The word of Jehovah God mentions that “you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has.” What did Job say? That was the words we have mentioned above, and the many words of Job recorded in the Book of Job. In all these many words, he did not have any complaints or suspicions about God but was just waiting for a result. His waiting was his obedient attitude. Due to his attitude and due to what he said to God, God accepted him. When he was tried and suffered, God was just by his side. Although his pain was not appeased in the least on that account, God saw what he wanted to see and heard what he wanted to hear. Every scene of what Job did and every word he said reached God’s eyes and ears, and God heard it and saw it. This was a fact. Actually, Job’s knowledge of God and his view of God in his heart at that time, in that age, were not as specific as those of people now. But according to the background at that time, God still approved what Job said, because his thoughts and actions and what he manifested and expressed already measured up to God’s requirement. During the time when Job was tried, what he thought and determined to do in his heart showed God a result, and the result was satisfactory to God. Later, God took away the trials, and then, Job went out of the painful situation. Thereafter, the trials upon Job disappeared and never came again. Because he had undergone the trials and had stood and thoroughly triumphed over satan in the trials, God blessed him justifiably. Just as what is recorded in Job 42:10 and 12, Job once again received God’s blessing and received more than he had before. At that time, satan retreated, and it said nothing more and did nothing more. From then on, Job was never again disturbed or attacked by satan, and God’s blessing to him was never again accused by satan.
About Job Himself
After learning about the whole course of Job’s experiencing the trials, most people, I believe, begin to have interest in the information about Job himself, and are especially concerned about the “secret” of how Job received God’s approval. Now let’s talk about Job himself here!
Job’s Perfectness and Uprightness and His Fearing God and Shunning Evil Are Seen in His Daily Life
To talk about Job himself, let’s start from the evaluation of Job from God’s mouth “that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and shunned evil.”
First, let’s learn about Job’s perfectness and uprightness.
How do you understand the “perfectness and uprightness” spoken of here? You think Job was so flawless and so upright, don’t you? Of course, this is the literal interpretation and understanding. If we want to truly know about Job himself, we cannot divorce it from the real life. If we only focus on the letters, books, and doctrines, we cannot find any answer. Let’s first look at how Job lived in his daily life, that is, look at what his usual behavior in his life was, and through it know about Job’s living principles and his goal of life and also know about the quality of Job’s humanity and his pursuit. Now, let’s see the last word in Job 1:3, “so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.” This word means that Job had a very high position and status at that time. Here it does not tell that Job was the greatest of all the men of the east because he had great possessions or because he “was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and shunned evil.” Anyway, Job had a favored position and status in people’s eyes. This is the first impression people had about Job in the Bible: Job was a perfect man and one that “feared God and shunned evil”; he had large wealth and also a respectable position. As to a normal man who had such living environment and conditions, his daily diet, the quality of his life, and every aspect of his private life attracted the attention of most people. So, we must continue to read the following scriptures in the Bible: And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. (Job 1:4-5) This passage of scripture records two things: The first is that Job’s sons and daughters often feasted and ate and drank together, and the second is that Job often offered burnt offerings, because he was often worried for his sons and daughters, afraid that they might have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. These two things are the accounts of different lives of two kinds of people. One is about the kind of people like Job’s sons and daughters. They often feasted and lived a luxurious life because of their rich life. They indulged in the life of eating and drinking their fill and enjoyed a life of superior quality brought by abundant material things. Living such a life, they often sinned and offended God unavoidably. But they did not sanctify themselves, nor did they offer burnt offerings for that. It can be seen that these people did not have a place for God in their hearts and that they did not contemplate God’s grace or fear offending God, much less fear cursing God in their hearts. Of course, the details about Job’s sons and daughters are not what we are concerned about. The focus of our talk is what Job did when he encountered these things, which is the other thing recorded in this passage of scripture. This thing is involved with the substance of Job’s humanity and his daily life. The scriptures record that when Job’s sons and daughters feasted, Job did not participate in it, and only his sons and daughters often ate and drank together. That is to say, Job neither feasted nor was merry with his sons and daughters, indulging in extravagant eating and drinking. Although he was rich and had all kinds of possessions and many servants, his life was not luxurious, and he did not, because of his being rich, indulge in a superior living environment, hanker after fleshly enjoyment, or forget to offer burnt offerings, much less gradually depart from God in his heart. It can be seen that Job was discreet in his life. He did not become greedy or love enjoyment or pay much attention to the quality of his life because of