By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
God’s Utterance “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” (Part Six)
Job’s Testimony Comforted God
Now when I tell you that Job was a lovely man, maybe you cannot comprehend its meaning or understand the feeling of why I say these things. One day, when you have experienced the same or similar trials as Job’s, when you have experienced tribulations and experienced the trials God personally arranges for you, and when in temptations you go all out and endure humiliations and sufferings for the sake of overcoming satan and bearing testimony for God, you will realize the significance of these words of mine. At that time, you will feel that compared with Job you still fall far short and that Job was so lovely a man and was a man worthy for you to imitate. At that time, you will realize how important those few classical words Job said are to a corrupt man and a man who lives in the present age, and how difficult it is for people of today to do what Job could do. When you feel it difficult to do that, you will realize how anxious and worried God’s heart is, how high the price God pays for gaining such people is, and how precious what God does for mankind and what he expends are. At this point of my fellowship, do you have an accurate knowledge and a right evaluation of Job? In your heart, is Job a real man “who is perfect and upright and who fears God and shuns evil”? I believe that most of you will say with certainty: Yes. This is because the facts of what Job did and expressed cannot be denied by anyone, including satan, and they are the most powerful evidence of Job’s overcoming satan. This evidence is produced from Job, and it is the first testimony God received. So, when Job overcame satan’s temptation and bore the testimony for God, God saw hope in Job and God’s heart received comfort from Job. From the creation of the world until the time of Job, it was the first time God truly tasted what comfort was and what receiving comfort from man was, and God saw and received the real testimony borne for him.
I believe that most people have a plan for their own journey ahead after hearing Job’s testimony and the account of all aspects of Job, and I also believe that most people who are full of anxiety and fear have begun to feel relaxed gradually and relieved little by little….
The following several verses are still the records about Job. Let’s read on.
4. Job Heard of God by the Hearing of Ear
(Job 9:11) “See, he goes by me, and I see him not: he passes on also, but I perceive him not.”
(Job 23:8-9) “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he does work, but I cannot behold him: he hides himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him.”
(Job 42:2-6) “I know that you can do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from you. Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech you, and I will speak: I will demand of you, and declare you to me. I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you. Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Although God Never Appeared to Job, He Believed in God’s Sovereignty
Do you see what the main content of these words is? Do any of you find that there is a fact here? First, let’s see: How did Job know that there is God? How did he know that the heavens and the earth and all things are ruled over by God? Here is one word that can explain the above two questions: I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you. Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:5-6) From this word, we learn that Job knew that there is God by hearing, not by seeing with his own eyes. Under such a background, he began to walk the way of following God, and then he made confirmation of God’s existence in his life and from all things. Here is a fact that we cannot deny. What is the fact? Although Job could walk the way of “fearing God and shunning evil,” he had never seen God. Is this the same with people of today? Job had never seen God, and this implies that although he heard that there was God, he did not know where God was, what God was like, and what God was doing. This is the subjective factor. Objectively, though he followed God, God had never appeared to him or spoken to him. Isn’t it a fact? Although God had never spoken to Job or given him any commands, he saw God’s existence and sovereignty in all things and from the hearsay of his “hearing of you by the hearing of the ear,” and then he began his life of fearing God and shunning evil. This is the origin and course of Job’s following God. However, no matter how he feared God and shunned evil and how he held fast his integrity, God still never appeared to him. Look at the following verse: He said, “See, he goes by me, and I see him not: he passes on also, but I perceive him not.” (Job 9:11) This word means that Job might feel that God was around him or might not feel it, but he could never see God, and that he imagined when God passed, or did things, or guided him in front of him, he, however, never knew it. God comes to men when they are unaware, and men do not know when and where God comes to them, because men cannot see God. So, to men, God is hidden from them.
