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TRIALS, TESTS and TRIUMPHS in TEMPTATION
with JOB for FOCUS
Robert E. Donaldson
Published by World Wide Web WItness Inc.
ISBN 0 9756840 8 6
With additions to
Preface and Exordium
This is the Launching
Without it, you are not in the water!
So much is said so often about the evils of this world, and then about the alleged hardness of God, and then about unbelief in Him, or the construction of this or that silly little goddy thing, instead of Him, that it is time to be sober, rational, realistic and attentive to the realities that are in fact His, attested, verified, validated and secure (cf. SMR). This is not so customary!
In unpleasant fact, these goddy things, idolatrous inventions in biblical terminology, a very word for idol in Hebrew signifying vanity, nothings: they may be constructed for diverse reasons. It may be in order to make men prosperous, or vanquishing, or to be sensually replete, perhaps gastronomically, sexually, to secure for them prominence, not of teeth but of tongue, to have place in the purlieus of prestige, or if not, perhaps to be sensitive with a sort of spiritual pining, as if melancholy were the preferred mode, perhaps interspersed with a few wild sprees, morally or in bibulous or spiritual intoxication or the like, to atone. In view of the temper not to say tantrums of our Age, it seems good to focus on a far different thing, the trials and triumph, by the grace of God alone, of Job. He is not precisely a hero; but he is certainly an example, and a very good one, a joy to consider and an education to ponder, as we study his case in the book of Job.
To this end, it has seemed good to collect some of the writings on Job, that have previously been published in the 90 volumes so far presented by this writer on the Web, at webwitness.org.au, and to make a collection in subject progression, of these, with additions to add depth and scope.
Job himself, in his case, eminently clear in scripture, is sometimes made into such a 'mystery' that it is a wonder how the world can continue so long with such misconstructions of a key player in the example department of the Bible. Certainly it is a profound thing, but scarcely difficult to understand if you follow the text, which does not appear the most common procedure.
In this context, the matter of trials and suffering is given focus. Much of the problem here is a determination to treat God as if man were His judge, and events were His unchaste desire. To forget sin is easy, like forgetting smoking when you have lung cancer; but it is equally useless and fantasising to do so. The world is in the grip of sin to the point that its very sanity as a system comes into some manner of question; its misuse of design in the performance and preference of desire is virtually a cult. God is then harangued, or not believed in - sometimes in a childish spirit as if to say, 'Very well then, I just won't believe in you, so there!' as if some statistical fear would operate on the Almighty as rebellion increases.
It is however far otherwise that truth is. When a world is under curse, there are only two options. One is to bear it and this is noble in a Roman sort of way, but futile. Another is to have it waived in your own case; and that is sound and sensible for does the Creator want you cursed ? It is all and only a question of justice. Impudence deserves caning but repentance is relevant to its omission. When however justice is essential, then only mercy can operate; and to do so, God has borne the 'caning' (literally in fact in something worse by far than the undesirable rattan) for those who appeal for mercy. You get those who think He bears it anyway, just because it is apt, appropriate and available to all and is provided on their behalf (I John 2:1-2); and those who do not like it at all, despite Isaiah 53, and Galatians 3 with Romans 3 and Hebrews 7-10.
It is always so, those against the government, in this case, that of the universe, of mankind. It does not alter anything, unless you overthrow the government, and to overthrow your Creator is just as silly piece of childish inanity, since you can be de-created in an instant, for that matter. Liberty however gives you scope, and scope is provided by love from the Creator, along with mercy and free pardon (Titus 3:3-7), and for that matter, with eternal life. While there are profound depths back of sin, there is profound love in God (cf. Colossians 1:19ff.), and in view of this, there is no slightest danger of any being lost who might be found. Pardon is free because its securing by Christ was costly.
People who want to share the cost to Christ or the salvation He endues, they are like a bankrupt merchant offering to repay half the national debt to the USA! It is not merely comic, but appalling. The debt ? yes, it is; but this is not the point here. It is the folly of imagining that you can help pay the cost of sin. Psalm 49 deals with this! Christ dealt with it! You had better not try to deal with it, or it will deal with you! It is one thing God hates, as you see so clearly in Romans 10, Titus 3, Romans 3.