God’s blessing to him. Moreover, he was humble in doing things, modest in conducting himself, and careful and cautious before God, often contemplated God’s graces and blessings, and always had a heart of fearing God. In his daily life, he often rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings for his sons and daughters. This means that Job not only feared God himself but also hoped that his sons and daughters could fear God like him and would not commit offense against God. That is, rich material things did not occupy Job’s heart or take the place of God in his heart, and all that he did in his daily life, whether for his sons and daughters or for himself, had to do with “fearing God and shunning evil.” His fear of Jehovah God was not just on his lips, but was put into practice and manifested in every bit of his daily life. Such actual manifestations of Job show us Job’s honesty and Job’s substance of loving justice and positive things. He often “sent and sanctified them,” and this means that he did not agree with or approve their actions but loathed and condemned them in his heart. He was sure that the actions of his sons and daughters were displeasing to Jehovah God, so he often asked them to confess their sins before Jehovah God. This action of Job shows us another aspect of his humanity; that is, he never walked with those who often sinned and offended God but stayed away from them and shunned them. Although they were his sons and daughters, he did not abandon his principle in conducting himself because of his blood relationship with them or tolerate their sins because of affection, but exhorted them to confess their sins to be tolerated by Jehovah God, and he also warned them not to forsake God because of hankering after enjoyment. Job’s principles in treating people are inseparable from his principle of fearing God and shunning evil. He loved what God accepted, hated what God loathed, loved those who feared God in their hearts, and hated those who did evil and did things that offended God. His love and hatred were manifested in his daily life. This is Job’s uprightness God saw with his eyes. Of course, this is also the expression and living out of Job’s real humanity in dealing with people in his daily life which we need to know about.
Although at this point most people approve of Job’s perfectness and uprightness and also approve of Job’s being a man who “fears God and shuns evil,” they do not understand God’s will better because of their approval of him. Many people, while admiring Job’s humanity and pursuit, raise such a question to God: Since Job was so perfect and upright and was so much adored by people, why did God deliver him to satan and let him suffer so much? I believe that such a question exists in the heart of many people; that is to say, this question is a question in the heart of most people. Since the question perplexes most people, it’s very necessary for us to lay it on the table and make it clear.
Everything God does is very necessary and has extraordinary meaning, because all that he does on man has to do with his management and mankind’s salvation. Of course, the work God did on Job was not an exception, though Job was a perfect and upright man in God’s eyes. That is to say, no matter what God does, what means he uses, what price he pays, and what goal he aims at, his purpose of doing things is unchanged. This purpose is to work into man God’s word, God’s requirement, and God’s will for man, that is, to work into man all positive things in God’s eyes according to God’s steps, so that they can understand God’s heart, understand and know God’s substance, obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement, and thus fear God and shun evil. This is one purpose of God’s doing things. On the other hand, because satan is a setoff and a serving object in God’s work, man is often delivered to satan. By this means, God lets man see satan’s evil, ugliness, and baseness in its temptation and attack and thereby hate it and have knowledge and discernment of negative things, and in this course, he lets man gradually break free from satan’s control and get free from satan’s accusation, disturbance, and attack. When a man can completely overcome satan’s attack and accusation by God’s word, by his knowledge of and obedience to God, and by his faith and fear of God, he will have been thoroughly rescued from satan’s domain. Man’s being rescued means the declaration of satan’s failure and means that he will no longer be food in satan’s mouth or an object satan wants to devour but will be an object satan gives up. This is because such a man is upright and has faith, obedience, and fear of God and is one who completely breaks with satan, he causes satan to be shamed, frightened, and thoroughly defeated, and his faith in following God and his obedience and fear of God defeat satan and cause satan to completely give him up. Only such a man is one who has been truly gained by God. This is the ultimate goal of God’s saving man. Every follower of God, if he wants to be saved and be completely gained by God, must face small and great temptations and attacks from satan. He who gets out of them and can completely overcome satan is a saved man. In other words, a man saved by God is one who has undergone God’s trials and undergone countless temptations and attacks from satan; a man saved by God is one who understands God’s will and God’s requirements and can obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement and who does not give up the way of “fearing God and shunning evil” in satan’s temptations; a man saved by God is an honest and kind man who is clear about what to love and what to hate and has sense of justice and rationality and who cares for God and treasures God’s everything. Such a man is free from satan’s bondage, spying, accusation, and affliction, and is one who has had perfect freedom and one who has been completely released and freed. Job was such a free man. This is where the significance of God’s delivering Job to satan lies.