Job’s Was Never Swayed Because of God’s Hiddenness
In the next passage of scripture, Job said: “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he does work, but I cannot behold him: he hides himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him.” (Job 23:8-9) In this passage of account, we learn that in Job’s experience, God was hidden from him all the time and God had never appeared to him openly or said anything to him openly, but in Job’s heart he firmly believed in God’s existence. He always believed that God either walked in front of him or did things on the right of him, and that although he could not see, God had been ruling over his everything beside him. Under the condition that Job had never seen God, he, however, could hold fast his faith; this is something no one else can do. Why can’t they do that? It is because God did not speak or appear to Job, and if he did not have a true faith, he could not possibly go on or hold fast the way of fearing God and shunning evil. This is true, isn’t it? How do you feel when you see that Job said these words? Don’t you feel that Job’s perfectness and uprightness and his righteousness before God are real and not exaggerated by God? Although God treated him in the same way as he treated others, not appearing to him or speaking to him, he still held fast his integrity and believed in God’s sovereignty, and moreover, he, afraid of offending God, often offered burnt offerings and often came to God to . From the fact that Job had never seen God yet could fear God, it can be seen how much Job loved positive things, how firm his faith was, and how practical his faith was. He did not deny God’s existence because God was hidden from him, nor did he lose faith and forsake God because he had never seen God. He experienced God’s existence and felt God’s sovereignty and power from God’s hidden work of ruling over all things. He did not give up being an upright man because of God’s hiddenness, nor did he give up walking the way of “fearing God and shunning evil” because God had never appeared to him. He never asked God to openly appear to him, so as to confirm God’s existence, because he had seen God’s sovereignty in all things. He believed that he had received the blessings and grace other people did not receive. Although God was hidden from him as ever, Job’s faith in God was never swayed. So, he received the fruit no one else had received: God’s commendation and blessing.
Job Extolled God’s Name, Regardless of Blessings or Disasters
Here is a fact never mentioned in Job’s story recorded in the , and this is the main point we will talk about today. Although Job did not see God or hear with his own ears, he had a place for God in his heart. What was his attitude toward God? It was that “blessed be the name of the LORD,” as spoken of above. This “blessed” was without condition, background, or any cause. Here, we see that Job gave his heart to God and let God control it, that what he thought, decided, and planned in his heart was open to God, not closed, and his heart was not against God, and that he never asked God to do anything for him or bestow anything to him and did not desire to gain anything by worshiping God this way. Job did not make bargains with God. He did not have any requirements or demands of God. He extolled God’s name because of God’s power and authority of ruling over all things, not according to whether he received blessings or disasters. In his opinion, whether man receives blessings or disasters from God, God’s power and authority will not change, so no matter what circumstances man is in, God’s name should be extolled. Man receives blessings from God because of God’s sovereignty, and man receives disasters also because of God’s sovereignty. God’s power and authority are ruling over and arranging man’s everything, and man’s sudden changes of fortune are the manifestation of God’s power and authority. From whatever angle you look at it, God’s name should be extolled. This was what Job experienced and knew in his lifetime. All these thoughts and deeds of Job reached God’s ears and came before God, and were valued by God. God treasured such knowledge of Job and also such a heart of Job. This heart was waiting for God’s commands anytime and anywhere and welcoming everything anytime and anywhere that would come upon him. Job himself did not have any requirements of God. What he required himself to do was to wait for, accept, face, and obey every arrangement from God. This was what Job thought his duty was, and this was exactly what God wanted. Job never saw God or heard any word, command, teaching, or instruction from God. In today’s words, under the circumstance that God did not give him any inspiration, guidance, or supply of the truth, he could have such knowledge and could have such an attitude toward God, and this is rare and commendable; with God, such manifestations of his were enough, and his testimony was commended and treasured by God. Although Job did not see God or hear God’s personal teaching to him, in God’s eyes his heart and his person were much more precious than those who could only speak profound doctrines, talk big, and pay attention to offering sacrifices but did not have any true knowledge or fear of God. Because Job was pure in heart, did not hide anything from God, was honest and kind in humanity, and loved justice and positive things, he, a man with such humanity and such a heart, could walk in God’s ways and “fear God and shun evil.” Such a man could see God’s sovereignty, see God’s authority and power, and obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement, and only such a man could truly extol God’s name. This was because he did not care whether he received blessings or disasters and because he knew that everything was in God’s hand and man’s worry was the manifestation of foolishness and ignorance and senselessness, the manifestation of man’s doubting the fact of God’s ruling over all things, and the manifestation of man’s not fearing God. Job’s such knowledge was exactly what God wanted. As viewed now, did Job have more theoretical knowledge of God than you? As God did very few works and spoke very few words at that time, it was not an easy thing to know God, and it was indeed not easy for Job to have such an achievement. He had not experienced God’s work, heard God’s word, or seen God’s face, yet he could have such an attitude toward God; he made it entirely because of his humanity and his own pursuit. And his humanity and pursuit are that which people of today are devoid of. So, in that age, God said that “there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man.” Even in that age, God had such an evaluation and judgment of him. How much more so now?
