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Heaven's Controversy Concerning Job
1. God's everlasting eye watches over His children. When Satan made his second entrance into the presence of God, he discovered that the Lord had observed the fidelity of His servant, that His eye was upon him, and that He still had nothing but endorsement for His servant.
Before we take up the results of Satan's second challenge to God concerning Job's fidelity, we wish to carry you into the consideration of God's all-seeing eye, and of His watch care for His children.
Many of David's Psalms give us some light on this matter. They suggest what Scripture teaches, that God has searched us and known us, that He even understands our thoughts afar off. He compasseth our path and our lying down, and is acquainted with all our ways. He even knows every word that is upon our tongue. He besets us behind and before.
We do not marvel that the Psalmist cried out, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me."
2. We need to remember, however, that God watches over us for our good. God's eye runs to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him. Great has been His faithfulness for His children. It is renewed every morning, and fresh every evening. He never forgets His own. He has said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." He takes us by His right hand, saying, "I will help thee."
He who imagines that God delights in leading His own into trying circumstances and heart-rending conditions has no conception of the heart of God. If, as in the case of Job, God permits Satan for the while to seemingly triumph, it will not be but for a little while. The end of the Lord with Job was the same as the end of the Lord with all of His saints it brought a realization of God's tender mercies, and bountiful provision.
3. In the hour of travail and of trial, we must, therefore, trust in the Lord. Solomon has said, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." We need to spell the word "disappointment" as "His appointment."
Let us remember how the saints of old passed uncomplainingly through flood and fire with unwavering trust. They quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turnd to flight the army of the aliens.
Among the women there were those who received their dead raised to life again. There were others who did not accept deliverance; desiring to obtain a better resurrection. They "had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented."
As we think of these, and their wonderful faith, and how God, through their trials, led them on to a larger and an eternal reward, we need not marvel at the afflictions of Job.
I. THE LORD'S SECOND COMMENDATION OF JOB (Job 2:1-3 )
1. Satan's second presentation. We may not grasp the full meaning of Satan's access to the presence of the Lord. Of one thing, however, we may assure ourselves, Satan was not chained in hell, nor cast into the pit of the abyss in Job's day; neither is he now in confinement. He is still the same loose devil, whom Peter, in Spirit, describes as going "about, seeking whom he may devour."
Satan may once, long before man's day, have dwelt in the presence of God; however, he was cast out, and if he ever has audience with the Lord, it is only when the Lord, in His purposes, so permits.
2. The Lord's second endorsement of Job. The Lord said to 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?"
Let us pause a moment. Is there any greater joy that could come to the heart of a servant of the Lord, than to know that he stands approved before the Lord? Our greatest boon is to hear His, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." If God be for us, who can be against us? If God commends us, what care we for all of the maledictions of men or demons?
II. THE LORD'S SUMMING UP OF THE FIRST ASSAULT ON JOB (Job 2:3 , l.c.)
The last clause of our key verse reads, "And still he (Job) holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst Me against him, to destroy him without cause."
1. The overcoming Job. In the last verse of the first chapter is our first statement concerning Job's victory under Satan's first attempt.
(1) Job sinned not. This is the way the Scripture reads, "In all this Job sinned not." It was no small testing, the loss of all of his riches, and the loss of his seven sons and three daughters. Yet, Job sinned not.
(2) Job did not charge God foolishly. We must remember that our key verse says that God moved against him without cause. Yet, Job did not charge God, nor complain against God because of his reverses.
The women came to the sepulcher while it was yet dark. Job trusted God in the darkness. Trusted where he could not understand; believed where he could not see.
2. The immovable Job. Job still held fast his integrity. Like the rock of Gibraltar he stood staunch and true in his faithfulness. He had iron in his blood. He proved himself an iron pillar, and a stone wall against all of Satan's onslaughts.
III. SATAN'S SECOND CHALLENGE (Job 2:4-5 )
Satan was forced to admit that Job had remained true with his possessions taken away, and his children slain. But now Satan says, "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."
Being routed in his first challenge Satan seeks another mode of attack. He has been forced to admit that Job did not serve God because of his temporal blessings with which God had surrounded him. Therefore, He challenges God from a second angle.
