Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament poetic of Job which not only describes the suffering of Job, but also the conflict and struggle in the midst of the suffering. More specifically, today’s passage is found in thirty-two through thirty-four of this Old Testament book. A NEW VOICE EMERGES! THE SILENCE WAITS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK! WISDOM IN THE MIDST OF REASON! THESE THREE MEN CEASED SPEAKING WHEN THEY COULD NOT ANSWER JOB! JOB WAS RIGHTEOUS IN HIS OWN EYES! THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH! JUSTIFIED IN THE SIGHT OF GOD! JUSTIFYING YOURSELF RATHER THAN GOD! “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever are that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest theselfy; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And kindest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forebearance and long suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immorality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and a nudist, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another) in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dischonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the latter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:1-29).
“What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? IS God unrighteousness who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) let us do evil, that good may come? Whose damnation is just. What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have been proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteousness, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprovoked; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they have not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therfore by the deeds of the law there shall not flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through forbearance of God; to declare, I say at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifer of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and circumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:1-31).
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without work, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncicumcision also? For we say that faith was recognized to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcusion? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our faith Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: because the law worketh wrath: for where now law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace: to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our LORD from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:1-25).
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience: and patience, experience: and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reined from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by face, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our LORD” (Romans 5:1-21).
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we know ,that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might by destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised form the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that we were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquities unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:1-23).
THE WORDS OF JOB ARE ENDED! SO THESE MEN CEASED TO ANSWER JOB! HE WAS RIGHTEOUS IN HIS OWN EYES! HE JUSTIFIED HIMSELF RATHER THAN GOD! THEY HAD FOUND NO ANSWER, AND YET HAD CONDEMNED JOB! Now you might be wondering why at the very outset of this writing I would include the words of the apostle Paul which were written in the epistle written unto the saints of Rome. The answer to this question is actually quite simple, for if you read the opening verses of the thirty-second chapter of the book of Job you will find three of the friends which had come unto Job making an end of their words. The opening verses of the thirty-second chapter of the book of Job describes how Job’s three friends which had been a constant source of criticism, condemnation, accusation and judgment ceased to answer Job. Eventually there would come a point and a place when these three men would no longer have anything left to say unto Job, and as a direct result of this would stop speaking altogether. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider this in light of the how the previous chapter concludes, for if you read the words found in the previous chapter you will find the author describing how the words of Job were ended. It’s quite in testing to think about and consider this tremendous reality, for the thirty-first chapter would end and conclude with the author describing Job’s words coming to an end, while in the thirty-second chapter we find the author describing the words of Job’s three friends coming to an end. If you read the first verse of the thirty-second chapter you will find the author describing how Job’s three friends ceased to answer Job, and they did so because he was righteous in his own eyes. Please don’t miss the incredible significance of this, for I would dare say that Job’s three friends didn’t quite speaking unto Job because they perhaps ran out of words to speak, nor perhaps even because they no longer had anything left to speak. The author of the Old Testament book of Job reveals that the three friends of Job had ceased speaking because Job was righteous in his own eyes. It is is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for at the very end and conclusion of all the dialogue which took place between Job and his three friends, it could very well and very easily be summarized as Job’s three friends realizing and recognizing that Job was righteous in his own eyes. At the very end of all the words which we find Job and his three friends speaking to each other we come to discover that his three friends ceased speaking to Job simply because he was righteous in his own eyes. Throughout all the words, throughout all the dialogue, throughout all the arguments, throughout all the conversation that took place between Job and his three friends, we encounter and come face to face with the fact that Job perceived that he was indeed righteous in his own eyes.
As you continue reading the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture you will find that the author not only describing how Job was righteous in his own eyes, but you will also find the wrath of a fourth friend—a silent friend (at least until this point)—being kindled because Job justified himself rather than God. We must recognize and understand these words, for within this particular chapter—not only do we find the author describing how Job thought he was righteous in his own eyes, but we also find Job justifying himself rather than God. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance of this reality and concept, for you will recall at the very beginning of the Old Testament book of Job we learn something incredibly unique about this man named Job from the land of Uz. What’s more, is that we don’t merely learn and discover it at the very outset of the first and opening chapter of this poetic book, for the same words are mentioned on two separate occasions by the LORD of heaven and earth before Satan the accuser and adversary, as well as in the company and presence of all the sons of God which came to appear before the living God. In order to truly understand what is written and recorded within this particular passage of Scripture, it is first necessary to turn and direct our attention back to the opening chapters of this Old Testament book and consider what the author wrote concerning Job, as well as what the LORD of heaven and earth spoke concerning Job. Consider if you will the following words which were not only written by the author of this Old Testament book, but also the words which were spoken by the LORD of heaven and earth:
“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 think 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” (Job 1:1-5).
