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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Humility, what could have been

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:1,2).

What if Job had admitted to the lack of wisdom and knowledge? He eventually did that after the Lord personally got involved. “Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.” (Job 40:2-5). But, if Job had accepted conviction and humiliation, what could have been the outcome with the three legalistic elders?

They would have witnessed a most unearthly transformation, right before their eyes. They would have seen evidence of eternal realities—heaven at work. Despite all their religious rhetoric, atheism (“unbelief” in church jargon) held their faith in captivity. But, the surprise that might have shocked them into faith would have come by hearing a simple confession from Job’s mouth, "You know, you’re right! I have sinned. I have justified myself. I have glorified myself instead of God.” Peace and a smile would have broken over Job’s face, and quite possibly the legalists would have been converted on the spot. And God would have been glorified in everyone present.

Is this the scenario the Lord intended when bringing the catastrophes to Job? He wanted to save more than Job; He had the never-before-redeemed wife and three men to reach with grace. Humanity, childlikeness, Christ-likeness is what the world rarely gets to experience. And the lack of such a brilliant dawning of that heavenly reality drives them into misery and darkness.

Providence orchestrated the whole Job event. “Ye…have seen the end of the Lord.” (Jas. 5:11).

The Son of God had a purpose by bringing chaos against Job, his easily unsettled wife, and three self-acclaimed moral police. He wanted to show all of them the difference between heaven-born meekness and earth-bound, filthy-rag righteousness. The Lord is always working to reach this large class which makes up 100% of the human race before conversion.

It was for the “ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7), that, 1500 years later, another Job named Stephen was sent to convert men. They stoned Stephen with more that self-righteous criticism; they used real stones. Yet, this Job II came through in perfect humility. “He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:60). Stephen’s faith laid hold on to the hem of Christ’s robe and his prayer reached all the way to the ears of Lord Sabaoth, whose praises cause the pillars of heaven to shake. No doubt that day God declared His righteousness to Satan’s kingdom, and in heaven “there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” (Rev. 8:5).

God rejoiced the day of Stephen’s faithfulness in death; His Son rejoiced and even stood up, and all heaven went into operation to make a big advance for God’s kingdom against Satan’s. Soon, the conscience of Saul was grinded upon until he met his Maker. Saul could no longer ignore what he saw on that day of his first great triumph for Judaism. So, despite the loss of prestige and wealth, he joined the small, hated sect proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth as the long awaited Messiah. Stephen’s shocking humbleness woke up the heart and soul of a determined enemy of God.

The power of humility—it may not result in physical mortality, as with the martyrs. In these days, while civil America still enforces freedom of conscience, the result of persecution will lead to the death of pride, and a triumph for humility—to both parties. Even Christians can use a deeper humiliation, no matter how exalted their walk with God. Paul, the greatest disciple kept before us the low road that ends high.

“Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first…the blessedness ye spake of.” (Gal. 4:13).

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,…that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;… I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:8,10,14).

“I die daily.” (1Cor. 15:31).

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1Tim. 1:15).

It was pride that the Lord had to exorcise from Job, and it was a meek testimony from His servant that He coveted. He sought the glory of His Father, “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.” (1Tim. 1:17).

Self-righteousness is ugly; but the righteousness of Christ flowing out through His humbled children is eye-catching and powerful to change hearts and to alter erring lives.

 “Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.” (Jer. 31:26).

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