Fox's book of Martyrs gives abundant proof that God's children are willing to suffer. Some of them may suffer with tears, but many will suffer with a song.
Paul and Silas, with beaten backs, lying prostrate upon the ground, sang praises unto God. Some of the most beautiful of saints are the most afflicted.
IV. GOD'S WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT SATAN'S CHALLENGE (Job 2:6 )
1. God permitted Satan to touch Job's body in order to prove Job's sincerity. The Lord knoweth what is in man. He knoweth the weaknesses of the flesh, and He also knows the strength of the Spirit. Our God does not believe that His children are a group of molly coddles, weak-kneed, and easily overcome.
From the beginning saints have proved themselves impervious to Satan's fiercest attacks, under any and every condition. Men who have known God, and have trusted in Him, have honored God, honored His grace, honored the character, the integrity, and the strength of the new man in them, which was begotten in righteousness and true holiness. In innumerable cases God has accepted Satan's challenge of verse five, and has proved Satan a liar.
2. God permitted Satan to touch Job's body in order to strengthen Job's character, and to develop his spiritual life.
While God had said there was no one like Job on the earth, yet, that meant by no means that Job, in all things, was what he might have been.
The result of this second test, like the first, proved a benefaction to Job. He came out of the fire purified and made white.
Where is he who doubts that David's experience under Saul's cruel dealings, did not make him the stronger, better man?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the burning fiery furnace; Daniel, in the lion's den; Jonah swallowed of the whale; each received a blessing through their trials.
3. God permitted Satan to touch Job's body in order to give to succeeding generations the inspiration of Job's all-glorious faith. Chapter eleven of Hebrews recounts the victories of faith wrought out through almost inconceivable difficulties and trials.
Chapter twelve of Hebrews tells us that we, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, should run the race which is set before us.
Among the valiant men who look down upon us, as we meet the tribulations of these last days, is Job.
Let us, therefore, run the race that is set before us with renewed courage, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, and the file Leader of all those who endure.
V. THE LORD'S LIMITATIONS ON SATAN (Job 2:6 )
The Lord said unto Satan, "Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life."
1. Satan's operations against the saints are always circumscribed. God seems to say, "So far shalt thou go, but no farther." If Satan had full sway against the saints, he could annihilate them from the face of the earth.
Our security against Satan's strategies lies not in our own strength, but in Christ's. We are made more than conquerors through Him.
A little child, hearing the soldiers fighting in the street, cried out in fear, until her big brother put his back against the door and said, "Now, they cannot get you, because I am here."
2. Satan's operations against the saints are without mercy. The wicked one was not content merely with robbing Job of his family and his wealth, he wanted also to attack Job personally in his body.
Those who follow Satan are following a cruel master. Think of the woman bent double with disease, whom Satan had bound for eighteen years. Consider the man of Gadara, dwelling among the tombs; the demoniac whom no man could tame, driven of Satan.
Even the Lord Jesus, when He came into the hour of darkness where Satan held sway, found no pity and no remorse with Satan.
VI. SATAN SMITING JOB'S BODY (Job 2:7 )
Our verse says that Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
1. Satan as the author of physical ailments and deformities. We must keep before us constantly, in the study of Job, this positively stated fact, that Satan smote Job with boils.
There are various reasons to which sickness and physical infirmities may be traced.
(1) One may be sick from natural causes, such as improper diet, the drinking of impure and tainted water, the breathing in of diseased germs, the abuse of the laws of hygiene and of sanitation. The majority of diseases doubtless come from these causes.
(2) One may be sick because of Divine chastisement. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth," and that chastening may at times take the form of physical suffering.
(3) One may be sick because of Satan's attack. There are various incidents of this in the Word of God.
Job's physical plight was due to our third reason. Job was not sick because God was chastening him; for God distinctively said to Satan, "Thou movest Me against him, to destroy him without cause."
Job, however, while he complained at times because of physical oppression, and while he doubted, he never was reproved by the Lord for misrepresenting Deity.
There are abroad, many who still contend that every sickness and every human ill befalling the children of God is due to their sinning, and is a result of Divine chastisement. Not so with Job.
