The Life of an Ideal Father
Rev. Toh Nee Lim | On 18, Jun 2019
Scripture Reading: Job 1:1-12
“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified 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 God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
Job is the Semite people that comes from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah that repopulate the earth after the flood. The historian Josephus gives us a glimpse of light on its location. In Genesis, Uz is listed as a son of Aram, a son of Shem. Kindly understand that Job is not an Israelite, or a Jew or a Hebrew. When you say you are a Hebrew, you are from the lineage of Abraham. But Job is not a Hebrew (from the lineage of Abraham). Neither is he an Israelite (from the descendant of Jacob; Israel is another name for Jacob) nor a Jew (from the tribe of Judah). But he worships and fear God. Today is Father’s Day, and I encourage you to imitate Job. He can be considered in the category of Cornelius, found in the book of Acts who is considered a good man. Father, be a good man. He is also like the High Priest, Melchizedek who worships the true God. Father, be a priest for your family. There are few such good people in this world but the world especially needs such people. Ezekiel 4:14 mentioned 3 people in the bible where we should imitate their faith and obedience. Ezekiel says that Noah, Daniel and Job would be able to save only themselves because of their righteousness. They remain loyal to God in the midst of an evil world and Jehovah views them as examples of faith and obedience. So, Job is really quite a guy. Father, let your children imitate you in your faith and obedience. Father, you will be able to save yourself because of your righteousness. I know Fathers want to make it to heaven. Job has shown us how. Today is Father’s Day. Job is an example of an Ideal father. What is life like for an ideal father?
1. Notice how this non-Israelite is characterized.
Job 1:1 says, ‘There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”
Notice how this non-Israelite is characterized.
3. Fearing God (Elohim)
4. Turning away from evil
The bible says Job was perfect. In another translation the word ‘perfect’ is replaced with ‘blameless’. He was not only blameless but upright. These two terms, blameless and upright are often found together in the Old Testament. They speak of moral rectitude and compliance with the religious light of the day. Moral rectitude means rightness of principle or conduct and having moral virtue. It means your principle in life is right and your moral life is virtuous. When you come to Evangel Tabernacle, you are shown the ways of God and the teachings of God. Evangel Tabernacle’s way is definitely not a perfect way or a perfect teaching but that is the light that is given you while you are in this church. YHWH wants you to follow the religious light that was shown to you and that is enough to please God. When you do that it means you are obedient to what YHWH has required of you. And the word blameless has three meanings:
1. not sinless but no intentional sin
2. It refers to one’s relationship with God. He has a relationship with God.
3. blameless focuses on one’s relationship with other humans (horizontal; i.e., family, friends, servants, etc.). It means that your horizontal relationship with other humans; family, friends, servants must be one of integrity, truth, honor and grace.
The adjective ‘upright’ has the basic meaning of that which is straight. This is parallel to the Hebrew concept of righteousness. These two terms ‘straight’ and ‘righteousness’ used to characterize Job’s life do not imply sinlessness but a volitional conformance to his understanding of God’s will for his life and family. Father, God wants you to be straight and righteous. He doesn’t mean that he wants you sinless but there is no intentional sin in your life. You are filled with a will to conform to your understanding of God’s will for your life and family
Lastly, he is said to fear God and eschewed evil. The term ‘fear’ describes a person who has reverence for God. To fear God is to have a reverence toward God and a lifestyle that reflects this reverence. To eschew evil is to turn away from evil. We are told that he has 7 sons and three daughters. This was the ideal family in the ancient world. There were more sons than daughters and seven was the perfect number.
This man is presented as one of the wealthiest men of the East. It shows that material possessions are not evil in and of themselves. Job 1:4 says, ‘And his sons went and feasted in their houses, everyone his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.’ This does not suggest a wild riotous party but a close family relationship where the daughters are treated with equal dignity as the sons. Family relationship is important. Job’s family is important to him. It had been a long time since Pastor Lily, Joy and Jan and I had a time together. It was one of the best times we had together as a family. For 10 days, we fellowship, talk about everything under the sun, swim together, feasted together and play games together. We of course argue but we prayed for one another, covering one another with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Father, God wants you to do that for your family. How is it possible to have a good family time? Because we truly love one another.
