Chastening of Job, Part 2

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21.

As for Job, the outward evidence is an indication that the man was trained up by conscientious parents; yet in this case, it is the inward man that God is working with.

Unquestionably Job had a real love for God, but he was so righteous before men and God that he began to believe that his works commended him to God. In fact, two of his friends touched on this question.

“What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous? If God puts no trust in His saints, and the heavens are not pure in His sight, how much less man, who is abominable and filthy, who drinks iniquity like water!” Job 15:14-16.

“How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? If even the moon does not shine, and the stars are not pure in His sight, how much less man, who is a maggot, and a son of man, who is a worm?” Job 25:4-6.

These brutal words are true.

As we continue with Elihu’s dialogue which began in Chastening of Job, Part 1 even more interesting things are brought to light.

“Job speaks without knowledge, his words are without wisdom. Oh, that Job were tried to the utmost, because his answers are like those of wicked men! For he adds rebellion to his sin; he claps his hands among us, and multiplies his words against God.” Job 34:35-37.

Job has gone completely off the rails here and Elihu takes him to task, telling him that his words are without knowledge and without wisdom.

Consider Elihu’s words carefully lest you (and I) commit the same subtle sins against our beloved God and Savior.

In his anguish Job has lashed out at God and accused Him of injustice, putting Job within the camp of wicked men.

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights [he delights!].” Proverbs 3:11-12.

“As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13-14.

Elihu’s statement in Job 34:35-37 quoted earlier brought the following out.

Evil men say these very things against God, accusing Him of being unjust. In saying this Job has rebelled against God, a considerable sin.

Speaking to King Saul the prophet Samuel said this:

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23.

The incident above occurred about a thousand years after Job, but it tells us, in God’s eyes, Job has in his rebellion, put himself on the same level as a witch.

Unless he recants, Elihu desires that Job be tried to the utmost, this would include death.

Elihu continues:

“Do you think this is right? Do you say, ‘My righteousness is more than God’s’? For you say, ‘What advantage will it be to You? What profit shall I have, more than if I had sinned?’’’ Job 35:2-3.

Elihu points out here that it is Job’s righteousness that is making him to stumble because he believes it commends him before God; and if so, why is he being treated as a sinner? What good has it done to live righteously?

“I will answer you, and your companions with you. Look to the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than you. If you sin, what do you accomplish against Him? Or, if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give Him? Or what does He receive from your hand? Your wickedness affects a man such as you, and your righteousness a son of man.” Job 35:4-8.

Elihu’s premise is simple and misunderstood by most who expect to be rewarded as though God were in their debt because of their works.

Yet Elihu points out that if we are wicked, it affects us, becoming a kind of cancer within our own soul. It does not need to be stated that our wickedness affects those around us. If we are righteous, it also affects us and those around us.

Does it affect God? If you hate Him, can you give Him a kick in the shins, or poke Him in the eye? If you love Him or need something from Him, can you give Him a box of candy?

God hating atheists love to tear down crosses, destroy churches, mock Him in movies, or other media, and if they can, kill or torment His children.

“Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah.” Psalm 39:5.

“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” James 4:14b.

These shades, who walk through life damaging and corrupting everything around them in their hatred, have no effect whatsoever on God.

Like a vapor, they will evanesce and find themselves in hell for eternity. God knows the beginning from the end; their works do not disturb Him.

This does not mean that God does not reward righteousness.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:18-20.

“The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all those who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.” Psalm 145:14-20.

The Lord is kind to all who trust in Him, He lifts up the humble, He is attentive to all who call on Him, He fills our lives with good things, but not because He owes it to us, it is because He is gracious.

These things become obvious when we examine the riches of Job before his loss and after his chastening.

Even though he justified himself before God, Job never let go of his integrity. This is seen by his following statement.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Job 13:15a.

In spite of Job’s confusion over this entire calamity, he would not let go of God, a true test of salvation. When many of Jesus’ followers left Him because of unbelief, He asked His disciples if they would leave too.

“[Peter replied] Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68b.

This is the essence of salvation, when an individual comes to know that Jesus is the only way.

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.

After listening to Elihu and then being confronted by the Lord Himself, Job replies to God.

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6.

Two things have been accomplished here; the first being that Job sees that he cannot come before God on the basis of his own righteousness.

“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6.

The second thing is that Job has gone from mere head knowledge of God to a heart knowledge, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.”

Most Christians have the problem that Job had, they know of Him, but they do not really know Him as a Father and friend.

Most of us have gone to the movies and seen the cardboard cutouts of Darth Vader or some other actor; perhaps you have even stood next to it and seen how big he really is. But that is as far as it goes; you know nothing of the man other than what you have seen.

This is how many see Christ, as a two-dimensional cutout, it is nice and the knowledge you gain of Him in Scripture will get you through life; but why settle for less, when He is available to everyone who will seek His presence.

You do not have to go through what Job did to have a real relationship with Christ; just seek the Lord with all your heart.

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19.

“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts”, the word dwell means for Him to be completely at home, according to the footnote in my Bible.

Many of you have your home to yourself when your child goes off to college and you are alone; so, when they return home for Christmas break, they are completely free to roam about being completely at home.

In this manner, Christ should be welcome in our heart and life. Unfortunately, we then become ill at ease in our own hearts because of the mess within it; suddenly you must hide the magazines, not watch certain movies, watch your language, and stay away from the liquor cabinet.

Know what? It’s not worth it. All you do is become a hypocrite, not so much before men, but worse, you start lying and making up excuses to yourself and before God.

“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart…” Psalm 15:1-2.

Now nature abhors a vacuum and that is just what will happen to the average individual when they determine that they will just give this stuff up, no more questionable magazines, movies, cigarettes, drinking, partying, and so on.

Soon enough their brain starts to percolate and after they gnaw their way through several pencils, they will return to whatever has the strongest pull on their flesh. Failure is not a good way to reinforce good habits.

There are those of us that are so grateful for their salvation that they just walk away from all of it and turn their lives entirely over to Jesus Christ.

For the rest of us it is a bit harder, the first rule is not to start making vows to God or before men about how you are going to give up this or that.

If you are into some blatant sin, adultery, drugs, or any other dangerous life or liberty threatening habit (such as alcoholism) you need to give it up and seek God’s help through fervent prayer immediately.

You might consider Alcoholics Anonymous or some Christian organization which addresses your addiction. Proceed prayerfully my friends.

As for the rest, start praying for God to cleanse you of the desire for these things and to make you aware of what it is He wants you to give up.

Scripture tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to you. This includes turning away from sin which is habitual, such as lying, gossip, filthy talk, hatred of certain persons; this stuff seems harmless, it is not, it is destructive.

We also draw near to God through Bible study and memorizing favorite verses. You will find that as you study, both at home and with Christian groups, you will learn things that will fill the vacuum that smoking cigarettes, partying, or questionable movies would leave.

If you are sincere, soon you will become more Christ-like and more able to have Christ dwell completely at home in your heart.

Chastening of Job, Part 2 taken from posted on 10-20-15 and updated on 6-30-24 ck.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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