Faith Tested

                                                 Job 1:8-22

                                                June 6, 2021

 

 

                                             Wealth and Piety

 

·         THEIR COMPARATIVE EXCELLENCES.

 

 

            Wealth - an abundance of valuable possessions or money.

            affluence · prosperity · riches · substance · luxury · plenty 

 

 

 

      Piety - devoutness, reverence, religious

 

Ø      Piety may be obtained by all; wealth can be secured only by a

few.

Ø      Piety is useful to all; wealth is injurious to some.

Ø      Piety will abide with all; wealth can remain with none.

 

·         LESSONS.

 

Ø      They that have piety can do without wealth.

Ø      They that have wealth cannot do without piety.

 

Integrity:  the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles;

                  moral uprightness.

 

 

 

                                    The Hero of the Poem (vs. 1-5)

 

·         THE PATRIARCH’S NAME. Job.

 

Ø      Historical. Not fictitious, but real (Ezekiel 14:14-23; James 5:11).

Even if the Book of Job proceeded from the brilliant Solomnnic

period, the person of Job must be looked for in remote patriarchal times.

 

Ø      Significant. Meaning “Persecuted,” or “Repenting,’ if not better

connected with a root denoting “joyous exultation.” Scripture names are

frequently suggestive of traits in character (e.g. Jacob, Peter, Barnabas) or

points in history (e.g. Abraham, Israel, Benjamin, Samuel).

 

 

Ø      Illustrious. Allied to that of princes (Genesis 46:13; 36:33), like

whom probably he was descended from the father of the faithful

(Genesis 25:6). The piety, no less than the intellectual endowments, of

ancestors sometimes reappears in their posterity.

 

Read Genesis 12:1-3

 

Galatians 3:8-9 says that God told Abraham before his name was

changed:  “In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.  So

then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

 

Ø      Honoured. Commended by God (Ezekiel 14:14), extolled by St.

James (James 5:11), immortalized by the Hebrew bard.

 

·         THE PATRIARCH’S COUNTRY. UZ.

 

Ø      Heathen. Though considerably civilized, as surviving monuments attest,

the sons of the East were not embraced within the Abrahamic covenant, in

which respect they fell behind the sons of Israel (Romans 9:4). For

countries, as for individuals, the institutions of religion are a higher honor

and a greater privilege than the blessings of civilization. Yet:

 

Ø      Not God-forsaken. If Job’s countrymen, like Abraham’s, were addicted

to idolatry (ch. 31:26-28). it is apparent that a remnant still adhered to

the primeval faith of mankind. Probably no age or people has ever been

wholly bereft of light from heaven or of the gracious influences of

God’s Spirit. In the darkest times and most idolatrous lands God has

been able to find a seed to serve Him (I Kings 19:18; Romans 11:4-5).

 

  • THE PATRIARCH’S PIETY.

 

Ø      Perfect. Used of Noah (Genesis 6:9) and of Abraham (Genesis

17:1); describes the patriarch’s religious character with reference

to itself as:

 

o       complete, full-orbed, well-proportioned, thoroughly

symmetrical, possessing all the attributes and qualities

indispensable to SPIRITUAL MANHOOD — an ideal

after which Old Testament saints strove (Psalm 119:6) and

New Testament believers aspired (Acts 24:16), and which

by Christ (Matthew 5:48), Paul (I Thessalonians 5:23), and

by James (1:4) is propounded as the goal of Christian

attainment;  and as:

 

 

 

o       sincere, clear and transparent in motive, single and undivided

in aim, pure and unmixed in affection, without guile, without

hypocrisy, without duplicity — a quality again exemplified by

David (Psalm 26:1), Zacharias and Elisabeth (Luke 1:6),

Nathanael (John 1:47), Paul (II Corinthians 4:2), and enjoined

by Christ as a perpetual obligation (Colossians 3:22; I Timothy

1:5).

 

Ø      Upright. Defining Job’s piety in its relation to the law of right, as that

which was “straight,” or without deviation (i.e. conscious; Ecclesiastes

7:20), in either thought or act from the prescribed path of duty, and also

distinguishing it from the “crooked ways” of the ungodly (Psalm

125:4-5; Proverbs 2:15), against which saints are warned (Joshua 1:7;

Proverbs 4:25, 27), and which they strive to shun (Psalm 101:3;

Hebrews 13:18).

 

Ø      God-fearing. Setting forth the aspect which Job’s piety maintained

towards God — an outlook not of dark, slavish terror, but of bright

filial reverence and holy awe. such solemn and profound veneration

as a contemplation of the Divine character is fitted to inspire (Psalm

89:7; 99:3), as Abraham cherished (Genesis 22:12), as is inculcated

upon Christians (Hebrews 12:28), and as lies at the foundation of all

 true greatness (ch.28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7).

 

Ø      Sin-hating. Completing the portrait of the patriarch’s religious

character by depicting the attitude in which it stood to moral evil,

whether in himself or in the world around, which was not a position

of indifference or neutrality, but of active and determined hostility

a necessary feature in the character of the good man as portrayed

 in Scripture (Psalm 34:14; 37:27; Proverbs 14:6; Ephesians 5:11;

(I John 3:3, 6).

 

  • In his spirit he is “perfect,” not marked by moral flaw. As “a just man “he

walks in his integrity. In his deportment and his dealing with men he is

“upright.” No crooked vagaries mar his character or conduct. Honesty,

straightforwardness, sincerity, are the conspicuous virtues of this good

man. Towards God he is reverent, devout, obedient. The foundation of all

wisdom, as of all virtue, is present — he “fears God.” Evil he “eschews,”

he avoids it. Such are the characteristics necessary in the head of a godly,

happy household.

 

 

 

·         FEATURES OF CHARACTER. Four words, like a few expressive

touches from a master’s pencil, place before us the character of the

patriarch.

 

Ø      “That man was perfect.” That is, he was sound (integer vitae, as the

Roman poet says) in heart and life, blameless in the ordinary sense in which

we use that word, free from glaring vice or gross inconsistency. We must

bear in mind that general epithets like these, denoting attributes of human

character, are derived from our experience of external objects. They are,

therefore, figurative expressions, not to be used in an exact mathematical

sense, which, of course, is inapplicable to such an object as human

character. Perfect, as a sound animal is said to be; without blemish, like a

snowy, sacrificial lamb; spotless, like a “garnered fruit,” without “pitted

speck.” There are two aspects of perfection — the negative and the

positive. Negative perfection is more the Old Testament view. It is when

the character presents a blank on the side of those gross vices, those sins

against honor and truth and every Divine and social bend, which incur the

hatred or man and the displeasure of Heaven. The New Testament view

brings out the positive side of “perfection.” It is not only the life void of

offence, but it is the completeness of the Christian man in those heavenly

graces, that bright resplendent adornment of the sanctified character, which

in the sight of God is of great price. (I Peter 3:4) But there are conditions

of life in which there is comparatively little scope for the development of

character widely on the positive side. There is but a small circle of duties,

employments, amusements, relations, in such circumstances as in the

primeval and pastoral simplicity of Job. How different from this highly

developed, widely and variously interesting modern life of ours! Where

more is given, more will be required. But the example of Job consists in the

simplicity and integrity with which he moved about in the sphere of his

little sovereignty, and, with every facility for indulging passion, for

infringing right, for encroaching on the happiness of others, kept himself

white as the lily, nobly free from blame. Not that he was that insipidity of

character, a merely correct man. Intense selfishness is often found in your

correct men. We see from glimpses presently given us in the course of the

poem that he was an actively good man. Here we may read the exquisite

descriptions of his past life in ch. 29. and 31., forced from him in his self-

defense.  We look upon the picture of a man who is the pillar of his

community, a light, a comfort,, a joy to dependents and equals alike. It is a

picture which the thousands of our countrymen who are in the enjoyment

of fortune, position, education, and influence in their respective

neighborhoods, may be invited to contemplate and to imitate. The Divine

pleasures and the noble reward of a right use of wealth and position, form

for multitudes of the great a field but little explored. Amidst the serious

warnings of Scripture and of experience against the dangers of prosperity,

let the pure example of Job stand out to remind the prosperous that they

may make their means a help instead of a hindrance to the kingdom of

heaven; may enslave the unrighteous mammon; in gaining much of this

world, need not necessarily lose their souls!

 

Ø      He was upright. The idea is that of a right line. And the opposite image

is conveyed by the word froward,” or “crooked,” from the curved,

deviating line. (As Peter encouraged those on the Day of Pentecost

“....Save yourselves from this untoward (σκολιᾶς - skolias - curved,

crooked,) was especially used:

 

(a)    of a way, Luke 3:5, with spiritual import (see Proverbs 28:18, Septuagint);

      it is set in contrast to ὀρθός  - orthos - straight; used of height, denotes

      upright - a line of direction and used figuratively of paths of righteousness

      and εὐθύς - euthus - direct, straight, right, used figuratively of the paths

      of the Lord (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4) and

 

(b)   metaphorically, of what is morally “crooked,” perverse, froward, of people

      belonging to a particular generation, Acts 2:40 (KJV, “untoward”);

Philippians 2:15; of tyrannical or unjust masters, I Peter 2:18, froward”;

in this sense it is set in contrast to ἀγαθός - - agathos  -  good. generation.” 

 

The idea is that the crooked generation which denied and crucified the Lord is HURRYING

ON TO THEIR DESTRUCTION!   Those who would not perish with them MUST COME

OUT FROM AMONGST THEM and BE SEPARATE FROM THEM! (II Corinthians 6:17),

 

As the country-people say of an honest man,” He acts

straight,” and as our fine old English word gives it, “straightforward.”

There is a certain mathematics of conduct. Never to depart from truth,

even in jest; not to extenuate, nor to exaggerate, nor to be partial in our

statements; not to add to nor take from facts; to “tell the truth, the whole

truth, and nothing but the truth;” to abstain from flattery on the one hand,

and slanderous perversion on the other; to regard one’s word as one’s

bond; to think and speak with others in that candor, that clearest light in

which we ever commune with ourselves; to hate semblances and

dissemblances, to get rid of duplicities and confusions; in all relations, to

self, to God, to others, to be one and the same man; to avoid turnings and

twistings in our route; to go straight to our ends, like an arrow to its mark;

this is the spirit, this is the temper, of the” upright” man. His character

resembles the fine-drawn lines of a true work of art; while the “froward

man reminds us of the ill-drawn design, whose deformity no amount of

overlaying and ornament can disguise.

 

 

Ø      God-fearing. This and the following epithet complete the representation

of the two former. No man is “perfect” without being a fearer of God;

none upright without departing from evil. Religion takes its rise in man’s

feeling of awe towards the vast unseen Power and Cause revealed through

things seen. His conscience, by its exhortations, speaks to him of the

righteousness of the unseen eternal Cause. All his experience inward and

outward impresses upon him the sense of his absolute dependence.

Obedience, active and passive, to the Eternal Will is the primary law

revealed in the heart of man amidst Sinai-like thunders, over all the world,

and in all times. Feelings like these constitute man’s earliest and universal

religion; Scripture designates them by this comprehensive expression, “the

fear of God, the fear of the Eternal.” It is no slavish feeling, if man be true

to himself. It is not a blind terror, not a Panic inspiration. It is fear

chastened and elevated by intelligence, by spiritual fellowship; it is

unbounded respect, immeasurable reverence; it is ever on the way to

become perfect love. The result of this genuine religion upon the character

is to make us view all things in their relation to the unseen and the eternal.

Thus life is dignified, lifted out of meanness, receives a certain significance

and purport in its smallest details. Without religion we exist as animals, we

do not live as men. The busiest career, the loudest reputation, the most

splendid worldly success — what sense, what meaning, is there in it

without the principle in the heart which consciously binds it to the unseen?

“‘Tis a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, but meaning nothing.”

 

 

Ø      Eschewed evil.” Or, a man who departed from evil. This was the habit

of his life. It completes what is given in the second trait. His rectitude,

leading him in a direct line of conduct, delivers him from the bypaths of

deceit, of transgression, the ways of darkness and of shame. Here, then, in

these four words we have suggested the idea of complete piety, the picture

of a constant and a noble life, standing “four-square to all the winds that

blow.” We see a spotless character, attended by a fair fame in the world;

the secret foundation on which the moral structure rests is revealed to us,

in:

 

o        a habit of principle,

o        a heart full of the fear of God.

 

We look upon the patriarch, moving in the pure air and the holy sunlight

of Heaven’s favor, blessed with the good will of men, and with all those

hopes of the future which a past happiness inspires, little dreaming

that his skies are so soon to be darkened, and the foundations of his

earthly joy to be so violently shaken.

 

 

 

                        Begin on Enoch walking with God

 

Genesis 5 18-31

 

Walking with God

 

 

 

Enoch did not literally walk with God; this is unquestionably a figurative

expression, but a figurative walk involves the same thing today as it did then.

First, it means he went in the same direction God went. He was moving the way

God was going. God is forever moving in human history.

 

Enoch walked with God.—This is translated in the Septuagint, εὐηρὲστησε δὲ Ἐνὼχ

τῷ θεῷ , “Enoch pleased God,” whence comes the “testimony” quoted in Hebrews 11:5.

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death ; and was not found,

because God had translated him:  for before his translation he had this testimony,

that he pleased God.”  Really it gives the cause of which the Greek phrase is the effect;

for it denotes a steady continuance in well-doing, and a life spent in the immediate

presence of and in constant communion with God.

 

 

 

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: (Genesis 5:21)

The dedicated and initiated child grew up to possess, illustrate, and proclaim the

piety which was the distinguishing characteristic of the holy line. At the comparatively

early age of sixty-five he begat ("forbidding to marry" being unknown then) Methuselah.

 

And Enoch walked with God (Elohim). The phrase, used also of Noah, (Genesis 6:9),

and by Micah - “He hath shown thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord

require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

(Micah 6:8. Compare the similar expressions, "to walk before God,"  In Genesis 17:1,

it is said “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to

Abram, and said unto him, I am the almighty God; walk before me, and be thou

perfect.  Literally, set thyself to walk, as in ch. 13:17, in my presence, as

if conscious of my inspection and solicitous of my approval; not behind me,

as if sensible of shortcomings, and desirous to elude observation. The

phrase intimates a less exalted piety than the corresponding phrase used of

Enoch (5. 24) and Noah (Genesis 6:9).

 

The Psalmist said, “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”

Psalm 116:9, and to walk after God, “Ye shall walk after the Lord you God,

and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye

shall serve Him and cleave unto Him.” (Deuteronomy 13:4). 

 

In the New Testament we are admonished:  “Be ye therefore followers of God

as dear children.  And walk in love as Christ also hath loved us, and hath

given Himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling

savor.”  (Ephesians 5:1),  which portrays a life of singularly elevated piety;

not merely a constant realization of the Divine presence, or even a perpetual

effort at holy obedience, but also "a maintenance of the most confidential

intercourse with the personal God (Keil). It implies a situation of nearness

to God, if not in place at least in spirit; a character of likeness to God

“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3), and

a life of converse with God.

 

Following the Septuagint the writer to the Hebrews describes it as a life that was

"pleasing to God," as springing from the root of faith (Hebrews 11:5). Yet though

preeminently spiritual and contemplative, Jude tells us (vs. 14-15) the patriarch s

life had its active and aggressive outlook towards the evil times in which he lived. 

After he begat Methuselah. "Which intimates that he did not begin to be eminent

for piety till about that time; at first he walked as other men' (Henry). Procopius Gazeus

goes beyond this, and thinks that before his son's birth Enoch was "a wicked liver,"

but then repented. The historian's language, however, does not necessarily imply

that his piety was so late in commencing and it is more pleasing to think that from

his youth upwards he was "as a shining star for virtue and holiness (Willet). Three

hundred years. As his piety began early, so likewise did it continue long; it was not

intermittent and fluctuating, but steadfast and persevering.  (Compare 1 Corinthians

15:58 - “Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always

abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not

in vain in the Lord.” ). 

