June 1, 2007
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- There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
- And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
- His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
- 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.
- Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
- And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
- And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
- Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
- Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
- But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
- And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
- And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
- And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
- And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
- While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
- While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
- While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
- And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
- Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
- And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
- In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
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- Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
- And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
- And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
- And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
- But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
- And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
- So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
- And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
- Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
- But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
- Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
- And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
- So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
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- After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.
- And Job spake, and said,
- Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
- Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.
- Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.
- As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.
- Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.
- Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.
- Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:
- Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.
- Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?
- Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?
- For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,
- With kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves;
- Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver:
- Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.
- There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.
- There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.
- The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.
- Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;
- Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;
- Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?
- Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?
- For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.
- For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
- I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.
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- Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
- If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?
- Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.
- Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.
- But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.
- Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?
- Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?
- Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.
- By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.
- The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken.
- The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad.
- Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.
- In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,
- Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.
- Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:
- It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,
- Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
- Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
- How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?
- They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it.
- Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.
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Thought for the day:
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James 5:11 states,
"Ye have heard of the patience of Job."
Even the unsaved world is familiar with the opening chapters of today's reading, so much of this may not be new to you. However, the story of Job is truly remarkable, and it is worth studying because it teaches the believer an important lesson. By way of background, it is commonly understood that Job was the first book of the Bible that was written down, and that it predates the writings of Moses, even though they teach about the creation of the world. There is no evidence of the Mosaic Law being in affect here, there are no references to the Jewish exodus from Egypt, and Job's form of worship was similar to that of the patriarchs, so Job was probably a contemporary of Abraham and Isaac.
The story opens with the description that Job was "perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." This is important because many times Christians believe that God is unfair when He allows problems to come into their lives. Job is a good example of a man who, although certainly not perfect, was doing his best to worship and please Jehovah. God had blessed him: he had ten children and was materially a very wealthy man. Job was spiritually minded as well, for he functioned as the priest for his family and made sacrifices in the names of his children so that any sins that they might have committed would be covered. This was not an occasional practice for him, for the Bible tells us that he did these things continually (1:5).
The scene of the story next shifts to Heaven. God called the angels to Himself, and Satan came with them. As an aside, please note that Satan was not in Hell at that time, nor is he in Hell today. Satan does not reign in Hell, he has never been to Hell, and he doesn't want to go to Hell. According to the Scriptures he is either on earth "seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8) or at the throne of God accusing the brethren (Rev. 12:10). However, he is subject to God, and appeared before Him when summoned. God challenged him to consider the faithfulness of Job, and he responded that Job only served God because God had done so much for him. He told God that Job would curse Him if the Lord took all his possessions away. God granted permission for Satan to take Job's material obsessions as well as the lives of his children, but commanded him not to touch Job's health. It is worth noting here that Satan is always limited by God. The Devil can do nothing, particularly to the believer, without the permission of Jehovah. This should be a great comfort to us, because the Lord knows what we can handle, and he never allows us to be tried "above that ye are able" (I Cor. 10:13). Nothing that ever happens in our lives is a surprise to God, and it never occurs without being ultimately for our spiritual betterment and God's glory.
Satan did take everything from Job, but Job, instead of cursing God, spoke these famous words:
"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD," (1:21). These are good thoughts to live by. We were certainly born with nothing, and we will die with nothing. All that we have has been given to us by God, and He has the right to take it from us anytime He wishes, and for any reason that He deems correct. Therefore, He is not worthy of cursing, but rather of blessing, because He has been so good to us, and because His actions are always right. We often get mad when the Lord takes something or someone away from us, and we question why He has been so mean to us. Yet what we forget is how good God was to give it to us in the first place. We didn't deserve it, yet He graciously allowed us to have it (or them, as the case may be) for a period of time. We are like the child who's parents take him to an amusement park for the day, yet he complains because they leave to return home an hour before the park closes. He doesn't appreciate the fact that his parents loved him enough to take him, he can only complain because he didn't get to stay as long as he wanted to.
When Satan saw his failure to bring Job to rebellion, he challenged God to allow him to touch Job physically. Again the Lord gave permission, but instructed the Devil not to take Job's life. Job was stricken with boils all over his body, and he sat in an ash heap scraping his skin with a broken piece of pottery. Even his wife turned on him, and told him to "Curse God and die" (2:9). Yet once again Job responded,
"Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (2:10).
The Bible then records that
"In all this did not Job sin with his lips."
I don't know what your particular heartache or loss may be, but it would have to be included in the list of Job's bereavements. Yet he chose to trust the Lord through it all. Though it may be difficult, we must focus on the goodness and mercy of the God who gave us every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), and trust Him to continue to do what is right.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery