Uh-oh, we’ve come to Job. My husband and I get kidded about Job. I personally think that it is the most misunderstood book in the Bible.
II Timothy 2:15 says “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of truth.” Handling accurately. That’s a significant term. it means context and perspective, and that’s what we have been trying to do all year. We want the Word in context.
So what about Job? He lived about the same time as Abraham – maybe a little after him. And he came from the same region. He is different from the other people we have been studying in the Bible, because he isn’t a Jew. He isn’t in covenant with God.
Job is an example of a man who is trying to live a good and blessed life outside of a covenant with his Creator. He is praying and trying to live a holy life, without a covenant. The Jews had the covenant of Abraham. We have the covenant cut through the blood of Jesus. So we have been focusing on people who had at their hands a covenant, and now we come to one who doesn’t.
So as we look at these chapters, let’s keep this in perspective.
First, let’s remember that after the fall of man, the devil had free reign in the earth. He had few limitations as to who he could influence. That’s why God was so adamant about the Jews not socializing with their neighbors. He was trying to keep them on track. So the devil had great entrance into Job’s life.
Second, notice that throughout these passages, Job thinks that everything which happens to him is from God. There are some today who believe that. When people die untimely deaths, you often hear people quote Job and say “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.”(1:21)
Wrong. The Lord gave, and Satan took away. Job doesn’t realize who his enemy is.
Third, notice that whereas we saw Abraham being a man of faith – always believing God, Job is full of fear. He doesn’t really know the nature of God, so he tries to be righteous in his own strength. (Which is impossible). He is afraid that his children have sinned, so he often offers burnt offerings.
I have compassion on Job, as God does. He was being blessed, even in his state.
I think of Job as being like the “good” people we meet who are not Christians. We see in our society many who are not walking with God, but who seem to “be sweet.” Sometimes they may be faithful to their families, give to causes for the poor, etc.
But man’s goodness is not what gets us into the relationship with God. It’s the fact that we receive Jesus and His sacrifice for us. That’s what gets us in.
It’s something to think about.
Do you know where the phrase “gnashing your teeth” came from. It might be from here, because that’s what the leaders are doing as they hear the words of Stephen.He is pointing out to them that they have neglected the Word of God, having become “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears.”(51)
Stephen looks up and sees Jesus giving him a standing ovation, as the priests cover their ears, yell loudly, and rush him out for his stoning. He is to be the first Christian martyr.
So Stephen gets stoned to death by this wild crowd, but he enters into heaven to be with his Lord.
His final words are like those of Jesus, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”(60) He then leaves the earth. Stephen is showing the nature of His Lord.
Could we do the same?
One of the experiences which led my husband to his salvation was a newsletter telling about martyrs. He read the story of a young girl who was taken out in her schoolyard and told that if she didn’t deny Jesus she would be shot. Refusing the commands, the girl was shot as a demonstration before her classmates.
My husband was troubled, not knowing whether he would do the same. This set him on a Bible-reading journey to decide if he really believed in Jesus. That was about 35 years ago, and that answer is clear today.
Now one more question. If we are willing to die for Him, are we willing to live for Him? That may be harder.