Did it jar you this morning to see us jump from Abraham to Job? We are using a chronological Bible-reading plan, so we’ll be reading through the Old Testament in the order in which things were written. I love it because it helps me make connections about what was happening and the issues people were facing.
If you haven’t yet read Christine’s explanation of who Job is and when he lived, pause and go read that now.
I try to imagine what it would have been like to live in this time period, especially for Job, with all his wealth and the fact that Scripture says “this man was the greatest of all the people of the East” (Job 1:3). He had a huge piece of property, obviously, and his ten children and their families with their homes and possessions seemed to live nearby. If Job had a minimum of 12,000 animals, and all the “household” (employees and staff) to take care of it all, and if his children’s families also had comparably large farming operations, and if they had large homes (see Job 1:18-19), this is starting to sound like… something massive. This is wealth by anyone’s standards.
As Christine pointed out, we are now between 200-250 years after the flood. We’ve already seen Nimrod’s worship system at Babel be destroyed, but history tells us that its worship was carried all over the world by the families who moved away from Babel. Knowing that the earth was divided during the time of Job’s uncle Peleg (Genesis 10:25), probably around the time of his birth since his parents gave him the name Peleg (divided), then my personal hunch is that Job had been living in modern-day Syria all or most of his life.
I just love this stuff! I have a friend on Facebook who was been working on her family genealogy, and because she comes from a line of British royalty, she can trace her ancestry through the kings’ lists all the way back to Noah. Of course, we all descend from Noah, but we can’t all prove it. Pretty cool!
But I want to point out that just as we can trace our family histories back that far, we can also trace idolatry back that far. Historians like Christine Miller and Bill Cooper and so many others are working hard to demonstrate with primary sources that the history given to us in the Bible is absolutely and completely true.
Idolatry began, as historian George Smith pointed out, when “men began to profanely call themselves by the name of YHVH, that is, to appropriate the titles of ‘Self-existent’ and ‘Eternal’ to themselves,” before the Flood (Genesis 4:26). And once they started to call themselves gods, they also began to call all the created things gods.
“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things… who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:22-25).
And in all this, Job stood out as an exception to the rule. Why do I say he was an exception? Because YHVH pointed him out to Satan and said there was “none like him on the earth.”
“Then YHVH said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?'” (Job 1:8).
Wow, even though Satan accused Job of doing it only for personal gain, YHVH knew his heart and gave him the highest of compliments. I want to be in that category, don’t you?
A Righteous Judge
Our passage in Psalm 7 today reinforces the idea that YHVH is a righteous judge.
To judge (Strong’s 8199) is to make a determination in a dispute or legal case. It comes from a Hebrew root meaning “to belong.” When you judge, you determine if things belong in this set or that set.
When you pick out apples at the grocery store, you look at an apple and decide: Does it look crisp? Does it have bruises? Is it organic? Is it the right variety for the apple pie you’re planning to make? And then you put it where it belongs — back in the pallet at the store, or in your cart to go home.
Satan is a judge also, and that’s why he was “going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it” (Job 1:7). Heaven calls him “the accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10).
But he can’t see into our hearts, which is why he made a false judgment about Job.
“So Satan answered YHVH and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land'” (Job 1:9-10).
Only YHVH is the true and righteous judge (Psalm 7:9, 11). Sadly, people tend to fall into the Enemy’s camp far too often, judging only by sight and human logic.
So when we read Yeshua’s famous “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5, we aren’t surprised when Yeshua tells us to be like Job.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
To revile (Greek 3679) is to reproach (bite at someone) in a way they don’t deserve. The Hebrew word for reproach (Hebrew 2781) means to pierce, like taking a tool to a piece of wood and twisting it around and around to make the hole deeper.
We should never be characterized as a reviler, for YHVH promises to “cut off the memory of them from the earth” (Psalm 109). We should not act like Satan or copy his actions in any way!
Rather, we should let the light of our good works shine before men (Matthew 5:16), as Job did, so that ultimately, we will bring our Father glory (fame, a good reputation).
This doesn’t mean that we can’t discern between good and evil, or that we can’t choose to do right personally even when others are doing wrong, or that we can’t choose not to associate with wrongdoers (Psalm 1:1-2). These are all wise things! However, we cannot pretend to look inside the hearts of others to judge their motives.
And our motives need to be the same on the inside as they are on the outside, “blameless and upright” as Job through and through.
- We don’t get angry with our brother without cause (Matthew 5:22).
- We don’t call people names (Matthew 5:22; raca means “empty-headed one”).
- We don’t worship with our brothers and sisters on Sabbath while we know someone has something against us that we haven’t made right (Matthew 5:23-24).
- We don’t leave debts unsettled (Matthew 5:25-26).
- We don’t look at others and lust after them, either in person or online in the things we view (Matthew 5:27-28).
- We don’t give up on our marriages quickly (Matthew 5:31-32).
- We don’t make promises that we don’t keep (Matthew 5:33-37).
- We don’t strike back at those who hurt us (Matthew 5:38-42).
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45).
In other words, as we will see in the life of Job, we have faith in God. He makes the sun rise, and He makes the rain fall. In the good times and in the bad, we realize His providence. We trust Him. This trust keeps us from lashing out at others, because we accept even the bad things as coming from His hand.
“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10).
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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To Study Further:
- Who are the sons of God mentioned in Job 1 and 2? (Hint: I don’t believe they were angels or demons.)
- See the chiastic structure of Psalm 7. How does it emphasize that YHVH is a righteous judge?
- Did you know that Christine Miller’s books are on sale right now for 20% off? I don’t know how long her sale lasts, and no, I don’t make any money by mentioning this. But if you love biblical histories, you should check out her sale.