Sabbath, October 11, 2014

“When depression settles upon the soul, it is no evidence that God has changed. He is ‘the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.’ Hebrews 13:8. You are sure of the favor of God when you are sensible of the beams of the Sun of Righteousness; but if the clouds sweep over your soul, you must not feel that you are forsaken. Your faith must pierce the gloom…. The riches of the grace of Christ must be kept before the mind. Treasure up the lessons that His love provides. Let your faith be like Job’s, that you may declare, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.’ Job 13:15. Lay hold on the promises of your heavenly Father and remember His former dealing with you and with His servants, for ‘all things work together for good to them that love God.’  Romans 8:28.” –That I May Know Him, p. 257.

Meeting the patriarch

1. Who lived in the land of Uz in the time of the patriarchs? What wonderful testimony is given of him in the Holy Scriptures?

Job 1:1, 4, 5, 8 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 eschewed evil…. 4 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. 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…. 8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 

“ ‘I was a father to the poor; and the cause which I knew not I searched out.’ This was an evidence that Job had the righteousness that was after Christ’s order…. Faith works by love and purifies the soul. Faith buds and blossoms and bears a harvest of precious fruit.” –General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 18, 1897.

Tests and trials

2. What is told about his economic wellbeing? How did he accept the misfortunes and adversities that suddenly swept away his wealth and his family?

Job 1:2, 3, 20-22 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east…. 20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. 

“Frequently the very best evidence that we can have that we are in the right way is that the least advance costs us effort and that darkness shrouds our pathway. It has been my experience that the loftiest heights of faith we can only reach through darkness and clouds….

“It is not safe for us to cherish doubts and fears, for these grow by looking upon and talking them. I feel to reach up my hand and grasp the hand of Christ as did the sinking disciple on the stormy sea. I want to do my work with fidelity that when I shall stand before the great white throne and am called to answer for the things done in the body, which are all written in the book, that I may see souls standing there to testify I warned them, I entreated them to behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.” –This Day with God, p. 212.

3. In addition to his previous losses, what did Job suffer bodily from head to foot? What did even his wife say, which made his life all the more difficult?

Job 2:7-9 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. 

“Learn the lessons of meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ. Realize how much He bore for us, and then count it not a mark of God’s anger that you have some trials to bear for Jesus. If you trust God, the trials will always prove a blessing, and your faith will come forth the brighter, the stronger, the purer. Satan is always trying to press the soul into distrust of God, and therefore we must educate the mind to trust Him. Talk faith and hope when Satan says, as did the wife of Job, ‘Curse God, and die.’ If you trust God, you will see more reason to trust Him. As you talk of His goodness, you will see more of His love to talk about. Thus the mind may be trained to live in the brightness of the Sun of righteousness, and not in the shadow which Satan casts athwart our path. Hope in God, who is the health of our countenance, and our God.” –Review and Herald, September 1, 1891.

He looked beyond by faith

4. How did Job respond to all these adversities and the temptation to doubt of God’s kindness and love?

Job 2:10 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. 

“The hindrances that hold us back from perfecting Christian characters are in ourselves. Jesus can remove them. The cross He requires us to bear will create strength in us more than it consumes, and remove our heaviest burdens to take the burden of Christ, which is light. Conflicts and trials we must meet in the discharge of duty. Christ has called us to glory and to virtue. The life He has through His own suffering and death prepared for us to lead, would never have cost us a pain or grief if we had never left it. Every self-denial and every sacrifice we make in following Christ are so many steps of the lost sheep returning to the fold.” –This Day with God, p. 212.

5. How firm was the faith of this famous patriarch? Did he see the tests and physical suffering as insurmountable obstacles or as instruments in God’s hand?

