These communities formed the basis for what later would become known as Christian monasticism. Mysticism is integral to Christian monasticism because the goal of practice for the monastic is union with God. The Eastern church then saw the development of monasticism and the mystical contributions of Gregory of Nyssa , Evagrius Ponticus and Pseudo-Dionysius. Monasticism, also known as anchoritism meaning "to withdraw" was seen as an alternative to martyrdom, and was less about escaping the world than about fighting demons who were thought to live in the desert and about gaining liberation from our bodily passions in order to be open to the Word of God.
Anchorites practiced continuous meditation on the scriptures as a means of climbing the ladder of perfection—a common religious image in the Mediterranean world and one found in Christianity through the story of Jacob's ladder —and sought to fend off the demon of acedia "un-caring" , a boredom or apathy that prevents us from continuing on in our spiritual training. Monasticism eventually made its way to the West and was established by the work of John Cassian and Benedict of Nursia.
Meanwhile, Western spiritual writing was deeply influenced by the works of such men as Jerome and Augustine of Hippo. The High Middle Ages saw a flourishing of mystical practice and theorization corresponding to the flourishing of new monastic orders, with such figures as Guigo II , Hildegard of Bingen , Bernard of Clairvaux , the Victorines , all coming from different orders, as well as the first real flowering of popular piety among the laypeople.
The Protestant Reformation downplayed mysticism, although it still produced a fair amount of spiritual literature. Even the most active reformers can be linked to Medieval mystical traditions. Martin Luther , for instance, was a monk who was influenced by the German Dominican mystical tradition of Eckhart and Tauler as well by the Dionysian-influenced Wesenmystik "essence mysticism" tradition.
He also published the Theologia Germanica , which he claimed was the most important book after the Bible and Augustine for teaching him about God, Christ, and humanity. Meanwhile, his notion that we can begin to enjoy our eternal salvation through our earthly successes leads in later generations to "a mysticism of consolation". But the Reformation brought about the Counter-Reformation and, with it, a new flowering of mystical literature, often grouped by nationality. No breath of suspicion arose against Molinos until , when the Jesuit preacher Paolo Segneri, attacked his views, though without mentioning his name, in his Concordia tra la fatica e la quiete nell' orazione.
The matter was referred to the Inquisition. A report got abroad that Molinos had been convicted of moral enormities, as well as of heretical doctrines; and it was seen that he was doomed. On September 3, he made public profession of his errors, and was sentenced to imprisonment for life.
Contemporary Protestants saw in the fate of Molinos nothing more than a persecution by the Jesuits of a wise and enlightened man, who had dared to withstand the petty ceremonialism of the Italian piety of the day. Molinos died in prison in or An example of "scientific reason lit up by mysticism in the Church of England"  is seen in the work of Sir Thomas Browne , a Norwich physician and scientist whose thought often meanders into mystical realms, as in his self-portrait, Religio Medici , and in the "mystical mathematics" of The Garden of Cyrus , whose full running title reads, Or, The Quincuncial Lozenge, or Network Plantations of the ancients, Naturally, Artificially, Mystically considered.
Browne's highly original and dense symbolism frequently involves scientific, medical, or optical imagery to illustrate a religious or spiritual truth, often to striking effect, notably in Religio Medici , but also in his posthumous advisory Christian Morals. Browne's latitudinarian Anglicanism, hermetic inclinations, and Montaigne -like self-analysis on the enigmas, idiosyncrasies, and devoutness of his own personality and soul, along with his observations upon the relationship between science and faith, are on display in Religio Medici.
His spiritual testament and psychological self-portrait thematically structured upon the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, also reveal him as "one of the immortal spirits waiting to introduce the reader to his own unique and intense experience of reality". Arndt, whose book True Christianity was popular among Protestants, Catholics and Anglicans alike, combined influences from Bernard of Clairvaux, John Tauler and the Devotio moderna into a spirituality that focused its attention away from the theological squabbles of contemporary Lutheranism and onto the development of the new life in the heart and mind of the believer.
Pietism as known through Spener's formation of it tended not just to reject the theological debates of the time, but to reject both intellectualism and organized religious practice in favor of a personalized, sentimentalized spirituality.