When the days of feasting were gone, Job sent and sanctified them. He would rise up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them. Job is afraid that his sons sinned and cursed God in their hearts. The thing that interests me here is that even though he felt he was right with God, he thought that maybe these sons and daughters weren’t as close to God as they should be. So, he prayed for them. Maybe for some of you here, you know that your children aren’t as close to God as they should be. What is the solution? Pray for them. Job had one fear in his heart. It is a fear that a great many folks have today about their sons and daughters. Their children may sin against God. He recognized that he couldn’t cope with that problem himself, so he went to God. My friend, there are a great many parents who are distraught today because they have a son or daughter who has left home and gotten into trouble, and is maybe even on drugs. Many of these parents have never been able to go to God themselves as Job did. As a result, they carry with them problems that they cannot solve. Job knew where to go with his fears, He offered prayers for his children. This did Job continually. Father, and I am speaking to myself. God told me specifically that I have to pray for my children and they need my prayer. I had to pray for Joy and Jan continually. I have to do it daily, rising up early in the morning and pray for them. Maybe my children had sinned against God. I would pray that God would forgive them. Maybe my children had cursed God in their heart. I had to ask for mercy and grace from YHWH for them. So, the ideal father is characterized by these four qualities:
So, Job is different from the modern man who is without any knowledge of God. God doesn’t want you to be like the modern man of this world. The modern man today say there is no such thing as God. Well the bible calls them a fool. The modern man say he doesn’t know God; he is agnostic and he thinks he is very millennial and trendy and up to date when he says he is agonistic. God wants you to have a high and holy concept of God and as a result you hate evil.
2. Satan the Auditor
Job 1:6 says, ‘Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.’
Our next scene is in heaven, and what a scene it is. Neither Job nor any of the other people in this book knew that this took place at all. But this scene will enable us today to understand and interpret some of the things which happen to God’s people.
The next thing you have to know is that there is Satan the auditor. In the Old Testament, the singular ‘son of God’ can refer to Israel, the King of Israel and the Messiah. But the plural ‘sons of God’ always refers to the angels. That is why in Genesis 6:2 ‘That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose’, the sons of God were definitely angels that came down to have sex with the women of humankind. Even the term ‘Elohim’ by itself often refers to the ‘angels’. The bible tells us they came to present themselves before the LORD.’ God’s created intelligences come before Him. I must admit that I know very little about them. I think they are numberless, as numberless as the sand on the sea-shore, which means you and I cannot count them. And they are not human beings, they do not belong to our race. Yet these are God’s created intelligences, and they are responsible creatures. The scene in heaven seems to be a reference to ‘the heavenly council’ of angels who serve YHWH. There is a heavenly council or divine council in heaven attended by national angels that meets regularly. As there is a courtroom on earth, there is also a heavenly council in heaven. In most Chinese traditional movies, we see the king sitting on the throne and he is surrounded by court officials. Even in some Chinese movies, we also are shown the heavenly throne, where the heavenly king is seated and warrior angels and officials attend the meeting. It is a heavenly council. While preparing this sermon, YHWH made me aware that there is a heavenly council in heaven and cases are presented to our Sovereign God. Job 1:6 says, ‘and Satan came also among them’. Satan was among those who attended this heavenly council. This heavenly council seems to be a regular affair. Joy was telling me that her Pastor who is fluent in Greek and Hebrew gave a unique definition of Satan. The original meaning of Satan is an auditor. I was pleasantly surprised because this is what God has been telling me recently when I was studying the book of Job. An auditor is a person appointed and authorized to examine accounts and accounting records, compare the charges, verify balance sheet and income items and state the result. Well Satan seems to be a responsible creature, that he must come to report to God as a matter of regular routine. Well Daniel says to the King Belshazzar concerning the writings on the wall which is read as Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin and interpreted, especially the word ‘Tekel’ as ‘you are weighed in the balances and found wanting.’ In the heavenly council Belshazzar was audited and found wanting. When David committed adultery and murder, Nathan the prophet says, ‘Because by this deed thou hast given great opportunity to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme.’ Isn’t that verdict coming from the heavenly council? Pastor Lily and I were asked to audit LSBC when we were there for 2 months. We were asked to examine them, check them out and state the result. Well they weren’t too happy with our audit when we gave a report in the Elders Board. This is role of Satan. He is a listener and a hearer. The name Satan implies Auditor. Earth has already become a sphere of Satan’s influence. Satan is an angelic being tasked by YHWH to test mankind. There are specific roles given to specific angels. Michael the Archangel is a warrior Angel. Gabriel is a messenger angel. And Satan is the angel who audit mankind. That is why YHWH says to him, ‘Whence comest thou? And he said he goes to and fro the earth and walked up and down it. Satan is not omniscient. He had to go from one place to another. He is always roaming about on the earth and walking around it. Satan is not just an auditor but he is a bad auditor. Father, take note, there is the devil and he audits your life. He has nothing good to say about us. He is literally the accuser. This is a Hebrew term that speaks of ‘adversary’. The implication is that Satan is one of the sons of God who had access to the throne of God. The LORD knew the heart of Satan. Satan was thinking of Job. When you want to walk to God, he is thinking of you. He will say that you feared God for a reason. His accusation is that you loved and served God only because of God’s blessings and protection. I wonder how often this is true of modern believers. YHWH has made a hedge about you, about your house and about all you had on every side. YHWH has blessed the work of your hands; your substance is increased in the land. And Satan wants God to withdraw his hand so that he can touched all you had and then you will curse God to his face.
