JOB 28:1 – 30:31 and ROMANS 11:1–36
In looking at the whole of chapter 28 the thought of commodities comes to mind. It begins with speaking about gold and silver. Let’s look at today’s economy as an example. The world does trade and business via currencies. What are currencies? They are the paper medium that a country uses to do internal commerce within their own country. If the currently is strong it enables you to trade with other countries at a mutually determined value. Let’s consider the US dollar for a moment. There was a time when a dollar was backed by a commodity (gold) meaning that if all the dollars in circulation were suddenly traded in there would be an amount of gold that would be able to cover it. This was all changed in 1971 when the US dollar was taken off the gold standard. What backs the US dollar and most other currencies? It is simply the confidence that it will retain value which in reality is an illusion of the true picture. When people’s confidence becomes shaken in valueless “paper currencies” you will always see them resorting to gold, silver and precious metals. Is this summary meant to be a mini economics lesson in light of today’s deteriorating world’s financial structure? No however it is interesting to find gold and silver being traced back to the time of Job. You watch the interest in gold and silver that will begin to pick up in the days ahead. Watch the countries that have been privately accumulating vast amounts of precious commodities and how people will again place a high demand for them. Having said all of this we go back to Job’s comments in chapter 28. In verse 12 Job begins to place emphasis on an even greater commodity.
Job 28:12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
Once again we are introduced to several of the 7 Spirit of God anointing’s that are referred to in Isa 11:2-3. It represents an anointing that is within the Holy Place of Moses Tabernacle. Job asks the question as to where wisdom and understanding can be found. What price can you put on these commodities? In his wrestling with God in seeking to come to terms with his ordeal Job is longing for something beyond his experience which may help shed light on his situation. He speaks of the wonders of God and how He functions and then asks throughout this chapter the origins of such wisdom and understanding (vs 20).
This chapter is a must read for the people of our day in seeking to get a grasp of the day to day realities in life. If you are someone who wants to have a basic understanding in being instructed as to how to prepare for the economic days ahead you can learn much due to the presence of the commodities of gold and silver seen in Job’s day. This should tell us a clue that currencies come and go but commodities such as gold and silver endure the test of time. The dollar or any currency that becomes unhinged from the gold standard does so to allow for the creation of debt. Debt is an illusion of something tangible that has no real backing but is rather camouflaged by fancy creative gimmicks to give the “illusion” of stability. The world (particularly the USA) is awash in paper currency debt which gives the appearance of being strong and prosperous. All the while there has been a “sleight of hand” taking place behind the scenes whereby certain countries have been demanding the repatriation of gold (real gold, not paper certificates) which will be soon declared. The title deed holders of countries are the ones who have the real physical backing of commodities; though this is still downplayed for the time being. If gold and silver is a commodity of note in the days of Job is stands to reason it will have an impact for our day. The illusion will not hold for much longer. If one is looking to prudently save for the future days ahead it may not be a bad idea to have some physical commodities as a percentage of your portfolio. (just my opinion)
Now, why should we be spending time speaking about economics? Perhaps we can make the statement that there is a “debt crisis” in much of the theology that is seen today. The church strongly emphasizes the fact that God prospers and blesses and that He desires all to have an abundant life. This indeed is God’s intent but it all must be balanced in His Divine scale.
Job 31:6 Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.
Pro 16:11 A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work
We have taken the Bible and exercised it like a “credit card” in providing for ourselves a standard of living that suits us; that allows for a comfortable and godly lifestyle. The anchoring gems of the Word that relates to the Cross or to long-suffering, mercy etc are jettisoned as inconvenient and intrusive to our way of living. Our Christianity begins to de-link from the standard that holds all things together. We can begin to make a world that centers around our mode of thinking that veers incrementally away from God’s standard of His Word and Law. What happens when an economy is finally discovered for all the debt that it has accumulated and has no further means to cover it up or prolong the illusion? It will go bankrupt! What do you think will happen to a Christianity that is excessively fuelled by hype with its programs and contemporary leanings while diminishing God’s gold standard of Law and the Cross? It will go bankrupt! As in the natural so to in the spiritual (1 Cor 15:4-6). Do you see the parallels between today’s economy and Christianity? The veneer is about to be peeled away.