While however the world, in studied or at times wanton rebellion, wails and insists on making gods/societies/philosophies/worships or whatever to its taste, for the better enjoyment or deployment of itself and its wishes, and uses unity of religion slogans for the better preservation of life in unfussing disfigurement of truth, increasingly regarded as inconvenient, it thus makes the curse all the more potent and appropriate. It does not diminish but rather highlights the fact that there is an account to settle.
Is it so very strange that as the
bulging books of sin make trillions seem as nothing by comparison with the cost
of sin, that a few awkward things happen ? such as the tsunami upgraded from 8.5
to 8.9 and then to 9 on the Richter scale over the Christmas 2004 season on this
whirling little earth ? Has not the warning for the events recorded in The
Australian and The Advertiser for December 27, 2004, thrown about the
world as if by journalistic tsunami, drenching the earth with concern and
compassion, revulsion and horror, been on the record for two millenia in Luke
21:25! Yet people have clustered on the coasts and even our electricity supply
seems grossly unwisely, in part set very near to it, even while all the other
signals of the near return of the Lord of life, attested, authenticated and
declared in the midst of practical verification in His own day (SMR
Ch. 6, SMR
Appendix C, Christ the Wisdom and the Power of God
Ch. 8), are being unscrolled before our eyes! (cf.
Answers to Questions Ch. 5l, SMR
Ch. 8, Little Things
Ignoring the true, culture calumniates the call, continues in thrall to the subordinate in the very face of the inordinate, and cashes its cheques in payment, overall, for its works; and if they are often highly negative, impactive indeed at times with that manner in which wind blows chaff, this too is the provision of God as stated (Psalm 1), for ignoring the Designer while using the design, yourself! What would you ? An irrational reality, while YOU, immune reason ? If this were so, your reason could not work. The very success of man in manipulation is testimony to the reason back of both him and it, and the very failure of man, which mocks his 'success', is testimony to the absurd misuse of the liberty without which love has no meaning, and by abuse of which hatred can take place. And to what does man so largely turn ?
Having a Buddha, who really prefers not to have God at all, and a series of Hindu gods occupied in their various pursuits, and nature gods in the West, consistently establishing their non-existence just as did those of ancient Egypt (cf. The Grating Grandeur ... Ch. 3), an Islamic god who ostensibly makes up a new Jesus 600 years after His day, and wants to have the Old Testament prophets as authentic while dismissing the redemption core of their teaching (cf. SMR pp. 1080), while the scimitar flashes in new explosive proportions in our own day, or worshipping a wafer (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H), these are actions which continue while the cost for it all increases, as does the sin which renders it astronomical, reminiscent of the US national debt, but leaving it behind as a racing car leaves a bicycle.
These things are not really so profitable before the face of Him who made us, who has instructed us in verifiable and indisputable ways, in Jesus Christ, the fulfilment of tracts of biblical prophecy, of which the roaring waves of our day are but one in a pattern profoundly fulfilled (Answers to Questions Ch. 5), and indeed intensely focussed in the case of Jerusalem, uniquely so, as foretold in Luke 21:24 - cf. SMR pp. 647ff.; and it is He who is judge on that day which rapidly approach (cf. SMR Chs. 1-5; and Acts 17:31).
People in multitudes seek goodies and goddies in their own humanistic way, whether it be explicit by admission, implicit by commission, seeking from nature what it does not provide, or from imagination what it does, but what neither reason nor power confirm. The God of power, resource, resource and revelation, changeless as is His word, testifying through reason, declaration and history is as much forgotten in much of this world, as is the wonder of the order of the universe, constructed, commissioned, activated, enabled, maintained and systematic, on which man in his natural conditions, depends.
