JOB 40:1 – 42:17 and ROMANS 15:1–33
The Lord has been asking Job many questions primarily based on nature and the creation. God now gives Job an opportunity to speak and it is clear he has been humbled. He sees himself as vile and in no position of even trying of giving any answer to the Lord. This is a picture of a man who comes to see the Lord in His glory, high and lifted up. We know Isaiah had this wonderful revelation of God but it unnerved him due to seeing himself as being undone (Isa 6:5). He saw himself with unclean lips and yet it would be those same lips and tongue that God would use as His mighty prophet. Job is undone in the light of his initial encounter with God. His trial is no longer the primary focus at this point but rather the realization of being undone before the Almighty. Job was expressing regret in what he did. He said I have already spoken once I will not make the same mistake again. He had nothing to say to God. There was still to be no relief for Job as the Lord was about to prepare him for the next round (vs 6-7). God is looking to do a thorough and complete work in Job.
The Lord now speaks to Job about how he sought to justify himself at the expense of God’s righteousness. His problem was that he was bringing God down to the level of man in how he was assessing his plight. In doing this he was dishonouring God, he was skewering God’s righteousness in his attempts of vindicating himself. It may not have been intentional but it was without knowledge. The Lord further humbles Job by asking if he can thunder with a voice that shakes the waters and nature or if he had an arm like God to orchestrate the affairs of man and creation. He then tells Job to deck himself with majesty, Excellency, glory and beauty. Can you do that Job, can you display your royal beauty?
The Lord then shifts gears and challenges Job to cast abroad the rage of his wrath. Can you move against sin and pride when it is in the earth? The questions that God are asking Job are clearly exposing Him but it does give us a window as to who God is and what is pleasing to Him. The Lord then went on to say that He would confess to Job that he would be right if he were able to do those things. Job of course had no ability in these areas.
God again goes back to the animal kingdom and speaks regarding elephants in verses 15-24; quite a few verses in describing just one animal. He is an animal that no one is able to stand against. The Lord then introduces aspects of nature to demonstrate how God provides through His creation. We need to meditate on these verses because when we go through times of difficulty we can learn how God has the command of His creation. Even though Job is being slain by these words from the Lord there has to be some sort of awe struck admiration regarding the greatness of God. The Lord speaks to Job through the elephant as to how he can meet any need that may come about. If it can be done for an elephant can it also be done for man; how much more so for man? Let us be encouraged by a familiar verse that reinforces this truth.
Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Mat 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
The sparrows are birds of very little value yet the Lord cares for them and is able to meet their needs.
This is the critical portion of this whole ordeal involving Job. The Lord is going to continue to ask questions but in so doing he will be conveying great insight regarding the nature of Satan and sin. It seems like God is now directing His words towards Satan in a way that Job and others would be able to hear. Remember, this whole trial began when God spoke highly of Job. It was Satan who made the statement that Job only serves you because of the blessings. The Lord would have never allowed Job to be subjected to such severe suffering if He knew he could not come forth triumphant. He knew the capacities of Job and he knew that he was not like Satan. The time has now come where God is going to penetrate the inner recesses of Job and reveal the slippery serpent and how he can be extracted. One of the keys we saw in Job earlier was that he was not like Adam; he did not hide nor seek to cover iniquity (Job 31:33).
The Lord begins by speaking of a sea type serpent called leviathan. It is a picture of the slippery, slithering serpent. Satan can take on many forms but it was in the form of a serpent where he made his first introduction to man (Gen 3:1). How can he be lured or drawn out from his perch? Will a hook work or can you bore through his jaw with a spike? In verse 3 the question is asked as to whether he will speak soft words? Is this not the way he first approached Eve, especially when he was drawing her attention towards the forbidden tree. Will he seek to make a covenant with thee? Well I think the answer is again yes. His covenant was the breaking of God’s covenant and law. Consider these words that were given to Eve just before she took of the forbidden fruit:
Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Those words were a direct violation of the words God gave to Adam earlier (Gen 2:16-17). These are smooth, soft words that sound very good and easy to hear. In verses 6-10 we see the dangers of stirring up this leviathan from his secret hiding place. He loves the place of hiding but woe to those who seek to shine a light upon him and bring him into the light. This is very true in the life of a believer. Satan will not be threatened if we never seek to live in the light of God’s Word. He hates to be stirred or exposed. His strength is in darkness. Is it any wonder that the study and promoting of God’s Word comes under such attack? It is to be expected in the world but in the church? There are many well- known Christian Leaders who are cleverly relegating the Word and the teaching of it to a marginalized role. The enemy can remain hidden and not threatened because the light of Truth will not penetrate his domain. Job is now being subjected to Truth and the reality about himself. Since Job had become the object of Satan’s ire his life and being becomes ground zero. Satan will do all he can in any way he can to get Job to transgress and curse God.
