The primary lesson of Job is what the book reveals about the nature of human evil. As we go through the many discourses of Job’s “friends” we see them view wicked people in terms of murderers, thieves, rapists, fornicators, cruel tyrants, etc. “These” are the wicked, as Job’s counselors see them. But as we begin to understand more clearly, the things they point out as wicked are really only the fruit of something deeper in human nature: they emerge from a deep-seated root of pride that expresses itself as independence and self-sufficiency: “I can run my own life; I’ve got what it takes; I don’t need help from anybody.” Jesus summarized it this way:
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matthew 15:19).”
All evil comes from the root of pride (Isaiah 14:12-16), which is evil in its purest form. What we also learn from this book is that pride is expressed not only in terms of murder, thievery, and robbery, but also – as we see in Job’s three friends – as bigotry, pompousness, self-righteous legalism, critical judgmental attitudes, condemnation of others, harsh, sarcastic words and vengeful, vindictive actions against someone else.
Human evil is not confined to the criminals of the land; it is present in every heart, without exception (Jeremiah 17:9). Pride is the root of all sin and it can express itself in many different ways.
The Nature of Faith
Job thought he was exercising faith when he obeyed God and did what was right when it was clearly in his best interests to do so. Many people today think they are exercising great faith when they simply believe God is there; when they live their lives day by day with the recognition that God is watching and is present in their affairs. They do right because they know that if they do not they will get into trouble. This is, of course, a form of faith, but it is a weak faith. They live at a level of serving God only when it is in their best interests to do so.
This is the very accusation that Satan hurled at God when Job was discussed. “Job only serves you because you take care of him. Remove your hand of blessing and he’ll curse you to your face (Cf. Job 1:9-11).”
Many are like that: the moment blessing ceases, or difficulty or trial comes along, they want to quit. (The lack of a persistent, enduring witness by visible leaders is one of the greatest discouragements among the Body.)
The kind of faith that makes the world sit up and take notice is revealed as we serve God when it is difficult to do so – when serving Him is the hardest thing we can do. This is what the Book of Job is all about. Remember Gethsemane. “Not my will, but thine be done.”
This is what we see in Job. Though he trembles, though he falters, though he fails, the final thing he does is cling in helplessness to God. Job ultimately becomes an example of faith. Great faith is exercised when we feel we are being the least faithful! When we are so weak that we cannot do anything but cling. In that moment all heaven is looking and rejoicing at the greatness of our faith.
[Editor’s Note: The book of Job is far too complex for a “once over lightly” treatment. To probe some of its deeper lessons, we encourage you to review the entire account. Click on the link below to begin your study.]
• The Book of Job – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
• The Book of Job – CD-Rom Commentary – Koinonia House
– From Koinonia House News Letter