The diminutive quasi-gods, in fact idols before the God of all truth and comfort, revealed and delighting to have His word tested (Isaiah 41, 48), these have one thing in common, universally applicable. Either what they say does not come to pass, but is punctured or diverted, if not wholly illusory altogether; or else it is not testable, so that what believes in them is not doing so wholly, but only partially, rejecting the need to test, use the mind which is part of one's being and power. In that case, rationally and logically, there is nothing to follow at all, just a source of division based on something which does not bother to show the truth of itself. What is outside the light, it is not wise to follow: it could be anything, but what is of power, is able to make manifest this fact, to be followed in truth. (Cf. SMR pp. 829ff., TMR Ch. 1, SMR pp. 149ff., Aviary of Idolatry.) The Bible as shown continually on this site, in detail and in all phases, as Christ put it, to the jot and tittle, is fulfilled (cf. Matthew 5:17-20).
Cultural concepts grow old and distorted (cf. references above); religions of man's thought lose their appeal, or must use force, as if God did not desire freedom in the first place, and so belie their reality, for muscle is not reality;
its word the very epitome of law (cf. News 94),
and its rulings without exception,
Yet many become sick of the restrictions, the restraints, the reality, and despising the God whom they do not know, seek to throw away what to their evasive flounderings and vehement desires seems like cords, and just as in Psalm 2's prediction, they seek assault on the very reality on which they are based, on the God of truth while their very breath is in His hand. Naturally, the world whirs rather loudly as this regime of irrationality, and this dream of power proceeds to its wake-up point. Raging seas and endless wars are but two of the predicted end-of-the-line phenomena, the return of Israel to Jerusalem, another (cf. Luke 21:24, It Bubbles ... Chs. 10-11).
Downgrading is the order of the day, and where man's gods are in view, these too are either so vague as to be pointless, mere verbal mirages, or so weak as to be scarcely a tribute to imagination, let alone the herald of reality's source, for all creation (cf. Repent or Perish 7 , Victory ... Ch. 1), or else again, they become the icons resting on social/industrial/economic/psychological/physical/mathematical pains, pangs or aspirations, where what does not happen is given a little dog's day, in order to gain prestige or support for the latest hallucination, endeavour to show that the skin really controls the brain, or the society the individual, though it is an individual who propounds it, or lust is licensed over man, though men differ, and not all are approachable by lust as lord. Nor does misuse of design account for it.
In the midst of all this, it is not only the rebellious who suffer. Christians do too. In this context, a man of God seen in the Bible is Job. He suffered to an intense, immense and sustained degree, both in body, in mind, in spirit and in friends. He is taunted, misrepresented, assaulted while sick with words as slick as a head dripping with hair oil; he is given boils and moral toils, he searches, he seeks, he wonders, he is oppressed, suppressed, unimpressed, but he continues and in the height of his woes, declares the bright star of faith in Job 19, which Handel has by the providence and grace of God contrived to have heard by countless millions for countable years, several hundreds in fact. I KNOW that MY REDEEMER LIVES, and that in the latter day He shall stand upon the earth. MY EYES shall see Him ...
In that case, there is a divine commentary on the events of Job, which makes it a teaching inspiration par excellence.
There is no mystery about all this matrix of suffering. God is very deep and you do not always know WHY He has chosen to do this or that thing to this or that person at this or that time; but YOU DO KNOW the perspective and the principles involved, and there is no problem at all in principle.
When you reach the point that there is no point in living except for the revealed and redeeming God who is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that there is every point in living for Him, and that your meat and drink is to find, do and complete His will, then life is very thrilling. You have a task and the power to perform it; if you suffer, as Job did, for the exhibition of some truth, so be it. God knows what He is doing and He does it very well, in fact with infinite wisdom. He is not shallow; but He is not mocked. Mockery of God is the preferred mode in endless cartoons, some very popular just now, and it is really like mocking an ICBM which is a mile above you, and about to land on you. It may give some emotional release, but it does not deal with the issue at hand, or in this case, at foot.
In this volume, then, the matters are exhibited, and the clarity of heaven in the word of God, the Bible, is available to us all.