2. Satan in the case of Job gave him the worst of all physical ills. We may not be right, but we can imagine nothing harder to bear than boils from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head. One boil is more than enough for most people, but a body covered with boils is unbearable.
Job was not only in physical pain, but he was greatly embarrassed. He sat down among the ashes, and took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal.
VII. JOB'S PHYSICAL ANGUISH IS SUGGESTIVE TO US OF THE SAVIOUR'S SUFFERING ON CALVARY (Psalms 22:14-15 )
1. The Lord Jesus, like Job, was in terrible physical anguish. The Bible says that His face was more marred than any man, and His form more than the sons of men. Remember the crown of thorns that had been beaten down into the brow of the Lord. Remember the back that had been lacerated with stripes at the whipping-post. Remember the nail-pierced hands and feet, the unnatural position, the inflamed wounds, and the exposed nerves.
2. The Lord Jesus, like Job, was surrounded by accusers. In the case of Job, his own wife said unto him, "Curse God, and die." His three supposed friends did nothing but berate him, criticize, and condemn him.
The Lord Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by His own familiar friend. His own disciples forsook Him and fled. The people of His own race to whom He had come with hands outstretched with blessings, surrounded the Cross, and like maddening bulls and hungry dogs, cried out against Him.
Satan could not touch Job against God's wilt. As God protected Job during his testings, and preserved him unto a final fruitfulness, so has He kept His people Israel during twenty-three hundred years of wandering.
"Anti-Semitism will never destroy the Jew. Attacked and persecuted as no other nation ever has been or will be, Israel survives and always will survive. 'Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. Although scattered among the nations, Israel has never been assimilated by the nations; this is a miraculous part of her history, God predicted it in the words: 'The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations,' although Jehovah 'shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other.' This word from Moses went on. to declare that 'among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee: and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: in the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear.'
"Yet, as a well-known Bible teacher has said: 'Destroy Israel? You might as well try to destroy God Himself. His Word cannot be broken. He is preserving His gainsaying and disobedient people for His own purpose. Who shall hinder Him?'"
Job's Sorrows and Sighs
Job 2:9-13 ; Job 3:1-26
In this study we will consider the verses which lie in the second chapter of Job beginning with verse nine where we left off in the former study and continuing through verse thirteen.
1. A helpmeet who proved a hindrance. Job's wife came unto him in verse nine of chapter two and said unto him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity, curse God, and die."
If ever there was a time that Job needed words of sympathy and of love it was in this hour of his extremity. Nevertheless, he received from his wife no more than a nagging appeal to curse God.
Let us link up the words which Satan had said before God, "Touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face," with the words which his wife said, "Curse God, and die." There must be some vital connection between these two statements. For our part we believe that Satan entered Job's wife just as truly as he ever entered Judas.
2. A servant who stood the test. Job quietly replied to his wife, "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Here is a statement that we may well weigh. There are many who are given over to complaints for the ills which befall them; but they utterly fail in their praise for the manifold good which is bestowed upon them.
In view of all this the words of Job are most assuring.
3. Satan's final strategy. Added to the boils which covered Job, and added to the nagging of the wife who failed as a helpmeet, Satan sent along three friends, to bemoan Job.
These three, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had heard of all the evil which had come upon Job, and had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him, and to comfort him.
For our part we are sure they might better have stayed at home. Where is he who has never heard of "Job's comforters"? They are a byword among men.
Job's three friends remind you of the one who visited a sick friend, and related to the sick one the story of all the friends and relatives that he had known who had died of the same disease.
We cannot see how they thought such actions could cheer a man who was borne down with grief.
I. JOB CURSED HIS DAY (Job 3:1 )
1. He did not curse his God. Job had already told his wife, when she bade him to curse God, that she spoke as one of the foolish women speaketh. Why blame God for everything which brings us grief and sorrow?
We are willing to grant that God permits every pain and every heartache that comes to one of His children, but He does not necessarily send it. Even when He permits it, He moves graciously in our behalf.
2. Job did curse his day. In this he was unwise. We do not condemn Him, for it is altogether human to do what he did. We sympathize with Job because he had the devil and men set against him, and his grief was very great.
