The Pathway of Suffering IS the Pathway to Perfection
Did you know that the Book of Job is widely considered to be one of the oldest books of the Bible...and perhaps even the first written book of the Bible?
Consider then the significance of this message being potentially chosen as God's first documented words to man. There is much for us to learn from Job, especially as we encounter the trials of life.
In the two-part message linked below, Pastor Zac Poonen discusses the Book of Job and important truths we can learn for our lives today.
God is looking for a Job; a person who is blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil (Job 1:1). Those are perhaps the very first words of inspired Scripture that God gave to man.
Click here for Book of Job - Part 1
- Shows us that something happens in the Heavenly realm when God's children suffer on earth; many things which happen on earth are being closely watched by God, the angels, Satan, and all in the Heavenlies.
- When a man is godly, God allows him (and his family) to become the target of Satan's attacks...but God does not forsake him.
- Just because a man is godly does not mean his wife will be...and vice versa.
- A godly man will be misunderstood by religious people; religious people do not know God, but know facts about God.
- A godly man is often a lonely man because a spiritual man can only be understood by those who are spiritual.
- God pointed out to Satan a man who "feared God and eschewed evil", and the mouth of the accuser of the brethren was shut.
- The prosperity 'health and wealth' gospel has its roots in this first book of Scripture. It was first preached by three men (Job's friends) who did not know God. Job lost his health and his wealth and was completely in the will of God.
- A godly man has concern to bring up his children in godly ways.
- A godly man is concerned with sin in the heart.
- A man is godly because he has a life hidden away in continual communion with God. He makes offerings to God even in good times when there is no trouble.
- You can never be a servant of Christ if you seek to please even one man (Galatians 1:10). Seek to please God only.
- God has put a hedge of protection around a godly man's life, his family, and his possessions (Job 1:10). Satan cannot touch a godly person without God's permission.
- God is omnipresent, but Satan can only be at one place at a time.
- Satan cannot see the future.
- Upon hearing of the destruction of his children and property, Job's first response to worship God (Job 1:20).
- Satan often uses our loved ones to tempt us. A lot of believers are waiting on calamity to hit godly men - and are secretly happy when it does - because of jealousy.
Click here for Book of Job - Part 2
- Job's three friends offer their thoughts on Job's situation, but God eventually says "My wrath is kindled against thee...for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right." (Job 42:7) What they said was wrong because the spirit behind their words was wrong. Men may find a lot of people's sayings 'right', but God will find it 'wrong' based on the motive behind the words.
- Eliphaz concluded that Job was suffering because of sin in his life (Job 4:8), but he was wrong. He believed that secret visions, angelic visitations, and supernatural experiences made him authoritative about the things of God (Job 4:12-16). However, we must be sure that the spirit behind the supernatural is the Holy Spirit; and in Eliphaz's case, it was not.
- Bildad assumed that Job's children must have sinned (Job 8:4-5). Again, this was false. He believed he represented God's authority because he appealed to the traditions of their forefathers (Job 8:8-19). Yet, man's beliefs and traditions are not the standard for God's anointing.
- Zophar accused Job of being a wicked man who didn't really serve God at all (Job 11:3-12); yet again we know he was wrong for God later calls Job the most godly of the bunch. Zophar was a self-appointed critic, offering a fleshly imitation of Godly judgment (Job 11:2-20). He was an angry man who used harsh words to find fault with others and cut them to pieces. This is not the anointing of God.
- The problem with each of Job's three friends is that none of them knew the character of God.
- After all have said their peace, a young man named Elihu speaks. God had no criticism for Elihu's words for they were true, but Elihu had never been through trials himself. While Elihu understood the character of God, he had not gone through the deep waters with God to have that character forged in him; therefore God's anointing also did not rest on his words. You can be a 'good' man/woman and even have a 'good' ministry, but remain shallow because you've had no experience with suffering.
- It is false to believe that only the wicked suffer. The truth is that wicked people often live long, are wealthy, are able to see their offspring grow, retain their possessions, have businesses that prosper, spend their days in pleasure, and are not under God's chastening (Job 21:7-13). Our earthly situations (which are temporal) are no determinant of our standing with God.
- When God speaks to Job, reminding him of God's omniscience and power, Job is convicted. God is in complete control and nothing occurs by happenstance. God doesn't speak to Job about his sin or his children's sin; He simply reminds Job of His own greatness and all Job could say is, "I am nothing." (Job 40:4-5)
- Although Job was an upright man, he also had spiritual pride in his godliness. That is why God took him through this trial: to make him godly and humble. Paul was also taken through suffering by God to keep him humble (II Corinthians 12:7). This is the reason why God allows His people to suffer, so that He can keep them humble and thereby keep them as vessels of His grace (James 4:6).
- God restored Job after he prayed for his friends. A godly man prays for those who persecute him, loves his enemies, and does good to those who harm him.
"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation..." Job 13:15-16a