The test of Job

Job suffered one disaster after another, but he never lost his faith in God

Prologue:

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has and he will surely curse you to his face.”

The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (Job 1:1-12)


The test of Job

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

“Skin for skin!” Satan replied “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.

Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man full of years.


(Extracted from Job 2:1-10 , 1:13-22 , 42:10, 42:12-17, NIV)

THE VALUE OF COMPLETE OBEDIENCE

Jonah and the giant fish

God’s blessing is with those who obey, but His punishment is meted out to those who don’t. This was shown in the extraordinary events that happened in the life of God’s servant, Jonah.

Nineveh was the capital of he Assyrian Empire. The Bible describes it as a city guilty of evil plots against God (Nah. 1:9), cruelty in war (Nah. 2:12, 13), idolatry, prostitution, and witchcraft (Nah. 3:4).
To warn the people of Nineveh of the judgment that would befall them, God sent the prophet Jonah to persuade them to repent.

THE WORD OF THE LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 

But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.

Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.”

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.

So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”

This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.)

The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the LORD, “O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.

But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said:

“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.

From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.

You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.

I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’

The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.

To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever.

But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.

“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.

“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.

What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”

And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.


(Quoted from Jonah1:1-17; 2:1-10 New International Version)
Illustration by Nestor G. Malgapo Sr.

Moses and Aaron ask the King of Egypt to free the Israelites

SO MOSES AND AARON went to Egypt and gathered all the Israelite leaders together Aaron told them everything that the LORD had said to Moses, and then Moses performed all the miracles in front of the people. They believed, and when they heard that the LORD had come to them and had seen how they were being treated cruelly, they bowed down and worshiped.   

Then Moses and Aaron wen to the king of Egypt and said, “The LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can hold a festival in the desert to honor me’.”SO MOSES AND AARON went to Egypt and gathered all the Israelite leaders together Aaron told them everything that the LORD had said to Moses, and then Moses performed all the miracles in front of the people. They believed, and when they heard that the LORD had come to them and had seen how they were being treated cruelly, they bowed down and worshiped.

“Who is the LORD?” the king demanded. “Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD; and I will not let Israel go.”

Moses and Aaron replied, “The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us. Allow us to travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God. If we don’t do so, he will kill us with disease or by war.”

The king said to Moses and Aaron, “What do you mean by making the people neglect their work? Get those slaves back to work? Get those slaves back to work! You people have become more numerous than the Egyptians And now you want to stop working!”

That same day the king commanded the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: “Stop giving the people straw for making bricks Make them go and find it for themselves. But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before, not one brick less. They don’t have enough work to do, and that is why they keep asking me to let them go and offer sacrifices to their God! Make these men work harder and keep them busy, so that they won’t have time to listen to a pack of lies…”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you are going to see what I will do to the king. I will force him to let my people go In fact, I will force him to drive them out of his land.”

God spoke to Moses and said, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as Almighty God, but I did not make myself known to them by my holy name, the LORD. also made my covenant with them, promising to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they had lived as foreigners. Now I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians have enslaved, and I have remembered my covenant. So tell the Israelites that I say to them, ‘I am the LORD; I will rescue you and set you free from your slavery to the Egyptians. I will raise my mighty arm to bring terrible punishment upon them, and I will save you. I will make you my own people, and will be your God. You will know that I am the LORD your God when I set you free from slavery in Egypt. I will bring you to the land that I solemnly promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as your own possession. I am the LORD.’…”

Then the LORD said to Moses “Go and tell the king of Egypt that he must let the Israelites leave his land…”

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “If the king demands that you prove yourselves by performing a miracle, tell Aaron to take his walking stick and throw it down in front of the king, and it will turn into a snake.” So Moses and Aaron went to the king and did as the LORD had commanded Aaron threw his walking stick down in front of the king and his officers, and it turned into a snake. Then the king called for his wise men and magicians, and by their magic they did the same thing. They threw down their walking sticks, and the sticks turned into snakes But Aaron’s stick swallowed theirs. The king, however, remained stubborn and just as the LORD had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron.

MEN OF INTEGRITY

Joshua and Caleb

THEY WERE THREATENED TO BE KILLED WITH STONES BECAUSE THEY REPORTED THE TRUTH AND REMAINED FIRMLY BELIEVING IN WHAT GOD CAN DO FOR HIS PEOPLE. BECAUSE OF THIS, THEY WERE DEEMED WORTHY IN THE SIGHT OF GOD.
“The land we went to explore is very good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he … will give us that land where much food grows. Don’t turn against the Lord! Don’t be afraid of the people in that land! We will chew them up. They have no protection, but we have the Lord. So don’t be afraid of them.”
PROLOGUE

After being saved from slavery in Egypt and receiving the Ten Commandments, The Israelites were on their way to the promised land—the land of Canaan. So, God commanded that the land be explored. After choosing 12 tribal leaders from Israel’s camp in Paran desert—two of them are Joshua and Caleb—and giving them instructions, Moses sent them as 12 spies. The men returned to the camp after 40 days of exploring the land 
(Num. 13:1-25).

