Tuesday, October 10, 2023

     No 24  Everybody's Talking 'Bout It

The idea behind integrity is being whole and unbrokenthe state of being sound, entire, continuous, contiguous, undiminished, or unimpaired. Integrity is related to the word integer (used in mathematics). An integer is a whole number. 1, 2, 5, 7 etc. Anything other is a fraction―½, ¼, ¾ and on. The idea of wholeness is intended in the word integumentarythe covering of the human body (skin, hair, nails) and is described as the Integumentary System. Crucial to the idea of integumentary is unbrokenness and wholeness. Danger becomes apparent when the skin is broken. A cut or wound can put the body at risk. Whenever and wherever there is a break, there is trouble. 
Job's Integrity
Integrity is "wholeness" of character. Here is the verse where integrity is introduced: And the Lord said unto Satan, 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 cause (Job 2:3).

Job came out of Satan's first onslaught unbroken. His integrity remained intact. God acknowledged that. Satan could not deny that. Job came through the first evil day without change of mind or change of heart. There was no change in his commitment to follow God. Job had early made a commitment to do right because doing right was right. And he did. It was because of integrity that Job becomes the subject of Satan's challenges.
The First of Two Great Truths in Job 2:3―Integrity
Job’s possessions at this point in time include 4 servants + 1 wife + his integrity. Other than these, he has lost everything. God talked about it. Job's wife talked about it. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die (Job 2:9). Job's three friends try to take his integrity away from him. The thrust of every word they speak to him is calculated to break him down and whittle away at his character. Way down into the book Job is still talking about his integrity. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live (Job 27:6). Job is saying that his conscience will not reproach him as long as he lives. What God affirmed about Job's integrity is repeated by Job himself. Whereas the whole of the Book of Job is concerned with Job's integrity, the whole of the Bible (including the Book of Job) is concerned with God's integrity. It is on the line as well. This has been said of Jesus: From the beginning to the close of His earthly life, He [Christ] preserved unsullied His loyalty to God (Ellen G. White, Reflecting Christ, page 37). This could also be said of Job. In fact, it has been said that Job offers a most powerful representation of integrity (short of that of Jesus Christ). No one else in the book exhibits such pure and simple commitment to God. 
The Second of Two Great Truths in Job 2:3―Responsibility
One short phrase in God’s response to Satan’s first attack on Job takes us deeper into God’s own character. God says, Thou movedst me against him (You have moved Me or incited me) against him, to destroy him without cause. Even though God was not the agent whose hand touches Job, He takes full responsibility for the tragedies that befell Job. Though God does not endorse what Satan does, He grants permission to act within certain limitations. God allowed but He did not cause. God allowed Job’s suffering at the hands of Satan but He did not cause that suffering. Yet God knew He would be blamed for it allHe would be blamed for that which He permits. And it still goes that way today.

Insurance companies are quick to put the onus on God for the extraordinary tragedies, devastations and losses that come through nature to us today―they are described as being "acts of God." (Which, by their definition, exempts them from responsibility.) God takes responsibility for that which He did not do.
Character of God
The story of Job illustrates the character of God as well as the character of Job. Many people dislike the God presented in the Book of Job. 
            Why did He permit all that bad stuff to happen?
             Why was there so MUCH devastation and loss? 
             Couldn't just a LITTLE have taught the truths well enough? 
            Why didn't God answer Job's prayers when Job needed Him? 
             Why did God have to be silent? 
             Why did He appear to be absent from the story until the very end?
Because answers to questions such as these are not immediately apparent, many turn away from God and live life without Him.
The whole spiritual life is molded by our conceptions of God, and if we cherish erroneous views of His character, our souls will sustain injury. (Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, page 263). This Satan knows. This is the bedrock of his evil. To this end, he directs his sophistries. So many turn away from God because Satan has inculcated fear of, displeasure in and mistrust of God's character.
What Does the World Need? 
It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth (Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, page 415).
The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known (Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, page 22). 
This Jesus came to do. And even He was misunderstood. Mistreated. And condemned. He attempted to illustrate and show the love of God. No one could have done it better.

This World is Not in Chaos
God does have plans for this world, and everything is not in chaos, no matter how it looks to us. And, surprisingly to many, the Book of Job itself is one of the avenues God uses to enlighten the world about His character. James, in the New testament, says so: Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy (James 5:11). 
We must not allow the enemy of God to blind our eyes to the fact that Job shows God to be very pitiful and of tender mercy. Let's work through the Book of Job to find this goodness. It's there! Won't you search with me?

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359.



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