“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 LROD, 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” (Job 1:6-12).
“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” (Job 1:20-22).
“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” (Job 2:1-10).
THAT WHICH IS WRITTEN, THAT WHICH IS SPOKEN! It is truly interesting to read the words which are written and recorded in the Old Testament book of Job, for this book begins and opens with a powerful description of Job. You cannot read the Old Testament book of Job without first coming face to face with the author’s description of Job, as the author would write concerning Job that he was perfect and upright in the earth. What’s more, is that the author would go on to write and declare concerning Job that he was a man that feared God and shunned evil. Please don’t miss these words, for before we ever come face to face with the suffering of Job we are first brought face to face with the righteousness of Job. In order to understand the Old Testament book of Job it is absolutely necessary that you recognize and understand that this Old Testament book doesn’t begin with suffering, but rather it begins with righteousness. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and tremendous word, for it is something that is truly worth considering when reading the narrative of the life of Job. It would be incredibly easy to read the words which are written and recorded in this Old Testament book of Job and to think about the fact that it is all about the suffering of Job, however, the truth of the matter is that this book is about so much more than simply the suffering of Job. In all reality, I would dare say there are several different components that are wrapped up and contained within the Old Testament book of Job—a great number of them which are found within the first two chapters of the book alone. This Old Testament poetic book begins and opens with a description of Job’s righteousness before the LORD in the midst of the earth, but then it quickly and immediately transitions to the riches of Job. The narrative of Job first begins with righteousness, and then it transitions to a description of the riches of Job, as we learn that Job had a very great household, as he had seven sons and three daughters, and a number of camels, sheep, oxen, and donkeys. The Old Testament book of Job first brings us face to face with the reality that Job was righteous before and in the sight of the living God, but it then brings us face to face with the fact that Job was rich in the earth and rich in the sight of man. RICH TOWARD GOD, RICH IN THE SIGHT OF MEN! We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and tremendous reality, for what we find in the Old Testament book of Job is a man who was indeed righteous before and in the sight of God, and one who was indeed rich toward God. What’s more, is that we do in fact also find Job as one who was rich in the earth with great possessions and great wealth.
RICH TOWARD GOD, RIGHTEOUS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD! In the New Testament we find Jesus speaking about those who are rich toward God, and those who do not lay up for themselves treasures here in the earth, but who lay up treasures for themselves in heaven, and those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It is this concept of being rich toward God that is truly quite intriguing when reading the Old Testament book of Job, for when you read the words penned in this book you will not only find that Job was rich toward God, but you will also find and read that Job was known of Satan. What’s more, is that I would perhaps say that not only was Job known of Satan, but Job was also known in hell itself, as he was the greatest of all the men in the east. Can I be bold right now and make a statement—one which you might not agree with, but one that is nonetheless true? I am absolutely and completely convinced that if you are indeed righteous before and in the sight of God, and if you are indeed rich toward God in this life, you can and you will be known in hell. If you are rich toward God in this life, and if you are truly righteous before and in the sight of the living God, it is absolutely possible that you will be known of Satan and known in hell. If there is one thing that so intrigues and captivates me about the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture it is not only that Job’s righteousness was spoken of by the living and eternal God, but Job’s riches and substance was known by Satan. Perhaps one of the greatest thoughts I can’t help but think about when reading these words is when you think about and consider the fact that when you read of the encounter between the LORD and Satan, you will find the LORD speaking unto Satan concerning the righteousness of Job—the fact that Job was perfect and upright, that Job feared God, and that Job shunned evil—while conversely you will find Satan speaking of job’s substance and riches in the earth. It should be noted that when Satan came into the presence of the LORD, he came with and among the sons of God, and did in fact come from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of this reality, for when Satan came into the presence of the LORD he came as the accuser after he had gone to and fro in the earth and walked up and down in it as the adversary.
