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June 4 Today’s Reading: Job 3-7
“Job cursed his day.”
This portion of Holy Scripture begins with that perfect and upright man, Job, who feared God and eschewed evil, cursing the day of his birth, and ends with that same man confessing to the Lord God (apparently in the hearing of Eliphaz) his great sin. — “I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?”
Eliphaz obviously misjudged God’s servant Job, and was a miserable comforter (Job 16:2). Though this Temanite, of the seed of Esau, accused Job, as did Satan (Job 2:5), of hypocrisy, he had many good, instructive words we would be wise to observe. God the Holy Spirit can and does make use of men with evil designs to serve the interest of his glory and the good of his elect. — “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not” (Proverbs 8:33).
This account of Job is one of the most important things revealed in this inspired record of his life. It shows us, even in this earliest book of Holy Scripture, that God’s saints in this world are sinners still. In the examples of great and good men, the Spirit of God graciously and wisely shows us their frailties, imperfections, and sins. While we are called upon to behold the patience of Job (James 5:11), we are to be taught that he was a man of like passions with ourselves.
The same was true of Noah, Lot, David, Peter, Paul, and others. Jeremiah behaved just like Job when he was severely afflicted (Jeremiah 20:14-18). No excuses are given for the faults, failures, and sins of these men in the Book of God. They are recorded as facts. Nothing more is said about them than the facts themselves.
Why are these things written out in bold letters in the Sacred Volume? They are written to teach us that though chosen, redeemed, justified and sanctified by the grace of God, as long as we live in this world, all saved sinners are people with two warring natures: flesh and spirit, the old man and the new. Our only righteousness is Christ our Savior. Knowing these things, let us ever look to Christ, begging him to keep us from the evil that is in us. And let us ask of God grace to be gracious to our fallen brothers and sisters, restoring the fallen in the spirit of meekness and bearing one another’s burdens, in the fulfilling of the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-3)
Birth and Death
What Job said about the day of a man’s birth, as it concerns our being born in sin, is certainly true. And in this spiritual sense, the day of our death, when we die to sin and are new born unto a life of righteousness in Christ Jesus, by the regenerating work of God the Holy Ghost, is far better (Ecclesiastes 7:1).
If in his infinite mercy the Lord God has given you and me a new life in Christ, we should ever remember and give thanks to him for his great blessings of grace upon us, both in our old creation and in our new. Many have cursed the day of their birth in nature, including me, I must confess to my shame. Oh, how I now bless God for the day of my new birth in Christ!
What Job says of the grave for those dying in the Lord, is true indeed and most blessed. For the believer, death is entering into rest and the ceasing of all trouble. But without Christ, death like that of an infant, who never saw the light of day, would be indescribably more desirable. If the damned in hell could speak to men upon earth, all would say, “Amen.”
Though Job complained bitterly in his pain of body and soul, God graciously restrained him and kept him from Satan’s designs against him. Though he was provoked by the adversary to curse the day of his birth, we do not hear a word of him cursing God. That was Satan’s accusation. He had said that if the Lord God touched all he had, Job would curse God to his face; but that never happened. God prevented it by his grace working mightily in and upon the object of his love. God permitted the devil to afflict Job severely, because he had accused Job of hypocrisy, and said that he had no real love of God in his heart. But the accuser was cast down! Job never forsook his Redeemer, or gave up his hope in Christ. Under all his great and long trials, this man of exemplary faith never spoke a word against God, though in honesty he so loathed himself that he said to the God he loved and trusted, “So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life” (Job 7:15). Spirit of God, give me grace so to loathe myself, and trust my God, while I await my appointed deliverance into heavenly glory, and freedom from my sin, the source of all my sorrows here.