The Integrity Of Job - And What Of Job's Wife? (A Brief Study of Integrity and Forgiveness)
Long have I admired the ancient patriarch Job. The unseen spiritual battle fought between the Devil and he is legendary. Now I know that not all people are familiar with the Biblical account of Job so as a backdrop of the story below, I will give a brief summary. The time in history that this event happened was probably a short time after the flood of Noah, when there was still dinosaurs in the land. The man Job was of good stock of people. He was not only famous for his integrity through the tragedies that he suffered but was also known for the covenant that he made with his eyes that helped him keep his purity with God. He undoubtedly also made this covenant because he loved his wife. Job had a legendary faith, in fact, his integrity was so pronounced that God said "that there is none like him in all the earth." One day in heaven Satan entered to the assembly to accuse Job of not having real integrity. God knew what he was there for and asked him, "Have you set your heart on my servant Job?" Satan proposed a test to get Job to curse God to his face. It consisted of removing the blessings God had given him and his children and finally his health. He had robbers remove his livestock and servants, a storm collapsed the house where his children were gathered and they died, and Job was struck with a sickness that consisted of boils all over his body. During the height of this test of the genuineness of Job's integrity, three friends of his came to visit and were used to try to get him to sin verbally. Also, his wife said something to him that has stuck in the craw of Bible readers of all time. She said to her husband, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" Because of the choice of her words we know those words were those of the devil as she was being used as a mouthpiece for Satan so that Job would "curse God to His very face."
For years I have sat under preachers that have read the account of Job and come to the conclusion that his wife must have been the worst woman in the world for her statement to him in his darkest hour. I do not agree with this assessment of Mrs. Job. I believe that she spoke out of extreme pain and anguish. Maybe this story will give you, the reader, another perspective, should you also feel that Mrs. Job was any worse than you or I would be in this situation.
I sat in assembly, with the rest of the redeemed
I knew that her story, was not what it seemed,
She went through things, I couldn't comprehend
Though I've preached her life, an example of sin,
How could my hero Job, go through such stuff?
To lose his kids, his business, and if that wasn't enough-
To have his wife say, "Curse God and die!"
Seemed too much to bear, and I wanted to know why
She was so callous and unfeeling, when he needed her so,
And in a moment I'd hear, what I'd wanted to know.
A hush fell over, the expansive cloud
Of people, no one saying, a word out loud,
Into our presence strode the couple, arm-in-arm,
As if sheltering each other, from the presence of harm,
They looked at each other, with eyes full of love
And seemed to fit together, like hand in glove,
I don't know why, that took me aback
After all in heaven, there is no lack
Of love, and up here, there is no sin
So I just sat and waited, for their story to begin,
"Our life was blessed", Job began,
"At the beginning of my life, when I was a young man,
God gave me something, so very good
And I prayed to take care of her, just as I should,
She was so pretty, as she is today
And I feared that somehow, she'd be taken away,
You see fear was my sin, and I don't know why
For I have such a big God, and I
Prayed for my kids, my servants, my business
To be in God's hands, and as God is my witness
I was growing in the Lord, and beginning to trust
And I didn't know then, that God thought me "just",
I didn't know Satan saw a way, to hurt God with my sin
So God nodded His head, for the lesson to begin,
Along came thieves, and took our stuff away
And dear friends that were servants, were murdered that day."
Job started to weep, as if it happened today...
Then Mrs. Job held him, until composure regained
Then she started speaking, emotions restrained,
"I know what you're thinking", her calm voice began,
"How could she leave, the side of her man
And become a verbal tool, for Satan's plan?
What kind of a wife would say, 'curse God and die?'
I make no excuses, for my sin and I
Wasn't the wife, God wanted me to be,
It was shame that I felt, when at last I could see,
Would that you could forgive, an example so flawed
Would that it could flee, from the face of my God."
Job then held her tight, in a great big bear-hug
And she melted into him, all warm and snug,.
"She tried her best," Job finally said,
"Her belongings were gone, and her children were dead,
And slowly she was watching, her husband die
In a slow painful death, and didn't know why,
What would she do, with no husband to work
No children to farm, her mind went berserk,
She started crying to God, 'That's enough!'
She came to my side, where I was acting tough,
I said, 'Though He slay me, yet will I serve Him'
I couldn't see her patience, was growing so thin,
Instead of comforting her, I was so self-absorbed
I just sat, and scraped, but her, I ignored,
So in frustration, she lashed out at me
Blaming our God, and my integrity,
I rightly told her, she spoke as the world
But I also could have said, that she was my girl,
And told her I loved her, and told her don't fret
And that God wasn't finished, blessing us yet."
