Job seems to be the most complete "word-picture" of the Christian life in Scripture. Job appears to trace a believer’s life, from new-birth to the Millennial-Kingdom.. outlining a number of possible choices a believer may take in his Christian walk. Job, together with his wife and friends, hold to the same understanding and creed - a prescribed set of beliefs about God; truths about the character of God, but incomplete articles of faith.. beliefs that don’t present the whole truth of God.
From his early 'Christian' walk, Job’s relationship develops with God through prayer. From the start of her walk, Job’s wife trusts God under her husband’s 'covering'. Job’s three friends are certainly saved – they believed the word of the Lord. And similarly, like Job, they lack full understanding – but unlike Job we do not see in them a desire to relate to the Lord, in spirit, and in truth.
Job presents as a spiritual man, who in this world has deep tribulation and distress - an intercessor at the start, and a prayer-warrior at the end of his spiritual walk. A man that does not understand, but a man with a teachable spirit; a man who trusts in the Lord, but a man that is prepared to question God; a man whom the Lord trusts in the unseen world of spiritual warfare. Yes, Job is a man who is faithful to the point of death. Job is a man who overcomes.
Like Job, his wife is a virtuous woman, who holds to her husband's trust in God, but one who allows the long, spiritual battle in Job’s life, to cause her faith to fail. A woman whom the roaring lion manages, at last, to devour; to overcome. But she is a lady, like Noah’s wife, who remains under the protection of her man. Unlike Job, his 3 friends demonstrate religiosity in their pious, but carnal walk. They hold to their rigid, theological dogma, displaying an unteachable spirit. Their finger of accusation, pointing towards Job, was unwittingly accusing God! Judge not that ye be not judged – we are warned in Matthew chapter 7. No! Job’s friends cannot be 'overcomers', as they are not part of the spiritual warfare. God knows the end from the beginning. He knows He can trust Job’s integrity. And God knows that through his fiery trials, Job will come forth, as gold. I am sure at the start, in the silence of their company, his friends were a real comfort – but later, looking at the circumstances, they try to analyse Job’s sufferings themselves.
His friends erroneously look to man’s understanding and offer man’s advice. But Job questions God, for his experience is not consistent with his understanding of God’s character. Too often the label tagged on Job’s friends relates to their interaction with Job. They seek, through human wisdom, to advise Job in his relationship with God. In an attempt to comfort Job, they speak and argue through self-acquired wisdom. They falsely presume to have a knowledge of God and an insight into His ways. Similarly, attempting to justify himself, Job’s defence is also self-acquired wisdom! Job also falsely presumes a knowledge of God – and an insight into God’s ways.
It is not the friends' words or acts towards Job that are under God’s critical eye. It is not their accusations against the integrity of Job that is under scrutiny. It is their false perceptions of God for which God accuses them. It is their own lack of integrity in seeking to know the truth about their Lord. Finally, the Lord said to them; I am angry with you (Eliphaz) and with your two friends, for you have not been right in what you said about Me, as my servant Job was. But Job’s questions show us that Job himself is righteous in his own eyes, and that too is a false perception, for His righteousness is due to his Redeemer. It is not Job’s integrity that is being examined. Job is a man of considerable integrity although he certainly shows considerable pride! It is the integrity and truth about the Lord that is the focus of this whole episode. And so we read that, in all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. Job1:22
So what is the difference between Job and his friends? Job walks after the spirit, and Job is an overcomer. In her spiritual walk, Job’s wife was overcome, but was protected by Job’s integrity. The friends, however, walked after the flesh, they did not overcome. Indeed, they were not trusted by the Lord to participate in His spiritual warfare. The man walking after the flesh, holds fast to his self-acquired truths of God, even when their legalism conflicts with the Word of God and the Spirit of truth. The old man in Adam will not listen – this man will not see the fullness of God.
The man walking in the spirit is willingly prepared to be taught the deep truths of God – even if they conflict with one's long-held understanding of God… even if it means having to adjust one's deep-seated mindset about God; even if it means having to rethink one's whole perception of God. The new man in Christ will humble himself. Peter tells us to: humble yourself, under the mighty hand of God. The new man in Christ will submit to His way and His time and listen and learn. Jesus reminds us.. he who has ears to hear.. let him hear.
The new man in Christ will be the one trusted to enter the spiritual battle. The new man in Christ will be an overcomer, if he holds fast to the end. Oh, what lessons there are for all to learn, who also travel the believer’s path in this world, as we accept the deep and unanswerable questions in our lives, and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
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