Mercy, Not Sacrifice Part II: A Good Report

God could have told the devil, “Job is way too proud for me.

His self-reliance doth defy my law of liberty.

His armpits drip with fear. His brow reeks with uncertainty.

It’s utter foolishness. Why don’t you humble him for me?”

 

But God, who’s rich in mercy, didn’t take that tack at all.

His heart was not to set the innocent up for a fall.

His goal, it seems, was to reveal the gospel to this man,

For the One who suffers with us all had formed a mighty plan.

 

It wasn’t something Job could understand inside his head,

Or wrap his mind around. He must experience it instead:

Not from a savior’s point of view, but from a sinner’s seat.

He must sit in the pit of misery and feel the heat.

 

Until you’ve truly suffered, it is hard to understand

The Father’s fervent love for you, the mercy he has planned.

For pain that has no purpose lacks the mighty healing touch

That flows from stripes laid on the back of Him who cares so much!

 

Was Job a sinner like the rest of us? Well, in the midst of Job’s suffering, after Satan has afflicted him, he asks God, “How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me to know my transgression and my sin. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?… For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.” (Job 13:23-26)

The reference to iniquities in his youth show that Job was not perfect in the sense of being sinless. However, exposing those sins is not the purpose of the Job book, for when you read the beginning, you see no mention of God punishing him for those sins. Like every man, Job had his flaws, but when God spoke to Satan about Job, He left the past in the past and focused on Job’s good points.

“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?” (Job 1:8 KJV)

Job was a man like no other, and God had blessed him in his work. Throughout the land there was no equal when it came to fearing God and eschewing evil (to eschew evil = tell evil to “shoo!”)

God spoke glowingly to Satan of Job’s perfect behavior, just as He spoke well of His creation in the book of Genesis. He called everything He made “very good,” not “very bad.” Even after the first people sinned, he didn’t call them bad names. Instead, He provided the promise of a Savior, the “seed of the woman” who would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15)

Do you feel guilty over something you’ve done? Do sins of the past continue to haunt you? If so, what do you imagine God would say? Would He yell at you to stop messing up and order you to get your act together?

Note that God did not accuse Job before Satan. Satan was the one who accused Job before God. “If you take away his blessings, he’ll curse you to your face.”

For the purpose of proving Satan wrong, God allowed him to afflict Job – not once, but twice. Job lost his business and his family in one day. It was all wiped out. His business was attacked by Sabeans and Chaldeans. All his animals were killed and so were all his employees.

In fact, before every test Job endures, God is quick to point out what Job has done right.

“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? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without a cause.” (Job 2:3)

Although it may seem as if God was, in fact, punishing Job, the purpose of the test is clearly not to find fault with Job but to prove the glory of God’s good name. For the sufferings of Job are nothing compared to the sufferings of Christ, yet in the book of Job we find some small picture of those sufferings, and (at the end) a spiritual resurrection from the dead.

 

How Can an Introvert be Heard?

We introverts often find it hard to make ourselves heard, especially in group settings. Sometimes we feel drowned out by people with the “gift of gab.” When you’re “slow of speech and tongue” it can be very frustrating.

Sometimes I wonder if that’s how Moses felt. When he was born, the king of Egypt was really into slaughtering Hebrew babies – boy babies only (How prejudiced can you get?). It was like a mass genocide. The Hebrew midwives did what they could to protect the babies, but Pharaoh’s men were everywhere. His law was aimed against the little ones, just like in America today.

Their voices were drowned out. But one baby was kept safe. Pharaoh’s daughter heard Moses’ cries and drew him from the water. His voice got heard. That should be a big encouragement to us all.

Though Pharaoh had closed his eyes and ears to Hebrew babies’ needs and cries, his daughter had eyes to see and ears to hear. Who in your life has eyes to see and ears to hear? Those are the people worth talking to. You won’t find them in the crowd. The more you sweat and cry and strain to make your words heard, the more they will get trampled on, like seeds of faith scattered upon the highway awaiting the crunch of an inflated tire – the tire that says “I’m tired of all this noise!”

Those who lack the gift of gab seek other means of making themselves heard – if not through writing, then sometimes through fighting. That’s what Moses did. One day he slew an Egyptian who was beating up a Hebrew. According to the first known Christian martyr, Steven, Moses thought that his brethren (the Hebrews) would see it and understand that God had hand-picked him to deliver them from slavery in Egypt (see Acts 7:24-25). But they didn’t get it.

Actions often do speak louder than words, but taking matters into one’s own hands can be disastrous to one’s cause. It’s always best to do things God’s way, for He knows how to get people’s attention. Moses complained to God that he wasn’t eloquent, but God gave him signs to do that spoke louder than words.

As for me, in group settings I’m no match against the king of snappy answers or the queen of the sharp tongue. But I do know how to write, and so I use my fingers to speak for me. As for reaching my audience, God opened doors for Moses. He can open doors for me. And He can open up doors for you too. Just write whatever He inspires you to write and don’t give up.