One of the greatest realities that surrounds the Old Testament book of Job is when you consider the fact that the description of Satan is actually two-fold, for in both the first and second chapter we see two distinct characteristics of Satan and his nature. In Satan’s response to the question of the LORD where he had come from we find him speaking of his nature as the adversary, for his going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it speaks to his nature as the adversary who seeks whom he may devour. The apostle Peter recognized and understood this nature—not only with the words which he wrote in the first epistle which was sent unto the saints which were scattered, but also with the words which Jesus Himself had spoken unto him right before he would be betrayed into the hands of men by one of His own. In the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel which was written by the beloved physician Luke we find Jesus describing unto Simon also called Peter that Satan desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat, but that He had prayed for him, that his faith fail not. When Simon was converted, he would strengthen his brethren who would themselves experience a similar reality and manifestation within their lives. When you come to the first epistle which was written by the apostle Peter unto the saints which were scattered abroad throughout Asia Minor and Asia Major, you will find the apostle declaring that our adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walked about, seeking whom he might devour. It is absolutely necessary to recognize and understand this reality, for when Satan answered the LORD and declared that he had come from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in the midst of it, that which he was truly and ultimately speaking and declaring is that he came from his place in the midst of the earth as an adversary—and not only as an adversary, but also as the adversary. Satan’s response to the LORD fully demonstrated and fully manifested his nature as the adversary, and as one who like a roaring lion walks about going to and fro as he seeks whom he may devour. Undoubtedly, when Satan came and appeared before the LORD among the sons of God, he came from the midst of the earth where he would seek to devour those whom he might. This is quite the astonishing reality when you take the time to think about it, for as early as the days of Job we are brought face to face with the reality that Satan was indeed the adversary, and that he went to and fro in the midst of the earth seeking whom he may devour. It is widely believed that the narrative of Job took place even before that of Abraham, which means that even before the time and days of Abraham we find Satan walking about within the earth, and going to and fro in the midst of it seeking whom he may devour.
With this reality being said, it’s worth considering the reality that Satan’s first response to the LORD demonstrated his nature as the adversary, as within the earth he is the adversary who as a roaring and raging lion seeks whom he may devour. Satan’s first words which were spoken to the LORD were in direct response to the LORD asking him where he had come from—a question which was met and answered with the declaration that he had come from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—please do not miss the awesome and incredible significance of this particular statement and reality concerning the devil and Satan, for in his response to the LORD we are brought face to face with his activity in the midst of the earth. In Satan’s response to the first question which the LORD asked him we find and discover the fact that in the earth Satan is indeed and truly does indeed operate as the adversary who seeks whom he might devour. The apostle Peter writes and declares that our adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour, and in the Old Testament book of Job we find how Satan himself answered the LORD by declaring that he came from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly remarkable and astonishing reality, for to do so would be to truly misunderstand the reality of what is written and recorded in the Old Testament book of Job. When the LORD asked Satan where he came from he responded as the adversary, however, when the LORD asked Satan if he had considered his servant Job, and would go on to describe the character and integrity of this man—Satan would respond as the accuser. How truly intriguing it is to think about the fact that within this single encounter between Satan and the LORD—not only are we brought face to face with the fact that Satan was indeed and is indeed the adversary who seeks to devour, but so also is Satan the accuser who seeks to accuse the saints of God both night and day. It is necessary that we recognize and understand this truly amazing and astonishing reality, for it actually helps us understand—not only the nature of the enemy and adversary, but also something that is truly unique about Job.
I have to admit that in all the times I have read the Old Testament poetic book of Job I have never seen it in this light before, for there is something truly intriguing about the nature of Satan that is found within these passages of Scripture, as well as how Satan responds to the LORD’s question. The LORD distinctly asked Satan two specific questions as he came to appear before Him among the sons of God. The LORD would first ask Satan where he had come from, which would prompt him to respond as the adversary who had come from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it as he undoubtedly sought those whom he might devour. When the LORD asked Satan a second question concerning Job—a question whether or not Satan had considered his servant Job who was perfect and upright, and a man who feared God and shunned evil—Satan responded as the accuser of the saints and the brethren. It would be in response to the LORD’s second question which would be asked where we find Satan operating in heaven as the accuser of the brethren—a reality which we find mentioned in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ. It is in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ that we find the apostle John speaking of the dragon, which is the Devil and Satan operating as the accuser of the brethren who accused the saints of God night and day before the throne of the living God. Undoubtedly, that which we are witnessing here within this passage of Scripture is a truly captivating narrative of Satan operating in the court(s) of heaven as the accuser of the brethren, for Satan would accuse both Job and the LORD there in the court. Before the eternal Judge who sits upon the throne in heaven, as well as before the sons of God who could be classified as witnesses, we find Satan not only accusing the LORD of His protection round about all that Job had, but we also find Satan accusing Job as he stated Job was only righteous because of the protection and provision of the LORD within his life. What truly astonishes and amazes me about the narrative of Job within this Old Testament book is when you think about and consider the fact that not only was Job known in heaven of and by the LORD according to His character and His integrity, but he was known in hell and by Satan according to the provision and protection of the LORD. When Satan was asked of the LORD whether or not he had considered his servant Job, Satan responded by asking whether or not Job feared God for nought. Moreover, Satan would go on to speak to the LORD about His making a hedge about him, about his house, and about all that he had on every side. What’s more, is Satan would also go on to speak unto the LORD concerning the LORD blessing the work of Job’s hands, and how his substance was increased in the land.
