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Summary: So called early Wisdom Literature is rather simplistic as to cause and effect. Whereas Job is a vital stride toward being more realistic, & honest, about life's complications. So, now look at the kind of man Job was, his 'friends' were, and his God is.

July 28, 2013

“The Kind of Man That Job Was”

Job 1:1-22

The book of Job is an important part of the Wisdom Literature found in the Old Testament. It is important because it provides an often ignored premise - concerning the questions about the suffering of the innocent. In earlier Wisdom writings (Proverbs in particular) the claim is made that the good and wise man is rewarded, while the unrighteous and foolish man is destined to destruction. To the authors of the Proverbs it is pretty much black and white - as to who prospers and who loses; who enjoys blessing and who suffers setback; who is favored and who is cursed; and who is well and who is diseased. So called early Wisdom Literature is rather simplistic as to cause and effect. (If good things happen - you must be righteous, but if bad things happen - there must be some hidden fault.)

The author of Job sees another side of the coin. Suffering happens to the just and the unjust. Bad things do happen to good people! How do we explain such a predicament? Job is a vital stride toward being more realistic, and honest, about life and its complications. This later Wisdom book brings balance into the teachings about how we should look: at good and evil; sickness and health; God’s omnipotent power and omniscient purposes; and the Adversary and his devilish intentions. So let us look closely at the portrait - the book of Job paints for us:

Look at what it says about what kind of a man Job was: The first verse says most of what we need to know – “… blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil.” Listen to what God says about him as he confronts the Satan, “… there is no one like him on earth” I would say that is about as high a compliment as anyone could have. He is described as the “greatest of all the men of the east”, having very large possessions of domesticated animals and servants. But there is more than this to recommend him: look as to how he cares for his family. Read verse four and five, and especially the last four words: “His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. Job was a family man, a true man of God, but only a man. As we soon see, his world falls apart through no fault of his own, his understanding is limited, his body is overcome with festering sores, and his wife suggests he curse God and die. It seems so very unfair, undeserving, and unimaginable – given the facts of the case. This is not what the theologians of that day had preached. What good was his faith if it didn’t shield him from the calamities of life - that were coming at him like a whirlwind? But this man would not abandon his faith or his trust in God. Instead, even after all Hell broke loose, and he lost everything except his and his wife’s life, we are told he - “arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” 22 Through all this Job did not sin, nor did he blame God.”

It is said that there was once a gentleman in the middle east. His only possession that really amounted to anything for him, his wife and son, who lived in a little hovel, was a gorgeous Arabian mare. The mare was absolute perfection. The neighbors always came by and said how lucky he was to have this one beautiful mare. He said he didn't know whether it was good or bad, he just knew he had this lovely mare. Well, one night she broke out of the corral and when he got up the next morning, he discovered that she was gone. All the neighbors came by and said how terrible, how bad it was that the mare was gone. He said he didn't know whether it was good or bad, all he knew was that the mare was gone. One morning about a week and a half later, she came back and had seven beautiful Arab stallions with her. She brought those in the corral with her. They were all smitten with her, so they went in the corral too. Now all the neighbors came by and said what wonderful luck he had. They said, "You have these seven beautiful stallions along with your mare back. He said, "I don't know whether it's "good" or "bad", all I know is I got mare back and seven stallions with her." So while they looked them over, the son decided to break these stallions so they could be ridden and they could sell them. One of the stallions threw him and broke his leg. So he was laid up with a broken leg. They didn't have those little pins they use now so you could get up and go. He was laid up with a splint. The neighbors came by and said, "That's bad, your son has a broken leg." He said, "I don't know whether it's good or bad, I just know my son has a broken leg. About this time the king sent his men through the area and took all able-bodied young men to send them on one of his war ventures. The son couldn't go because he had a broken leg. The neighbor's sons all had to go. The neighbors came over and said how lucky the man was because his son didn't have to go because he had a broken leg. He said, "I don't know whether it's good or bad, I just know my son has a broken leg and didn't have to go with the Army. This story could go on endlessly, but I hope you get the point that WE JUST DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS GOOD OR BAD! Because we don’t know the future and its outcome.

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