Before going forward we see a similar encounter between God and Satan over a man of integrity. His name is Joshua the high priest and the account is covered in Zec 3:1-8.
Zec 3:1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
Zec 3:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
Joshua’s trial was not as intense as Job’s but he was a man who was also contended over. Satan had a vested interest in Joshua but he was a man who proved himself in the furnace of affliction (Isa 48:10). The Lord rebuked Satan and took Joshua, a man who had been clothed with filthy garments and arrayed him with garments of righteousness. He later became a man wondered at who proved to be a standard bearer for God during the Restoration era.
So far the enemy has not been able to get Job to lose his integrity and testimony. He (Satan) now seeks to hide deep within and not be discovered. God can only go to the root of what is at issue with Job. It will be discovered soon.
The balance of the verses speaks of the concealing and treacherous attributes of this leviathan. In verse 24 his heart is revealed as being one like stone. This should serve as a reminder of the danger of a hardened heart. It is a heart that has no ability to receive from God; if a seed is sown it is quickly swept away by the enemy. His prowess is far superior to ordinary weapons that work on other creatures; he cannot be taken down by natural means.
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Finally, he is identified and named in the last verse as a king who is over the father of pride. This is the bottom line issue and it speaks as to the root of what God was after in Job. It was pride that led to his downfall at the time of the rebellion in heaven.
Eze 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
What was that iniquity? It was the issue of pride which is clearly seen in the assertions of the 5 “I wills” from Isa 14:13-14. It simply comes down to putting “I” before God. This leviathan serves as a king and he now has been exposed. The life of Job as extracted through his trial has brought forth this leviathan front and center. This would never have been the case if he would have been like the first Adam. The first Adam covered up, hid and blamed others for his iniquity. Job had issues but he did not cover up like Adam. This is a quality that God can work with. God in His mercy has given Job the privilege and opportunity to have a deep work of grace done in his life. The trial is now about to end and the rewards of his suffering will now soon be rendered.
In verses 1-6 Job now speaks with authority and clarity of mind as he repents before the Lord. John the Baptist made mention of the need to bring forth fruit meet for repentance and Job has clearly demonstrating this here. He confesses that he uttered things he did not understand. He also shares in how he has come into a whole new understanding of who God is. He says he has heard of God but he has now seen God in a whole new light. Indeed he has! He finishes his comments by saying that he abhors himself before God in dust and ashes. This gesture indicates that he is absolutely nothing before the Almighty God.
In verses 7-9 the Lord directs his comments to Eliphaz and the other two friends. He rebukes them for speaking words to Job that were not right and required of them an offering. God vindicated Job before his friends and delivered him from his captivity when he prayed for them (vs 9-10). The prayer of forgiveness is a powerful force for healing and strengthening of the body. The season of discourses between Job and his friends got very testy but at the end you get the sense of healing, forgiveness and restoration at the trial’s conclusion.
The Bible indicates that Job was doubly blessed after he prayed for his friends. His other friends and extended family also returned with comfort and money. In the end Job ended up with much more than he previously had. It was seen in his substance but most importantly was seen in his offspring and in particular by way of his three daughters. Job lived to a good age and was able to enjoy life with his family through four generations.
What are the primary takeaways from the account of Job? First, he was an extraordinary man. He is linked with Noah and Daniel as men of righteousness (Eze 14:14). He was a man who was able to prove Satan wrong in seeing that man could serve God for more than just the blessings. Job is a pioneer in allowing us to take courage and hope from his experience. We learn so much about God through this narrative; at the same time we also gain insight at the wiles and workings of the enemy. As believers one of the primary questions we need to ask ourselves is whether we are in the category of Job’s three friends or in the category of Job. Let us ask this question honestly and seek to glean and learn from the wonderful life and example of this great man. May our life be worthy of being contested over (Job 1:8, Zec 3:2).