Pause for a moment and take a step back to truly observe and understand what is taking place in this narrative and encounter between the LORD who sits upon the throne in heaven, and Satan who came to appear before Him among the sons of God. Satan first responded to the LORD as the adversary when he stated how he had come from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. When the LORD asked Satan if he had considered His servant Job—how there was none like him in all the earth, how he was perfect and upright, and how he feared God and shunned evil—Satan immediately switched roles from the adversary to the accuser. Please recognize and understand this, for in the earth it is quite clear that Satan is indeed the adversary who seeks whom he might devour, while in the courts of heaven Satan is the accuser who seeks to accuse the saints and the brethren day and night before the throne of the living God. With that being said, it’s quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that the LORD spoke about Job’s righteousness, the LORD spoke about Job’s character, as well as Job’s integrity, and yet Satan responded by speaking of Job’s riches, of Job’s wealth, of Job’s possessions. What’s more, is that Satan would not only speak about Job’s riches, wealth and possessions, but Satan would also speak of the protection and provision of the LORD, as the LORD not only made up a hedge round about Job, about his house, and about all that he had, but also how the LORD had blessed the work of his hands, and increased his substance in the land. It’s quite interesting to read how the LORD spoke of Job’s character, of Job’s integrity, and of Job’s righteousness, and yet Satan spoke of the provision and protection of the LORD. What’s more, is that not only did Satan speak of the protection and provision of the LORD, but he also used those two realities within the life of Job to accuse the LORD of making Job untouchable, and to accuse Job of serving the LORD only because of what He had provided for him, and what He could somehow get from the LORD. This cannot be missed, nor ignored, for it reveals something truly astonishing when you take the time to think about and consider the narrative of Job and the suffering he experienced within the earth. The more I read and the more I think about the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, the more I can’t help but think about the absolutely incredible fact that not only do we learn that Job was the greatest of all the men in the east, and not only do we learn that there was none like Job in the earth, but we also learn that Job was indeed known of Satan—perhaps even known in hell itself. Consider if you will a passage that is found in the New Testament book of Acts concerning the apostle Paul within the city of Ephesus, and a certain event which took place there in the city:
“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the LORD Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Ephesians 19:13-20).
As you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage you will find seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests taking upon themselves to call over unto them those who had evil spirits, and in the name of the LORD Jesus, would declare unto them, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” The narrative that is found within this passage isn’t as much about these seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew taking upon themselves the practices of seeking to drive out demons in the name of Jesus. It would be very easy to get caught up in this particular reality, however, I am convinced there is something else entirely that is wrapped up and contained within this passage of Scripture. It would be easy to read the words which are written and recorded in this passage of Scripture and to think about the fact that it was about vagabond Jews who took upon themselves to seek to cast out evil spirits according to the Jesus whom Paul preaches, however, I am convinced there is something else at work within this passage—namely, that which is found within the response of the evil spirit which was found within this man. The beloved physician Luke writes and records how when these seven sons of one Sceva took upon themselves to adjure this evil spirit to come out of this man according to Jesus whom Paul preached, the evil spirit spoke unto them and declared how he knew Jesus, and how he knew Paul, but how he didn’t know them. Please don’t move too quickly past the response of this evil spirit in the company and presence of these evil spirits, for it reveals something truly unique concerning the apostle Paul, as well as Jesus the Christ. If you study the four gospel narratives of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that more often than not Jesus commanded the evil spirits whom He confronted and cast out of men to keep silent, for they knew who He was. What’s more, is that not only did they know who He was, but they knew that He was truly and indeed the Son of God. In the four gospels we find the evil spirits being commanded because they knew that Jesus was the Son of God (“Jesus I know”), while in the New Testament book of Acts we find this evil spirit not only declaring how he knew Jesus, but also declaring how he also knew the apostle Paul (“Paul I know). It is necessary that we unpack and understand this, for there is not a doubt that Jesus Christ the Son of God was known in hell, and there is no doubt that the apostle Paul was known in hell. With this particular reality in mind, it is necessary that we turn and direct our attention back to the Old Testament poetic book of Job, for even before the days of Abraham we find Satan moving to and fro within the earth as the adversary, we find Satan operating in the courts of heaven as the accuser, and we even find Satan knowing who Job was.
