God” and when their king received word of this proclamation “he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes” (Jonah 3:5, 6, emphasis added). This poetic expression was commonly utilized by the Hebrew writers to display externally the intense agony and sorrow manifested in the heart of a penitent man. Not only did the king of Nineveh “sit in ashes,” but he also made a royal decree ordering “let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands” (Jonah 3:7-8, emphasis added). The Holy Spirit validates David’s words that Jehovah will not turn away a broken spirit (Psalm 51:17) because “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10, emphasis added). The same was true for Job since he exhibited the same meek, humble, and repented heart before His God. Unquestionably, this action from Job arose to the presence of the Omnipotent as a fragrant and approved smell. Thus, the fabulous journey of Job ends with God blessing “the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12). However, it is wise to understand that Job’s materialistic prosperity was not the sole thing restored to him. If a careful analysis of the book of Job is made, the important fact should stand out that Job was already presented by God as a perfect man (Job 1:8, KJV). How incredible to know that Job’s perfection received validation by none other than the Almighty Himself. Yet, this author mentioned that the Job from chapter 1, was no longer the same Job from chapter 42. This begs the question, how can a perfect person be made better? To begin to answer this question correctly, it is imperative to understand the original Hebrew word implemented in this Scripture for perfect. In writing of God’s description for Job as “perfect,” the inspired writer utilizes the Hebrew word tâm and it is interpreted by Thayer and Strong to mean complete, sound, wholesome, or morally innoncent, having integrity (Thayer, H8535). Notice that this is not speaking of a man who was impeccable or flawless in nature. His self-righteous attitude would unequivocally refute this concept of him being impeccable. Therefore, this clarification provides evidence of the kind of man Job was prior to the calamity. God points to Job as a blameless man from sin. This must not be understood to mean that he did not commit sin; rather that he was a moral man that was irreprehensible. Job, in other words, was an exemplary man of godliness to those around him. Yet, this very trait was almost his own downfall. The “arguments” that Job filled his mouth with in his supposed defense before God were his acts of righteousness (Job 29:11-25). His mistake, however, was to forget that “we are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10, emphasis added). Job needed to be reminded that God is in control and that His salvation is based on His grace; not man’s works. Being the perfect (blameless) man that he was, Job recognized this error in himself and quickly corrected it. It was this correction that made Job “perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4, emphasis added). He began this journey by believing that God’s blessings were a product of his righteous works, but in enduring his trials Job understood that even disparity can become a Divine blessing for man (James 1:2-4).

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