I want to say something that is very important in our relationship with God. Father, take note: Obedience to the Mosaic Covenant brings prosperity and blessing, but disobedience brings judgment. Generally, this is true in God’s dealing with us. I call this dealing of God with us the ‘two ways.’ But for Job this principle does not apply for his situation; what he was experiencing in life. What I want to say is that this principle also doesn’t apply to some of you right now, concerning what you are experiencing. He was obedient to God and yet judgment come. Job’s state of condition cannot be explained by the two ways. Your state of condition cannot be explained by the two ways, ‘obedience to God brings prosperity and blessings, but disobedience brings judgment. There is something more than that. The worst is his three friends accuses him. In life even when you are obeying and living the four principles of Job; blameless, upright, feared God and abstain evil, bad things still happens. This is the mysteries of life. This is also the sovereignty of God. There are many things we don’t understand in life. Why is this thing happening to me? You say, ‘I mean I tried my best to serve God.’ We do not know what is happening behind the scene. And you are weary with your life. You want to speak up in the bitterness of your soul. There are people who became angry with God and left God because they couldn’t understand why these things are happening to them. You are not claiming to be sinless but you felt you have done nothing to deserve the terrible things that God has caused to happen to you. I ask you today. Are you going to destroy your Christian Faith in God by your harsh words questioning God’s character and justice in His ways with you and with humans? Are you going to turn your spirit against God?
For Job he doesn’t know about the whole heavenly council.
This whole encounter in the midst of the heavenly council was
a. Initiated by YHWH
b. Permitted by YHWH
For a purpose. And you ask? For what purpose when it involves you. The real question is ‘What is that purpose?’ To show the limits of the two ways Mosaic Covenant; Obedience to the Mosaic Covenant brings prosperity and blessing and disobedience brings judgment. To show the sovereignty of God; YHWH allows Satan to test you but with limits. Also, YHWH is sovereign and he directs, limits and even uses Satan to accomplish his purposes. In 2012, I asked a lot of whys. I couldn’t understand the whole picture. Of course, I am not Job, sinless. I mean I played a part for what was happening to me. But yet I still don’t understand. The only thing I thank God was, I did not curse God like Job’s wife asked Job to do. Pastor Lily and I always say this in the midst of our greatest trial. We are not angry with God. The Problem is men. I think the problem is Satan, the auditor, the adversary, the accuser, the evil one. The most beautiful thing about Job is found in Job 1:22 ‘In all this Job sinned out, nor charged God foolishly.’ Somehow Job can sense that there is something happening in the air. He mentions the Sea Monster, the Leviathan, the Behemoth and Rahab. All these words are found in the book of Job. All these are description of Satan. Maybe you are going through a really rough patch right now. But like Job you are sense somebody invisible is responsible.
An overmatch boxer was being badly beaten by his skilled opponent. Battered and bruised, he leaned over the ropes and said to his trainers, “Throw in the towel! This guy is killing me!’ The trainer replied, ‘Oh, no he’s not. That guy is not even hitting you. He hasn’t laid a glove you you!’ At the point the whipped boxer spit blood from his bruised mouth and said, ‘Well, you had better watch the referee. Somebody is sure hitting me!’ We may laugh at this story but you may be saying like the battered and bruised boxer, somebody sure is hitting you and you cannot really tell who.