Although Job underwent satan’s affliction, he received the eternal freedom and release and received the right that he could be forever free from satan’s corruption, affliction, and accusation and could live in the light of God’s presence and in God’s blessing to him with no concern and no worry. No one could deprive him of this right, no one could destroy it, and no one could take it as his. It was earned by Job with his faith and willpower and his obedience and fear of God. At the price of his life, he won the qualification and right to live a happy and joyous life on earth, and to justifiably worship the Creator on earth without any disturbance as a real created being. This is Job’s greatest fruit after he underwent the temptations.
Before man is saved, his life is often disturbed by satan or even controlled by satan. That is to say, an unsaved man is one who is kept in captivity by satan, one who has no freedom, one who is not yet given up by satan, one who has no qualification or right to worship God, and one who is hotly pursued and fiercely attacked by satan. Such a man has no happiness and no qualification of normal living, much less dignity. Only if you yourself rise up to war against satan, fight a life-and-death war against it with your faith in, obedience to, and fear of God as the weapon, and thoroughly defeat it, causing it to avoid you and be frightened at the sight of you, will it completely give up attacking and accusing you. At that time you will be rescued and become a free man. If you only have the determination to make a complete break with satan but do not have the powerful weapon for defeating it, then you are still in great danger. If this goes on for long, when you are tortured by it to be exhausted and yet you still cannot bear testimony or completely get free from its accusation and attack against you, your hope of being saved will be very faint. In the end, that is, when God’s work is declared concluded, if you are still grasped tightly by satan and unable to get free from it, you will never have the opportunity and hope. This implies that such a person has been completely taken captive by satan.
When Job was told the news that his possessions were taken away, his sons and daughters lost their lives, and his servants were killed, Job’s reaction was like this: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped. (Job 1:20) This word tells such a fact: When Job heard the news, he did not panic or weep or rebuke the servants who reported the news, much less go to the spots and investigate and check the causes and effects of the events so as to make clear the whole story.
He did not show any manifestations of being sorry or grieving for the loss of possessions, nor did he weep bitterly for losing his children and relatives. On the contrary, he rent his mantle, shaved his head, and fell down on the ground and worshiped. This action of Job was different from that of common people, and it perplexed so many people and made so many people reproach Job in their hearts for his being “cold-blooded.” When one’s possessions are totally gone in an instant, a normal man will be grieved or despaired, and some people will even have the thought that all hopes are dashed. This is because in man’s heart, possessions represent his lifetime painstaking effort and is the reliance of his existence and the hope by which he lives on. Losing possessions means that his painstaking effort comes to naught, and means that he has no hope and even loses the future. This is the attitude any normal man has toward possessions and is the close relationship between possessions and a man, and it is also the importance of possessions to man in man’s eyes. So, most people are perplexed about Job’s so indifferent attitude toward possessions. Today, let’s solve the puzzlement of most people through interpreting Job’s heart.