I KNOW WHO JOB IS, AND I ALSO KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE DONE FOR JOB! I KNOW WHO JOB IS, BUT I ALSO KNOW HOW YOU HAVE BLESSED THE WORK OF JOB’S HANDS, AND HAVE INCREASED HIS SUBSTANCE IN THE LAND! The words which Satan spoke unto the LORD cannot be overlooked, and cannot be minimized, for the words which he spoke unto the LORD reveals the reality that not only was Job the greatest of all the men in the east, and not only was there not a man like Job in all the earth, but Job was indeed known of Satan himself. Satan’s words demonstrated the fact that in his going to and fro in the earth, and in his walking up and down in it seeking whom he may devour, he undoubtedly came upon Job, but witnessed and beheld the great provision and protection of the LORD within his life. Satan’s response to the LORD accused Job of fearing the LORD simply and solely because of what the LORD had done for him, and what the LORD would give him. The response of Satan in the court of heaven demonstrated his knowledge concerning Job—this man who was rich toward God, and this man who was rich in the earth and in the sight of man. What we learn and what we discover within this passage is not only the fact that Job was rich toward God in that he was perfect and upright, but we also learn that Job was rich in the earth before and in the sight of men. It was Job’s substance in the earth which Satan was aware of, for Satan spoke unto the LORD how He had blessed the work of his hands, and had increased his substance in the earth. Satan confronted the LORD with the fact that he had made up a hedge round about Job, round about Job’s house, as well as round about all that Job had. Satan’s response clearly indicated that he had perhaps considered Job, and had perhaps thought about devouring him, yet the LORD had made up a hedge upon all that Job had, upon Job’s house, and even upon Job himself. Satan’s response not only indicated that he had perhaps thought about devouring Job, but that he was prevented from doing so because of the protection of the LORD round about all that Job had. When the LORD asked Satan whether or not he had considered Job, he immediately went into accusation mode, as he accused the LORD of making up a hedge round about Job, as well as round about all that he had, and about his house. Satan accused Job of fearing God because of His protection and provision within his life—a reality which clearly indicates and reveals that while Job was rich toward God in heaven, and while heaven was fully aware of this reality, so also would Job be known of Satan, and so also would Job be known in hell because of his greatness in the earth, and among men within the earth.
The more I read and the more I study the words which are found within the opening chapters of the Old Testament book of Job the more I can’t help but come face to face with the fact that the author of the book wrote how Job was perfect and upright, and how Job was a man who feared God and shunned evil. What’s more, is that not only did the author write that Job was a perfect and upright man who feared God and shunned evil, but the LORD Himself would declare in the court of heaven the very same words. The very same reality we are introduced to at the outset and opening of the book of Job is the very same reality we encounter and come face to face with in the court of heaven, as not only would Job we known in heaven by the LORD, but Job would be known in the earth by Satan. KNOWN IN HEAVEN BY THE LORD, KNOWN IN EARTH BY THE DEVIL! It is something truly unique to read the words which are written and recorded within the Old Testament book of Job, for within it we encounter and come face to face with the fact that Job was a man who was known in heaven because of his character, because of his integrity, and because of his righteousness; and he was known in the earth by Satan because of the protection and provision of the LORD within and upon his life. It’s truly something worth thinking about and considering when you read the words found in the opening chapters of the book of Job, for there is a tremendous contrast between the LORD’s declaration concerning Job, and Satan’s accusation concerning the same. THE LORD’S DECLARATION, SATAN’S ACCUSATION! Pause for a moment and think about the fact that what we have in the court of heaven between the LORD who sits upon the throne and Satan who stands before the throne is the declaration of the LORD concerning Job, as well as the accusation of Job in the presence of the LORD. We would be wise to recognize and understand this, for the LORD mentioned nothing about Job’s wealth, nothing about Job’s possessions, nothing about Job’s household, nothing about all that he had when speaking unto Satan who stood before Him. Think about this reality, for what you find within this passage is the LORD not speaking unto Satan concerning that which Job had in this life in the physical and natural realm, but rather that which Job had in the spiritual realm as it pertains to his character and integrity. You will notice the LORD didn’t speak unto Satan and ask if he had considered his servant Job who was a man of great wealth and a man of great possessions in the earth. This is important for us to recognize and understand, for it wasn’t Job’s riches in the earth, nor was it his wealth or his possessions in the earth that placed him square in the center of the cross-hairs of the sovereignty of God and the devouring of the adversary. IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD AND THE DEVOURING OF THE ADVERSARY! What we must recognize and realize concerning this passage of Scripture is that the LORD didn’t speak to Satan concerning all that Job had, and it was all that Job had which positioned Job to be devoured by the adversary.