Eastern Christianity has especially preserved a mystical emphasis in its theology  and retains a tradition of mystical prayer dating back to Christianity's beginnings. The practice of Lectio Divina , a form of prayer that centers on scripture reading, was developed in its best-known form in the sixth century, through the work of Benedict of Nursia and Pope Gregory I , and described and promoted more widely in the 12th century by Guigo II.
The 9th century saw the development of mystical theology through the introduction of the works of sixth-century theologian Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite , such as On Mystical Theology. His discussion of the via negativa was especially influential. As part of the Protestant Reformation , theologians turned away from the traditions developed in the Middle Ages and returned to what they consider to be biblical and early Christian practices. Accordingly, they were often skeptical of Catholic mystical practices, which seemed to them to downplay the role of grace in redemption and to support the idea that human works can play a role in salvation, and which also seemed to come from post-biblical sources and practices.
Thus, Protestant theology developed a strong critical attitude, oftentimes even an animosity towards Christian mysticism. Historically, Christian mysticism has taught that for Christians the major emphasis of mysticism concerns a spiritual transformation of the egoic self, the following of a path designed to produce more fully realized human persons, "created in the Image and Likeness of God" and as such, living in harmonious communion with God, the Church, the rest of the world, and all creation, including oneself.
For Christians, this human potential is realized most perfectly in Jesus, precisely because he is both God and human, and is manifested in others through their association with him, whether conscious, as in the case of Christian mystics, or unconscious, with regard to spiritual persons who follow other traditions, such as Gandhi. The Eastern Christian tradition speaks of this transformation in terms of theosis or divinization, perhaps best summed up by an ancient aphorism usually attributed to Athanasius of Alexandria : "God became human so that man might become god.
Going back to Evagrius Ponticus , Christian mystics have been described as pursuing a threefold path of purification, illumination and unification, corresponding to body soma , soul psyche , and spirit pneuma. In , the 8th Ecumenical Council reduced the image of the human to only body and soul but within mystics a model of three aspects continued.
The three aspects later became purgative, illuminative, and unitive in the western churches and prayer of the lips, the mind, the heart in the eastern churches. The first, purification is where aspiring traditionally Christian mystics start. This aspect focuses on discipline, particularly in terms of the human body; thus, it emphasizes prayer at certain times, either alone or with others, and in certain postures, often standing or kneeling.
It also emphasizes the other disciplines of fasting and alms-giving, the latter including those activities called "the works of mercy," both spiritual and corporal, such as feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. Purification, which grounds Christian spirituality in general, is primarily focused on efforts to, in the words of St. Paul , "put to death the deeds of the flesh by the Holy Spirit" Romans This is considered a result of the Spirit working in the person and is not a result of personal deeds.
Also in the words of St. Paul , " The "deeds of the flesh" here include not only external behavior, but also those habits, attitudes, compulsions, addictions, etc. Evelyn Underhill describes purification as an awareness of one's own imperfections and finiteness, followed by self-discipline and mortification. Because of this, in ancient Christian literature, prominent mystics are often called "spiritual athletes," an image which is also used several times in the New Testament to describe the Christian life.
What is sought here is salvation in the original sense of the word, referring not only to one's eternal fate, but also to healing in all areas of life, including the restoration of spiritual, psychological, and physical health. It remains a paradox of the mystics that the passivity at which they appear to aim is really a state of the most intense activity: more, that where it is wholly absent no great creative action can take place.
In it, the superficial self compels itself to be still, in order that it may liberate another more deep-seated power which is, in the ecstasy of the contemplative genius, raised to the highest pitch of efficiency. The second phase, the path of illumination, has to do with the activity of the Holy Spirit enlightening the mind, giving insights into truths not only explicit in scripture and the rest of the Christian tradition, but also those implicit in nature, not in the scientific sense, but rather in terms of an illumination of the "depth" aspects of reality and natural happenings, such that the working of God is perceived in all that one experiences.
Underhill describes it as marked by a consciousness of a transcendent order and a vision of a new heaven and a new earth. The third phase, usually called infused or higher contemplation or Mystical Contemplative Prayer  in the Western tradition, refers to the experience of oneself as in some way united with God. The experience of union varies, but it is first and foremost always associated with a reuniting with Divine love , the underlying theme being that God, the perfect goodness,  is known or experienced at least as much by the heart as by the intellect since, in the words 1 John "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.
Mystical Contemplative Prayer is the blessing for which the Christian mystic hopes. No human effort can produce it. This form of prayer has three characteristics. It can manifest itself in one of four degrees. The four degrees are the prayer of quiet, the prayer of union, ecstatic union, and transforming deifying union. Author and mystic Evelyn Underhill recognizes two additional phases to the mystical path.
First comes the awakening, the stage in which one begins to have some consciousness of absolute or divine reality. Purgation and illumination are followed by a fourth stage which Underhill, borrowing the language of St. Ooooh dang. Rak's mindset. His poor beleaguered psyche. I vaguely remember him saying before how he didn't like the foot service thing, but now he does it all the time willingly? Is that because it's Jisten, because the H guy reaaally fucked with his head, or a bit of both? Either way, it seems to indicate that perhaps Rak ain't exactly right in the hea Oh, shit.
Either way, it seems to indicate that perhaps Rak ain't exactly right in the head. Onto the next one. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About A. Other books in the series. The Dark Servant 1 - 10 of 33 books. Books by A. Trivia About Willingness and N No trivia or quizzes yet. Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Then, through a series of dialogues and monologues arranged in a pattern of threes, human wisdom attempts to explain the unexplainable, until finally God Himself speaks.
What's the big idea? God allows pain for good reason, but He may never reveal those reasons. Job did not reject God, but Job did challenge and accuse Him. The Almighty quieted Job decisively when He finally thundered His own perspective on the situation. How do I apply this? Suffering is unavoidable in this life. Will your relationship with God be enough when trials come? Will you trust Him through your suffering? Read Job 38— Spend time with the Almighty. Pray for a stronger faith in the powerful Creator described in those chapters. Pray for a right perspective of Him so that you might see your situation through His eyes.
Are we trusting our Creator, even though we cannot understand our circumstances? Job is classified as one of the poetical books of the Old Testament. It may be the most ancient of the Bible writings. That such a man really lived is sufficiently proved by the testimony of the Holy Spirit in Ezekiel ,20 and James where his name is mentioned. Job lived in the time of the patriarchs, probably long before the days of Moses. He offered sacrifices on behalf of his family, and no reference is made in Job to the book of the Law given from Sinai.
Another indication of the early writing of the book is the fact that Job lived to be approximately years of age. Consider, for example the passage that says God ''hangeth the earth upon nothing'' Job's contemporaries all believed that the earth was flat, and that it rested on the shoulders of one of the gods, or the back of an elephant or giant sea turtle.
Think of it! Startlingly accurate scientific statements written more than 3, years before the discovery of America!
We may well write over the entire book the word ''tested. The above question is answered in the book of Job from four principal and divergent viewpoints. We will consider these representative opinions about why people suffer. Satan hurled the challenge into the face of God that His people love and serve Him only to gain temporal advantage.
Hear the adversary say, ''Doth Job fear God for nothing? God named that evil insinuation the devil's lie. In effect, God said to Satan, ''There are men on earth who will follow me in poverty. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord'' Job But God went beyond this to prove to Satan that there are men on earth who will trust Him even while their bodies are wracked with pain and disease see Job's remarks in Job We must note this: it often takes more faith to suffer than it does to be healed.
God places that faith just as high on the scroll as any other. Look again at Hebrews , then read carefully verses Yes, God does honor suffering faith. These three friends of Job came to the conclusion that the suffering of the righteous is punishment for known, but perhaps secret, sins.
This viewpoint is refuted by God's Word and the experience of Job. Eliphaz expressed his opinion that suffering is punishment for sin in these words: ''Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? Or where were the righteous cut off? Be assured of this: not all of ''Job's comforters'' are dead. A pernicious doctrine that is extant today says that sickness is always the result of sin or that people don't get well because they lack faith. People who believe this do not understand the book of Job.
This wise man pictured God as a great God. He gave us a noble and true accounting of man and suffering. But Elihu was conceited, and he was guilty of the very thing of which he accused Job. God finally confronted Job and, in a unique revelation of Himself, gave him a discourse on His attributes.
In his response, Job expressed God's solution to the problem of human suffering in his own words Job They could be summed up this way: The godly are afflicted so that they may be brought to self-knowledge and self-judgment. Afflictions are purifying. Job was a good man, but he was self-righteous. The book of Job is a picture of the situation that is stated in 1Corinthians ,32; Luke ,32; and 1Corinthians Job longed for a mediator Job , The word translated ''daysman'' in verse 33 means ''mediator.
He knew that in heaven was a holy God, and that between him and God was a vast gulf. His cry was for a kinsman-redeemer, and by faith he saw the God-man. Job's vision of a future life had been obscure, as witnessed by his question, ''If a man die, shall he live again? But a light broke upon his soul, for later we hear him exclaim, ''For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God'' Job , Job understood the process of bodily disintegration, but with the eye of faith he also saw the resurrection and his Redeemer standing upon this earth.
He saw himself in a future body of flesh, for he said of Christ, ''Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another'' Job Yes, this is just one more proof of the validity of our Lord's words, ''They… testify of Me'' John The blessings described in Job were the result of a vision of God that followed with an abhorrence of self, tears of repentance, the sweet odor of burnt offering, and the embrace of love Job He examines the literary aspects of the text, such as style and characterization. In an engaging and easy to read style, Aked helps the reader see this book of the Old Testament in a panoramic view, as well as understanding the key elements of Job.
He offers a new translation of a few of the speeches in this book, then some commentary on the entire text. He focuses on the philology and semantics of the Hebrew text, as well as providing valuable exegesis. Ball believes that the character and goodness of God in all situations is the key theme to this book. In order to understand this doctrine, Ball leads the reader on an exegetical and historical journey through this book of the Old Testament. He gives the historical, social, and Hebraic context for the book in the introduction, as well as a linguistic and poetical examination.
He then provides an exegetical and detailed commentary on the story of Job. Included is a table of contents and outline of the book of Job. Bible scholar and pastor Carey also includes dissertations, an analytical paraphrase, and various readings of the Hebrew text. Featuring over pages, this study will aid the general reader as well as the scholar for a comprehensive overview and examination of this key book of the Old Testament. Carey was a pastor in England in the nineteenth century. He was born in He died in In the introduction, he addresses the question of how the Old Testament relates to Christianity as a whole, providing valuable context.
Not only does he examine each chapter of the book of Job, he goes over various questions and common academic arguments. Readers will find this to be an informative, holistic approach to this important book of the Old Testament. Bible scholar J. Coleman includes many cross-references and indexes guaranteed to aid the reader with historical context and general comprehension.
He spent years researching and comparing various translations and scholars and ancient literary traditions. The text is embedded with helpful and insightful commentary and interpretation. Bible scholar and pastor Samuel Cox wrote this commentary in hopes that it would aid the general reader not just now and then, but with every inquiry into the book of Job.
He presents a holistic introduction to the book, covering such topics as literary style, historical context, and historical reception. Cox brings his reader into the academic conversation surrounding this book, making practical application throughout. They are quite out of the run of Church of England preaching, and are full of thought and originality.
They would have been all the better for a little gospel, for even if his text does not look that way, we do expect a Christian minister to have something to say about his Master. Minister Alfred Evans brings the story of Job to life, drawing out application and careful exposition from this familiar book of the Old Testament for modern readers.
Evans believes that Job was not merely a man of great suffering and great faith—he is a character with whom all of humanity can relate. He systematically goes over each section of Job as a drama, highlighting the contentions and resolutions throughout. In the introduction, Ewald gives context to the format, content, and style of the book as poem. He also examines the date and history of Job as well. Written in an academic yet readable style, this commentary will help all who seek to understand the complexities of this book of the Old Testament. Spurgeon: "Written in a devout, inquiring spirit, with due respect to learned writers, but not with a slavish following of their fancies.
We greatly esteem this exposition for its own sake, and also for the evangelical tone which pervades it. Fry discusses the authenticity, authorship, and historical context, before providing a commentary on the dialogues, theology, relationships, and questions of suffering presented in this book of the Old Testament. How do we make sense of evil and still trust God? These are vital questions, and Kelly provides a commentary that seeks to answer them in spite of the difficulties they present.
Following the clear outline in the book of Job, Kelly goes over each section in great detail, giving the reader a clear view on the context and comfort that this book of the Old Testament can give. Lee includes contextual background on the character of Job, history, times, as well as the origin of the writing itself.
He also includes a commentary and cross-references throughout the translation, providing invaluable insight and information on this all-important book of the Old Testament. And with over pages, the reader will receive a complete survey of the book of Job. This book, supposed to have been first committed to writing by Moses, is regarded by many as the oldest in the world. Its object is to set before us the trial of an "upright man.
The days of Job were probably about the time of Abraham, as in the book there is no mention of Israel, the Tabernacle, the Temple, or the Law. The book is of great value as a revelation of the forces that are at work against the life of the righteous. All the characters are representative: Job, the servant of God; Satan, the adversary; the three Friends, the wisdom of the world; Elihu, the wisdom of God; God, the Judge of all.
That Job was no mythical character is clearly proven in Ezekiel and 20, when his name is mentioned by Jehovah Himself. As the teaching of this book is centered in the person of Job, we shall try and grasp its leading principles through this man, that they may, if possible, become more interesting and powerful in our own individual lives. He was Perfect. As a man, he was all that a man in those days could be in holiness of character. That there was "none like him in the earth" is not his own testimony, but the statement of Him who knows what is in man.
He was perfect, not in the sense of being sinless, but in the sense of being plainly Hebrews devoted to God and to righteousness. He was transparently upright, according to his knowledge and ability. He walked in the light, although that light may have been but twilight. Like an honest man, Job straightened himself up, morally, before God and men. His character is in strong contrast to the multitude of men who, like the woman in the Gospel, are so "bowed down" with the love of the world, and the fear of man, that they can in no wise lift themselves up.
Love and lust are fetters that bind the souls of men as with iron bands. He was Rich. Good men are not always rich; but God had surely put a premium on the goodness and faithfulness of Job, by allowing him to become the wealthiest man in the country. The best man will always be the richest, if not in material goods, certainly in the more enduring treasures that are spiritual and Divine. Although there was a gulf of agony between Job's present and future life, yet he found that it paid to be righteous. The perfect man will be upright, will fear God and hate evil, if all his worldly possessions should need to be sacrificed for this end.
If his riches increase—-even spiritual riches—he sets not his heart on them. He was Wise. This did Job continually" Job These family gatherings, for social enjoyment, were in themselves a good testimony to their upright and priestly father. Those seven sons must have been well brought up, when they sought so often the fellowship of one another, and did not fail to give their three sisters a special invitation to their parties. Job did not forbid such festivities, but he knew human nature too well to suppose that there was no moral danger connected with such seasons. So Job, as priest in his own family, offers a sacrifice for each of his sons.
As a wise father, he is most concerned that his sons should be kept right with God. It is not enough for the "perfect man" that his family should be healthy and happy and prosperous in the world; he longs intensely, and spares no sacrifice, that they might each one live and walk in the fear and favor of God. Sin against God is that one thing which his upright soul has learned to hate. He was Protected. His person, his family, and his property, were hedged about by the special care of God.
Three circles of defences had been raised about him. He and his were as the vineyard of the Lord Isaiah , 2. Satan seems to have known more about the impregnable position of Job than Job himself. His fear of God had made him safer than he thought. The God of yesterday is the same God today. We cannot see that "angel of the Lord that encamps round about them that fear Him," but the Devil does. Hedges of the Lord's making are too thick even for the cunning hand of Satan. Satan's testimony to the security of God's children is of great value. Without God's permission his great power is utterly useless against the man that is hiding in the bulwarks of his God.
He was Marked. Then Satan answered, Does Job fear God for nothing? Job, being a perfect and upright man, was an object of special consideration to the Lord and to Satan. He was a marked man for the favor of the Lord, and for the envy and hate of Satan. Both God and the Devil marks the perfect man Psalm The divine consideration is all for our safety and usefulness—the Satanic consideration is how to disturb and destroy.
Is it not true in a sense, of every "perfect man in Christ Jesus," that they become the special objects of assault by the powers of darkness? When Joshua, the high priest, was seen "standing before the angel of the Lord," Satan was seen "standing at his right hand to resist him" Zechariah Why was Satan so desirous to have Simon Peter that he might sift him as wheat?
Did he dread lest that warm impetuous nature should be wholly yielded to the cause of Jesus Christ? Those whom Satan and his host takes no trouble at must be accomplishing very little for God. Heaven and Hell marks the holy man. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. Job's case was typical.
Jeremiah chapters - Free Bible Study Commentary in simple English
You have heard of his patience, as you have seen the faith of Abraham, and the meekness of Moses. Job's desperate struggle is allowed to take place in the open arena, that we might learn the secret of resistance. It is a battle between the best of men and the worst of enemies. Satan does his best to crush and overthrow the integrity of this "perfect man" who has been incased with the special providence of God, and who can offer but a passive resistance.
Although God's environments were everything that could be desired, he was not proof against the powerful temptations of the Devil. The environments of Christ Himself did not save Him from Satanic assaults. Job had a good house, and a good income, but houses and wages are not everything that men need, if they would stand firm against all the deadly wiles of the Devil. About this enemy of all righteousness, let us not forget—. His Personality.
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According to the teaching of Scripture there is but one Devil, but many demons. The apostles and evangelists in referring to him always speak in the singular, and this they do about thirty times. He is a liar from the beginning, an influence cannot lie. Only men and devils can lie. All lying is devilish, and devilishness proves there is a Devil.
His Origin. Then Satan answered, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it" Job The same mystery that hangs over the fact of sin, hangs over the origin of Satan. When our Lord says that he was a murderer, and a liar, from the beginning, it is difficult to believe that he has ever been anything better.
According to his own confession, his sphere of work is "going to and fro in the earth. That Satan and his demon host are the disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic race, that brought the condemnation of God upon them because of sin, is a theory not without some attractions. His Object. His unwavering purpose is to set God and man at variance Job In his devilish business he is, alas, too often successful. Before he attempted the separation of Job from his God, he had succeeded with Adam and with Cain, and afterwards with Saul and with Judas, and a multitude of others. There is no man in all the earth that annoys Satan so much as the "perfect man.
While Jesus Christ was on the earth, the forces of Hell were continually meeting Him in one form or another. The names given to Satan in the Scriptures are strongly indicative of his character and purpose. He is the Adversary; the Accuser of the brethren; the Murderer; the Prince of darkness; the Prince of this world; the roaring lion. He is the God of this lost world; the ruler of its darkness. He is the opposer and the accuser of the brethren; the liar against the truth, and the murderer of souls. His Power. That Satan is capable of great power as well as great wrath is unquestionable.
But he is utterly powerless to touch a child of God, or anything that he has, without His permission. Satan was allowed to send his messengers, one after another, to buffet Job, just as he was afterwards permitted to do with the Apostle Paul 2 Corinthians , and blessed be God, with much the same result.
Although the Devil may be allowed at times to sift, he is not allowed to devour the wheat: "Behold all that he has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand" Job So far, but no farther. Then when this adversary made his second challenge, the Lord said, "Behold he is in your hand, but save his life" Job It was a long rope this roaring lion got, and he used every inch of it. He had got access to everything but the spirit of this evil-hating man, and having received liberty to exercise his fiendish are, we soon discover where the secret of his power lies.
He finds his mighty weapons in the Sabeans, the Chaldeans, the lightning, and the wind Job That he should be able to commandeer such forces is a revelation of his wonderful power and resources. The Devil has two arsenals, one in the heavens, and the other in the earth, namely, the elements, and the hearts of ungodly men. Such an enemy is not to be trifled with. His Manner of Working. His first act is, to get himself away out of the presence of God. Satan, and all his host, seen and unseen, whether they be men or demons, love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil.
He has a great task before him— to break down a perfect man's confidence in his God— so he waits for the best time to make the attack. That opportune day arrived when Job's "sons and daughters were eating and drinking in their eldest brother's house" Job To get at Job, the Devil had to break down the outside fences first; this he did by prevailing upon men to steal his oxen, his donkeys, his camels, and to kill his servants. Little, perhaps, did these men think that when they were helping themselves to the property of Job, they were the agents of the Devil carrying out his diabolical ends.
The same spirit is now working in the children of disobedience Ephesians Ungodly men are tools lying ready at hand for the work of Satan. He entered Judas just because he was a fit person for the accomplishment of his fiendish purposes against the Son of God. He sent fire from the heavens, and burned up the sheep, to make Job believe that it was a judgment from God. Satan surely thought this was a master-stroke, when the servant whom he had spared to carry the tidings went and said, "The fire of God is fallen from Heaven, and has burned up the sheep" v.
If Satan can only get God's people to believe when the time of affliction and testing comes, that God is against them, he has gained a victory. He was very careful to spare one, who might run to Job, saying, "I only am escaped alone to tell you. The method he adopted in breaking the news to Job was in itself devilish.
The Devil's wheat is all bran. King Canute promised to make the man who would kill King Edmund, his rival, the highest man in England; he fulfilled his promise by hanging him on the highest tower in London. We fight not against flesh and blood, but against "wicked spirits," which use flesh and blood as their instruments in seeking to overthrow our faith in God. We are not ignorant of his devices: give no place to the Devil. Not one, however, rich or great. Is by his station or estate exempted. The very name of Job means persecuted.
In his unique trials he is the prototype of Christ. Every perfect man will have his Eden to enjoy, his Isaac to sacrifice, and his wilderness of severe and prolonged testing. It is through much tribulation that we enter into the kingdom of God's greater fullness and power. No affliction for the present is joyous, but grievous, but, nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby.
Was there ever a man more exercised about his troubles than Job? But meanwhile we shall look at—. Their Purpose. Two cross-purposes find their center in Job. The one was Divine, the other was Satanic. Satan said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face" Job Satan did not believe that any man would remain true to God if bereft of all material and earthly enjoyment.
If Job staggered under such a test, Jesus Christ did not. He had not where to lay His head. Job, being utterly unconscious that he was being used in this fashion as a test case, must have felt it as a severe trial of his faith. Well the Devil knows, that if men are going to overcome the world by faith, his power is broken, and his kingdom lost. It has been so since the beginning; those who would fear God, and eschew evil, must fight the good fight of faith. Their Nature. The character of Job's troubles was of the worst kind.
There were no half measures. Every separate trial was a complete catastrophe. There was the—. His "seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred donkeys," were all suddenly stolen, or burned up with fire from Heaven. The richest man in the east had in one day become a bankrupt. That in itself would have driven many a one into absolute despair. Seven sons and three daughters all killed by one terrific stroke Job This judgment must have been "a great deep" to the upright, sensitive soul of Job Psalm There is no natural law by which such workings of the providence of God can be understood.
The dominion of faith, for the spirit of man, is beyond nature.
Jeremiah the Faithful Servant
He was covered with a loathsome disease; there was no soundness in his flesh. Like Lazarus, he was "full of sores. He had no premonition of the approach of this fearful malady—no time to fortify himself even by prayer against the assault. Satan had permission to touch his flesh, and he touched every inch of it. With the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ—for in all things He has the pre-eminence—it is questionable if ever any other mortal was so sorely tried. If there was not something supernatural about faith in God, it could not possibly survive such a shock.
The "greatest man in the east" has now become the most loathsome object in the east. He who sat among princes is now sitting "among ashes" Job He has been stripped of everything but his life. Curse God and die" Job His wife, the only comfort left him, turns out to be a canker. She cannot understand faith in God in circumstances like these. Fair-weather Christians always get shipwrecked in a storm like this. This taunt through his wife was the Devil's last weight to break the back of Job's integrity.
It was the poisoning of his last earthly spring of consolation. Job has at last sounded the abyss of his sufferings; he has found the bottom of this great deep. His is now "a lifeless life," a finished monument to that great master of the malignant are. And this is the master many take pleasure in serving. To serve sin is to be the slave of the Devil. Their Effect. T he immediate result of those awful trials which stripped Job naked of every earthly comfort was a clearer revelation of the inward, spiritual man.
These words, spoken by this pre-eminent sufferer, have come down as a legacy to the bereaved in every generation since then; on many tombstones they may be read as the language of deep, heart-felt sorrow and submission. That no murmur escaped those burning lips in such a furnace proves how completely he had given himself and all that he had to God. What have we that we have not received? Job may not be a prophet, but he has "spoken in the Name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience" James There is a life that does not consist of the things which we possess; it is infinitely superior to them and independent of them.
After getting a glimpse behind the scenes of the purpose of Job's trials, let us by faith count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations trials , knowing that the testing of your faith leads to power of endurance James , 3.