Rationally speaking, since God bestowed to Job rich possessions, Job should feel indebted to God for losing them, because he did not take good care of them or look after them well and did not keep the possessions God gave him. So, when Job heard that his possessions were taken away, his first reaction should be to go to the spot and check out all things, and then to confess his sin to God so as to get God’s blessings again. However, Job did not do so. As to why he made such a choice, of course he had his own ideas about it. In Job’s heart, he deeply believed that his everything was from God’s blessing, not gained by his hard labor. So, he did not take the blessings he received as his capital, but took holding fast the way he should keep with all his heart and strength as his living principle. He treasured and thanked God’s blessings, but he did not hanker after or demand more blessings. This is his attitude toward possessions. He did not do anything to receive blessings, nor did he feel worried or sorrowful for not having or losing blessings. He was not overjoyed or carried away because of God’s blessings, nor did he neglect God’s ways and forget God’s grace because of continually enjoying blessings. Job’s attitude toward possessions made people see the expression of his real humanity: First, Job was not a greedy man, and the standard of his requirement for the material life was very low. Second, Job never felt worried or afraid that God would take away from his hand everything he had, and this was his obedient attitude toward God in his heart. That is, no matter when God took it away or whether God took it away or not, he did not have demands or complaints, and did not ask for reasons, but only sought to obey God’s arrangement. Third, Job never thought that his possessions were earned by his own hard work, but that they were bestowed by God. This was his belief in God, that is, Job’s faith. Through the above three summaries about Job, aren’t you quite clear about his humanity and his real pursuit in his daily life? Job could behave so calmly when he lost his possessions, and this had to do with his such humanity and pursuit. Just because of his pursuit in his daily life, he had the stature and faith to say such a word in God’s trial that “the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” His word was not acquired in one day, or made up by him through brainstorm, but it was what he had seen and acquired in his many years of life experience. Compared with all those who only seek for God’s blessings but fear, hate, and complain against God’s taking away, isn’t Job’s obedience very practical? Compared with all those who only believe that there is God but never believe that God rules over everything, isn’t Job very honest and upright?
(Job 1:1) There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and shunned evil.
(Job 1:5) And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
(Job 1:8) And the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and shuns evil?
What do you see is the main point of these passages? The three short passages of scripture are all related to Job. Although the content is not much, it makes very clear what kind of man Job is. Here, by giving an account of Job’s daily actions and behavior, it tells everyone that God’s evaluation of Job is not groundless, but based on reason and evidence. The three passages of scripture tell us that both men’s evaluation of Job (Job 1:1) and God’s evaluation of Job (Job 1:8) are based on his actions and behavior before God and men (Job 1:5).
First, let’s look at the first verse: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and shunned evil.” This passage is the first evaluation of Job recorded in the Bible. It is the comment on Job from the writer of Job, which of course also represents men’s evaluation of Job. The evaluation is: that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and shunned evil. Then, let’s see God’s evaluation of Job: there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and shuns evil. (Job 1:8) Of the two evaluations, one is from men, and the other is from God. They are two evaluations with the same content. It clearly shows that Job’s actions and behavior were known to men and were also commended by God. That is to say, Job’s behavior before men accorded with his behavior before God. He always laid his actions and intents before God for God to search, and he “feared God and shunned evil.” So, in God’s eyes he was the only one on earth who “was perfect and upright, and feared God and shunned evil.”
Next, let’s see what Job was like after the trials.