Our sympathy, however, does not change the fact that Job was wrong. When the night is dark, it is the time to lean the more heavily upon God. We need to remember that "all things work together for good to them that love God."
When the Lord Jesus had broken the bread, and had drunk the wine, we read, "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out."
The Lord was like a nightingale singing in the hour of His greatest sorrow.
II. JOB BEMOANED THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH (Job 3:3 )
How piteously did Job cry, "Let the day perish wherein I was born, * * let that day be darkness; * * neither let the light shine upon it."
Job wished that he had never been born, or else that he had died as an infant. In this Job forgot, for the moment, all of the marvelous blessings which God had showered upon him through many years. When they were gone he forgot them. In this Job forgot all of the eternal blessings which lay ahead of him. But God was with him, even through these hard tests.
1. It is true that, with some men, it were better never to have been born. Jesus Christ said of Judas, the man who betrayed Him, "But woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born."
It is better never to be born, than to live in pleasure and prosperity for awhile, and then to be cut off forever, Asaph wrote, in the Spirit, "I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." But Asaph further wrote, "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the Sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. * * Thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terror."
2. It was better for job, and better for us that Job was born. Job simply was overwhelmed with grief. He did not weigh well his words. Could job have seen beyond the curtain that hid God from him, he would have felt differently. Could Job have seen the end of the Lord, he would have rejoiced in his sorrow. Could Job have seen the eternal glories which awaited him, he would have shouted for joy.
III. JOB'S CURSES AGAINST THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH (Job 3:4-8 )
1. Job's anathema against "that day." Let us observe six statements which Job made against the day in which he was born. Job said:
1. "Let that day be darkness."
2. "Let not God regard it."
3. "Neither let the light shine upon it."
4. "Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it."
5. "Let a cloud dwell upon it."
6. "Let the blackness of the day terrify it."
Job certainly was a master in language, and he was far from a child in pronouncing anathemas. He rolled up words against the day of his birth until there was nothing left to be said. It was not a day of song, nor of gladness to him. He would have taken from his mother the joy that a man child had been born into the world. He would have taken from his father the ambition that may have flooded his soul for his new baby boy, as the men of the street gave him congratulations.
As we think of the darkness of that day our minds go to another day that was dark. The Bible reads, "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour." This day, however, that was dark was a day of death, and not of birth. It was the day in which Christ suffered, the Just for the unjust. It was the day when God hid His eyes from His well beloved Son, because in mercy He had opened His eyes upon us who had sinned.
2. Job's anathema against "that night." Let us observe nine statements which Job made against the night, which formed part of the day, in which he was born. Job said:
1. "Let darkness seize upon it."
2. "Let it not be joined unto the days of the year."
3. "Let it not come into the number of the months."
4. "Let that night be solitary."
5. "Let no joyful voice come therein."
6. "Let them curse it that curse the day."
7. "Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark."
8. "Let it look for light, and have none."
9. "Neither let it see the dawning of the day."
Another experience of just such darkness, and blackness, and joylessness is described in the Word of God. It is a day that awaits this old earth. It will come in the time of tribulation, when God shall arise to judge men for their iniquity. That day is called in the Prophets, "The day of the Lord." It is described as follows:
"A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains."
"The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?"
When Job was cursing his day, he probably did not know that a day was coming when the Lord would make the earth empty and waste, turning it upside down, and scattering abroad the inhabitants thereof. He did not know that the earth would be defiled under its inhabitants, and that God would cause the mirth of the tabrets to cease, and the noise of them that rejoiced to end; that all joy would be darkened, and the mirth of the land would be gone.
IV. WHY JOB BEMOANED THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH, MEDITATION 1 (Job 3:10 )
1. Job cursed the day of his birth because his life had been eclipsed with sorrow. We may feel that in this Job did foolishly, but his grief was so great that the blackness that enshrouded him dimmed his eyes to all the blessing of the light which had for so long rested upon him. He could not remember the past blessings, because of the present afflictions. To him the grief of an hour seemed heavier than the joy of a lifetime.