The Message in the *Temple 7:1-8:3
The beauty and meaning of some pictures are best seen and understood at a distance. We can see deeper into the meaning of Job's sufferings than either Job or his comforters could see. From our sun-lit mountain top, we look down upon these friends as all working in the darkness, just as, perhaps, some of the angels of God may look down upon us in pity as they see us vainly striving to find out the reason why God in His providence so deals with us.
The great fundamental lesson of the book of Job is "Have faith in God. Men that could "lift up their voice and weep" at the sight of Job's condition, and sit in company with him for "seven days and seven nights" were surely not void of real sympathy and compassion. Their weakness and their sin lay in their self-confidence. Each seemed sure that he was laying his finger on the cause of Job's downfall, although his experience was a new thing in the providence of God.
To us, their eloquent reasonings is a powerful evidence of the utter inability of the "wisdom of this world" to explain or to understand the mysteries of Christian experience. Job began this great wordy warfare by opening his mouth and "cursing the day wherein he was born" Job Satan had said, "Touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face. Many a one has been constrained, through sin and suffering, to curse the day of their first birth, but history has never told us of one who had any desire to curse the day of their second birth.
Man that is born in sin is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward, but the man that is born again is born into the kingdom of peace. During those long, weary, seven days the gold of Job's character seemed to become dim, and the most fine gold changed, for he did speak unadvisedly with his lips chapter In the day of darkness and trial let us beware of that "unruly evil," the tongue.
This opening speech of the suffering patriarch betrays a soul overwhelmed with bewilderment. It has many questions.
Yet this outburst of agony has taught many to be still under the mighty hand of God. It is no mere hyperbole to say that the sufferings of Job, like the sufferings of Jesus Christ, were for the good of others. The Bible would have been much poorer if there never had been the conflict and the patience of Job. It will be impossible in these brief notes to grasp anything like the full meaning of those great torrent speeches. We shall only attempt to catch a word here and there that might help us to understand the book, and to enter into a deeper experience of the things of God.
Eliphaz begins very tenderly; he feels that the wound to be dressed is very deep and painful. One needs the tongue that is learned by experience to speak a word in season to him that is so weary and heavy-laden. It is a solemn and gracious work to commune with the sorrowing, but let such missionaries see that their own hearts are at the same time in communion with God, or they may but aggravate the anguish. This friend knew Job's past life, and ventures to remind him of how he had been a means of blessing to others in their time of need.
This was but a small spark of light for Job's great darkness, but still there was a glimmer in it. To tell a man that he once was rich will not console him much now that he is bankrupt. It is easier to speak cheering words to the tempted than to bear the temptation. The comforters of others need at times to be comforted. This saying is like a double-edged sword, it cuts both ways. It may mean, if you were innocent, as you profess to be, you would not have been perishing in this fashion; or, because you are innocent, it is impossible for you to perish.
The Lord knows them that are His, and how to deliver them out of temptation 2 Peter The Lord could do nothing with the guilty Sodomites until the righteous were taken out Genesis The facts of history are well worth remembering. Affliction does not spring up by chance; it is not the sudden outcome of spontaneous generation. The law of microbes is included here, and if I were you, "I would seek unto God, and unto Him would I commit my cause. But Eliphaz was not in Job's position, and so it was comparatively easy for him to say what he would do. Still, it is the best thing to do.
To whom can we go but unto Him. The Lord alone knew all the reasons why this dark and cloudy day had come. In the day of adversity consider, yes, consider Him who endured contradictions for us. To be reproved of God is a comforting evidence of His love and carefulness. Every true child of God desires to have their thoughts, feelings, and ways corrected by their heavenly Father.
We ought to count it a great privilege to be put right by either His word or His rod. Solomon says that "a just man fails seven times, and rises up again" Proverbs Six troubles had overtaken Job, and he had not yet been delivered out of any of them; but God is the God of deliverances.
Let not the number of our troubles or our difficulties limit the Holy One. The wonderful words of Eliphaz had little effect. Job begins by saying:. But what benefit would it bring the distracted sufferer even could he know the full weight and measure of it. His grief, like the grief of Him who agonized in Gethsemane, was both terrible and mysterious. A week ago he said, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away," but now his soul is pierced with the arrows of the Almighty.