uplifting thoughts and inspiration on faith
Since creation there have been believers. They all have different stories. They come from diverse backgrounds, socio-economic levels, ethnic groups, male, female, young, and old alike. Many seem to have nothing in common. Some seem like every day average people and not very remarkable. Some seem so remarkable they have risen in the annals of great men and women of God to the point of sainthood. Job was such a believer and his story is epic.
The multitude of themes found in the book of Job intertwine with one another weaving the fabric of the tapestry of the body of believers. The tapestry tells the stories, many and varied, of God’s chosen people. The Hebrews, later called the Israelites, later called the Jews. The LAW and the Prophets. The righteous before God presented in the Old Testament. The new covenant. The inclusion of the Gentiles. The righteous covered by the blood of Jesus in the New Testament. The first century church. The followers of Christ eventually called Christians.
An obvious and key theme of the book of Job deals with the hard to digest concept that Job was sinless, blameless, and upright before God yet he suffered monumentally.
Job declared his righteousness before God and before his friends when they came to “help” him. The lion’s share of the forty chapters of the book of Job is an ongoing dialogue between Job and his friends in a proposal/rebuttal style. Each friend in turn insists Job must have unconfessed sin because they were convinced sinless people do not suffer. Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu are judge and jury and it’s not looking so good for Job if they are the last word. But seriously, how far would you have to go today to find an accused, or even a convicted law-breaker, vehemently declaring their innocence? Profusely insisting on the purity of their heart and intentions? We have prisons full of “innocent” people. Just ask them!
One thing in particular sets Job apart. God Himself declared Job blameless and upright. God went so far as to say there was no other man on earth like him.
Job 1:8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
Job 2:3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
Job is not the only one God calls righteous in the scriptures. He is joined by a host of others including Noah, Abraham, David, Daniel, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, and Moses. This is not at all an exhaustive list but a mere sample of those God elevated because of their relationship with Him.
Genesis 6:9 This is the history of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. Noah walked with God.
Genesis 7:1 “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”
Genesis 15:6 (Abraham) And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
1 Kings 3:6 And Solomon said, “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You;”
1 Kings 9:4-5 Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father
Ezekiel 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
Luke 1:5-7 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.
Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Acts 7:20 At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months.
Acts 13:22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’
One would feel fairly confident believing a man was righteous if God Himself declared it. These Bible heroes must have been pretty straight up perfect acting people. Right? Not so fast. Noah was a drunk. Moses was a murderer. Moses told God He was wrong, He had picked the wrong guy. Maybe Moses was drunk because one would think maybe you needed to be drunk to have the guts to tell God He was wrong. Jacob was a liar. Abraham was a liar. Peter was a liar and he denied Christ. Jesus was called a glutton and a drunk. David had an affair and was a murderer and God still called him a man after God’s own heart. David’s name means beloved of God.
This is starting to get a little puzzling. Just exactly what does righteous mean? And how in the world can flawed human beings ever be righteous?
It is believed the time of Job was equivalent to the timeline of Genesis. Therefore, the LAW had not been given nor had Jesus come as Messiah. Technically, Job would have been blameless based on the premise of no law no transgression.
Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
Romans 5:12-13 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)
Beyond the fact that where there is no LAW there is no sin, Job’s life displayed the characteristics of righteousness. Job was sincere and diligent in his pursuit of righteousness even to the point of offering sacrifices on behalf of his children in case they had sinned.
Job 1:4-5 His sons used to go and feast in the house of each on his day (birthday) in turn, and they invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of their feasting were over, Job sent for them to purify and hallow them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed or disowned God in their hearts. Thus did Job at all [such] times.
Righteous before God does not mean perfection. No human except for Jesus has ever been perfect or led a perfect life cradle to grave. Even though Jesus was perfect he was still accused of being quite less than because as humans we expect humans to be flawed. Job and others in the Bible God calls righteous have certain traits in common, perfection is not one of them but there are some heavily weighted contenders.
Key Characteristics of a Righteous Man or Woman
Righteous – Moral, Virtuous
Upright – Honest, Honorable
Rectitude – Correct Conduct
Integrity – Moral Character
Innocent – Pure, Guiltless
Devout – Sincere, Heartfelt
Piety – Reverence, Devotion
Obey – Obedience, Obedient, LISTEN and HEAR
Job 27:5 Far be it from me That I should say you are right; Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
Job 31:6 Let me be weighed on honest scales, That God may know my integrity.
Psalm 7:8 The LORD shall judge the peoples; Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, And according to my integrity within me.
Job 33:9 I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me.
1 Samuel 15:22 So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”
Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.
Hebrews 5:9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him
Hebrews 11:8 [ Faithful Abraham ] By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
What does Obedience is better than sacrifice mean? For one thing, it’s a huge red flag as to how important OBEY is to God. In fact, it could easily be argued and backed up with scripture, a LOT of scripture, that God overlooks a multitude of flaws, faults, and downright questionable behavior when sees His children OBEY Him.
In the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, believers were bound by the LAW. There was a system of rituals and animal sacrifices they were supposed to adhere to in order to receive pardon for sins. Therefore, if sacrifices were being offered it meant one or many sins were being covered. To sin was to either do something the LAW said you shouldn’t or to fail to do something the LAW said you should.
As a parent might say to a child – if you would just obey what I told you to do (or conversely obey and NOT do what I told you NOT to do!) we wouldn’t be having this discussion. You wouldn’t be grounded or lose privileges, etc.
God is saying I would much rather you obey to start off with than to have to go through the ritual of offering a sacrifice to atone for the sin.
Besides the varied key characteristics of righteous behavior Bible heroes share there is something else. Something all of them have in common. Something they share with all true believers past, present, and future. The answer is not that they knew God but that God knew them. God plays the pivotal role in any righteousness anyone will ever possess.
Genesis 20:6 And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.
2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strong fortress. He makes my way perfect.
2 Chronicles 30:12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.
Psalms 19:13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I will be upright. I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression.
Ephesians 1:4 according as he has chosen us in him before the world’s foundation, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love;
God chooses. God calls.
God chose Noah to build a boat in the middle of a desert in a time when no one had ever heard of rain.
God chose Noah to be left alone in the world except for his wife and children.
God chose Abraham to leave his home and start traveling to a place he didn’t even know where he was going.
God chose Abraham to carry the burden of the hurt and shame his barren wife felt.
God chose Abraham to have children at a time in his life when people would want to hug a grandchild, give them some candy and some money and send them home with their much younger parents.
God chose Abraham to willingly in his heart give up that long-awaited and much beloved son.
God chose David as a child to face a literal giant that had a nation’s top soldiers shaking in their boots.
God chose David to spend a lot of his life running for his life. Hiding in caves. When he finally got a home it was burned to the ground and an enemy had carried off his family and possessions and he had to go fight to get them back.
God chose Daniel to be taken from him home, forced to serve a king who kidnapped him.
God chose Daniel to be the one to stand up to an entire religion he did not believe in and he ended up in a den of hungry lions.
God chose Moses to be taken from his family when he was a tiny baby and to be raised by the very heathens oppressing and enslaving the family he was not allowed to see.
God chose Moses to stand up to a really hard to get along with Pharaoh and to lead a huge group of whining, complaining, disobedient people through a desert for forty years.
God chose Job to be the one who would be faithful and show Satan that God is worthy of loyalty and worship no matter how horrible the circumstances get.
None of these men were perfect. Not one of them on his own in his own human strength was worthy or able to succeed without God’s divine blessing and strength. What these men were, and what all true believers are, is chosen. Determined. Loyal. Sincere. Obedient. That is what makes them, and us, righteous.