Mrs. Job gently said, to him with a smile,
"I wouldn't have listened, for I put God on trial,
I knew that I married, a man that was good
He gave me ten children, and I knew that he stood
Firm in the Lord, and in the power of His might
To show disrespect, I had no right..."
"My darling", Job said, "we both made mistakes
But the blood of Jesus, is all it takes
He forgave us then, now we sin no more
And now we have, forever in store."
I watched them both, they were so good together
Two peas in a pod, two birds of a feather,
Everyone wanted, to shake their hands
I stood in line, (one nervous man),
How could I say, what I wanted to say
When I'd thought of them only, in just one way?
I had to tell them, of the lesson I'd learned
As I stood in their presence, my stomach just churned,
I stared at my feet and said, "I'm embarrassed to say
That I've thought of you, in only one way,
I thought you'd show me, how you stood alone
I'd read your story, and I'd thought I had known,
You not only showed me, how trials to weather
But how a husband and wife, should stand together,"
Someone then called Job's name, and then I saw
Some people were there, twenty in all,
And behind them a crowd, I couldn't number
Who were these folks, I began to wonder.
"Thank you sir, could you excuse us?
Our children are here, just to amuse us."
I smiled as I watched them, go out of sight
The Job's and their family, were happy all right.
The story of Job and his wife is one that invites the reader to put themselves in the place of the characters and to try to see through their eyes. Imagine the pressure of this highly planned strategy against Job. He has been basking in the blessing of God for a while and has grown mighty in Spirit but also mighty in the world. He was wealthy, influential, with much responsibility on his shoulders. Phase one of Satan's plan goes into effect: All at once everything he possesses, including his children are removed from him. Job's response? "Naked came I from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there! Blessed be the name of the LORD." That must have really ticked off the devil so he put phase two into effect: Boils from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet to give him an agony we can only imagine. Job's response? "Though the LORD slay me, yet will I serve Him." So Satan had one more layer to his plan. He would try to verbally trip him up and he would use people Job loved to do it. He would get some friends to come to see him. They were his friends but these were carefully chosen friends whom the devil knew had an incorrect concept of sin and punishment from a loving God. His friends argued with him for what seemed forever to get him to admit some sin that he was committing against God. The effect Satan was going for was one of pride and self-righteousness in Job. Job's response was one of reasoning. He explained that God had worked with him and how careful he was not do the very things they said he must be doing. When the devil saw that using his friends was not working, he tried one more desperate act. He put words into the mouth of the other person who was suffering from the same tragedies, his wife. No one thinks of the horrible state she must have been in. Granted she was not covered in boils and her flesh was not rotting as was her husband's, but consider her mind at the time these few words were uttered. In those days, a woman's security was her husband and children. She was a mother of ten children and suddenly they were dead. She was watching her husband who seemed in her eyes to be dying and hearing three close friends "reasoning" with him that he must be playing around on her, or stealing, or being prideful, or something. With hour after hour of that in her ear and the heavy burden of death staring her in the face, (she probably having to bury the children herself) what mindset would you imagine she would be in? Grief and misery loosened her tongue. The devil is very good at what he does, and when she was in just the right state of created madness he placed the words,"curse God and die."
I believe we all say much worse things with devastating effects everyday. We can empathize with Job though. Why would he cherish his integrity to God so much? It is because he knew that God was the One that blessed him. He was the One that taught him so much and he loved the LORD. He realized his own sin was larger than he ever wanted and he took pains to be as close to God as he could. I say to you, dear reader, if a good man like Job knew his sin to be ever present should we give any thought to our own sin? What is the effect of our sin on the ones we love? What will pay for the sins that we have done? Job knew that he was a child of God. He knew upon whom he believed, in the coming Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. He looked to the Messiah to forgive his sins, do you?
Do you know for a fact that if you died today, that you would be in heaven? You can know for sure.
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31)
"These things have I written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:13)
Jesus came to earth to take our sins upon Himself and to die to pay for them. The Bible was written so that we can know how to turn to Jesus for salvation. Do you believe as Job did that you are a sinner incapable of saving yourself?
"We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against You." (Jeremiah 14:20)
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
Do you believe in Jesus who came to earth and was raised again after He died for your sins?
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
If you believe that Jesus is your only way to heaven pray this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and that You came to this earth to die for me. I believe You died, were buried, and rose again for me. Jesus, please forgive me of my sin and save me. The life I have been living alone without You is doomed, but I promise Lord to follow You all the rest of my life. I turn to you as the only way of salvation. Thank You for all You have done for me. I pray this in Jesus' holy name. Amen.