THEY CAME BACK to Moses and Aaron and all the Israelites at Kadesh. This was in the desert of Paran. The men reported to them and showed everybody the fruit from the land They told Moses, “We went to the land where you sent us. It is a land where much food grows! Here is some of its fruit. But the people who live there are strong. Their cities are walled and large. We even saw some Anakites there. The Amalekites live in the southern area. The Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the mountains. The Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan River.

      Then Caleb told the people near Moses to be quiet. Caleb said, “We should go up and take the land for ourselves. We can do it.”

      But the men who had gone with him said, “We can’t attack those people. They are stronger than we are.” And those men gave the Israelites a bad report about the land they explored. They said, “The land would eat us up. All the people we saw are very tall. We saw the Nephilim people there. (The Anakites come from the Nephilim people.) We felt like grasshoppers. And we looked like grasshoppers to them.”

      That night all the people in the camp began crying loudly. All the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron. All the people said to them, “We should have died in Egypt. Or we should have died in the desert. Why is the Lord bringing us to this land? We will be killed with swords. Our wives and children will be taken away. We would be better off going back to Egypt. They said to each other, “Let’s get a leader and go back to Egypt.

      Then Moses and Aaron bowed facedown in front of all the Israelites and gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh were among those who had explored the land. They tore their clothes. They said to all of the Israelites, “The land we went to explore is very good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land. He will give us that land where much food grows. Don’t turn against the Lord! Don’t be afraid of the people in that land! We will chew them up. They have no protection, but we have the Lord. So don’t be afraid of them.”

      Then all the people talked about killing them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the Meeting Tent to the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people ignore me? How long will it be before they believe me? I have done miracles among them. I will give them a terrible sickness. I will destroy them. But I will make you into a great nation. It will be stronger than they are.

      Then Moses said to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear about it! You brought these people from there by your great power.

      The nations have heard about your power. If you put to death your people all at once, the nations will talk. They will say, ‘The Lord was not able to bring them into the land he promised them. So he killed them in the desert.’

      Show your great love. Forgive these people’s sin. Forgive them as you have from the time they left Egypt until now.”

      The Lord answered, “I have forgiven them as you asked. But, as surely as I live, I make this promise. As sure as my glory fills the whole earth, I make this promise. All these men saw my glory. They saw the miracles I did in Egypt and in the desert. But they disobeyed me and tested me 10 times. So not one will see the land I promised to their ancestors. No one who angered me will see that land. But my servant Caleb has a different spirit. He follows me completely. So I will bring him into the land he has already seen. And his children will own that land.

      Not one of you will enter and live in the and I promised to you. Only Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun will go in.”


(Quoted from Numbers 13:26-33; 14:1-13, 15-16, 19-24, 30 of the International Children’s Bible)

Illustrations by MARCO GILBERT LARDIZABAL

THE VALUE OF COMPLETE OBEDIENCE

 

The Fall of Jericho

Though it seemed impossible to conquer the city of Jericho, the Israelites, led by Joshua, completely followed God’s instructions. By faith and complete obedience, the walls of the city fell down.

PROLOGUE

Before receiving instructions from God on how to conquer the city of Jericho Joshua saw the commander of the army of the Lord standing some distance in front of him holding a sword. Joshua ell to his knees and bowed down to the ground. After asking the commander what to do, Joshua took off his sandals. Meanwhile, the people of Jericho had been locking the gates in their town wall because they were afraid of the Israelites. No one could go out or come in (Josh. 5:13-15; 6:1).

The fall of Jericho

THE LORD SAID TO JOSHUA:   With my help, you and your army will defeat the king of Jericho and his army, and you will capture the town. Here is how to do it: March slowly around Jericho once a day for six days. Take along the sacred chest and have seven priests walk in front of it, carrying trumpets. But on the seventh day, march slowly around the town seven times while the priests blow their trumpets. Then the priests will blast on their trumpets, and everyone else will shout. The wall will fall down, and your soldiers can go straight in from ever side. Joshua called the priests together and said, Take the chest and have seven priests carry trumpets and march ahead of it.”

Next, he gave the army their orders: March slowly around Jericho. A few of you will go ahead of the chest to guard it, but most of you will follow it. Don’t shout the battle cry or yell or even talk until the day I tell you to. The let out a shout!”

As soon as Joshua finished giving the orders, the army started marching. One group of soldiers led the way, with seven priests marching behind them and bowing trumpets. Then came the priests carrying the chest, followed by the rest of the soldiers. They obeyed Joshua’s orders and carried the chest once around the town before returning to camp for the night.

Early next morning, Joshua and everyone else started marching around Jericho in the same ore as the day before One group o soldiers was in front, followed by the seven priests with trumpets and the priests who carried the chest. The rest of the army came next. The seven priests blew their trumpets while everyone marched slowly around Jericho and back to camp. They did this once a day for six days.