The tour through Romans is drawing closer to the end. Paul will now share some vital keys to help reinforce the primary lessons of the Roman’s Road journey. I have often said that if I were given only one Book from the Bible that I could teach from it would be the Book of Romans. Paul does an excellent job of encapsulating the Christian walk of a believer down into one book. Paul’s intention in these closing chapters is to build upon all that has been shared and cementing it into the hearts and minds of his audience. Let me share a personalized example of how this process works:
My wife and some family members were visiting the Hershey’s chocolate factory over 25 years ago. For those who do not know me I am a “chocoholic”. We took a motorized tour through the factory which gave a history of the company and the process in how it came to be such a successful chocolate empire. All through this tour they are putting chocolate before your eyes coupled with this little jingle which I never forgot: (Hershey’s chocolate, Hershey’s chocolate it’s a Hershey’s chocolate world) I know I know I was being programmed. As we came to the end of the tour there was a sudden smell of chocolate in the air, it was inescapable. They were pumping the smell of Hershey’s chocolate through the tunnel. I even remember the visuals of a popular sports figure by the name of Joe Montana sharing about his love of Hershey’s chocolate. Of course, to no one’s surprise there were Hershey Chocolate items for sale at the end of the tour available at inflated prices. I love my chocolate but I love keeping my wallet in my pocket even more, especially when my wife is by my side to enforce it. It’s a humorous memory but it makes the point! Paul is going to do whatever he can to make sure that the message shared on this tour will find its mark and that it will not be forgotten.
In verses 1-3 Paul speaks of the importance of building up the body of Christ. We as individuals become stronger when the body as a whole is healthy. The enemy seeks to divide and conquer while God works as a restorer and developer of His people. It all comes down to being a servant and seeking what is the best for others. As we learn to major on serving others we will find our needs being met in ways beyond measure. In verse 4, Paul speaks of the importance of recording and journaling your experiences. They will provide an excellent reservoir of treasures that can be drawn from in times of difficulties. As a Bible School teacher and Dean for a number of years I have reinforced this point over and over with my students. If we reflect upon what God did in the past and how He came through when we were going through challenges he can do the same today. “God is the same yesterday, today and forever”.
In verses 5-7 Paul speaks on the importance of unity. There is a movement today within the church where we are seeing certain denominational walls being broken down. These walls have often contributed in alienating key believers from one another. This minimizes the effectiveness of the body of Christ especially in light of the growing spiritual and cultural forces that are opposing the church. One needs to be careful because we can seek to unite in a way that will result in compromise. This is never acceptable however there is a positive trend being seen where churches are coming together in a way that is beneficial to the kingdom. The glory of God that was seen at the time of Solomon’s Temple and at the time of the early church was when God’s people were in one accord. You cannot force this unity; it is something that only the Spirit of God can achieve as a people avail themselves of His grace (2 Chr 5:12-13, Acts 2:1, Psa 133:1-3).
Paul addresses both Jew and Gentile in verses 8-12 to help give them perspective of the unique work that God is doing. He puts emphasis on Christ being the Minister of the Circumcision of Truth. The true circumcision is the circumcision of heart not of ritual as observed and practiced in the Old Testament. The Gentiles are beneficiaries of this message but they are to remember that they have been grafted into the tree. The Jews are to recognize the true message of the circumcision as now being seen in the gospel going forth to the Gentiles. Paul is seeking to use this opportunity to bring a certain cohesion and understanding between the Jewish and Gentile Brethren. A proper understanding of the true circumcision would result in this needed harmony. Only the Apostle Paul could be used in such a way in seeking to bridge the divide between Jew and Gentile.
Paul continues to provide some other keys that would prove beneficial to the body of Christ. He constantly exhorts them to be filled with the goodness of God and to grow in His knowledge (vs 14-18). This is so important for us today as we see end time events beginning to play out around us. Paul opened up the tour by sharing in how many were rejecting the true knowledge of God (Rom 1:28). He is hopeful now that the trend will reverse. As this chapter draws to a close we see the blessing of Gentile Brethren meeting the needs of several Jews. This had to be most gratifying to Paul to see his message taking hold (vs 25-27) He longs for the day when he can see them and asks that they pray towards that end.