We do not condemn Job, we sympathize with him. We know that had he been fully panoplied of God, God's grace would have been sufficient. Some, like Paul and Silas, have sung in the darkest of hours.
As we think of Job's anguish and bitterness of soul, we must not fail to remember that his faith did not utterly fail. Every now and then he had wonderful visions of God's grace, and, at times, he made unprecedented exclamations of praise, and of far sighted hope.
2. Christ passed; into His night of sorrow and His day of grief. The Psalmist, in describing that day, wrote these words:
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring; O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent."
Thus did the Spirit write of the darkness that shrouded the Cross, and yet, in the midst of that hour, the Spirit described the perfect trust and the unshakeable confidence of Christ in God. The words which follow the quotation above, are these:
"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."
Would that we, in every hour of travail, might have so perfect a trust! In the Garden of Gethsemane, with the cup of death pressed close to the lips of the Master, Christ cried: "Nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done."
V. WHY JOB BEMOANED THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH, MEDITATION 2 (Job 3:13-17 )
1. Instead of sorrow and sickness, he would have had quiet and rest. Job was willing to forego all of the years of blessing which had fallen upon him rather than to suffer the pain that now pressed him. He said that if he had died as an infant, that he should have lain and been quiet, that he should have slept and been at rest. This is indeed a beautiful conception of death. Jesus Himself said of Lazarus, when he died, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." The Holy Spirit tells us that those who "sleep in Jesus" will God bring with Him. The words "quiet" and "slept" and "rest" do not teach cessation of existence, nor do they teach the unconsciousness of the dead.
The Word of God, in discussing the martyrs who were slain for their testimony, said. "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, sayeth the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
2. Instead of the reproach of his friends, he would have been protected from them. Verse seventeen says, "There the wicked cease from troubling: and there the weary be at rest."
We believe that this verse points us back to Job's dread concerning the onslaught of the three men who for seven days and seven nights had sat there without speaking a word. The afflicted man surmised what was coming, and dreaded it. He wished he had died with an untimely birth, or as an infant who had never seen the light, rather than to live and to be forced, in his weakness and grief, to face these would-be comforters.
VI. JOB LONGS FOR DEATH (Job 3:20-25 )
1. Is it a sin to long to die? Job speaks of the one in misery and bitter in soul. He says these long for death, but it cometh not; they dig for it more than for hid treasures. They rejoice, and are glad, when they find the grave.
We would say emphatically that it is wrong for any one under any condition to take his own life. The Word of God is positive in this. We would say, however, that it is not wicked for a saint, who is borne down with pain, and is overwhelmed with grief, to long to be taken to the Lord. We can easily understand how the martyrs were glad to die.
Paul, the Apostle, said, "I * * [have] a desire to depart, and to be with Christ." He said this although he was not at the time in anything like Job's circumstance. He simply longed for the Lord.
The Lord Jesus, as He faced the agony of death, said, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover." He was speaking, to be sure, of the bread and the wine: but these, He said, were His broken body and His shed Blood.
2. Job once more a type of Christ. Verse twenty-four says, "My sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters."
The Psalmist, in describing the anguish of Christ upon the Cross, wrote, "My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me? why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring?" The Lord Jesus upon the Cross was pressed beyond measure. He said, "O my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent."
Job had quite a similar experience. He, too, said, "My roarings are poured out like the waters."
Augustine lived at a time when it cost something to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and in the following words he taught that, "You can't hurt a Christian."
"Having considered and examined into these things closely, now see whether any evil can happen to the good and faithful which ought not to be converted into a blessing for them * *. They lost all that they had. But did they lose their faith? Did they lose their godliness? Did they lose the treasures of the heart? This is the wealth of the Christian * *. Wherefore, our dear friend Paulinus, the Bishop of Nola, a man of the amplest means, who in the fullness of his heart became extremely poor, yet abundantly sanctified, after the barbarians had looted the country, and while he was kept a prisoner in bonds, used to pray in his heart, as I afterwards learned from him 'Lord, let me not be troubled for gold or silver, for where all my treasure is, Thou knowest." Texas Christian Advocate.
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Job 2". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29