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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wealthiest Man In The East


Job 1:1-5 NIV

Prologue

1In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.2He had seven sons and three daughters, 3and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
4His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.5When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.


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Job was a successful man. He was rich. And he was important. Everybody respected Job, because Job was wealthy. Job did deserve honor, but not because of his wealth. Job deserved honor because he respected God. Job always tried to do the right things. And Job refused to do evil things.

Job did not pretend that he was perfect (Job 31:33). Everybody does some evil deeds (Romans 3:23). This is why Jesus died for us (Romans 3:24-25). Jesus suffered the punishment for our evil deeds. We should invite God into our lives. Nobody on earth is perfect. But, if we trust God, God will make us perfect in heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Job did trust God. Job was sincere. Job’s attitudes (Job 31) prove this. Even God spoke well about Job (verse 8). In Ezekiel 14:14, God mentions Job. God also mentions Noah and Daniel in this passage. Here, God explains that the people in some countries are very wicked. God will punish these people severely. Even a good man like Job could not save such people. And even Noah and Daniel could not help them. This passage in Ezekiel shows us that God really considered Job a good man.

Job was unhappy about the behavior of his children. Job wanted his children to respect God. Job wanted them to help poor people. But Job’s children preferred to hold parties. They were greedy. They drank plenty of wine. They did not think that Job’s religion was important.  Later, in Job 8:4, Bildad said that Job’s children were evil. Job agreed with Bildad – see Job 9:2.

Job prayed for his children. Before Jesus died, holy people often killed animals as a gift to God. The Bible taught the people to do this (Leviticus chapters 1-7). The people knew that an animal cannot take the punishment for our evil deeds (Psalm 51:16). They knew that only God can forgive us (Psalm 51:17). But the death of an animal reminded them that evil deeds are serious matters. And this tradition taught them that Jesus would die for us all (Genesis 22:8 and John 1:29).

Job was afraid that his children would insult God. This would be terrible because we must always respect God. God created us. And God is our Judge. In fact, the author of the Book of Job did not even want to write the words: ‘insult God’. In the language called Hebrew, he wrote the words:  וּבֵרֲכ֥וּ  אֱלֹהִ֖ים ‘praise God’. He did not mean ‘praise’ because of course we should praise God. But the author knew that his readers would be able to work out the meaning of his words.

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