Of all the people in the entirety of the human race, we are the most blessed, by far. We are at the pinnacle of technology and learning, and we have more resources available to us than to any other generation. And in our hands we have the complete and extremely precise version of the most important piece of writing known to man, the Bible. It is the single most important resource in the history of mankind and it is freely available to us in almost every language imaginable.
In English we can pride ourselves of having several dozen popular translations available to us from the most literal (Young’s) to the most English-friendly (The Message). We have concordances, Bible dictionaries, Bible history books, daily devotionals, Bible encyclopedias, Bible commentaries, books explaining the Bible, novels on the Bible, Christian living books, etc. Libraries are absolutely packed with Bible resources. The average American Christian has several Bibles at his disposal–marriage Bibles, archeology Bibles, children’s Bibles, Teen girl Bibles, bachelor-for-life Bibles, over-the-hill Bibles, etc. just to name a few!
Yet, on the other hand, we are the generation with the lightest of thinkers, doing little with the knowledge readily available to us, becoming the most comfortable of cultures and eras in history–and I fit this category as well. It is almost as if we are worse off in our abundance!
Let me put this into perspective. Come with me to around 2,000 BC, about 4,000 years ago–to the age of Job.
Job was among the wealthiest men of his era, and was likely and exceptional business man. He lived near the cities of Babylon and Suza, most likey, which later became homes to military power-houses. In all likely-hood he lived near Ur, the city that later God commanded Abraham to leave for the land of Canaan some years later (they may have actually been contemporaries).
There is speculation that job may have lived before the flood, as it seems that dinosaurs were present at the time. Yet I believe he lived after the flood and that there were also dinosaurs, simply because of the historical references in the book of Job.
As a side note, I always laugh when I see the Bible translators make a reference about the Behemoth (Job 40:15) by calling him a form of “elephant”. Have you ever seen an elephant with a tail like that of a cedar tree? Have you ever seen an elephant forge through a raging river? Or have you seen an elephant eat the top leaves of a tree like a giraffe?
I didn’t think so. And I won’t even start with the Leviathan as being a crocodile (Job 41:1, Psalm 104:26, etc.)! So clear-thinking scientists and archaeologists will refer to the Behemoth as it should be, a kind of massive, vegetarian dinosaur.
And so we return to Job. As history records, he lost everything–everything but his life–within a day.
God obviously thought very highly of Job, before and after this catastrophic event as he spoke with Satan:
Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears [me] and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you enticed me against him to destroy him without reason (Job 2:3).
Of how many men has God said this?! What a compliment!
Let’s put this in perspective: Job lived long before the time of Israel and the law, most likely. He did not have a single word of the Bible at his disposal, and God, as far as we know, had never spoken to Job directly. He knew of God only through stories passed down about Creation and the Fall and the Flood. Yet he offered sacrifices to God and obeyed God as a righteous man through his conscience, even though he had no law.
Here he is, dying in his sickness, covered by an itchy, hairy tunic that scratches at the putrid boils on his skin. He has lost everything that he has for no reason, it seems, and the little he has left rages against him to make him eat dirt–his wife, his friends, and his heart. Everything but his conscience begs him to give up, to give in, and to die. You can almost feel the demons encircling Job, whispering evil into his ears and filling his mind with rot. Satan is doing everything within his power to make this man deny God and commit suicide and he is slowly chipping away at the integrity and courage of Job as he calls out for an advocate.
Job, to the best of his knowledge, expects to be dead because of his sickness, likely within the next few days, and the pain is unbearable.
Yet look at what he says. To me this is one of the most captivating quotes in the whole Bible, and the background I gave should help bring out the magnitude expressed by Job’s words as he pleads his innocence before his jury, his so-called friends:
All my intimate friends abhor me, and those whom I loved have turned against me. My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth. Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! Why do you, like God, pursue me? Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?
Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another (Job 19:19-27a).
Without a Bible and without communication with God, Job states these eternal truths:
1. He has a Redeemer, a Savior.
2. He has a need for a Redeemer, he realizes he is a fallen creature before God.
3. He knows his Redeemer is alive and that his Redeemer will reign over the earth (and bring justice to it, the thing he was begging for).
4. He knows there is a God and that his Redeemer will make him worthy and acceptable before God.
5. He knows that he is an eternal being and that he will live with God and see him face to face.
Job, we are so thankful that these words were written, and they are engraved in an eternal rock–the Holy Bible.
Most men in the history of the word did/do not know these five truths that Job states here. In truth, this is all man needs to know! Job realized there was a God, yet knew he was not worthy of him. So he put his trust in a Redeemer to save him, to give him justice, and to bring him into a perfect relationship with God again (since it was broken at the Fall).
This is the Gospel, this is the Good News. It has not changed in the least bit in the last 4,000 years, and it never will. The whole Bible, as a complete piece, is proof of God’s eternal plan for mankind that transcends time. God is the same, always and forever, though people come and go and time rolls on and men continue to be deceived by cleverly-made ideas. God is. Salvation is here.
Let us take a lesson from Job–it is not things or actions that make us worthy before a perfect God. He is pleased with a heart that pursues him and God is pleased with men who obey him and enjoy him. More importantly, may we know and put our trust in Job’s Redeemer, his advocate, Jesus Christ, who was crucified to bring us abundant and eternal life. This is the Good News!