The Faith of Job
Books on Suffering
Penn-Lewis has written some excellent books, but her one book 'War on the Saints' must be read with caution. This is one book that has caused much confusion. Her study on Job is, however, very enlightening.
Harold Kushner, a Jewish rabbi facing his own child's fatal illness, guides us through the inadequacies of the traditional answers to the problem of evil, and provides a uniquely practical and compassionate answer that has appealed to millions of readers across all religious creeds. Remarkable for its intensely relevant real-life examples and its fluid prose, this book cannot go unread by anyone who has ever been troubled by the question, "Why me?".
The Problem of Pain answers the universal question, "Why would an all-loving, all-knowing God allow people to experience pain and suffering?" C.S. Lewis asserts that pain is a problem because our finite, human minds selfishly believe that pain-free lives would prove that God loves us. In truth, by asking for this, we want God to love us less, not more than he does. "Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved; that mere 'Kindness' which tolerates anything except suffering is, in that respect, at the opposite pole from Love."
The Faith of Job
For those of us who have been captured by grace, nothing is more touching than Job's response to the terrible calamities that befell him because of the spite and malice of Satan. When he heard the shattering news of the loss of all his property and possessions and the sudden tragic deaths of all his children, what did Job do? It is written that he tore his robe, shaved his head, and worshipped. He said, 'The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord!' Job 1:20, 21
When his wife, seeing him smitten with foul boils, bids him abandon his integrity and curse God and die, he rebukes her saying, 'Shall we indeed accept good from God, and not accept adversity?' In all this he did not sin with his lips, nor did he renounce God.
It was only when his three friends intervened and pierced his soul with false insinuations of guilt and wickedness, that Job was provoked, and in his bitterness he begins to find fault with God, while all the time holding on to his innocence and integrity.
Nevertheless, despite the terrible trial and testing, Job does not abandon his faith in God. Here are the patriarch's words, shining like stars in the dark night that his soul underwent. (For who ever suffered the way Job suffered, barring our Lord Jesus Christ?). I quote from the NASB.
i. It is still my consolation, and I rejoice in unsparing pain, that I have not denied the words of the Holy One. 6:10. He has not denied the word of God!
ii. Why then do You not pardon my transgression, and take way my iniquity? 7:21. You see here the longing for pardon, for forgiveness, for deliverance from sin. Job knows that God can (and will) pardon him; but how is the question? There is no talk about a lamb here, no reference to a sacrifice; but we in the age of grace know how pardon, forgiveness of sin, and deliverance has come to us through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.
iii. There is no umpire between us, who may lay his hand upon us both. 9:33. Job longs for a mediator, or daysman. A mediator who is a Man; for Job says, 'He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him' 9:32. We know that our Mediator, who is both God and Man, is the Lord Jesus Christ. 'For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.' 1 Tim 2:5, 6. Our Lord not only gave Himself as a ransom on the Cross, thereby procuring salvation for us, but even now He intercedes for us at the right hand of God. He continues to mediate or intercede on our behalf.
iv. Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. 13:15. NKJV. Can there be a greater expression of solid, steadfast faith that this statement in the whole Old Testament?
v. I know that I will be vindicated. 13:18b. Job asserts that God is a righteous Judge, and will never pervert justice.
vi. All the days of my struggle I will wait till my change comes. 14:14. From where did Job get this prophetic insight? We in the day of the New Testament know that there is a day of resurrection and glorification.
vii. You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for the work of Your hands. 14:15. God is working on Job, and will transform him into a saint full of beauty and glory.
viii. Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high. 16:19. We know that our Lord Jesus Christ is our Faithful Witness and Advocate before the heavenly Father. From where did Job get this insight?
ix. I know that my Redeemer lives. 19:25. Here is a wonderful New Testament utterance by a patriarch in the days of old, perhaps much before the days of Abraham. A great Messianic prophecy, if ever there was one.
x. At the last He will take His stand on the earth. 19:25b. Is Job talking about the First Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, or His Second Coming?
xi. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God. 19:26. Whom I myself shall behold, 19:27. Job is talking about resurrection. He is saying that he will see God not in spirit or soul but in the body, in the flesh. Is Job talking about a glorified body?
xii. Surely, He would pay attention to me. 23:6. The upright would reason with Him, and I would be delivered forever from my Judge. 23:7. Once again we see Job counting on the unchanging righteousness of God.
xiii. He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 23:10. Another beautiful expression of faith. When our faith is tried, we shall come forth with even more beauty and glory than gold. Pure and steadfast faith is more precious than gold, 1 Pet 1:7
xiv. I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. 23:12. How much Job values the word of God. Every true believer knows that he lives by not by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from God's mouth. To him the word of God is like 'milk and honey'.
xv. What His soul desires, that He does, for He performs what is appointed for me. 23:13, 14. Job knows that this trial has been appointed for him. It is a trial that has come from the hands of God.
xvi. To man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.' 28:28. Job is quoting the very words of God. This statement is so in tune with the Wisdom books in the Old Testament. Believers in this day and age would do well to note that those who receive God's abundant grace are not exempted from walking in the fear of God and from eschewing evil. Practical righteousness is the hallmark of a true believer.
xvii. Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom? 31:33. What a statement! How clearly it reveals Adam's iniquity! Job, like David after him, was ready to confess his sins and failures.
xviii. Behold, I am vile. 40:4. He abases himself before God. What is puny man, an insignificant creature, before the awesome Creator?
xix. I lay my hand on my mouth. 40:4b. He realizes that in a multitude of words sin is not lacking. He has spoken too much, and beyond his limits.
xx. I know that You can do all things. 42:2. He is the Almighty God, and every man of faith believes that his 'God is able', and that there is nothing impossible for him. Jer 32:27; Luke 1:37
xxi. No purpose of Yours can be thwarted. 42:2b. He is the Sovereign God, and His will, his counsel, his purpose, will surely be executed on earth as it is in heaven.
xxii. I have declared that which I did not understand. 42:3. Humbly, he confesses his ignorance. Humility is one of the chief aspects of faith.
xxiii. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You. 42:5. This is revelation. May God open our eyes, so that we may see Him and know Him in a new way!
xxiv. I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes. 42:6. True repentance, true abasement. Job is the epitome of a true believer.