We are looking to try and put Job’s words into some perspective as for its meaning for our day. It is presumed that Job is the oldest Book in the Bible and yet it has such application for our day. We will follow up on the themes of wisdom and understanding in the next chapter.
We spent time speaking of gold, silver and precious commodities and how they retained a tangible value throughout the lifespan of man. Job then asked the question as to where to find wisdom and understanding? He saw these greater assets as past finding out and nowhere to be obtained. You can see in Job a certain desperation in desiring to know God in a greater way. He can speak of God in His glorious majesty, in how he manages his creation but is yet unable to provide a link into his own trial. In other words he seems to be asking; why Lord, why is this happening to me in light of your creative genius, I don’t understand how my situation can be measured in all of this. In chapter 29 he spends considerable time reflecting on what life used to be like. He reflects on how just a few months ago everything was different; all was well, he was able to bring light into darkness, he was respected by young and old alike, when he spoke all men listened, he delivered the poor and had ability to make a widows heart sing for joy. All of that is now gone, why Lord, what changed, what did Job do to warrant such a barrage of torment and suffering?
This chapter gives much more insight into Job’s life than was seen before. He literally projected a presence among the people. It makes me wonder if this is similar to the respect and honor that Lucifer had prior to his fall as a beautifully created angelic being. In reading through chapter 29 you almost can see Job like a god amongst the people. Just consider the following verses:
Job 29:7 When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!
Job 29:8 The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.
Job 29:9 The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. Job 29:10 The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
Job 29:11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:
We need to consider the timing of when Satan and God had their conversation about Job (Job 1:6-8). Satan may have well been able to identify with Job seeing that he once had that measure of respect in his position as an anointed cherub. One of the attributes of Satan that we must understand is that he is an accuser (Rev 12:10). He accuses God of not being fair. We know this in observing how man relates to God in today’s world. Satan accuses God in not being fair in how he was dealt with. This is why he challenged God over Job. He told God that if his blessing, honor and health were to be stripped away he would resort to cursing God, just as he did. Satan felt that Job lived honourably because of God’s favor upon him. There may be many similarities between Satan and Job prior to their respective demises but at least one thing is distinct and different between them. There was iniquity found in Lucifer in that he aspired to use his gifting to become like and even greater than God (Eze 28:15, Isa 14:13-14). The tendency for that iniquity to erupt was within Job, seeing that he is a product of the fall of man. This trial is actually allowing Job to have this potential eradicated as we shall later see.
In this entire scenario Job is reflecting on how just a few months ago he was enjoying all of these benefits and qualities of life. What he does not yet know is that there is a treasure beyond gold and silver that is being mined in his life. The fruits that will later manifest will be that of wisdom, understanding and the Fear of the Lord which are in fact the true treasures. Is this a treasure that looks appealing to you? Who would want to go through such suffering? Yet, Job is going through a process where God is mining and tapping into the true riches that will soon allow Job to know the wisdom and understanding that he seeks after. Anything that is of value and to be sought after has a price tag attached. Things that are quickly gained are never fully appreciated. This is why generational transitions often fall apart. The ones who inherit the pioneering efforts of their forefathers can never appreciate the price that had to be paid. It is the same with our salvation. We so cheapen the work of the Cross by extracting all of its benefits without giving due respect to the tremendous price that was paid. The truth is we are all indebted to Job for the message that is coming forth from his life. His life is a vivid reminder of the Cross and what was truly accomplished there. His life provides a stinging rebuke to today’s hyped up Christianity that merely seeks to live off the dividends of Calvary’s atonement without recognizing our responsibility as believer’s. So the question needs to be asked; are we more like the three friends of Job or are we more like Job? The two groups are as distinct today as they were in the days of Job.
