Updated: Feb 6
There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 22. If chosen, it will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday October 7, 2018. It is important because it tells of the suffering that one must put up with to be truly righteous. One can only be that holy with God’s strength within.
The story of Job should be known by all Christians. This story is a microcosm of “As it was in the beginning, and now, and always, and into the ages of ages.” Job is in the beginning, in the land of Ur, from which Abram came. A timeframe is not stated, as Job can be oneself at any time, in any place. It is the test of one’s faith, which is greatly different that a test of one’s beliefs.
The opposition appears to be between God and Satan, but that is incorrect. Satan is symbolized by the serpent in Eden, as a Big Brain that was cast out of Eden and condemned to the earth forever. Satan was the influence of Cain, after being banished. Satan is the fallen angel Lucifer, who refused to serve human beings. Lucifer was denied contact with God, so the conversation could have only taken place at a time prior to mankind being much more than animals, meaning Job is descended from Adam. Some say the name “Job” means “The Persecuted,” while others say it means, “No Father” or “Where Is My Father.” In all cases, Job must be seen as a prototype of Jesus of Nazareth.
When we read “loathsome sores,” the Hebrew states “boils painful.” It must be grasped that the mere presence of boils brought with them severe pains to the flesh. The Hebrew word translated as “painful” or “loathsome” is “ra’,” which also means “adversity.” This then further states that the “pain” of visible sores, from top of the head to the bottom of the feet, not only physically hurt Job, but they were painful mentally. A visible sore was a sign of evil being present on Job, which made him appear to others as not the righteous, upstanding man he had been. Therefore, from this understanding of the pain Job felt, he sat close to a fire with a broken shard of pottery and tried to scrap the boils off his skin, because he would rather suffer physically than be seen as a sinner in the eyes of others.
That is why Job’s wife asked him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.” She knew that Job had done nothing wrong. She knew Job’s integrity was impeccable. She also knew that Yahweh, the LORD, whom Job served and to whom Job spoke, was not who had brought this “curse” upon Job. It was the “elohim,” or lesser “gods.” Therefore, Job’s wife was not telling Job to swear a curse upon YHWH, but she was telling him, “Why do you worry so much about how others see you? This is obviously a curse of the jealous gods. They want you to die and no longer be an influence for good living.”
Because Job’s wife was likewise righteous and upstanding, she was not a “foolish woman.” Job actually agreed with what his wife said, by saying, “As you speak,” from the Hebrew “kə-ḏab-bêr.” He then said that another “one, a foolish woman [or man], would ask “What good shall we accept from the gods?” This would then lead the foolish to say, “Adversity [pain and suffering] we shall not accept.”
By saying that to his wife, Job indicated he would accept neither good nor evil from lesser gods, as accepting anything from elohim meant turning away from YHWH and sinning. Job let no sin slip from his lips, as he neither cursed God or the gods.
As an optional selection from the Old Testament for reading on the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – when one has no sin on one’s lips – the message here is the acceptance of persecution for the higher good. If one has a painful boil of evil on one’s being, one does not hide it from view. Instead, one scrapes it off and cleanses the skin with fire. Regardless of the pain that comes from attacking sin, one cannot accept the appearance of sins that are false.
It is vital to realize that one could not possibly withstand the trials of Satan without the help of the true God, Yahweh. The Lord said to Satan, “There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. [Job] still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.” Because there was only Job that was so righteous, God sent His angels to be the guardians of mankind, driving away the angels of Satan, whose role it is to tempt to self-destruction.
Because Job is the parallel of Jesus of Nazareth, who the Father allowed Satan to destroy, so the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ could multiply in human beings, there are many now who speak with sinless lips, as those reborn as the Christ. That availability of righteousness to all, so the souls can now keep “from going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it” – being reincarnated – means we have the choice of being resurrected after dying of ego. The “to and fro” and the “up and down” ceases, once a soul has been awarded eternal salvation.
To earn that award, one has to show God one has true faith. That comes from being reborn from above. One has experienced God within and no outer pains can make that faith be changed to suit external demands. One shows one’s faith through one’s integrity.