For further on this topic you may wish to consult pain, suffering, evil. Indeed, it is supplied as an APPENDIX. Also to the point, are two chapters in
Walking in the Light and Keeping Your Eyes Open, namely, Chs. 6 and 7;
and with these, one from
The Pride of Life, the Prince of Life and the Destiny of Man Ch. 2.
At this point, these form a supplement to this volume.
A Short Series for Introduction to Job
CHRIST, THE WISDOM AND THE POWER OF GOD
Seeing what is NECESSARY in order to LIVE
Seeing what is useful in order to Die
THE CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGE FROM GRACE TRIUMPHANT TO FACE DIVINE
Finding what is great to ignore if you Love Death
Finding Royalty without Tiers, or Finding Tears without Royalty - the Divine Majesty
SMR 95, 358, 372
Some Summary Introductions to Job
BAB 31, pp. 265-269,
PREFS 3, 4, 5
Getting One's Teeth into the Matter of Job
IMPORTUNITY, OPPORTUNITY AND PURITY OF HEART
Chs. 1 , 2, 3, 6, 7
Surveying More Amply the Affairs of St Job ? or rather say,
the Telling Test Case of Job
not glamorised for income image purposes,
not stammer-ised for hiding the truth,
but presented in reality and awe, as he was
(and is - except that now the defects gone, like all God's people in heaven, he stands in light)
THREE ANZAS, ONE ANSWER Ch. 4
Coming to the Concluding parts of the Book of Job
THE GRATING GRANDEUR AND AGGRANDISEMENT OF MAN
AND THE MEEKNESS OF THE MESSIAH
Resenting reminders in wrath or realising the resurrection in remedy
CHRIST, THE WISDOM AND THE POWER OF GOD
Past Temptation's Trials to Jesus as Gold
Seeing it the Way it Ought to Be
In Him who Died for Thee!
THE CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGE FROM GRACE TRIUMPHANT TO FACE DIVINE
Dying DAILY INTO CHRIST
WHO LIVES IN YOU
CRUCIFIXION and ASPHYXIATION
of the Human Race at its own Hand
This is not beyond pain, but plain beyond grieving,
life in the Redeemer in an unredeemed world!
SUPPLEMENT: THE GLORY LATENT BECOMES PATENT
Walking in the Light and Keeping Your Eyes Open
Chs. 6 and 7. At this point, these form a supplement to this volume.
Here lie exposed the extremities of Job's test, detailed textual exposure of some of his deepest reactions, his tremors and his triumph, and a sense of the glory of this age-long and epoch- spanning marvel of divine disclosure, showering light, as if from the auroras, scintillating, evocative and decisive, on the ways of the Lord in the world where evil burns till its last embers fade, a last burst its flare of ruin, and goodness and mercy do not fail.
The criteria of test are clear, as are the conditions for man, the man of faith, the person who trusts in God, though He slay him, the God who loves His children and does not indulge evil, but exhibits it in its full enormity for all time, while sending strength to His people, to fulfil their mission and commission, the fruit of which is for ever, as are the lives of those as His own, which are involved.
Further to the topic of Job, five items currently are appended ( the last November 2010).
1) PAIN, SUFFERING, EVIL
2) THE CRACK IN THE TAIL-PLANE - Bon Voyage, but Rejoice with Trembling!
Here for at least temporary convenience, is lodged also Ch. 2 of The Pride of Life, the Prince of Life and the Destiny of Man. This concentrates on Job 33-35, and the crack in the tail-plane of Job's life which came strutting into his often exceedingly fine life, with value for reflection on the part of every life of sinful man! If such as he could err, even if only temporarily in this field, who is immune ? and if this is not your slip, rejoice with trembling, for at least the failure to slip is the prelude to a fall!
3) JESUS AND JOB,
LIFE AND DEATH ,
SUFFERING AND SENTENCE, GORE AND GLORY
WHO MAY LAY HIS HAND ON US BOTH … (Job 9:33)
Job the Teacher with Tears ...
Jesus the Quencher of Fears
4) JOB AT THE CROSS-ROADS
Job in Expostulation,
5) JOB AND WISDOM
THE 2012 ADDITION
PHASES IN JOB