5. The Job After the Trials
(Job 42:7-9) And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you, and against your two friends: for you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has. Therefore take to you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that you have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
In Job 42:7-9, God mentioned that Job was his servant. God’s calling Job by the address “servant” represented Job’s weight in God’s heart. Although God did not call him by a higher address, this address did not affect Job’s weight in God’s heart. Here “servant” was a “nickname” by which God called Job. From God’s many mentions of “my servant Job,” God’s joy over Job was manifested. Although God did not speak of the meaning of the word “servant,” God’s definition of the word “servant” could be seen from what God said in these verses. God first said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you, and against your two friends: for you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has.” This was the first time God openly told people that he accepted what Job did and said after he tried Job, and was the first time God openly affirmed the accuracy and correctness of what Job did and said before. God got angry with Eliphaz and the others for their incorrect and fallacious comments, because living under the same circumstance where man could not see God’s appearing or hear God’s word, Job could have such an accurate knowledge of God, yet they guessed God groundlessly and went against God’s will in every aspect, which aroused God’s loathing. So, while God accepted what Job did and said, he got angry with the others, because in them God not only could not see the reality of their fearing God, but could not hear their words of fearing God. So, God required of them like this then, “Therefore take to you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly.” In this passage, God told Eliphaz and the others to do a thing to atone for their sin. As their folly offended Jehovah God, they must offer a burnt offering to redeem their offense. Generally, a burnt offering was offered to God, but the burnt offering here was offered to Job. This is the unusualness of this burnt offering. Job received God’s acceptance because he bore the testimony for God in the trials, and meanwhile Job’s several good friends were revealed during the period he was tried. They were condemned by God and incurred God’s anger for their folly and deserved to be punished by God. This “punishment” was that they offered a burnt offering before Job, and then let Job pray for them so that God could withdraw his punishment and anger for them. God’s intention in doing so was to shame them, because they were not ones who “feared God and shunned evil” and because they condemned Job’s integrity. On the one hand, God told them that he did not accept what they did but well accepted and was well pleased with Job. On the other hand, God told them that one would be exalted before God because of God’s acceptance of him, and one would be loathed by God because of his folly and would offend God and be considered low by God because of his folly. These two aspects are the definitions God gave of the two kinds of people, are God’s attitudes toward them, and are God’s statement about their status and position. Although God called Job servant, this “servant” was a man who was the delight of God’s eyes, a man whom God gave the authority to pray for others and forgive others’ offense, a man who could directly talk with God and come before God, and a man who had a higher and more dignified position than others. This was the true meaning of the “servant” God spoke of. Job received this “unusual honor” because he “feared God and shunned evil.” Other people were not addressed as “servant” by God, because they were not ones who “feared God and shunned evil.” God’s two totally different attitudes are God’s attitudes toward the two kinds of people: He who “fears God and shuns evil” is accepted by God and is precious in God’s eyes; the foolish, who do not fear God and cannot shun evil, cannot win God’s pleasure and are often loathed and condemned by God and are low in God’s eyes.
In the next passage of scripture, Job said: “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he does work, but I cannot behold him: he hides himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him.” (Job 23:8-9) In this passage of account, we learn that in Job’s experience, God was hidden from him all the time and God had never appeared to him openly or said anything to him openly, but in Job’s heart he firmly believed in God’s existence. He always believed that God either walked in front of him or did things on the right of him, and that although he could not see, God had been ruling over his everything beside him. Under the condition that Job had never seen God, he, however, could hold fast his faith; this is something no one else can do. Why can’t they do that? It is because God did not speak or appear to Job, and if he did not have a true faith, he could not possibly go on or hold fast the way of fearing God and shunning evil. This is true, isn’t it? How do you feel when you see that Job said these words? Don’t you feel that Job’s perfectness and uprightness and his righteousness before God are real and not exaggerated by God? Although God treated him in the same way as he treated others, not appearing to him or speaking to him, he still held fast his integrity and believed in God’s sovereignty, and moreover, he, afraid of offending God, often offered burnt offerings and often came to God to pray. From the fact that Job had never seen God yet could fear God, it can be seen how much Job loved positive things, how firm his faith was, and how practical his faith was. He did not deny God’s existence because God was hidden from him, nor did he lose faith and forsake God because he had never seen God. He experienced God’s existence and felt God’s sovereignty and power from God’s hidden work of ruling over all things. He did not give up being an upright man because of God’s hiddenness, nor did he give up walking the way of “fearing God and shunning evil” because God had never appeared to him. He never asked God to openly appear to him, so as to confirm God’s existence, because he had seen God’s sovereignty in all things. He believed that he had received the blessings and grace other people did not receive. Although God was hidden from him as ever, Job’s faith in God was never swayed. So, he received the fruit no one else had received: God’s commendation and blessing.