Job is one of my favorite books of the Bible.
It’s also, possibly, one of the most ancient of all the books of the Bible.
While it contains many vital messages, one of those lessons has become especially precious to me.
It has to do with what was really going on in Job’s life at that time. And what God was trying to accomplish, for Job’s eternal benefit, by allowing him to suffer as he did.
Confidence in the Flesh
Some might try to paint Job as a very religious person who did not truly know Christ. Who then, after the suffering, came to know Him.
This idea is based on some statements Job made late in the book about his hearing of the Lord instead of really seeing Him. Which could be interpreted as one who only had a head-knowledge of the Lord and His Salvation, without the actual possession of Salvation and a personal Relationship with the Lord.
But the word of God does not paint Job this way. Instead, he is called a righteous man who pleased God. And Job, in the depths of his soul, is convinced that he is just before God. That he had been doing those things that were right.
So, Job appears to be more than just a religious man seeking the Lord. He appears to be a true believer.
But, something vital is missing.
Something Is Missing
To explain what this missing thing is, please, follow me down the rabbit hole for a minute.
In my experience, neither Evangelicals nor Fundamentalists really understand what the Lord means by His name, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS“. (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16).
Yes, Christians understand that the Lord imputes righteousness to us. That He makes us Righteous. That He makes us good. That He makes us better and better until we get to heaven.
Where only then are we finally perfect.
But somewhere, somehow, we get the idea that once we are saved we must then try, with His help, to do those things which He tells us to do. We strive, we labor, we work, we struggle, we try.
Because, in our thinking, this is very much a DO-ing thing. DO this and DON’T DO that.
This is how we are taught to live the Christian life. It is how the vast majority of Christians I have known over the years (myself included) struggle on. This is how those who are truly, born-again, devoted, sincere, dedicated believers try to live.
Believers in whom something is missing.
In the Meantime
HOW we go from what we are to what the Lord wants us to be is the burning issue in this Christian life.
How do we do that? What process or list or method do we follow to accomplish this?
The answer is . . . we don’t.
Because, this is the Lord’s work. It is not our work.
This is something that only the Lord, Himself, can do.
And one of the ways that He accomplishes this is through our suffering. Unfortunately (humanly speaking), that is the way that He has chosen to make us what He wants us to be. By bringing us through the fire.
However, most of us are in the process of “pain management”. Even though we know we are on our way to heaven, we try to make this life as comfortable, as is reasonably possible, in the meantime.
“In the meantime” is our problem.
The Only Good Thing
So, What did Job discover, at the end of his ordeal, that can help us to get through our trials today?
He realized that his own works were nothing. That his own accomplishments were nothing. That, instead, the Lord was everything. That what the Lord does within us is everything.
He saw that the Lord was His righteousness. Job discovered, even as a believer, that the only thing good within him was the presence of the Lord, Himself.
In the same way, we Christians are far too occupied with the value of our own works. With the value of our own activity.
Similarly occupied, the modern Evangelical churches are constantly changing their message and methods — to become “good-works” groups rather than “good-doctrine” groups.
They think, by doing so, that they will be more pleasing to God. That they will be more in line with “the heart of Jesus”. More in line with “what Jesus loves”.
But, in the end, this will be an exercise in dead works. A vain show of their own “dedicated flesh”. Just as it will be for any of us who focus on our good works.
Just as Job did.
At the end of the day, the Lord wants us to see Him. And He will send whatever trials are necessary to draw us away from our own efforts, our own self confidence, our own programs, and our own dedication.
To draw us back to His word where He can once again reveal Himself to us.
“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” (Job 42:5)
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