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Test of the Righteous Job on the Human Field


God, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on earth; he is blameless and upright a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Satan, “You have blessed the work of his hands… But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:8-11 abridged).

A deal between God and Satan emerged in heaven to test a premise: *Could there be a righteous person on earth if God’s supportive help is taken away from him? This being at the center of Job’s life experience, the drama portrays the human response to this both of the sufferer (job) and the witnessing friends. The oddity of their responses, though natural, worked on two factors: One, both parties were ignorant of the real issue discussed in heaven, two, they were reacting to what they were seeing and experiencing on earth by applying religious rules.


    The Divine-human situation:  Traditional Christian witnessing (evangelism) directly starts with the issue of “eternity” in their evangelism campaigns as though that issue is humanity’s first preoccupation.  This indeed is the traditional ‘religious’ formula.  However, Christ’s ministry shows that the beginning of his ministry was that of care of the suffering humanity. As such, in serving the people, Jesus showed that God was mindful of human condition on earth.  In His Son Jesus, God is present among humanity in their difficult life.  People believed in Christ as God-sent because he showed them God through his word and work. Otherwise they would have treated him simply as another prophet.   In Jesus, God became relevant to the suffering humanity by being present in His Son (John 14:10, 23b, etc.).  Even so, Jesus talks about ‘serving’ (servant, slave, served, to serve: Matt 20:26-28).  Jesus was manifesting the fact of the ‘Divine presence with the suffering man’ as predominant fact for people to first understand. 


      Where does one begin in witnessing about God’s work? How do we define that work?  There are two ways of answering these questions.  One, we tell people about God’s work of salvation brought out in Jesus His Son. This is the traditional way.  Two, we talk about God’s message to humanity from the time of its fall in sin running through the human history and through the work of God’s Son Jesus.  We shall review these two options. The first one is the principal method in today’s evangelism and is of common knowledge. The second one, very, very rarely used, - in a way, almost never. 



Job, the story of a suffering man


      As discussed in the preceding introductory chapter, the central issue in the story of Job can be stated in two parts, as: 1. The issue debated in heaven between God and Satan, and 2. The issue that played out on the human field. Here are their definitions:

     One: The issue between God and Satan was: Whether or not man’s righteousness is based purely on man’s true faith and love of God independent of His blessings and protection as a reward (external support). God held that such righteousness based on faith and love of God stands by itself, as in Job, even without God’s support.  Satan held that such righteousness in faith and love of God cannot stand independently; if it did it fails; therefore it is dependenton God’s support. 


About the Subject – “Christian Witnessing”                                    

    ‘Evangelism’ and Christian ‘witnessing’ are synonymous terms. Yet, these two are vastly different in content in their practical form.  ‘Witnessing’ is a Biblical term standing unchanged in purpose and scope of activity. ‘Evangelism’ too has the same purport.  Yet, it became drastically restricted in scope to a narrow purpose and activity, which is, just presenting the ‘message of salvation’ with a few follow-up (sequential) acts.  Functionally ‘evangelism’ is an abridged version of ‘witnessing.’ In such a limited scope, ‘evangelism’ means ‘sharing the good news.’ That in itself sounds very brief in content, purpose and work. In this context, just to a) ‘preach’ ‘salvation in Christ,’ b) inviting the listener to accept Christ as the personal Savior and c) assuring eternity with God, and d) enjoining the new convert to come into a Christian fellowship – the church.  The preacher can keep working on the hearers till the desired results (decisions) are accomplished. Campaign can end there as the preacher moves on. Then, with some believers, a small church starts, or new members would be connected to an existing church.  To an itinerant preacher or radio/tv preacher the task ends with the dissemination of the message.  In this, the major task is ‘preaching the message of eternity’ in the ordeal of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.


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).

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

 The Story of Job, the Suffering Man in the Test

(Biblical story and theology)

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. 

And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;

I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, not another”(Job 19:25-27).


       Job is somewhat a complex story to follow. Some elucidation may help to follow the logic of the story toward grasping the great theological theme involving man and his faith in God, and God’s response to it. 

      The issue of ‘faith and suffering’ that troubled Job continues to remain as humanity’s most puzzling question through its entire history. Translated, it stands as, why a righteous (or religious) person is afflicted by evil and suffering, and why God seems unresponsive to the supplicant who is in dire need.   For Job, the issue was beyond the religious reasons: It was about the possibility of any flaw that God had found in Job’s faith, love and devotion to Him.  Job sought clarity on this so he could correct it. While asserting that he was innocent, he sought to know from God Himself why he was being severely punished.  And, as for himself, he avowed before God in the hearing of his friends that he himself could see no fault in love for his God.  

Chapter One


Review of the Biblical Theology and its current usage

      Content of the Biblical and theological terms and statements, their understanding and making correct statements of them is the issue in this study. This learning is critical to proper understanding of God’s message in the Bible, and its sharing with people. Spiritualization is the option generally followed and imparted. Except in rare cases with the obliging customers, such spiritual approach is not at all the method to present God’s message especially to people of other faiths. Moreover, the Bible holds message of life to humanity to conduct its life on earth and for eternity with God. If so, the exact mind (to the extent God has revealed), the word and work of God as it has been revealed from the beginning of the Creation must be precisely grasped in its entirety.  That means, understanding ‘the Bible as whole.’

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About Path of the Divine Virtue

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..