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What the Bible says about Job's Blameless Life
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 6:7-9

In verse 9 is the first use of the term “grace” in the Old Testament. Others like Adam and Eve certainly received a measure of grace from God because He could have killed them on the spot for their disloyalty in submitting to Satan since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Abel, Seth, Enoch, and others undoubtedly also received grace. These men appear to have been converted (see Hebrews 11), and their sins forgiven.

Notice it says, “Noah found grace.” It is stated this way so we understand that he did not earn it by his conduct; it was given as a gift, which happens to every converted person. This is not all it says about Noah. Regarding his conduct, Genesis 6:9 states: “This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” The word “perfect” does not refer to his ancestry but to his habitual, daily conduct.

The terms “just,” “perfect,” and “walked with God” all signify his conduct among those in his family and community. Noah was a righteous man who could be trusted because people knew he kept the laws of God. “Walking with God” denotes one so close to God in his manner of life that He would keep company with him because he was obedient despite all the corruption surrounding him on every side. That he was perfect (“blameless,” KJV) among his contemporaries suggests he had no major flaws in his character. In addition, II Peter 2:5 calls him “a preacher of righteousness.”

We need to make sure we are correct regarding Noah and grace because we want to be consistent and accurate about receiving grace. Scripture always shows grace as something given by God; it is never earned. Genesis 6:8, then, does not say Noah received grace because his life already reflected all those good attributes, but that he was conducting his life righteously because God had given him grace. His conduct was proof that he found favor with God. God gave grace, and Noah then began living his life in a godly manner. The favor—grace—empowered him to behave as is recorded here.

An additional result of finding grace was to separate or sanctify him from all others on earth whom God had not sanctified for the purpose the Bible goes on to show. The grace, the favor, the gifts of God, always precede anything produced within His purpose and calling.

Noah stood out because he responded correctly to the grace, the gifts, the favor, God gave him, and so God called him righteous. Likewise, we have found favor, grace, and gifts in God's calling of us, so we need to evaluate whether we are responding as Noah did to the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by His Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

We must not just rush by this first mention of grace in the Bible, which God purposely and deliberately inserted here. He also intentionally used the term “found” so we will understand that Noah's conduct was a fruit of God's grace, not something inherent that made God call and use him. It was as if Noah was walking a path and came upon a great treasure that changed his entire life from then on. The Creator God put the treasure there for him to find.

Grace is a gift of God to enable us to reach our goals within His purposes. Like Adam and Eve and like Noah, we play essential roles in what is going on—but not until after God gives His gifts. Adam and Eve failed. Noah succeeded. We can see from Noah's record that grace leads to righteous conduct, walking with God, blamelessness, and making the right witness. In addition, grace provides salvation from the destruction to come. Without grace, there is no new creation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Nine)

Job 1:18-19

Consider what the Bible has to say about Job. Job 1:1-3 reveals he was blameless, upright—he shunned evil and feared God. A successful businessman, he had ten children and owned a great deal of livestock. He was so wealthy, he “was the greatest of all the people of the East.”

But even while living a blameless life, Job lost it all, because God allowed him to be burdened with perhaps the greatest trial ever given to any man, other than Jesus Christ. If ever a person could protest the unfairness of life, it was Job. However, confronted with enormous, almost unspeakable torment, without any understanding as to why it was happening or how long it would last, he refused to cry foul (Job 2:10).

Have we ever had one of those days, where everything that can go wrong does? The alarm clock dies in the middle of the night (so you oversleep); the door knob comes off the bathroom door trapping you inside; the toaster burns your breakfast; you cannot find your keys, but when you do, the car will not start, making you late for work, and the boss threatens to fire you; the air conditioner quits; the toilet backs up; and while arguing with your spouse, you crunch down on a cracker and break a tooth!

As bad as that may seem, such trials are actually quite frivolous in light of what Job was experiencing. After Satan challenges God concerning him (Job 1:11), the story continues with four reports of increasingly tragic news. First, a band of rebels had stolen Job's oxen and donkeys and killed many of his servants. Before Job could finish digesting the bad news, another man rushes in, exclaiming that “fire of God” had burned up Job's sheep, killing even more servants. Directly on the heels of that messenger, a third man rushes in to report that the Chaldeans had conducted a violent raid, stolen all the camels, and killed even more servants (Job 1:13-17).

Job must have wondered what was going on!

But as awful as the news was, the worst was yet to come. While Job was still reeling from the tragedies he had heard so far, a fourth messenger declares abruptly that all his children had been killed.

We can only wonder at the emotions Job felt as he listened to this most distressing message. For those who have lost a child, there is an immediate state of unbelief, a heartfelt denial that such a thing could be true, while deep down realizing that it is. Then, a dark, unfathomable well arises, filled with emptiness, anguish, anger, and many other intermingling emotions that would cause even the strongest to exclaim in indescribable grief, “This is not fair!”

How many of us could lose everything as Job did—all that we are proud of—and avoid accusing God of being unfair? At times, our torment can give way to discontent or displeasure with God or the human governments He empowers. It can overwhelm and dominate our minds and thoughts. To a lesser extreme, even a cursory viewing of the nightly news can spawn thoughts of grievance and outrage against God.

In such moments of weakness or vulnerability, Satan loves to catch us off guard. If we leave God's sovereign will out of the picture—even momentarily—we leave ourselves open to our adversary's ability to fill our minds with thoughts of inequity that seem so easy to justify.

But as we should learn for our own benefit, God will occasionally remove a portion of our protective hedge, just as He did with Job, allowing Satan to get at us to do the things he thinks will hurt us the most. God does this to humble us. All Satan's malignant hatred for God and man is displayed in what he did to Job—and what he may do to us as the end approaches, especially in view of the fact that he is targeting God's called-out ones (Ephesians 6:12-13; I Peter 5:8).

Geoff Preston (1947-2013)
It's Not Fair!


 




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