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Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Job Experience # 13

Job and His Friends

Job 2:11

So far we have seen that satan is out to destroy God's purpose in Job's life as he brings calamity after calamity upon Job. But now, beginning with the above scripture in Job 2:11, we will consider the most important part of Job's experience; we will consider that which God is after in Job's life, and we will consider God's Way of bringing about His End in Job's life.

The Word of God tells us that when Job's friends heard of all the adversity that had come upon him "they came everyone from his own place ... to mourn with him and to comfort him." First of all, the Book of Job makes it clear that Job and his friends are very close friends in the Lord - they have shared much together in the Lord. And when Job's friends "looked from afar off and saw him [disfigured] beyond recognition, they lifted up their voices and wept ... so they sat down with [Job] on the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief and pain were very great" (Job 2:12, 13).

We are sure that Job's friends truly did help and comfort him at first, for the very presence of the Lord's people always helps in such a time; however, in Job 16:2, we find that Job tells his friends that they are "miserable comforters." Why? Why did Job say this of his friends? Well, after Job's friends had sat in silence and mourned with him for seven days and seven nights, the Word of God tells us that they, along with Job, began to try and understand why Job was suffering.

In studying the Book of Job, we found that Job's friends concluded that Job must have done something to deserve the evil that had come upon him; and in the midst of his confusion, pain, and heartbreak, we found that job tries to justify himself before his friends. In their attempt to comfort him, Job's friends each speak and argue their point, and offer their advice and counsel, and they do this out of their own self-acquired wisdom and knowledge of God, and of God's Ways. And in the same way, Job tried to justify himself before them out of his own self-acquired wisdom and knowledge of God, and of God's Ways. And Job and his friends did this because they did not have enough of the actual reality of Christ within their lives.

Therefore, we find what God is after - we find what God is always after in the lives of His people! God is always after a fuller and greater measure of the Reality of Christ within the innermost being of His people. And this Reality, this true expression of Christ in and through the innermost being of those who are the Lord's, can only be accomplished through the way of the Cross - through the way of chastening and the way of purging.

Since it is always God's purpose to bring forth a greater Reality of Christ in the lives of His people, then it must be that satan will use any means to stop this from happening. In the Book of Job, it is important to note that from chapter three and on  we will not find the name of satan mentioned again; nevertheless, his evil assault continues against Job as he tries to devour God's purpose in Job's life. But from this point on, satan's assault is not so easily discerned, for he takes on his most subtle and dangerous form,satan becomes "the leviathan," he becomes that old "serpent," he becomes religious! And he subtlety uses the religious nature of the old man in his assault against Job - satan, "the leviathan," uses the religious nature of Job's friends, and he even uses the religious nature of Job himself. Notice we say "religious", not spiritual! So what is this religious nature of man that satan uses so subtlety?

First of all we need to realize that satan can use the religious nature in both the saved and the unsaved:

In the world, in those who are not saved by God's grace, the religious nature is the part of man that desires to worship and to pay homage and to have communion with and to serve a being (a god) or an object of worship (which becomes idolatry) whom he considers to be higher than himself.

But in God's people, in those of us who are redeemed by the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the religious nature of the old man, the adamic nature, is that in us which takes hold of the Holy things of God when there is not enough of the Reality of Christ in our lives. The religious nature of the old man can pray,can worship, can teach the cross-life, can even claim to be purged, broken, and humble, and still have very little of the true reality of Christ expressed in and through the innermost being.

Brethren, the name of satan may not be mentioned in the Book of Job after chapter two, but his venomous influence is certainly present as he takes on his most deceptive form - he becomes religious - he becomes "the leviathan!" In Job 3;8, we find Job lamenting and travailing over his circumstances as he despairs of life and wonders why he was ever born; and it is in this first discourse of Job that we find the first mention of this poisonous influence, the first mention of "the leviathan."  "Who are prepared to rouse Leviathan" Job 3:8)

Many say that Job is referring to some mythical serpent or dragon, or to the signs in the stars, or perhaps to some superstitions of the day, but we do not believe that this is so. "The leviathan," that old serpent, has never been mythical or just a sign in the stars or just a superstitious belief. No! he has been a deadly force against the purpose of God since the day Adam and Eve partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - remember, religion is always a mixture of good and evil. And so, the Holy Spirit calls our attention to "the leviathan," as Job travails, in order that we may be aware that satan's poisonous influence is at work against Job.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 14)

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