Father, by the way, Satan must also make a report about you. That is why we are warned by Peter, ‘Be sober and vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking him he may devour. He roams this earth, and like a roaring lion, trumpeted your failures and sins. Now this is quite a revelation isn’t it. And it is contrary to modern thinking.
3. Jesus our Advocate
Satan must be overcome and we can only overcome him by the blood of the Lamb. Job 13:19 says ‘Who is he that will plead with me? For now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.’ Job has prepared his case and is ready to address God in the heavenly court. But he searches for an advocate at the heavenly court. If he doesn’t have an advocate, he expects to lose. In job 16:9 he says, ‘Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.’ Job longs for an advocate at the heavenly court to plead his case. Since he has none, his refer to ‘heaven and earth’ as his witness; his eternal witness. He is saying ‘let heaven and earth’ be my witness. We need an angelic mediator at the heavenly court. This advocator could be the counterpoint of the heavenly adversary: Satan. We are in so much better position than Job. Job doesn’t have a heavenly advocate but we have one. For Job, God has to personally come and be his advocate. It was good that Job did not sin. If he has sinned there is no advocate for him. We on the other hand, even if we have sinned, we have Christ to speak on our behalf. To put it in today’s term, we win in every sense as long as we come sincerely to Christ. We have Jesus our Advocate, seated at the right hand of our Heavenly Father at the heavenly council. An advocate is one who speak or write in favor of, support or urge by argument and recommend publicly. Jesus has acted as our Advocate. He is there for a purpose. Satan cannot take unfair advantage of or exploit and use us for his gain. Jesus is our heavenly helper. We can disappoint the accusers in their craftiness.
Job 5:1 says, ‘Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints will thou turn? Job 5:1 is spoken by Eliphaz, a friend of Job. Eliphaz is from Teman, the place of Edom and they are known for their wisdom. We know that Esau, where the name Edom comes from is the brother of Jacob. Yet here is he is telling Job that nobody is there to help him. Many a times when we are in the deepest valley it is our closest friend, our church members, those whom we seat together and eat together that harms us and discourage us the most. They are the trouble maker and do us mischief. They come and say, ‘Ah Ha, it is because you have sinned.’ They are some people; especially God’s people that accuses us of the two ways; you suffer because you sinned. Eliphaz is saying that no saints can help Job. The word ‘saints’ is translated as the holy ones. And holy ones has references to a godly person and angels. This denotes a heavenly helper for humanity who comes before YHWH at the heavenly court. Our Eliphaz is so wrong. Jesus is the heavenly advocate, one of the holy ones. Jesus is more than a godly person (he is without sin and died for our sins) and more than angels (he is the son of God). There is an implication that there is someone in the heavenly council who defends humanity. He is known as the heavenly helper. Eliphaz is asserting that Job has no one to call for help. He is so wrong. Jesus is our mediator. He is seated at the right hand of the father. We can foil the plan of our enemies concerning our family, our children, our own lives. Yes, for a while evil seems to flourish but over time it is the faithful follower who endures and prosper.
Neither Eliphaz nor Job was at the heavenly council. So, neither of them understands the true reason for Job’s suffering. Friends, you may never fully understand the true reason why you are suffering what you are experiencing right now. And you may never fully receive an explanation for it in the years to come. But will you still trust God? And you must understand that you have this Jesus, our heavenly helper to be our advocate for what you are going through.
This excerpt is taken from a book about a farmer preacher. He says:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills — from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made Heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. — Psalm 121:1-3
Who is your helper? When you turn on the television and you listen to the news, what do you see and hear? There is a meltdown taking place in the world today — economically, environmentally, politically. You start to wonder if there is a future for your children. What hope is there left for the world? I am just a simple farmer, but I want to tell you that the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest Friend who has ever lived, has been with me in my darkest times. Today He says, Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you… I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. — Isaiah 41:10
Jesus Christ has never let me down. He is more than my Helper; He is my Protector. He is the one who looks after my wife when I am away overseas preaching. I know that she is safe because He stations His angels around our home.
I want to encourage you today to start concentrating on what Jesus says about you and not on what is going on in a world gone mad or what is happening to your life.
Jesus is our heavenly helper. Jesus is our Advocate