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Can Man’s faith and love of God stand by itself without God’s blessings?...cont.

 

The profile of Job’s faith, and the message it affords

     Unique is the character of a man in affliction such as Job.  Through all his affliction Job did not charge God with wrong doing (1:22).  In expression of true faith, Job even wouldn’t resent God’s crushing hand on him, even though he was crying out in pain.   Yet, Job would only desire to say to God: “Do not condemn me, but tell me what charge you have against me” (10:2). “If I knew where to find him (God);…I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments” (23:3, 4). “When he has tested me I will come forth as gold… I have kept to his way without turning aside… I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (23:10-12). And about his life he would declare, “I have no concern for my life”(9:21). Admitting thatno man would be declared innocent when God begins to judge, he would, with certainty ask God: “Show me where I have gone wrong” (6:24).Finally, regardless of what God might do with his life, Job declared contentedly, “Though he slay me yet will I hope in him (13:15).

     And even though God remained invisible, far away and utterly unresponsive, Job asserted that his Redeemer was the living One:  “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after myskin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will seek God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another.  How my heart yearns within me!” (19:25-27). This presents a man who valued his relationship the most with God whom he loved zealously than all the great things he had so far enjoyed in life including his sons and daughters he lost.  He knew the value of life and its transitory worth. As such, after all was lost, he didn’t even lament about that loss, nor had he asked God for some of it restored. In all this his sublime preoccupation was that his relationship with God, at whatever level God would allow, should be kept intact in God’s good pleasure, and nothing more.  Satan was realizing that he was losing ground.

The Arguments

     Friends: While Job was adamant in his love for God, Satan was trying his best through the friends to dispirit Job through various arguments.  The friends tried to impress upon that Job was in sin.   They gave four formidable reasons to prove: One, that cataclysmic withdrawal of the blessings he so far enjoyed was a sure sign of God’s displeasure with Job; this is partial punishment only (11:6; 18:21).  Two, God’s judgments will never be wrong (8:3) and that God punishes only to restore (33:29, 30).   Three, there was a message through a vision about Job’s situation, - by voice, a word and spirit, and divine judgment over it (4:12-17; cf. 33:14-22 & 33:23-33). Four, the knowledge of life coming through the ages is the time-honored wisdom of the wise, the old and the experienced (8:8-10).   This, they claimed, affirms their message as utterly true, conclusive and trustworthy (5:27). Their conclusion was that Job should accept it; fall before God in repentance for his sins, seek God’s forgiveness and ask for restoration of the lost good status (36:11; 33:33).

     Jobridiculed this argument with all its supportive reasons declaring, he did not need the wisdom of the world, and that his friends were wrongly using God’s name to present their case (13:7-9). Job agreed that wisdom and understanding could be found among the aged (12:12).  However, to God alone belongs wisdom and power. This makes all the world’s wise men and the powerful “deprived of reason, groping in darkness with no light, and staggering as drunkards on a pathless waste (12:13-25).Onlythe fear of the Lord brings wisdom; rejecting evil brings understanding (28:28).  So, the friends’ attempts to counsel Job were merely nonsense (21:34). 

     Job– on the issue of prosperity. Job absolutely made no mention; none at all of any mention of the loss of wealth through all his lamentations. He never expressed a slightest desire for restoration even of some of it.  He canceled that suggestion also with this rebuking retort:Only men who are at ease (enjoying wealth) fear the loss of it (12:5).“I have no concern for my life” (9:22).  Declaring his deep devotion to God and His will for man’s life, Job closed this argument with this: Even though he (God) slay me, yet I will hope in him (13:15). His only prayer in the agony was to ask God to lift His punishing heavy arm off of his already crushed frail body (13:21).  Job knew that he would be vindicated, and at the end, and after his skin has been destroyed, he would see his Redeemer face to face on earth (19: 25-27).  That was hope of this righteous man for his ultimate reward – the ultimate prosperity beyond the life of this flesh on earth.  None of the friends raised this issue; not even realized it to be present in the truly righteous person.  This was another defeat for Satan.                                                                                                                                                               

     God: Finally, God’s word came and stood by Job.  However, God seriously rebuked Job for questioning His judgment (39:8); and sounding as though his own righteousness could save him (39:14. Read all 39:8-14).   God reproached his friends, severely saying: “You have not spoken of me what is right as Job has” (42:7b). In the end, God asked Job to pray and offer sacrifices to Him on behalf of his friends for their folly. The righteous Job became a priest for the unrighteous.   

Satan and his Surrogates         

     Even though God initiated all the divine-human drama, Satan was the principal director, mover and behind the scenes actor in all the scenes in Job’s story.  His fingerprints are all over. 

     Every scene - the calamitous and the seemingly divine, the thoughts of the friends, their words, arguments, the projected power behind the logic and wisdom through them, - all were Satan’s creations.

     He cleverly used the activities and conversations of the human actors just as their everyday conversations since the past ages – religious and philosophical. He set them on the human field, in the human form within the genuine frame of mind of the human knowledge and fear of God, faith, religion, hope and religious wisdom. That was the reason why any irreligious matter or matter of the Evil one we could not detected in the conversations of the friends.  Every word of the friends seemed absolutely convincing. However, Satan’s cunning and deceptive religious wisdom could be noticed in Job’s answers to friends (cited above in this topic). Finally Satan fells silent as his surrogates gave up (33:1, 3). 

      A lessonabout Satan’s use of deceptive wisdom. The most important lesson for today is that humanity of all religions - without any exception, live under the illusion of Satan’s cunning and deceptive religious wisdom. It believes and relies heavily on perceived visions, dreams, revelations and the works of the Spirit, divine powers in the elements (superstitious), exclusive dogmas and creeds; using God to justify one’s religious positions; and insistence on the correct use of religious formulas, rituals, scripture readings, etc. Above all, and underneath it all is this tragedy.  Correctness of this or that is the way to have God incline toward us with favors.  Human beings are still looking at every religious activity as a means of making God’s favors.  Only attainment of the status in o  

      Satan’s success:  Though Job failed to succumb to his ploy, under Satan’s unrelenting work, today’s religious world – without any exception, has succumbed to his deceit.  Under all the religious specialties that humanity has acquired and imbibed, all it has accomplished was to a) to cause divisions among itself in the Name of One Creator God, b) turn hostile because of them and the differences within one’s own religion, c) claim God’s authority as exclusive to them,  d) destroy ‘brotherhoodand peace in the human race, and finally and critically, e) the people of Christ – the church –  losing their ‘life-saving’ witness about salvation and the Kingdom of God. 

[Elaboration on these issues would appear in the future series of treatises].

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Last modified on Saturday, 04 August 2012 20:56

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Some understanding of the term *The Divine Virtue is necessary. The series of articles on Biblical themes, study of the biblical topics (Bible Study), topics on Christian witnessing, theology, understanding the Bible Read More..

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