THE MISTAKES OF JOB
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Loyal pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana for over 42 years)
There is a great temptation to deify Job. There is a similar temptation to praise him too much. On the other hand, there are those who lavish excess condemnation on Job. Exactly how should we look at him? We should consider him as the best Christian in the world who still needed to improve. One can find exactly what happened to Job by looking at John 15 and seeing how the Lord purgeth the tree that beareth fruit. This summarizes what happened to dear Job.
Yes, he lost everything: his children, his riches, his home, his health, and the loyalty of his wife; yet, he stood the test. This is admirable, but in the standing of the test we not only see how far he had come but how far short he had fallen. As we admire him for standing true, let us notice and learn from his mistakes.
1. God let Satan have him in order to get him to improve. See Job 42:5,6. God was not punishing, He was purifying. The better the Christian, usually the more severe the measures of purifying.
2. Job made the mistake of comparing himself with man and not with God. Yes, Job was the greatest Christian on earth. Hence, it became difficult for God to reveal to him that he needed more spiritual growth. How much higher can a man go than to be the best Christian on earth? The honest answer is that he can go a lot higher. One is not to compare himself to the sinners or the saints, but with the Saviour. In Job 39-41 God had to remind Job to compare himself with God and not with man. This seems at first to be a bit unfair, but with further searching we find it very fair, for this is the way that God enabled Job to continue to grow.
This is often the case when a man is going to be a great leader. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he said he was unclean. God allowed Joshua to see the Lord; He allowed John on Patmos to see the Lord; He allowed Ezekiel to see the Lord. The temptation for them and for us is that we become the best of our group or the best of our kind and we are complacent. God has something better for us! Even though one be the best Christian in the entire world, he still would fall short. Now he must start comparing himself with God or he will languish in his own complacency.
3. Job looked at how high he had climbed not at how far he had to go. This also limited his spiritual growth. When one gets to the place where he looks down on all others, he then must look up to God and say not, "Look how high I am," but "Look how low I am." He must not say, "Look how high I am compared with other men." He must say, "Look how low I am compared to what Christ is and what I ought to be." Look up, not down, and you will not see your successes. Look up, not down, and you will not measure your stature. Look up, not down, and you will not know your greatness. Look up, not down, and you will see your imperfections, not your perfections. Compare yourself with Him Who rules above rather than those who are beneath if you would grow in grace once you have become a good Christian.
4. Job would not accept help from those beneath him. 'Tis true, his friends were false ones, but 'tis also true that they gave him some good advice. Job had not learned the lesson that there are lessons to be learned from those who may not be as mature as are we. Many an adult has learned a good lesson from a little child. We are admonished in the Bible to consider the ant and learn lessons from him. Does this mean the ant is our superior? Of course, it does not. It simply means that when one becomes the best Christian in the world he can still learn from those beneath him. It is startling to stop and think that great men must learn al that they learn from folks who know less!
5. Job learned that birth and growth come only with pain. The birth of a great ministry, the birth of a child, the birth of a church, the birth of a new work, the birth of a school, or the birth of anything that is worthwhile comes through great pain. Growth is the same way. All of us as children experienced growing pains; such is the case in the spiritual life. Pain comes with birth and pain comes with growth.
The greatest Christian reading this page can learn something from the weakest Christian, and certainly the greatest Christian in the world has not yet arrived. May he compare himself not with those beneath, but with the One above, thereby doing himself a favor and not committing the mistakes of Job.
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