by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXX

March, 1951

Number 8

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

The Book of Job is Edomite literature. The Septuagint says Job was an Edomite, or descendant of Esau. It is said to have been the very earliest of the sacred writings. It was written before the giving of the law through Moses, and is a Book that has no direct connection with any other part of the scriptures. It is very interesting, when we remember that Job had no written revelation on which to base his conclusions.

The Lord gave His estimate of Job by saying that he was "a man blameless, true, reverent, abstaining from every wicked practice". This pictures a very fine character. He was blameless, or without blame, in all his dealings. The Septuagint says he was a king. It seems evident that none of his subjects in the little kingdom of Uz, of Ausitidi, had any complaint to make. He was a kind ruler. He was a man who was true---his word could be depended on. He revered God, worshiping Him daily. He did not practice anything that was calculated to bring misery to anyone. Wickedness means misery-gush. It is usually thought that wickedness means using profanity. Not so. A man may be perfect in his speech, and yet practice that which will make others miserable. Or he may make himself miserable by negative thoughts.

It seems to me that Job had considerable confidence in himself. It does not seem to have occurred to him at the first, that he had any special need of God, since he was so careful in his life. But he had no confidence in his sons. He was often making sacrifices for them and purifying them, for he constantly feared that they would sin and think evil in their hearts against God. This Job did every day. His life was one of constant misgivings concerning the boys, lest they be not as good as he. It is said that he abstained from every wicked PRACTICE, but it is evident that he did not abstain from THOUGHTS that made HIMSELF miserable.

There was another fault in Job. We are to remember that the desirable traits of which the Lord spoke, had to do with his dealing with others. He was not so kind to himself. Not only was he constantly torn in spirit by his fear concerning the conduct of his sons, but he was afraid that sickness would come to himself. Thus his life, inwardly, was far from serene.

When a man is depending on self, rather than God, it is not strange to see him get further and further from the right way, in his thinking and in his words, under the stress of affliction. And it is evident that Job was depending on self, to a great extent.

When news reached him that all his property had been taken and all his sons and daughters killed, he was surprisingly calm over it. He did not miss the mark in what he said about it, nor did he charge God foolishly. This is one of the finest passages in the Book. Another fine one is the record of what he said after he had become afflicted, and his wife tried to persuade him to speak against the Lord, and die. In the first instance he said that the Lord had given him all, and then had taken it away, and he blessed the name of the Lord. In the other instance he asked his wife, "If we have received good from the hand of the Lord, shall we not endure the evil?"

But Job did not continue in this mood. His three friends who came with the best of intentions, erred in their efforts to help him; for they claimed that his afflictions had come because of wicked deeds that he had done, in spite of the fact that the Lord had said that he abstained from every wicked practice. In their prolonged debate with Job they said many worthy things, but missed the mark entirely, in their efforts to tell Job why he was afflicted. Job began to be bitter, soon after these "comforters" reached him, and his speeches contain much complaint, not withstanding he spoke considerable truth---far more than was spoken by his friends.

James is supposed to have said, many centuries later, "You have heard of the patience of Job", but what he really said was, "You have heard of the ENDURANCE of Job." The book is filled with his endurance, but we see very little patience.

The debate that raged between the sick man and his friends finally ended in a "draw". We read at the close of chapter 31, and the beginning of chapter 32, "And Job caused his declarations, and his three friends ceased to answer Job, for Job was righteous in front of them". That is, he was right so far as answering their argument was concerned. His wrong lay in his attitude toward God, and his lack of understanding as to why he was afflicted.

Elihu, or Eliois, enters the argument at this point. The "El" of his name is the Hebrew word for God. He comes as God's spokesman, and prepares Job to hear when the Lord speaks to him directly, later. Elihu was indignant, at Job for justifying himself, and at the three friends for their inability to tell Job what he needed to know. He had heard all the debate, but had said nothing because he was young.

He told Job, "There is spirit in mortals, and the breath of the Almighty is that which teaches". In other words, because man has spirit, he can be taught by the breathing of truth into his heart by Him Who holds all. The Almighty is, in reality, the "All-Holder". God is the one who holds all. It all belongs to Him. This includes man in a special sense, because man, as the spirit, is in the image of God. He can be taught by the same One of whom Paul wrote later, saying that all scripture is God-breathed. No one is ever taught in reality, until the inspiration of God touches his spirit and opens up truth to his understanding.

Elihu challenged Job saying, "The spirit of God formed me, and the breath of the Almighty teaches me." He asked Job to answer him if he could. He bids him to not be afraid, since he and Job both have been formed of soil, alike. This being true---both being human---his words would not terrify Job.