Although God Is Hidden from Man, God’s Deeds Among All Things Are Sufficient for Man to Know Him
Although Job did not see God’s face or hear God’s word and much less personally experience God’s work, his fear of God and his testimony in the trials are obvious to all, which are treasured and accepted and commended by God and envied and admired and even more praised by people. His life was ordinary and not great, and he, like any common man, lived a common life of beginning to work at sunrise and retiring at sunset. His difference was that in these decades of his common life, he acquired the seeing of God’s way that common people did not acquire, and experienced and tasted God’s power and sovereignty that common people did not experience. He was not more intelligent than any common man and did not have a super-strong life and much less have any “special skills” invisible to man. But he had the qualities of humanity that most of the common people did not have, such as, honesty, kindness, uprightness, loving fairness and justice, and loving positive things. He knew clearly what to love and what to hate, had the sense of justice, was strong and firm, and was subtle in mind. Thus, in his common days, he saw all the unusual things God did, saw God’s greatness, holiness, and righteousness, saw God’s care and grace and keeping for man, and saw God’s supreme honorableness and authority. One reason why Job could gain the things common people could not gain was that he had a pure heart and his heart belonged to God and was drawn by the . The other reason lies in his pursuit. He pursued to be a perfect man, a complete man, a man who complied with the Heaven’s will, a man whom God loved, and a man who shunned evil. He had these things and such pursuit under the circumstance that he did not see God or hear God’s word. Although he did not see God’s face, he got to know the way of God’s ruling over all things and experienced God’s wisdom in ruling over all things; although he did not hear God’s word, he knew that the deeds of giving man and taking away from man were of God. He passed the days in the same way as common people did, but the too common days did not affect him in knowing God’s ruling over all things or affect him in walking the way of “fearing God and shunning evil.” In his eyes, God’s deeds filled the laws by which all things run, and God’s sovereignty could be found everywhere in man’s life. He did not see God’s face, yet he could experience that God’s deeds were everywhere. In his ordinary days and in every corner of his life, he could see and experience God’s extraordinary and wonderful deeds and see God’s wonderful arrangements. God’s “hiddenness” and “silence” did not hinder him from experiencing God’s deeds or affect him in knowing God’s ruling over all things. In his whole life, he was experiencing in his ordinary life the sovereignty and arrangement of God who was hidden among all things, and also he was in his ordinary days attentively listening to and trying to understand the heart’s voice and the word that God, though silent among all things, expressed through ruling over the running laws of all things. It can be seen that if one has the same humanity and pursuit as Job’s, he will acquire the same experience and knowledge as Job’s, and will also obtain the same understanding and knowledge about God’s ruling over all things as Job’s. God did not appear or speak to Job, yet Job could be perfect and upright, and fear God and shun evil. That is to say, under the condition that God does not appear or speak to man, God’s deeds among all things and God’s sovereignty over all things are sufficient to enable man to experience God’s existence and God’s power and authority, and God’s power and authority are sufficient to enable man to walk the way of “fearing God and shunning evil.” Since a common man like Job can “fear God and shun evil,” it should be that every common follower of God can make it. Although this word seems to be based on logic, it does not go against the rules of things. However, the fact was not satisfying. “Fearing God and shunning evil” seems to be the patent of Job. Once “fearing God and shunning evil” is mentioned, people think that only Job should do it, as if the way of “fearing God and shunning evil” was labeled the word “Job” and had nothing to do with other people. Why this result was produced is very plain. That is because only Job had the qualities of humanity of being honest, kind, and upright, loving fairness and justice, and loving positive things. So, only Job could walk on the way of “fearing God and shunning evil.” You may all know the implied meaning about it. That is, because no other people have the humanity of being honest, kind, and upright, loving fairness and justice, and loving positive things, they cannot fear God and shun evil and thus can never win God’s pleasure or stand in trials. That is to say, all other people except Job are still in satan’s bondage and trap, and they are the objects of satan’s accusation, attack, affliction, and devouring, are ones who are not freed, and are the prisoners imprisoned by satan.