 

And begat sons and daughters. "Hence it is undeniably evident that the stats and

use of matrimony doth very well agree with the severest course of holiness, and

with the office of a prophet or preacher" (Peele). And all the days of Enoch were

three hundred and sixty-five years. "

 

 

 

 

My son, John Ryan, running towards the gap between the two

walnut trees on our farm - October 12, 1984,

 

 

Then came Enoch whose life went beyond the

reception and confession of the atonement, for he set before men the great

truth of communion with God; he displayed in his life the relation of the

believer to the Most High, and showed how near the living God

condescends to be to his own children.

 

 

God realized as existing, observing, judging, and rewarding human deeds: a real

God, really with us — this we must know, or there is no walking with God.

 

Enoch walked with God for hundreds of years.  He continued in

the calm, happy, equable enjoyment of fellowship with God from day to

day. Night with its sleep did not suspend it; day with its cares did not

endanger it. It was not a run, a rush, a leap, a spurt, but a steady progression. On,

on, through three happy centuries and more did Enoch continue to walk

with God.

 

 

It is implied also in this phrase that his life was progressive: for if a man

walks either by himself or with anybody else, he makes progress, he goes

forward. Enoch walked with God. At the end of two hundred years he was

not where he began, he was in the same company, but he had gone forward

in the right way. At the end of the third hundred years Enoch enjoyed more

understood more, loved more, had received more, and could give out

more, for he had gone forward in all respects. A man who walks with God

will necessarily grow in grace, and in the knowledge of God and in likeness

to Christ. You cannot suppose a perpetual walk with God year after year,

without the favored person being strengthened, sanctified, instructed, and

rendered more able to glorify God. So I gather that Enoch’s life was a life

of spiritual progress, he went from strength to strength, and made headway

in the gracious pilgrimage. May God grant us to be pressing onward

ourselves.

 

 

Suffer a few more observations upon Enoch’s walk. In “Kitto’s Daily Bible

Pleadings” there is an exceedingly pleasing piece, illustrating what it must

be to walk with God by the figure of a father’s taking his little son by the

hand and walking forth with him upon the breezy hills. He says, “As that

child walks with thee, so do thou walk with God. That child loves thee

now. The world — the cold and cruel world — has not yet come between

his heart and thine. His love now is the purest and most beautiful he will

ever feel, or thou wilt ever receive. Cherish it well, and as that child walks

lovingly with thee, so do thou walk lovingly with God.” It is a delight to

such children to be with their father. The roughness of the way or of the

weather is nothing to them: it is joy enough to go for a walk with father.

There is a warm, tender, affectionate grip of the hand and a beaming smile

of the eye as they look up to father while he conducts them over hill and

dale. Such a walk is humble too, for the child looks upon its father as the

greatest and wisest man that ever lived. He considers him to be the

incarnation of everything that is strong and wise, and all that his father says

or does he admires. As he walks along he feels for his father the utmost

affection, but his reverence is equally strong: he is very near his father, but

yet he is only a child, and looks up to his father as his king. Moreover such

a walk is one of perfect confidence. The boy is not afraid of missing his

way, he trusts implicitly his father’s guidance. His father’s arm will screen

him from all danger, and therefore he does not so much as give it a thought

— why should he? If care is needed as to the road, it is his father’s

business to see to it, and the child, therefore, never dreams of anxiety; why

should he? If any difficult place is to be passed, the father will have to lift

the boy over it, or help him through it — the child meanwhile is merry as a

bird — why should he not be? Thus should the believer walk with God,

resting on eternal tenderness and rejoicing in undoubted love. A believer

should be unconscious of dread either as to the present or to the future.

 

Beloved friend in Christ, your Father may be trusted, He will supply all

your need.

 

 

And Noah walked with God. The special form in which his just and perfect character

revealed itself amongst his sinful contemporaries. For the import of the phrase see

on Genesis 5:22. Noah was also a preacher of righteousness (II Peter 2:5), and

probably announced to the wicked age in which he lived the coming of the

Flood (Hebrews 11:7).

 

 

Walk is mentioned 318 times in the Bible

Walked is mentioned 125 times

Walkest is mentioned 7 times

Walketh is mentioned 41 times

Walking is mentioned 30 times

 

So some form of “to walk” is mentioned for a total of 521 times.

 

“\And thine ears shall shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the

way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to

the left.”  (Isaiah 30:21)

 

Lamech and Enoch

Enoch and Lamech

 

 

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