Job 13:15; 23:10 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him…. 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 

“It is said of Abraham that he believed God, and his faith was counted to him for righteousness. At the call of God, he left his country and people, and went out, ‘not knowing whither he went.’ ‘He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.’ Hebrews 11:8. Moses, also, through faith, esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of reward. Job, in the midst of his great loss and bodily suffering, could say, ‘For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.’…

“We may say with Job: ‘He knoweth the way that I take; when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.’ Job 23:10. ‘For thou, O God, hast proved us; Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.’ Psalm 66:10.” –Signs of the Times, August 20, 1896.

6. Despite the terrible adversity and his physical suffering, what was the certainty that gave Job strength to endure?

Job 19:25-27 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. 

“Let us honor God by showing firm faith and unswerving trust. Let us remember that He is not glorified by the manifestation of a fretful, unhappy spirit. The Lord cares for the flowers. He gives them beauty and fragrance. Will He not much more give us the fragrance of a cheerful disposition? Will He not restore in us the divine image? Then let us have faith in Him. Let us now, just now, place ourselves where He can give us His Holy Spirit. Then we can give to the world a revelation of what true religion does for men and women. The joy of a Saviour filling our hearts gives us that peace and confidence which enables us to say, ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth.’ Job 19:25.” –Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 72.

The Lord’s answer

7. After Job’s serious tests, what great blessings did the Lord give him? What additional blessings did he expect in the future?

Job 42:10-12 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. 12 So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 

“According to his faith, so was it unto Job. ‘When He hath tried me,’ he said, ‘I shall come forth as gold.’ Job 23:10. So it came to pass. By his patient endurance he vindicated his own character, and thus the character of Him whose representative he was. And ‘the Lord turned the captivity of Job:… also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before…. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.’ Job 42:10-12.” –Education, p. 156.

“ ‘Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.’ Job 19:27. And the dying words of the apostle Paul were: ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.’ 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.” –The Youth’s Instructor, July 8, 1897.

Job is an example

8. Among what noble men did the prophet Ezekiel present Job? What does the New Testament say about him, his endurance, and his faith?

Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness. 

James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. 

“My faith cannot save you, nor your faith avail for my salvation. Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land, they could deliver neither son nor daughter by their righteousness; they could only deliver their own souls. We should seek God now for His pardoning grace. Now is the time to obtain genuine religious experience for the trying scenes that are just before us. God wants us to be in earnest, He wants us to be happy. When He gave Christ to the world, He gave all Heaven in that one priceless gift. He opened up to us all the treasures of His power and grace. By living faith we may grasp the hand of Infinite Power. We may be so connected with the God of heaven that His grace may be found sufficient in every emergency of life. Says the prophet, ‘Five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight.’ Leviticus 26:8.” –Signs of the Times, June 10, 1889.

For reflection

  • Can a Christian’s hope be based on the sandy foundation of feeling and circumstances?
  • Will the true believer focus his view on the clouds and darkness, or will he look beyond what he can see?
  • Like the patriarch Job, what opportunities will trials and adversities give him? 

For further study

“The long years amid desert solitudes were not lost. Not only was Moses gaining a preparation for the great work before him, but during this time, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote the book of Genesis and also the book of Job, which would be read with the deepest interest by the people of God until the close of time.” –(Signs of the Times, February 19, 1880) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1140.

“The Lord in His providence had brought this trial upon Abraham to teach him lessons of submission, patience, and faith–lessons that were to be placed on record for the benefit of all who should afterward be called to endure affliction. God leads His children by a way that they know not, but He does not forget or cast off those who put their trust in Him. He permitted affliction to come upon Job, but He did not forsake him. He allowed the beloved John to be exiled to lonely Patmos, but the Son of God met him there, and his vision was filled with scenes of immortal glory. God permits trials to assail His people, that by their constancy and obedience they themselves may be spiritually enriched, and that their example may be a source of strength to others. ‘I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil.’ Jeremiah 29:11. The very trials that task our faith most severely and make it seem that God has forsaken us, are to lead us closer to Christ, that we may lay all our burdens at His feet and experience the peace which He will give us in exchange.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 129.