Character, Reputation, and Settling Accounts

Today we see the character and reputation of Job and the character and reputation of God working together.  And we see that in terms of God’s justice, the accounts do not always settle at the end of each business day.  This leaves much room for us to trust God fully…

3 Think how you have instructed many,
how you have strengthened feeble hands.
4 Your words have supported those who stumbled;
you have strengthened faltering knees.
5 But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged;
it strikes you, and you are dismayed.
6 Should not your piety be your confidence
and your blameless ways your hope?

7 “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished?
Where were the upright ever destroyed?
8 As I have observed, those who plow evil
and those who sow trouble reap it.
9 At the breath of God they perish;
at the blast of his anger they are no more.
Job 4:3-9

Job’s friend, Eliphaz, came alongside him to encourage him in his time of need. Eliphaz’s message was based on the character and reputation of Job and the character and reputation of God.

In the grand scheme of things, the innocent do not perish.  The upright are not destroyed.  Those who plow evil and sow trouble reap the same.

Now, we know that these accounts do not always settle at the end of each business day.  The justice of God, by the teaching of Scripture, runs across time and eternity.  The more direct, eye-for-an-eye transactional teaching on God’s justice in Old Testament times certainly doesn’t play out in the 21st century as cleanly.

In his teaching and his life example, Jesus shows us that the innocent will be mistreated, and that perishing or inheriting life are matters of eternity based on faith in him.  The economy of God under the new covenant of Jesus will definitely stretches into eternity.  Jesus was crucified in time and was resurrected into eternity. Our rewards or rescue from circumstances may not come on this side of heaven.

And innocence in God’s eyes as it relates to eternity is only found through faith in Christ.  All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory: we fall short of the innocence seen in Jesus as he walked the earth.

In his life, however, God’s favour toward Job appears to be directly related to his strong faith and godly character. Job has instructed, strengthened, and supported many.  When these actions are coupled with a deep trust in God and reverence for the Lord, this is what Jesus describes in Matthew 25 as service to the ‘least of these‘ which is service directly to the Lord himself.

Eliphaz is telling Job that he should have the same faith in his low moments as he has had in his service and relationship with God all along.  That’s tough isn’t it?  The lows drag us down and away from full assurance of faith and confidence.

We should remember, as Jesus confidently stated in John 16:33: in this world you will have trouble, yet take heart, I have overcome the world.


Marc Kinna


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