With a Heart Hostile to God, How Can Man Fear God and Shun Evil
Since people now do not have the humanity like Job’s, what are the substance of their nature and their attitude toward God? Are they ones who fear God? Are they ones who shun evil? Since they are not ones who fear God and shun evil, they can only be summarized in two words “God’s enemy.” You often say these two words, but you never know their real meaning. The words “God’s enemy” have their substantive side. It is not that God regards man as his enemy, but that man regards God as his enemy. First, let’s see everyone’s original intention in believing in God: Who does not have his purpose, intent, and ambition? Even though some people believe in and see God’s existence, they still believe in God with such an intent, and their ultimate purpose in believing in God is just to receive from God blessings and the things they want. In men’s life experience, they often think this way: I have given up my family and career for God; what has God given to me? I need to do a count, and check whether I have received any blessings in this period of time. I have spent much in this period, having run a lot and suffered a lot. Does God have any promise to me for my manifestations during this period? Does God remember my good deeds? What will my outcome be? Can I receive the blessings? … Everyone calculates in their heart like this constantly and frequently, and demands from God with intents, ambitions, and bargains. That is to say, men’s heart is unceasingly tempting and calculating against God, and they also keep “reasoning strongly” with God for their outcome and asking God for promises, seeing if God can give them the things they want. For men’s part, while they pursue God, they do not treat God as God, but bargain with God all the time, demand from God constantly, and even press God closely and reach out for a yard after taking an inch. While bargaining with God, they are also arguing with God. Some people, when encountering trials or circumstances, even often become weak, get passive and slack in work, and are full of complaints about God. From the beginning of their believing in God, people regard God as a treasure bowl and an all-inclusive box, but take themselves as God’s greatest creditors, thinking that demanding blessings and promises from God’s hand is the right and duty men are born with, and that keeping, caring for, and supplying men are the responsibility God should do. This is the most basic understanding every believer in God has about the words “belief in God,” and is also the deepest understanding every believer in God has about the concept of “belief in God.” Of all things from the substance of man’s nature to man’s subjective pursuit, none has to do with “fearing God,” and their purpose in believing in God cannot possibly be related to “worshiping God.” That is to say, men never intend or know to fear and in their believing in God. Judging from such state of theirs, their substance is apparent. What is their substance? It is that they are malicious-hearted, are sinister and crafty, dislike fairness and justice, dislike positive things, and are contemptible and greedy. Men’s heart is tightly closed to God, and they simply do not give their heart to God. God has never seen men’s true heart or received their worship. No matter how great a price God pays, how many works he does, or how much he supplies men with, they just ignore them and remain unmoved. Men never give their heart to God, and they just want to govern it themselves and make decisions themselves. This implies that they do not want to walk the way of “fearing God and shunning evil,” do not want to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement, and do not want to worship God as God. This is the state of people now. Let’s again look at Job. First, did he bargain with God? Did he have his own purposes in holding fast the way of “fearing God and shunning evil”? Did God say anything about the future outcome to anyone at that time? At that time, God did not give anyone the promise concerning the outcome. It was under such a background that Job feared God and shunned evil. Can people of today compare with him? The gap between the two is too wide. They are not at all in the same class. Although Job did not know God much, he gave his heart to God and it belonged to God. He never made bargains with God and did not have any extravagant desires or demands on God, but instead he thought that “the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away.” This was what he saw from his holding fast the way of “fearing God and shunning evil” in many years of his life and was the fruit he gained from it. And he also gained the fruit that “shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” These two words were what he saw and knew through his attitude of obeying God in his life experience. These two words were also his most powerful weapon for overcoming satan’s temptation and were the foundation stone of his standing testimony for God. At this point, is Job a lovely man in your eyes? Do you hope to be such a man? Are you afraid to undergo the temptations from satan? Do you have the will to pray to God, asking God to try you as he tried Job? I believe most people dare not pray this way. It can be seen that your faith is pitifully small, and compared with Job’s, your faith is simply not worthy of mentioning. You are hostile to God, do not fear God, cannot stand testimony for God, and cannot overcome satan’s attacks, accusations, and temptations; what qualifies you to inherit God’s promise? After hearing Job’s story and knowing and understanding God’s will of saving man and the significance of man’s salvation, do you have the faith now to accept the same trials as Job’s? Shouldn’t you have some will to walk the way of “fearing God and shunning evil”?
from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Godself (2)”
in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh