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Grace Notes

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LOVE
by Philip Owen

            “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another.  My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25-27).

            We discover from the bulk of the book of Job that he was not a sinless man.  His walk wasn’t perfect; his faith wasn’t flawless. He had the flesh, as do we all.  Yet what a striking witness to the essence of Job’s life are the words of his testimony recorded above.  Here Job displays great faith as well as outstanding knowledge of doctrine.  Since it is commonly believed that Job is the oldest book in the Scriptures, one wonders where and how Job had learned that God exists, that He was Job’s redeemer, that Job had received eternal life, and that his God would come physically to earth.  Remarkable!  Yet what impresses me most about Job’s testimony is what it reveals about the character of Job himself.  Simply stated, Job loved the Lord.  You will remember that all of Job’s children had recently died, for we read that a servant had come to Job and said:  “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you” (1:18b, 19). 

            Job had seven sons and four daughters awaiting him in paradise.  Yet it is not they whom he longs to see.  It is his Lord.  The mark of a real saint is that he loves the Lord.  Trials come and go:  a saint loves the Lord.  Friends come and go:  a saint yet loves the Lord.  Family comes and goes.  Health comes and health goes.  A saint always loves the Lord.  Certainly, Job loved his children; certainly, he wanted to see them again, yet he speaks with longing only for the Lord.  Here is a man who had walked with the Lord.  After the servant had delivered the message about the deaths of his children, “Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.  He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.’  Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (1:20-22).

            The destruction of his property, the annihilation of his livestock, the decimation of his servants,  and the deaths of his children could neither destroy Job’s faith nor extinguish his love for the Lord.  He worshiped.  Then the Lord allowed Satan to touch Job’s own flesh “with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (2:7b).  The solution Job’s wife proposed was bitter (she had suffered those losses, too) and succinct:  “Curse God and die!” (2:9b).  But “in all this Job did not sin with his lips” (2:10b).

            Because Job knew and loved the Lord, no trial of the flesh could destroy his faith nor undermine his love.  Job’s love did not spring from the fact that the Lord had made him a brilliant and wise man, that He had bestowed on him vast wealth, or that He had blessed him with a large family.  It was not what the Lord had given Job that caused him to love the Lord.  Job loved the Lord because he knew Him to be his gracious, loving Redeemer.

            Long before God gave the Law through Moses, Job was keeping the greatest commandment:  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5).  And today, though believers no longer keep the ceremonial law, nevertheless, we know that the character of Christ has been written, “not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (IICor. 3:3b).  Is there anything you value above the Lord—family, friendship, work, comfort, pleasure?  Cast them at the Lord’s feet and worship and love Him.  You will see Him soon. 

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