Friday, August 1, 2014

Job 2:7-10 comments: discouragement and heartbreak

7 ¶  So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 8  And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. 9  Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10  But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Satan has caused Job to have boils over his entire body. This is a specially prepared disease for Job and not something we should be able to point to in medical literature. It is not Hidradenitis Suppurative. It does not just afflict his armpits and groin. The boils cover him from the top of his head in the back where men go bald to the soles of his feet. This is not Job’s Syndrome in the medical literature as it is very specific in the misery it imparts to Job.

Just as Jonah was swallowed by a specifically prepared fish and it is foolish to search for large fish that regularly swallow men, in light of that, arguing over what the name of the disease that Job had is pointless (the word whale in Matthew 12:40 is not a taxonomic term referring to marine mammals of the order Cetacea but simply means a large sea creature. See Genesis 1:21 and quit trying to make the Bible agree with man-made classifications that serve man’s limited purpose and not God’s by reading man’s opinions back into the Bible. God does not classify living creatures by Linnaeus or those who followed after him).

Jonah 1:17  Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

The next time someone tells you they don’t know of a fish or a whale that could swallow a man tell them that you don’t know of a fish or a whale that can live 3,000 years either, so why would they expect to find this specifically prepared fish  or a representative of it now?

Back to Job, there is even a paper on the National Institutes of Health’s website suggesting that Job had scabies. (10) The point is that Job was given this horrific condition by Satan with God’s general permission.

Job’s wife does the work of Satan here, encouraging him to curse God, and die. That Job would curse God was Satan’s prediction.

Job 1:11  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Job’s wife, who has suffered the loss of her children and her financial security, is displaying the classic discouragement and failure of heart that the Christian today, who has decided that God is picking on or has abandoned him or her displays. The Christian who suffers great financial or personal loss may feel like he just wants to die and get it over with, that there is no point to a life of faith and how can it all be true, anyway, if this bad stuff is happening to me? He or she may even commit suicide, experiencing despair that overwhelms them. I know life can be tough, painful, and disappointing but these individuals are playing right into Satan’s hand.

It is a constant struggle, when times are tough, for a believer to just keep their head above water. I know you spiritual champions are above all this and you never experience discouragement or despair because you are sooooo close to Christ you can smell Heaven, but for those of you who don’t have a need to pretend that everything is, “hunky-dory,” all the time to impress others with your spiritual superiority, don’t doubt your salvation because your heart is broken into a million shards of glass by the suicide of a child, bankruptcy, a disease, or foreclosure on your home.

A man who came to Jesus with a devil-possessed son said;

Mark 9:24  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Has that been your prayer at times?

I’ve seen Christians who have had things go well for them but there is a faint element of fear in their attitude. There is an element of a bargain they think they’ve made with God. I’ll be faithful if you be merciful. They’ll slap you on the back as they grab your hand and say, “God is good, ain’t he, brother?” But, how good would God be to them if the thing they feared the most happened and the thing they loved the most was taken from them? How good would God be if their spouse or child/children died, they lost their job and couldn’t replace it as they descended into poverty, lost their home, or their health? Let’s not look down our noses at either Job or his wife.

You say, “I would never curse God, turn my back on Him, or allow myself to be discouraged in my Christian walk.”

Okay, Simon Peter.

Job has an answer. Jeremiah wrote;

Lamentations 3:38  Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?        

In some Biblical contexts evil is described as trouble or disaster.

Matthew 6:34  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

It can be the tribulation that God’s judgment brings on a person or a nation…

Isaiah 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

…just as God causes the rain to fall on the just and the wicked, to their benefit. Note that in the context of this verse in Matthew that evil refers to evil people, linked to unjust people by parallel phrasing.

Matthew 5:45  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

So, bad things will come on God’s people, as well, while they are in this earthly body. Job, in his immense suffering, is acknowledging a fact of existence that all the Pollyannas and pathological optimists of the Christian faith, who think they can make some kind of pain-free business deal with God, won’t acknowledge. Bad things will happen to God’s people. Remember;

2Co 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


2Corinthians 1:3 ¶  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

A simple understanding of this principle of earthly existence will save the Christian from a lot of faith-killing false notions. The sense of entitlement that some religionists have in that they believe they are promised a peaceful and pain-free life by taking verses out of context written for Israel as a people under the Law is an impediment to understanding God’s will and to walking close with Christ. I hear the following verse used quite frequently by Christians baffled at the predicaments in which they find themselves.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

God’s “expected end,” is not necessarily ours. It is His will that we depend upon Him completely for all things. In that context our suffering is a good thing. In fact, one might be concerned if his or her life was without rough spots. Can God trust your faithfulness to shine through in your pain and agony or will you fall away in a time of testing?           

(10) T. Appelboom, E. Cogan, & J. Klastersky, “Job of the Bible: leprosy or scabies?” U.S. National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, 2007.

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