Not Merely Human

What an interesting contrast to move from Mordecai to Job. Mordecai, afflicted by the wicked Haman, is exalted by God because “he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.” (Esther 10:3) What God does through him becomes an annual feast. Job, on the other hand, afflicted by God (for how else can you read chapter 1), becomes the object of Satan’s worst, his wife’s taunts, and his friends’ pity, accusations, and bad advice. Both are righteous men, who through very different paths, glorify God through their difficulty.

Job is generally considered the oldest book in the Bible. It is a literary and theological masterpiece, due to it’s use of language, the complexity of it’s story, and its theological themes. As nothing but a literary work, it has, in my estimation, no equal. It is also a wonderful example of how the Bible is unlike any other book on the planet. It is, as C.S. Lewis often said, a book that no man would write. One cannot read Job and maintain a small view of God. He is no tame lion.

Once again, the constraints of space and time prevent me from discussing all I would desire, so let’s focus today on Job’s two responses recorded in these two chapters.

In chapter one, Job loses everything, except his wife (and it seems this was no grace). Notice in v.20-21:

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul chastises the Christians in that early church for being “merely human.” Job’s response is one of a man who is not merely human, but is the evidence of a righteous man full of the work of the Holy Spirit. I wonder if we were in Job’s position what would have followed the last “and” in v.20? How stunning that the word that follows is “worshipped.” I challenge all of us to commit v.21 to memory, for the day will come soon (though I pray not with the fierceness of Job’s day) that we will need to remind ourselves of these great and faith-filled words.

Unsatisfied with taking his family and possessions, Satan afflicts his body also. Once again, Job’s great faith and deep view of God is on display.

(Job 2:9-10 ESV)  9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

It should be noted that Job is not accusing God of moral evil, but of experiential evil: “Should I only receive the good things God gives me and not the bad things God gives me?” Is your view of God and eternity sufficiently large for you to incorporate those words into your life? Do you know that God often uses bad things in our lives for our ultimate good and His glory? Are you more in love with the things God might take away than you are with God? Our ability to reflect the words and attitude of Job will reveal our answer.