Job is now shifting gears and begins to speak on how the younger ones now look at him with disdain and derision. These would be sons of men that Job had no regard for due to their haughty lifestyles (vs 1). How could there be such a transition between honour and rebellion towards a person of repute in such a short period of time? Is this not true of our recent generations, particularly when viewing the USA? There was once upon a time when there was honour and respect for authority. In the matter of two generations the roles are reversed. In Job’s case it was a matter of months but it paints a picture of what we see today. Through it all it is God who reigns supreme and is Sovereign and He is the one who is allowing it to happen. One can only imagine what Job would be saying to himself. Why is all this happening to me? Where is the wisdom in it, what is the purpose? As noted in the previous chapters there is a weighty truth and treasure being produced; an eternal weight of gold that will endure and continually testify of the Lord’s wisdom. Job, though he cannot appreciate it now is the object through which this eternal truth is being brought forth. Job is God’s answer to Satan about fairness and the fact that there are those who love and serve God for who He is and not just for what He does. It is a question we will all have to answer. It is the John 6 question; are we like the multitudes as seen in John 6:2 or the few as seen in verses 67- 68? How would you answer those questions?
As you progress though chapter 30 you get a picture of several of the events that Jesus came to know when he was dying upon the cross. He has those who are mocking and jeering at him (vs 10). They make songs about him and spit in his face. Is this not the personification of evil? If you read Revelation chapter 11 you see similar events taking place at the time of the abomination of desolation. It is the time when the antichrist and his minions prevail over Elijah and Moses. Their stinging righteous testimony of holiness is put to rest and the people of the earth rejoice. The recent landmark decisions seen in many courts today that validate lawlessness will be nothing compared to this great victory. This is the ultimate victory for evil just like the time when Christ was in the grave for 3 ½ days. The early church came to know persecution after Christ ascended but the persecution to come in the last days will be far worse. What will be the condition of the church? There will be many Zophar’s, Bildad’s and Eliphaz’s but they will not be postulating their theories as they too will be subject to intense judgements. The key is to approach the Book of Job with a sincere heart while meditating upon its message. In so doing the Holy Spirit can release great wisdom, knowledge and understanding (Isa 11:2-3). In addition, it will help to instil a healthy respect for the Fear of the Lord. Note what Job said in the last verse of chapter 28.
“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28)
Job sounds like a writer in Proverbs with this statement; whether he is aware of it or not he is well on the way in discovering wisdom, understanding, the Fear of the Lord and other treasures. He has the quality of the merchant man in the 6th kingdom parable of Math 13. He was a man who was a seeker, he reflects the quality that is seen in kings who dig to seek and extract the hidden things of God (Math 13:45-46).
The final portion of this chapter has Job once again expressing his perceived desertion of God’s hand upon his life. He tries to reason with God by asking if he has ever turned a blind eye to those who were in trouble (vs 25)? Why then are you turning a blind eye towards me in my time of need? The pain of a trial without any light or perspective is a heavy one. I feel it helps to give some understanding to Abraham’s horror of great darkness (Gen 15:12). It was a time when Abram was absolutely helpless and yet it was a time when a profound covenant was being established. It is a trial of the highest degree; no one can seem to help, to give insight of comfort. You only have your integrity to draw from in addition to the reservoir of relationship and understanding that you have with God. Thankfully, the friends have no more to say as they sit and witness Job’s verbal responses. The time is soon coming when God will bring to light this mysterious and yet glorious work being done. The manifestation of the heart of Job and his friends will be revealed. Like a tunnel the light might not be immediately seen but as one progresses forward the glimmer of its end will come into view. Job is approaching that moment; it will be a moment of discovery for his friends as well.
Paul is still captivating his audience on the subject of the election of God. One of the other great apostles of the early church was Peter; he also makes a statement concerning election:
2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
How can we define “the election” in a way that can be understood and applicable? To me it is the availing of grace. God has a unique calling that is placed on each of our lives. If we press into God we come to know aspects of who we are and what our calling is. Since it originates with God there would be available grace for the fulfilment of that call. We also know that grace can be forfeited if we allow our hearts to entertain bitterness or offense which would then limit our portion of grace (Heb 12:15). If we keep a soft and tender heart before the Lord it enables us to become recipients of greater grace. A soft and tender heart does need to be broken at times to keep it pliable (Psa 51:17).
