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.
- Job 29:12-14
I spoke with another Christian a few days ago and mentioned Job's name, which was going to be followed by some of the finer qualities Job seemed to have in abundance.
Before I could get another word out, this person came back with the standard ignorant response of, O' he was self-righteous. It was an echo of someone else’s preaching.
I couldn't let him away with that, because it is the same ignorance taught by preacher after preacher, year after year.
I returned his volley with a “yes, but he had a lot to be self-righteous about!”
The words were out of my mouth before I could harness and sift them. Yet, I wasn’t entirely disappointed with myself, as, at least I was standing up for my much-maligned Old Testament brother.
Job has copped the short end of the preaching stick for so long it is not funny. When preachers want to hammer someone about self-righteousness, they hammer Job, neglecting to look at his full Resume! It is cheap and easy.
Many preachers today couldn’t stand before Job with his knowledge, attitude and voluntary work ethic. They would be embarrassed after the first fifteen minutes, being astounded by his knowledge of the Kingdom, God’s laws, statutes, ordinances and history, despite him living before the ‘offical' Law.
John the Baptist said he wasn't worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals, and many today would not even be worthy to untie Job’s sandals.
One glaring fault of arrogance we have in the New Testament church is that we inherently think that all people in the Old Testament knew less than we do simply because they were born then and we are born now.
When we read about some of those OT characters, they were far beyond where many people of the same supposed level are today.
As we look at our scripture (and even though it is Job speaking about himself),we see he says righteousness clothed him.
Like the white robes of righteousness worn by the OT priesthood as undergarments, Job was also clothed in the right undergarments in his daily affairs. Kings of Israel, later, were all asked to have righteousness as the undergarment of their conscience, underpinning all their decisions.
Job did this, despite his self-righteousness. Furthermore, he says, his judgment was a robe and a diadem. That robe was a subconscious outer robe, a royal robe or overgarment, where his mind, heart, actions and walk were covered by thoughts of a benevolent king.
Moreover, a Diadem is a type of crown worn by royalty. His judgments were the calibre of royalty, or godliness. His judgments were true and righteous.
Yes, Job was censured by the Lord for his self-righteousness in Job chapters 38-41. God spent an entire three chapters reducing Job.
However, Job had gone through hell-on-earth, with the death of his children, the loss of his business and massive farm, a wife who didn't get the concept of staying true to God despite the depth of trials, friends who weren’t, sores which stank, arthritis, rejection, despising, and a strong acquaintance with grief. The lord says he chastises the servants he loves (Heb 12:6). The Lord knew he had a marvellous servant in Job: one he could entrust with the temptations brought on by Satan.
Job was self-righteous, but we only need to look at what he inherited after his trial to see where his faith was at and how much God loved him.
What sort of inheritance do we expect after our trials in this life? Could we endure the temptations of Job, or anywhere near them?
Job overcame all his temptations to reject the Lord, and all the desire to blaspheme or ‘lose it' in his intense pain. I know people who go through very little before they lose hope.
To put it in perspective, Job was admonished for only three of those 42 chapters; a mere 7%. The way people talk of his self-righteousness, one would think his ‘correction' went on for 30 chapters.
If we are to be crowned in anything like the same glory as Job, let alone greater glory, we need similar resolve. One way, one truth, one life!
Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for Job and all your other righteous workers of the Old Testament. Thank you for their knowledge and understanding of the heavenly things to come, as is written but less understood. Please help me to see the qualities in Job and other heroes of the faith, and look deep enough to see their wealth of understanding.