As I sit here this morning thinking and writing about this particular narrative and reality within the life of Job, I find myself coming face to face that not only was it the sovereignty of the living God that permitted and allowed the suffering of Job, but it was Job’s righteousness that allowed his substance to be devoured by the adversary. Even what we find within the first chapter of this Old Testament book demonstrates and reveals the tremendous reality that Satan does in fact move in the earth—not only seek whom he may devour, but also what he may devour. In the first chapter of the book of Job we find what Satan seeks to devour—namely, the provision and blessing of the LORD within our lives. IN the second chapter, however, we aren’t confronted with what Satan desires to devour, but rather whom Satan desires to devour. In the first chapter we find Satan devouring all that Job had in terms of material possessions, while in the second chapter we find Satan devouring Job’s flesh as he struck it with sore boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. In these two chapters we find the activity of Satan in the earth as he devoured Job’s substance, as well as Job’s flesh, as well as his activity in heaven as he sought to accuse Job in the sight and presence of the living and eternal God. Oh please pay close and careful attention to this reality, for this reality is one that must be carefully understood within the narrative of Job, and his life in the midst of the earth. The LORD spoke of Job’s righteousness before Satan and the witness of the sons of God in the court of heaven, and Satan spoke of the protection and provision of the LORD. How absolutely astounding it is to think about and consider the fact that it wasn’t Job’s riches, nor was it Job’s wealth and possessions the living and eternal God spoke of as Satan stood before Him, but it was Job’s righteousness which the LORD spoke of. It was Job’s righteousness coupled together with the sovereignty of God that actually worked in conjunction with the devouring of the adversary and the accusing of the accuser of the brethren to bring about the suffering which Job experienced. Job didn’t suffer because he was a man who was abundant in wealth and possessions, but rather he suffered because of his righteousness. It was his righteousness that was known in heaven by the LORD, while it was his riches which were known by Satan in the midst of the earth. Mark those words and that reality well, for while the LORD in heaven knew and spoke of Job’s righteousness—Satan spoke of Job’s riches and wealth in heaven in the sight and presence of the LORD and the sons of God who stood before Him. We cannot afford to be casual and cavalier with and about this reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the absolutely amazing narrative—not only regarding Job, but also regarding the suffering of the saints of God.
RICH TOWARD GOD & KNOWN IN HELL! I feel compelled to take a moment and continue to emphatically declare unto you that if you are indeed rich toward God in this life, you can and will be known in hell. If you are rich toward God in this life you can and will be known by the powers of darkness which rage against you. I would dare say that you cannot be rich toward God without also being a threat to the adversary and the accuser. It is impossible to be rich toward God and yet not be a target of the fury, the wrath, the anger, and the rage of the adversary. In all reality, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are written and recorded—not only in the tenth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints, but also in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints, and the words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ. Consider if you will the following words which are written and recorded in each of these passages concerning spiritual warfare and the activity of the forces of darkness and the gates of hell:
“Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among your but being absent am bold toward you: but I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations, and every high think that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-20).
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their estimate; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:7-17).
Within these passages we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely astounding reality that there is a very real adversary and accuser who both seeks to devour, as well as accuse the saints of God. We learn from the apostle Peter that our adversary the Devil is as a raging lion seeking whom he may devour, while through the words of the apostle Paul we recognize and understand that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but rather against unseen and evil forces and powers of darkness in the supernatural and spiritual realm. In the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ we encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that this ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan not only seeks to deceive the whole earth, but also seeks to accuse the saints of God both day and night before the throne of God in heaven, and before all His holy angels. There is not a doubt in my mind that there is a great and powerful need within our hearts and lives to be those who are rich toward God, and if we are those who have been blessed by the LORD with great possessions, riches, and wealth—know for a certain that it is possible the enemy and adversary can, will and does desire to devour all that you had. Within the narrative of this man named Job from the land of Uz we find and discover that he was a man who was perfect and upright before the LORD, and one who feared God and shunned evil, and it was that which was spoken in heaven by the living and eternal God. The LORD didn’t parade Job’s riches, Job’s wealth, nor Job’s possession in heaven before Satan and in the presence of the sons of God. It was true the LORD had indeed blessed the work of Job’s hand, and had indeed increased the substance of Job in the land, however, that mattered not within the heart and mind of the living God. When Satan came before Him with the sons of God, the LORD spoke of Job’s righteousness, Job’s character, and Job’s integrity in the midst of the earth, and it was that reality which positioned Job to be found in the crosshairs of the devouring of the adversary. In the court of heaven it was the LORD who spoke of the righteousness of Job as Satan stood before him, and yet as soon as Satan heard the LORD speak about the righteousness of Job he proceeded to accuse Job of fearing God only because of what the LORD had done and what the LORD would do for him within this life. The LORD boasted of Job’s character, his righteousness and his integrity, and Satan proceeded to take that righteousness and use it as a basis for accusation against Job in the presence of the LORD, and in the company of all those witnesses.