In verses 1-2 Paul touches on the foreknowledge of God. Essentially, he is saying that foreknowledge precedes doctrine. God knew what Israel would do but He did not cast them away. Paul traces his roots in saying that he was of the seed of Abraham who then came forth from the tribe of Benjamin. This verse must be seen in light of the earlier statement of Paul in chapter 8:
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
It is here where we begin to get into dispute between two different streams of thought in the church. You have Calvinists who believe that everything is pretty much pre-determined as opposed to the Armenians’ view which bases God’s interaction with man on his free will. If we are predestinated according to God’s foreknowledge it seems like “choice” is pretty much taken out of the picture. If this is true why then would Paul even bring up the subject of election a bit later on this chapter? In my opinion the simple answer is that there is merit to both views but with a heavier emphasis on Armenian thought. You simply cannot take human volition and “choice” out of the equation in God’s working with man. We saw this already in the narrow Road of Romans (chapters 6-8) where we were presented with the question of whom we would yield our members too. This is the greatness of God. He does not need man to administrate His kingdom but he chooses to allow man to be heirs with Him and to have a function. We must understand that all things initiate with God but we have an ability to allow FAITH to be produced by meditating and studying HIs Word and then to believe and obey what His Word instructs. This is our choosing but in choosing to do so FAITH comes forth which allows God to do in and through us what we cannot do ourselves. We cannot do anything outside the medium of faith (Heb 11:6) but we can do what the people of Nazareth refused to do:
Mat 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Paul affirms the above truth by building upon what Elijah said after defeating the prophets of Baal. God said He had a remnant of seven thousand who did not bow (1 Kings 19:18). This is later confirmed in the Book of Revelation where a remnant of seven thousand is again noted (Rev 11:13). Paul goes on to make the case that the remnant comes about by the election of grace (vs 6). Once again one clearly sees that the election will come by a people who “choose” to avail themselves of God’s grace. Remember, Paul is talking with an audience that has the mind-set of being the people of election and that there is no other alternative. Paul is now a missionary to the Gentiles and he is seeking to inform his Jewish brethren what the scriptures really said about election and grace. As we saw earlier Paul was able to demonstrate from the Old Testament that the message of election went beyond the Jewish people. In verses 7-8 Paul then makes the case that the Gentiles have now entered into the promises of Israel. Paul will again draw their attention to their revered Old Testament scriptures to validate his point. In verse 8 he refers to the following verse in Isaiah:
Isa 29:10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
Paul then continues to use Old Testament passages to speak about the dangers of rejecting truth by quoting King David in verses 9-10 (Psa 69:22-23). The purpose now is that Israel would be provoked to jealousy seeing that the Gentiles have now become the inheritors of the promise (vs 11-14). How do you think Israel would respond to this? Would they recognize that this is indeed the case and come before God in brokenness and repentance? This would be Paul’s hope for them seeing that he also came into this revelation. Paul is credible here because he had a reputation as a zealous Jew responsible for the persecution and death of many early church believers.
Paul will now shift gears as he addresses the non-Jewish brethren. He speaks of Israel being like an Olive Tree that the Gentiles had the privilege of being grafted into. It’s true, Israel rejected the Messiah and this opened the door to the Gentiles to be the new beneficiaries of the promises of Israel. Paul is exhorting humility to the Gentiles and reminds them that what happened to Israel can just as easily happen to them (vs 21). Paul then speaks of the severity and goodness of God. Let’s examine this truth for a moment.
My spiritual father was a very godly man who lived his life in integrity and uprightness. He was very kind and generous and a man who exuded the long-suffering quality of God. I have seen him being very kind even towards persons who were not being faithful. He would exhort and warn with a firmness and love of a true loving father. There was a limit however and I witnessed it on occasions where the attributes of the Severity of God were rendered. It truly put the Fear of God in me. Israel was under the care of a loving heavenly Father throughout the years of the Old Testament. He constantly reminded them of their sins but gave ample opportunities for them to repent and turn from their ways. They had the privilege of the Son of God being brought forth through the tribe of Judah but as a nation they rejected Him. The result was the Severity of God being their portion and allowing for the Gospel to be opened up to the Gentiles. This is what Paul is referring to in verse 22. He warns the Gentiles to not let this happen to them. They are now becoming acquainted with the goodness of God and Paul exhorts them to maintain it.
Paul later exhorts the Gentile believers to pray and intercede for their Jewish brethren. They came to know of God’s mercy and they can help pave the way for Israel to know the same (vs 31). He concludes by referring to the greatness and unsearchable riches of God (vs 34-36). Who has been His counsellor or Instructor? All things which pertain to his creation are for His glory.