Education

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The Testing of Job

For those who love God, those who are “the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28), Bible biography has a yet higher lesson of the ministry of sorrow. “Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God” (Isaiah 43:12)—witnesses that He is good, and that goodness is supreme. “We are made a theater unto the world, both (R.V., margin) to angels, and to men.” 1 Corinthians 4:9, margin. Ed 154.2

Unselfishness, the principle of God's kingdom, is the principle that Satan hates; its very existence he denies. From the beginning of the great controversy he has endeavored to prove God's principles of action to be selfish, and he deals in the same way with all who serve God. To disprove Satan's claim is the work of Christ and of all who bear His name. Ed 154.3

It was to give in His own life an illustration of unselfishness that Jesus came in the form of humanity. And all who accept this principle are to be workers together with Him in demonstrating it in practical life. To choose the right because it is right; to stand for truth at the cost of suffering and sacrifice—“this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17. Ed 154.4

Very early in the history of the world is given the life record of one over whom this controversy of Satan's was waged. Ed 155.1

Of Job, the patriarch of Uz, the testimony of the Searcher of hearts was, “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.” Ed 155.2

Against this man, Satan brought scornful charge: “Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? ... Put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath;” “touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” Ed 155.3

The Lord said unto Satan, “All that he hath is in thy power.” “Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” Ed 155.4

Thus permitted, Satan swept away all that Job possessed—flocks and herds, menservants and maidens, sons and daughters; and he “smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” Job 1:8-12; 2:5-7. Ed 155.5

Still another element of bitterness was added to his cup. His friends, seeing in adversity but the retribution of sin, pressed on his bruised and burdened spirit their accusations of wrongdoing. Ed 155.6

Seemingly forsaken of heaven and earth, yet holding fast his faith in God and his consciousness of integrity, in anguish and perplexity he cried: Ed 155.7

“My soul is weary of my life.” Ed 155.8

“O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave,
That Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be
past,
That Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and
remember me!”
Ed 155.9

Job 10:1; 14:13. Ed 155

“Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard:
I cry for help, but there is no judgment....
He hath stripped me of my glory,
And taken the crown from my head....
My kinsfolk have failed,
And my familiar friends have forgotten me....
They whom I loved are turned against me....
Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends;
For the hand of God hath touched me.”
Ed 156.1

“Oh that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come even to His seat!...
Behold, I go forward, but He is not there;
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him:
On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot
behold Him:
He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see
Him.
But He knoweth the way that I take;
When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Ed 156.2

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Ed 156.3

“I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And that He shall stand up at the last upon the earth:
And after my skin hath been destroyed, this shall be,
Even from my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself,
And mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.”
Ed 156.4

Job 19:7-21, R.V.; 23:3-10, R.V.; 13:15; 19:25-27, R.V., margin. Ed 156

According to his faith, so was it unto Job. “When He hath tried me,” he said, “I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10. So it came to pass. By his patient endurance he vindicated his own character, and thus the character of Him whose representative he was. And “the Lord turned the captivity of Job: ... also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.... So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.” Job 42:10-12. Ed 156.5

On the record of those who through self-abnegation have entered into the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, stand—one in the Old Testament and one in the New—the names of Jonathan and of John the Baptist. Ed 156.6

Jonathan, by birth heir to the throne, yet knowing himself set aside by the divine decree; to his rival the most tender and faithful of friends, shielding David's life at the peril of his own; steadfast at his father's side through the dark days of his declining power, and at his side falling at the last—the name of Jonathan is treasured in heaven, and it stands on earth a witness to the existence and the power of unselfish love. Ed 157.1

John the Baptist, at his appearance as the Messiah's herald, stirred the nation. From place to place his steps were followed by vast throngs of people of every rank and station. But when the One came to whom he had borne witness, all was changed. The crowds followed Jesus, and John's work seemed fast closing. Yet there was no wavering of his faith. “He must increase,” he said, “but I must decrease.” John 3:30. Ed 157.2

Time passed, and the kingdom which John had confidently expected was not established. In Herod's dungeon, cut off from the life-giving air and the desert freedom, he waited and watched. Ed 157.3

There was no display of arms, no rending of prison doors; but the healing of the sick, the preaching of the gospel, the uplifting of men's souls, testified to Christ's mission. Ed 157.4

Alone in the dungeon, seeing whither his path, like his Master's, tended, John accepted the trust—fellowship with Christ in sacrifice. Heaven's messengers attended him to the grave. The intelligences of the universe, fallen and unfallen, witnessed his vindication of unselfish service. Ed 157.5

And in all the generations that have passed since then, suffering souls have been sustained by the testimony of John's life. In the dungeon, on the scaffold, in the flames, men and women through centuries of darkness have been strengthened by the memory of him of whom Christ declared, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater.” Matthew 11:11. Ed 157.6

“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; ... and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Ed 158.1

“Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Ed 158.2

“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:32-40. Ed 158.3