Tuesday, March 26, 2024

No 48 Job's Ladder

Satan's Lies 
One of Satan’s many lies (installed in the Garden of Eden) is that God blesses you when you are good and curses you when you are bad. God blesses the righteous with material prosperity, while He punishes the wicked with poverty, adversity and destruction. This lie became the Common Wisdom of the Age, meaning, the people, then, and every age since, had come to tenaciously hold that belief. It was (and still is) well-nigh accepted by all. No one escaped its ramifications. It was in the conversations of all social interactions. It guided marketplace activity. It permeated the military. It influenced farming. It grabbed you in church. It pervaded all man’s thinking.
God wanted to address this lie head-on. And He did. God confronted the lie by having Moses write the Book of Job. This book precedes Genesis and Exodus in timingit was, in fact, the first written book of the Bible. And in the Book of Job God addresses the slam and slander Satan had put on His own (God’s) character. Satan’s lies were calculated to cause God’s reasonable and intelligent creatures (angels and man) to mistrust and misunderstand God. And they did distrust. They became afraid of God. And many decided they didn’t like God.

Satan Takes It to the Next Level
Satan extended and developed his lie to the point where one’s goodness or badness described one’s relationship with God. Since goodness and badness can be seen through the eyes, one could be assumed to be righteous because of their prosperity (prosperity is observable) or to be wicked (because wickedness is observable).   
So. Early in the history of this world, people had become well-ingrained with the lies Satan had told about the character of God. Ingrained was Eliphaz. Bildad, and Zophar. When they decided to go visit their friend Job, there was no doubt about what they would be saying to him when they got there. The agenda was set. In concrete.
However, theirs’ had to be an uncomfortable “theology”the kind that raises as many questions as it answers. If, in fact, it is true that the wicked were punished in this life with poverty, adversity and destruction, why is it then that so many obviously wicked people seemed to prosper more than the righteous? It was a confusing day in which to sort out truth. Two people could be standing side-by-side, one could be a prospering righteous person and the other could be a prospering wicked person. These observations certainly muddied the water.    
Satan Takes It to An Even Higher Level
Then Satan extends the lie even further. [When a lie is working, why not promote it?] People began thinking that the reason people practiced religion (in the frist place) was to gain the righteousness of God. And that the wicked lived their life in defiance of God.
To what degree was Job influenced by this Accepted Wisdom of the Day? Was he entrenched in its claws? Was he aware? Was he in disagreement? Did he even care? Was he practicing his religion to obtain his righteousness? Was his religion the outgrowth of his righteousness? We will let Job himself describe his “theology” as we progress through his responses to the arguments given by his unfriendly friends. 
Certainly, the blasts from Satan initially knocked him off his feet. His first words were angry wordsAfter this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day (Job 3:1). [Notice, he cursed his birthday, not his God.] He never did curse God. 
It took some time for Job to re-orient himself to his predicament. He did have to think through what was happening to him as the obvious facts were stacked against him. Then Job begins to tackle the common theology of his day. Job undergoes some of the most intense perseverations (thinking about something to an extreme degree) about the character of God. 

 Photo by Mike Lewinski on Unsplash
This Picture Symbolizes Job's Ladder
It will have many rounds (or rungs) as Job climbs upward, so to speak, from his miry mess to find his God above. The writer of the Book of Job wants to take his readers upward with Job on the climb. 

In comparison to Jacob's famous ladder, which had angels ascending and descending upon it,  Job's Ladder, it might be said, has people (the readers of the book) climbing with him. I use this analogy to illustrate that all of us have had to climb out of pits in our walk with God. It takes close reading of Job's words, but it may be seen that he climbs upward one rung-at-a-time. The reader has the privilege of making that climb with him.
We Begin the Climb at the Bottom 
3rd Rung Upward      Despair
Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery,
and life unto the bitter in soul; 
Which long for death, but it cometh not;
and dig for it more than for hid treasures; 
Which rejoice exceedingly,
and are glad, when they can find the grave? 
Why is light given to a man whose way is hid,
and whom God hath hedged in? 
For my sighing cometh before I eat,
and my roarings are poured out like the waters. 
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me,
and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. 
I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet;
yet trouble came (Job 3:20-26).
2nd Rung Upward     Anger
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day (Job 3;1).
1st Rung Upward      Quietness
So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and 
seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw 
that his grief was very great (Job 2:13).
Ground Level            The Evil Day   
All this evil that was come upon him (Job 2:11).
Anger (the 2nd Rung Upward)
It must be said clearly at the outset―while Job was weary of life, but he was never weary of his religion. Job would gladly part with his life, but he would never part with his God. He may have cursed his birthday, but he never cursed his God.
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1:22).
In all this did not Job sin with his lips (Job 2:10). 
Satan had said, All that a man hath he will give for his life (Job 2:4). But he miscalculated when it came to Job. Never man valued life at a lower value and as so worthless as Job did at this moment. His life to him was not worth a plugged nickel. But never, never did Job stop valuing his God.
This may be said because had Job given up on his God, he would have simply given up the will to live and died. Worse yet, he may have taken his own life. But no. Job wanted his God.
Forget Job. Find God. His life meant nothing. His God meant everything.
Why Do I Give Such Emphasis Upon This Point?
The people of God living in the last days of this world's history will, likewise, make such valuation. Each one of us will readily account our life as nothing and God as everything. We will have assessed that nothing is more important than to stand for truth. We will be believing that the greatest want of the world is the want of men,—men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall (Ellen G. White, Education, page 57).
To Illustrate that We Can Trust and Walk
The Book of Job accomplishes this. Were his calamities calculated to make him a better man? No. Were his calamities calculated to demonstrate that he was a good man? Yes. Were his calamities calculated to illustrate that he could trust even when he cannot have all the answers? Yes. And Job did. Were his calamities calculated to to show that he could walk even when he could not see? Yes. And Job did.
According to scholars today
■ The author is unknown.
■ The date of the writing is uncertain.
■ The locale is obscure.
■ The historicity is doubted.
■ The literary integrity is doubted. 
■ Even whether or not the book should be in the Bible is disputed. 
According to Will
■ I believe that the book came to us from God.
■ I believe the story is truthful.
■ I believe God put the book in the Bible for all readers throughout all time.
■ I believe the book is valuable to today’s readers.              
■ I believe the Book of Job will special significance for God’s people living in the last days.
Won't you join with me in finding God's special messages He has placed in the Book of Job for His people today?

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359 or use the comments via Google section below. (You must be signed in to Google to do so).

No 48 Job's Ladder Satan's Lies  One of Satan’s many lies (installed in the Garden of Eden) is that God blesses you when you are goo...