Down to the close of chapter 37 Elihu speaks for God, and Job listens, knowing that he is hearing the truth. The breath of the Almighty, all the while, is teaching him, and he is learning that which he did not know before. It is wonderful reading. I commend it to those who would hear words from God's spokesman.

Job has been prepared to hear the inner voice now. So the Lord begins to instruct him without the mediacy of Elihu. This begins with chapter 38, and continues to the close of chapter 41. What wonderful literature this is! The Lord talks about things on earth, in the sea, in the clouds, and in the sky. He Who made these, is here telling about them. No scientific book can tell more. Why not read these few chapters, and learn what the greatest Scientist has to say about His own works---the things which He knows perfectly.

Job is "deflated" by the minute, as the Lord talks to him, and, although he is repeatedly challenged, he opens not his mouth. The Lord mentions the clouds, beasts, cattle, water, great animals, the stars, the founding of the earth, challenging Job all along to dispute with him if this be possible. He who had complained, accused, cursed, and even justified himself, now sits quietly and listens to what the Lord has to say. His meekness becomes more and more pronounced. And, finally, the Lord ceases to speak.

Now Job speaks again, but in a different vein. Hear his words of humility: He says he knows that the Lord can do all things, and that nothing can be hidden from Him. Then he pleads, Hear me, oh, Lord, that I also may speak, and I will ask You, and do teach me. I have heard the report of You by the ear, before, but now my eye has seen You.

It is common to hear a person say, I see, when they mean, "I understand". It is one of our idioms, as it was an idiom of the people in Job's day. We will say, "He opened my eyes", when we mean someone has led us to understand a certain matter. Job did not mean that he had seen the Lord as we see a man. He meant that he had heard of the Lord, and had thought he understood Him, but he really did not. But now, He had received a consciousness of God, He had heard Him with the heart. He had seen Him with the eyes of the heart. He understood the Lord as he had never done before.

A consciousness of God comes from within. God is in us. His teaching is internal. He speaks to the heart. And when we become conscious of Him, our attitude is changed.

The Lord also spoke to one of the three friends of Job. They needed Job's ministrations. Job was bidden to pray for them. Job had, at last, spoken that which was right concerning God; they had not done so. The prayer was that they might be blessed with the same understanding that Job had. This was brought about through his prayer for them. This was what might be called "faithvision treatment".

And God turned the captivity of Job. Not only was he healed, but other blessings came into his life. The prosperity of Job was enhanced, and he had twice as much as he had before.

The story begins when Job was in daily fear about two things:

He feared that his son MIGHT BE, and perhaps HAD BEEN, displeasing to the Lord. He spent days and nights for years, in fear for his children. He was expecting them to do bad, and he was afraid that something bad would come to them. The continual offerings did not satisfy him. He had no confidence that they pacified God.

And he feared sickness. After he became afflicted he said that he had been fearing this very thing.

A person who speads his days in haunting fear is not going to have a happy life. Much "poor health" can be traced to this very thing. It is a very devastating emotion---fear is. It undermines resistance. Often, indeed, had this story been re-enacted in every part of the world.

His afflictions did not stem from some great wickedness done against others, or against the law of the land. We are accustomed to think of sin in terms of immorality, or law-breaking. His affliction came from fear---a very great sin, but not usually thought of as such. To sin is to miss the mark; to make a mistake. Doubts, fears, apprehension, dread, hate---these are serious mistakes, and, therefore, serious sins.

It is in the fact of mind, that man is in the image of God. To use the mind wrongly, or to "let it use us devastatingly", is very displeasing to God. I think is is more serious than to abuse the body. Neither Job nor his "comforters" knew to say the correct thing. Their debate availed nothing.

Perhaps the reader has noticed how often Christ said to a patient, "Go and sin no more", when He had healed one. It is evident that sin is directly connected with sickness. I think it is the sin of wrong emotions, negative thoughts, worry, fear, etc. It is not immorality. It is the wrong use of the mind---fear and doubts which cast a doubt on God's truthfulness. It is a lack of faith.

After Job had "seen" the Lord, his attitude became right. We read no more of his fears for either, himself or his children. The record says he had, after his affliction, the same number of children that he had before. And his property was doubled. This is not a far-fetched story. These very things can come into the life of one who has the right attitude---one whose thoughts are correct---one who shows the fruit of faith in the heart. I am praying for many people, specifically. Some desire health for themselves or their loved ones; some want money and other property, so as to be able to live in comfort; some want children; some want the children they already have, to be pleasing to the Lord and to be useful citizens; some want protection for their sons who are in the armed services on the country; some
want employment.

To all such, I say that a correct attitude toward God and man will go far in solving their problems. Absence of fear and doubt and a recognition of the power and love of God shows that Job came into this attitude. He had the correct attitude toward others also.

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