Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “GREAT GOD”… JESUS
As I think about life on this earth, it entails a reiterative process of refinement! This process cannot be effective nor efficient if it does not entail stripping. When I think about the floors in the hallways of our church that have been applied with many layers of wax, they have to be totally stripped down to the base tile in order to remove all the impurities prior to restoring the glow of brilliance as the new layers of wax is applied. Hence, in our walk with God we have to be stripped down to our core, so that our Spiritual Man can shine through with brilliance! For this Golden Nugget I would like to provoke the thought “Stripped to My JOY.” I will use the following scriptures to establish my premise and provoke further gospel provocation..
(Job 1:1) There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
(Job 1:8) And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
(Job 1:22) In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
The book of Job occupies a very peculiar place in the volume of God. It possesses character entirely its own, and teaches lessons in my opinion that can not to be learned in any other section of the bible
The opening page of this remarkable book furnishes us with a view of the patriarch Job, surrounded by everything that validates that my brother JOB was on the Mountaintop, and his initial state of being makes him a more valid testimony to the world. “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” Thus much as to what he was. Let us now see what he had.
“And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the children of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses everyone his day; and sent and called for their three sisters, to eat and to drink with them.” Then, to complete the picture, we have the record of what he did. “And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”
Here, then, we have a very rare specimen of a man. He was perfect, upright, God-fearing, and eschewed evil. Moreover, the hand of God had a hedged round him on every side. He had all that his heart could wish, i.e., children, wealth in abundance, and honor among his brethren throughout the land. It was apparent that JOB was living on the TOP OF the WORLD.
My brothers and sisters God knew this, and hence Job had to be tested. There was a deep root in his heart that had to be revealed. There was self-righteousness which had to be brought to the surface and judged. We can discern this root in the very words that he quoted. He stated, “It may be that my sons have sinned.” He does not implicate himself, nor gives the contemplation that he had sinned himself. Before the High Priest offered a burnt sin offering for Israel, he had to offer one for himself showing that he was thoroughly broken before God, being truly sensible of his own state, tendencies, and capabilities of his own sins. For Paul reminds us in Rom 3:23-25 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Now, let us distinctly understand that Job was a man that strived to please God, and under the dispensation in which he operated was divinely quickened, and a possessor of divine and eternal life. He was truly a man of God in the 1st chapter as he was in the 42nd chapter. If we do not see this, we will miss grand lessons in this book. How do we know this? because in Job 1:8 God establishes a most valid point beyond all question. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil?”
These words rendered by God entailed great accolades, but Job had never searched the depths of his own heart. Job did not know himself; He had never really grasped the truth of his own utter ruin and total depravity. He had never learnt to say, “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.” For this truth had to be the main theme!, or the book of Job cannot be understood. We cannot see the specific objectives of all those deep and painful test and experiences through which Job was called to pass, unless we lay hold of the solemn fact that his soul had never really experienced the divine presence of God, that he had never seen himself in the light, that he never measured himself by a divine standard, and that he never weighed himself in the balances of the sanctuary of God. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Let’s get a reference point, and read Job chapter 29. You will find a striking proof of what I am asserting. Your observation will show a strong and deep root of self-complacency in the heart of this dear and valued servant of God; and how this root was nourished by the divine favor that he was afforded. This chapter is a pathetic cry over the faded light of the good days; and the very tone and character of his cry, proved how necessary it was for Job to be stripped of everything, in order that he might see himself; while searching for the true light of men as he longed to be in the presence of God.
My brothers and sisters, Let us evaluate his words.
“Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when His candle shined upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness; as I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; when I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil; when I went out to the gate through the city; when I prepared my seat in the street! The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up. The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth. When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth. Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand. My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand. Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel. After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them. And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain. If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down. I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners. But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.”
This is truly a most remarkable expression of where Job’s mind was. I don’t detect any notions of a broken and a contrite spirit here. For if you look deep into this chapter intensely, Job refers to himself more than forty times, while the references to God are only five. It reminds us of the 7th Chapter of Romans, where Paul expresses the predominance of “I”; but there is an immense difference in the 7th Chapter of Romans “I” than in Job’s “I.” Paul’s I refers to a poor, weak, good-for-nothing, wretched creature in the presence of the holy law of God; whereas, in Job 29, “I” is in reference to a very important, influential, person who is admired and almost worshiped by his fellowman. GOLDEN NUGGET!
My brothers and sisters, Job had to be stripped of all this; and when we compare Job 29 to Job 30 we can form some idea of how painful the process of stripping must have been. There is a peculiar emphasis on the words, “But now.” Job draws a striking contrast between his past and his present. In Job 30 he is still occupied with himself. It is still “I” but notice how it changed! The very men who flattered him in the day of his prosperity, treat him with contempt in the day of his adversity. Hence; this will always be the case in this poor, false, deceitful world, and once it is played out, the word of God always remains true. All of us must sooner or later, find out the hollowness of this world. For there is an exposed fickleness of those who are ready to cry out “hosanna” today, and “crucify Him” tomorrow (God knows I know this through my own personal experience!)
Man is not to be trusted. It is all GOOD while the sun shines; but wait till the frigid blast of winter comes, and then you will see how far the natural man’s fair promises and professions can be trusted. When the prodigal had plenty to spend, he found plenty to share his portion; but when he began to be in want, “no man gave unto him.”
So it was with Job in Job 30. Please note, that there was much more needed than the stripping of self, and the discovery of the hollowness and deceitfulness of the world. One may go through all these, and the result be merely chagrin and disappointment. It will never be more than this if God cannot be reached. If a person’s heart is not brought to be satisfied in their portion in Christ Jesus, then a reverse of fortune leaves them desolate. I believe this accounts for Job’s language in Job 30. “But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.” Was this the spirit of Christ? Would Job have spoken this at the close of the book? He would not. Saints, once Job got into God’s presence, there was an end to the egotism that was found in Job 29 and the bitterness found in Job 30.
Saints please discern, while it is the Holy Ghost who records what Job and his friends said, some of it was not in the spirit of the Holy Ghost, but in the works of the flesh!
So let us hear Job’s further outpourings. “They were children of fools, yea, children of base men; they were viler than the earth. And now am I their song, yea, I am their by-word. They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face. Because He hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me. Upon my right hand rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction. They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they have no helper. They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters: in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me.”
Now all this, I’m sure we can say, is falling very short of the mark. If we Cry over departed greatness, and bitter invective’s against our brother, for it will not do any of our hearts any good; neither does it display the right spirit and mind of Christ, because it will not bring glory to His holy name. When we turn our eyes toward our blessed Jesus Christ, we see something totally different. We see the meek and lowly One, who met all the rebuffs of this world, all the disappointments in the midst of His people Israel, and all the unbelief and folly of His disciples with an, “Even so, Father.” He was able to rest from the rebuffs of men into His resources in God, and then to come forth with those powerful words, “Come unto me . . . and I will give you rest.” No chagrin, no bitterness, no harsh invective’s, nothing rough or unkind. Jesus Christ our savior came down into this cold and heartless world to manifest the perfect love of God; in spite of all man’s hatred.
It has been proven that the fairest and the best of men had to retire into the shade when tested by the perfect standard of the life of Christ. The light of His awesome glory manifested the defects and blemishes of even the most perfect of the sons of men. Paul state in Col 1:17-18 “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” He stands out in vivid contrast with even a Job or a Jeremiah in the matter of patient submission to all that He was called upon to endure. Job completely breaks down under his heavy trials. He not only pours forth a tumultuous flow of bitter invective upon his associates, but actually curses the day of his own birth. Job 3:1-3 “After this opened Job his mouth and cursed his day. And Job spake and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a manchild conceived”
We notice the same thing is expressed in Jeremiah, a chosen blessed man of God. He, too, gave way due to the heavy pressure of his varied and accumulated sorrows, and expressed his feelings in the following scriptures… Jer. 20:14-18 “Cursed be the day wherein I was born; let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed. Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man-child is born unto thee; making him very glad. And let that man be as the cities which the Lord overthrew, and repented not; and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide. Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me. Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?”
The main objective in our test and trials is to produce real brokenness and humility, and to strip us of all false righteousness, empty us of all self-confidence that does not include God, and teach us to lean totally upon Christ. We all have to pass through this process of stripping and emptying.
With some this process precedes conversion prior to the new birth, and with others it follows conversion after the new birth. Many are brought to Christ through deep purging and painful experiences concerning the of heart and conscience over an extended period of time, and sometimes over a lifetime. Others, on the contrary, are brought with comparatively little testing of the soul. They embrace quickly the glad tidings of the forgiveness of sins through the atoning death of Christ, and are made happy at once. Regardless stripping and emptying is deemed necessary!
The fact remains, self must be revealed and judged, sooner or later. If it is not revealed in communion with God, it must be revealed through bitter experiences in our failures and disappointments. “No flesh shall glory in God’s presence;” and we must all learn our utter powerlessness, in respect to our walk in Christ in order to taste the sweetness and comfort of the truth, that Christ was made to be through faith our, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. For our God will have broken material. Isa. 57:15, Isa. 66:1-2 “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” And again, “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word”
My brothers and sisters, is there not something profoundly interesting in the fact that God can even make use of Satan as an instrument to discipline of His people? We see this in the case of the apostle Peter, as well as in that of the patriarch Job. Peter had to be sifted, and Satan was used to do the work. “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Here, too, there was a stern necessity. There was a deep root to be reached in Peter’s heart, the root of self-confidence; and his faithful Lord saw that it was absolutely needful to pass him through a severe and painful process so that the root would be exposed and judged; and therefore Satan was permitted to sift him thoroughly, so that he might never again trust his own heart, but walk humbly all of his days. I reiterate, God will have broken material, whether it be in a patriarch or an apostle, or us. All must be mellowed and subdued in order that Gods glory may shine forth with brilliance and bright luster.
The real secret of all Job’s warped reasoning is to be found in the fact that he did not understand the character of God, nor the objective of how God was dealing with him. He did not see that God was trying him, that He was behind the scenes and using various agents for the accomplishment of His wise and gracious ends. Even though Satan was a mere instrument in the hand of God; he could not move the breadth of a hair beyond what was divinely prescribed; and moreover, when he had executed his appointed business, he was dismissed, and we hear no more about him. God was dealing with Job, He was trying him in order that He might instruct him, and draw him from his own purpose to hide pride from him. Had Job seized this powerful and definitive point, it would have saved him a world of strife and contention. Instead of getting angry with people, things and the past influence that he had, he should of searched and judged himself, and bowed before the Lord in meekness, brokenness, and true contrition. GOLDEN NUGGET!
This is immensely essential for all of us. We are all prone to forget the weighty fact that The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. Psa. 7:8-9; He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them forever, and they are exalted. Job 36:7
My brothers and sisters we are in His hands, and under His eye continually. We are the objects of His deep, tender, and unchanging love; but we are also the subjects of His wise providence. How He chooses to deal with us varies. Sometimes it is preventive; sometimes it is corrective; but it always instructive. We may be convinced to walk a course on our own, which the end of that course ends in ruin! Thank the Lord that He intervenes and withdraws us from our selfish purpose. He dashes into fragments our air-built castles, dissipates our golden dreams, and interrupts our plans on which our hearts was set, and eventually proves that it would of led us to certain destruction. “He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.“Job 33:28-30
Saints when you read Hebrews 12:3-12, you will find many precious instruction on the subject of how God deals with His people. I will not attempt to dwell upon it, but would merely point out that it presents three distinct ways in which we may meet the chastening of our Father’s hand. We may “despise” it, as though His hand and His voice were not in it; we may “faint” under it, as though it were intolerable, and not the precious fruit of His love; or, lastly, we may be; “proved by it,” and therefore reap in due time “the peaceable fruits of righteousness.” GOLDEN NUGGET!
Have you ever notice that it is here where we are all apt to break down. We get occupied with people and things; we view them in reference to ourselves. We do not walk with God through, or rather above the circumstances; but, on the contrary, we allow the circumstances to get power over us, instead of keeping God between us and our circumstances! Hence we lose insight of His presence, the light of His countenance, the holy calmness of being in His loving hand. We become fretful, impatient, irritable, fault-finding. We journey far away from God, becoming thoroughly astray, judging everyone except ourselves by not sustaining our communion with Him; until we become cognizant that we NEED HIM. Once acknowledged, God takes us in His hand, and by His own direct and powerful ministry of reconciliation, brings us back to Himself because we have experienced true brokenness and humbleness in our heart and mind.
Saints of God, there is always a success story when we go through the stripping process! “The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” But how? By what agency? Was it by his own intellectual prowess? No; all that had changed. Job is on different plane with God. He has a new revelation in God, new thoughts of himself, new thoughts of his friends, new thoughts of his circumstances; all things had become new. Job chapter 42 “Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house; and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; every man also gave him a piece of money, and everyone an ear-ring of gold. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. … After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days.” Wow! It is so encouraging to know that Jesus is not a respecter of person, for I know as He “Strips Me to My JOY” my latter end will far exceed my former! Stay encouraged, continue to prove God and have a “JESUS DAY“