On the seventh day, the army got up at daybreak. They marched slowly around Jericho the same as they had done for the past six days, except on this day they went around seven times. Then the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua yelled:

Get ready to shout! The LORD will let you capture this town. But you must destroy it and everything in it, to show that it now belongs to the LORD. The woman Rahab helped the spies we sent, so protect her and the others who are inside her house. But kill everyone else in the town. The silver and gold and everything made of bronze and iron belong to the LORD and must be put in his treasury. Be careful to follow these instructions, because if you see something you want and take it, the LORD will destroy Israel. And it will be all your fault.

The priests blew their trumpets again, and the soldiers shouted as loud as they could. The walls of Jericho fell flat. Then the soldiers rushed up the hill, went straight into the town, and captured it. They killed everyone, men and women, young and old, everyone except Rahab and the others in her house. They even killed every cow, sheep, and donkey.

Joshua said to the two men who had been spies, “Ragab kept you safe when I sent you to Jericho. We promised to protect her and her family, and we will keep that promise. Now go into her house and bring them out.”

The two men went into Rahab’s house and brought her out, along with her father and mother, her brothers, and her other relative. Rahab and he family had to stay in a place just outside the Israelite army camp. But later they were allowed to live among the Israelites, and her descendants still do.

The Israelites took the silver and gold and the things made of bronze and iron and put them with the rest of the treasure that was kept at the LORD’s house. Finally, they set fire to Jericho and everything in it.

After Jericho was destroyed, Joshua warned the people, “Someday a man will rebuild Jericho, but the LORD will put a curse on him, and the man’s oldest son will die when he starts to build the town wall. And by the time he finishes the wall and puts gates in it, all his children will be dead.” The LORD helped Joshua in everything he did and Joshua was famous everywhere in Canaan.


(Quoted from Joshua 6:2-27 Contemporary English Version)
Illustration by Nestor G Malgapo Sr.

Isaac, the Promised son

LATER, THE LORD AGAIN appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre. At that time Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent. It was during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. 

When Abraham saw them, he ran from his tent to meet them. He bowed facedown on the ground before them. Abraham said, “Sir, if you think well of me, please stay awhile with me, your servant. I will bring some water so all of you can wash your feet. You may rest under the tree. I will get some bread for you, so you can regain your strength. Then you may continue your journey.

        The three men said, “That is fine. Do as you said.”

      Abraham hurried to the tent where Sarah was He said to her, “Hurry, prepare 20 quarts of fine flour. Make it into loaves of bread.” Then Abraham ran to his cattle. He took one of his best calves and gave it to a servant. The servant hurried to kill the calf and to prepare it for food. Abraham gave the three men the calf that had been cooked. He also gave them milk curds and milk. While the three men ate, he stood under the tree near them.

      The men asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”

      “There in the tent,” said Abraham.

      Then the Lord said, “I will certainly return to you about this time a year from now. At that time your wife Sarah will have a son.”

      Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were very old. Sarah was past the age when women normally have children. So she laughed to herself, “My husband and I are too old to have a baby.”

      Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘I am too old to have a baby’? Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! I will return to you at the right time a year from now. And Sarah will have a son.”

A baby for Sarah

The Lord cared for Sarah as he had said He did for her what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant. And she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. Everything happened at the time God had said it would. Abraham named his son Isaac. Sarah gave birth to the son of Abraham. Abraham circumcised Isaac when he was eight days old as God had commanded.

      Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born. And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. No one thought that I would be able to have Abraham’s child. But I have giving Abraham a son while he is old.”

      Isaac grew and became old enough to eat food At that time Abraham gave a great feast.


(Quoted from Genesis 18:1-14; 21:1-8, International Children’s Bible, New Century Version)

Jacob wrestles with an angel

DO YOU KNOW WHY JACOB, son of Isaac, was later renamed “Israel”? Find out by reading this story from the Bible.

 

  That same night Jacob got up … Then a man cam and wrestled with him until just before aybreak. When the man saw that he was not willing the struggle, he hit Jacob on the hip, and it was thrown out of joint. The man said,

“Let me go; daylight is coming.”

“I won’t unless you bless me, Jacob answered.

“What is your name?” the man asked.

“Jacob,” he answered.

The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have struggled with God and with men, and you have won; so your name will be Israel.”

Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”

But he answered, “Why do you want to know my name?” Then he blessed Jacob.

Jacob said, “I have seen God face-to-face, and I am still alive”; so he named the place Peniel. The sun rose as Jacob was leaving Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Even today the descendants of Israel deo not eat the muscle which is on the hip joint, because it was on this muscle that Jacob was hit. (Excerpted from Genesis 32:22, 24-32, Today’s English Version)

 

   This account on Jacob’s life illustrates what true servants of God are willing o do to attain His promised blessings. Church of Christ members are exhorted to “earnestly desire the greater gifts” (I Cor. 12:31), among which are the duties and obligations in the Church (Rom. 12:6-7). This, even if they have dangers and endure pain and suffering, the faithful church officers willingly make the sacrifices to fulfill their duties to God. For, it is their faith that nothing they do for the work of the Lord will ever become useless but will result in their receiving the great reward. (I Cor. 15:58; Phil 3:14)