The Old Testament book of Job begins by speaking of and describing the righteousness of Job before ever speaking of his riches, his wealth and his many possessions in the midst of the earth. Within the Old Testament book of Job we are first and foremost brought face to face with the tremendous reality that Job was a man who was indeed righteous in the sight of God, and was indeed rich toward God. We learn from the opening verses of the Old Testament book of Job that he was a man who was righteous before and in the sight of the living God, and how not only was he righteous, but he was also a man of much possessions and great wealth in the earth. Scripture describes him as being the greatest of all the men in the east, and the LORD declared that there was none like him in all the earth. It’s interesting and worth noting that Job was considered to be the greatest of all the men in the east because of his abundance, while it was declared of Job in heaven that there was none like him in all the earth. In the earth Job was known for his wealth, his possessions, and his prosperity, while in heaven Job was known for his righteousness. There is something to be said about this, for despite and regardless of whether or not the LORD may choose to bless you abundantly in the earth—your riches, your wealth, your possessions matter not before and unto the LORD. In the earth men and women allow themselves to get all sorts of caught up in material, earthly and temporal realities, while the only thing that matters in heaven is our standing before, with and in the sight of the living God. Earth might care about and consider whatever riches we might have, while heaven cares about something far greater and far more valuable—namely, our righteousness, our integrity, our character, and our relationship with the true and living God. Heaven is concerned about one thing and one thing only—namely, our righteousness in the sight of the living God. Job might have been known in the earth because of his abundance, but he was known in heaven because of his righteousness before and in the sight of the living God. There is absolutely no denying or mistaking the fact that Job was indeed and Job was in fact righteous in the sight of the living God, for not only did Scripture declare it from the pen of the author of this book, but the LORD also declared it—not only once, but twice in the courts and halls of heaven. It was the LORD Himself who declared of Job that he was perfect and upright, that he feared God and shunned evil, and that there was none like him in all the earth. What’s more, is that even after Satan devoured all that Job had, the LORD would go on to declare that Job still maintained his integrity in the sight and presence of the LORD his God.
With all of this being said, however, there is an underlying danger that is found within the Old Testament book of Job—one that we don’t inherently notice in the first two chapters. It’s interesting and worth noting that in the first two chapters of this Old Testament book we encounter and come face to face with the fact that Job was indeed perfect and upright, and that he was a man who feared God and shunned evil, and yet in the thirty-second chapter of this book we find Elihu growing angry with and toward Job. Scripture speaks of and declares concerning Elihu that his wrath was greatly kindled against Job—not only because he was righteous in his own eyes, but because he justified himself rather than God. This is something that is worth noticing and considering, for there is no denying that Job was indeed a righteous man, and that he was a man who was perfect and upright. There is no denying the fact that Job was a man who feared God and hated evil. The trouble Elihu had was that in the midst of his suffering, Job chose to cling on to his righteousness, and chose to hold on to the fact that he was righteous in his own eyes. The wrath of Elihu was kindled against Job because in the midst of his suffering he chose to justify himself rather than God. The encounter and dialogue which took place between Job and Elihu is something that is truly unique and truly astonishing when you think about it, for Elihu grew angry over something which is inherently dangerous in the midst of our own suffering in this life. Elihu’s wrath was greatly kindled against Job—not because he wasn’t in fact righteous, but because he was righteous in his own eyes. The wrath of Elihu was greatly kindled because he was a man who attempted to justify himself rather than justify the living God. Throughout his suffering Job attempted to hold on and cling to the fact that he was indeed righteous in his own eyes. Please keep in mind that Job had absolutely no idea what would be written concerning him in the canon of Scripture, not did he have any clue what would be spoken of him by the LORD in the courts of heaven with Satan standing before him, and the son of God all around. Job had absolutely no idea that prior to his suffering, it was the LORD Himself who declared that Job was perfect and upright, and that he was a man who feared God and shunned evil.
The reason I included the words of the apostle Paul in chapters two through five of the epistle written unto the Romans at the very outset of this writing is because of the fact that he wrote heavily on our not being justified by works, but by being justified by faith alone, in Christ alone. The apostle Paul was one who emphatically and boldly declared that we are not justified in the sight of, nor are we justified with God because of any good deeds or merits of our own making or doing. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that we are justified through faith, and Scripture declares at least three times that “the just shall live by faith.” It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for when we speak of our being justified in the sight of God, we must recognize that we are justified by faith alone, in Christ alone, and through the finished work which was completed at Calvary two thousand years ago. Of course we know and understand Job lived centuries before the days and time of Jesus, and that the cross was nowhere in sight during those days. With that being said, however, we must understand that within the book of Job there was still the language of being righteous before and in the sight of God, and even language of being justified by God. The apostle Paul wrote heavily on Abraham being justified by faith before and in the sight of the living God, and used the example of Abraham’s life to demonstrate the fact that we are not justified through works, nor are we justified through and according to the law, but we are justified through faith alone in Jesus Christ. The Law—in that it was weak through the flesh—could not save us, and it could not make us justified before and in the sight of God. Even during the days of the Old Testament sacrifice needed to be made, and blood needed to be shed on a daily basis on account of the children of Israel. What’s more, is that there was one day a year when the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies and appear before the Ark of the Covenant with blood in order to make atonement for the nation of Israel—The Day of Atonement. We fully recognize that such a day and such a sacrifice is no longer needed, for not only was Jesus the sacrifice itself, but Jesus was also the Priest who brought the blood of the sacrifice into the Holy of Holies to make permanent atonement for all who call upon the name of the LORD, and all who believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is absolutely possible that we can be justified in the sight of the living God, however, if there is one thing we can and must learn from the Old Testament book of Job it is that we dare not, we cannot, we must not think or even assume we are righteous in our own eyes. What’s more, is that there is a tremendous and inherent danger in seeking to justify ourselves in the midst of our suffering as though we are trusting in our own righteousness rather than the sovereignty, rather than the goodness, rather than the mercy and grace of the living God.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close, I feel compelled to emphatically declare to you who might be reading this that there is an inherent danger in seeking to defend ourselves—and even justify ourselves—rather than trusting in the righteousness of the living God. In the midst of the dialogue between Job and his three friends we find him justifying himself rather than God, and the underlying question becomes centered around what we do and how we respond in the midst of suffering. The underlying question we must ask ourselves when we are in the throes of suffering is whether or not we are going to trust in our own righteousness, or whether we are going to trust in the sovereignty and providence of the living God. I fully recognize and understand that this is easier said than done, and that it is oftentimes hard to have our focus in the right place in the midst of suffering, and yet the truth and underlying reality is that we must be a people who do not trust in our own righteousness, and a people who do not trust in our goodness or merit, for the prophet Isaiah prophesied according to the word of the LORD that all our righteousness is as filthy rags before and in the sight of the LORD. One of the single greatest questions that comes into focus in the midst of our suffering is our righteousness and our standing with the living God, and it is absolutely necessary that above and beyond trusting in ourselves and trusting in perhaps our own righteousness, we in fact trust in the LORD, and in His sovereignty. There would be a great temptation to trust in our righteousness in the midst of suffering, however, such a trust is misguided and misplaced, and ought not to be so in the midst of our lives. Such a trust and confidence in our righteousness in the midst of suffering is not only misguided, but it is also incredibly dangerous, for it shifts the focus off of the living God, and places the emphasis solely and squarely upon us. Such a trust and such a confidence in the midst of our suffering is inherently dangerous, and makes it more—if not all—about us rather than about the true and living God. There is not a doubt in my mind that in the midst of, and in the throes of suffering—instead of trusting in, and instead of casting ourselves upon our own righteousness, we should be casting ourselves upon the righteousness of God, upon the sovereignty of God, upon the holiness of God, upon the goodness of God, upon the love of God, upon the mercy and grace of God. It is in the midst of suffering that we cast ourselves upon the nature of who God is rather than the nature of who we are—and even whatever righteousness we think we possess in and of ourselves. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to fully and completely cast ourselves upon the nature of God, as well as the names of God in the midst of our suffering, and in the midst of those things we face in this life.