Posted by: adamgkrause | April 3, 2009

A Conversation on the Book of Job

Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.”

I had a great conversation via email with a pretty cool kid the other day about the question of Job. He seems like he’s on fire for God, but sadly, he is misled. His thoughts are typical of word of faith teaching on Job – absolutely not scriptural.

WARNING: Long Blog Ahead! Give yourself 10 minutes or so if you want to read the whole thing!

It started with a post on his blog – Word of Faith.

I commented on his post,

“Ahh, zeal without knowledge is a dangerous combination…You said, “In fact, no where in the Bible will you find God making some one sick to teach them something.” You obviously haven’t read the book of Job, or about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Maybe God didn’t actually put sickness on them, but He certainly stood back and allowed it! In fact, God was the one who pointed Job out to Satan to be tested! Be careful young “preacher” that you look into the whole council of God’s Word BEFORE you begin to spout off your “revelation knowledge”. And don’t be such a copy cat. You are practically regurgitating Kenneth Hagin’s words, almost verbatim! I’m not sure what Bible you are reading, but if you believe there isn’t suffering/sickness in the New Testament church, you aren’t reading the real Bible! Speaking of Zen Buddhists, I bet you didn’t know that Kenneth Hagin and the entire Word of Faith movement is a Christianised version of Gnostic/New Age teachings…”you can have what you say”, “your words shape your reality” etc…I would love to talk with you further on this, especially since you are headed off to Rhema. I went there myself, and got into a world of hurt…email me if you are willing to discuss these things…”

He responded via email and on his blog post,

“Adam, my friend, I am always open to a discussion provided both people listen, and respond. You seem to be that type of person. Thank you for your response. Before I try to talk about Job, and Paul’s thorn in the the flesh, I would like to address something you said, and maybe this will clear something up. I do not preach the whole council of God. As a matter of fact, no one does that, because no one knows the whole council of God. As it is, I will preach to the best of my ability, with as much of the council of God operating as I know. This is my best attempt to explain what happened with Job, from another item I am currently writing (not for the blog, but for something else.) Now, with Job, you need to understand a few things that have been taught wrongly, and understand the way things actually happened. Without this proper understanding, you will misinterpret Job, and find that it doesn’t line up with the rest of the Bible. In Job, we find that Satan comes to God, and begins to talk to him. God points out Job to Satan, and many times, we have been taught that God was almost dangling Job out in front of Satan, like a treat to a dog, to see if he would take the bait. I submit to you that God perceived what was in Satan’s mind, and if you change the emphasis in the way you read Job 1:8 you can see what I am saying.

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?” Now, many times we read this and we try to say, “See, God is pointing Job out to Satan to test him.” However, I would argue, looking at God’s character throughout the Bible, that He would not do such a thing. This would seem to be in opposition to His character. What I think is happening is Satan comes to Heaven, and God sees this plan in his heart, and brings it to light (because light chases away the darkness), and God says to him, (this is my paraphrase), “So, you want to attack My servant Job? There is no one like him in the whole earth, he is a just man, who reverently respects Me and avoids evil at all costs.” God isn’t dangling Job in front of Satan. He perceives that Satan has picked Job out of everyone on the whole, and then God starts bragging on Job, and talking about how good Job is. Reread that scripture again for yourself, and change the emphasis, and you will see that there is at the very least, the possibility that I could be right. Now, you may agree with that, but, you say, “What about the fact that God gave Satan permission to attack Job?” Again, I must disagree. What happened, earlier in the chapter, is that Job would “rise early in the morning” (a Hebrew phrase, meaning to make a new beginning) and offer sacrifices to God, claiming that, “‘It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did regularly.” You see here that Job is operating in fear. He was afraid that his sons had cursed God, so Job continually went and made a new beginning before God, out of fear, and that is what opened the door for Satan to attack him. Job’s fear tore down the Blessing wall that God designed to protect Him. God was essentially telling Satan, “I’m not gonna attack him. But, his wall is down, so I cannot stop you. All that he has is yours. (By his choice)”

(That is the end of that writing) You see, the way I read it, by Job living his life in fear, the Blessing wall of protection was down, and even though he had a covenant with the Almighty God, God could not protect him from the god of this world, because Job was operating outside the covenant. God is moved by faith, not fear. Fear is what opens the door to the attack, and no matter the covenant, if you are operating in fear, you are open to an attack. Now, to address Paul’s thorn in the flesh, I will admit, I do not understand it all. I do not claim to understand why it is worded the way it is. However, what I believe I understand, is that God would never send a demon to a person. That would be like sending a dog to guard a steak, if that analogy makes sense. What happened, I believe, is that this messenger from Satan came and attacked Paul, and Paul asked God to take it away. Now, at this point Paul was grown up in the faith, and so God told him, “I am not taking it away, my grace is sufficient for you”, which means the pressure was on Paul. You see, healing is something we receive by grace, through faith. Just like salvation (Actually Mr. Scofield, in his study bible, using the ancient Greek tells us that the greek word sozo, meaning salvation, contains all the redemptive acts including healing.) So, when God says, “My Grace is sufficient for you”, what He is saying is, “I already took it, receive it by faith.” Again, I do not claim to understand this fully, but I do believe that this is what the passage is saying. Hope that helps clear up my points a little bit. I would love to continue this discussion further. (If I do sound like a little Kenneth Hagin, it is probably because my Dad is also a Rhema Grad, and has been preaching this, and seeing the results come to pass for the 21 years I have been alive. Not trying to slam you, just giving you my perspective.) You see, I saw that religious stuff at college, and I didn’t like it. It doesn’t, (in my humble opinion) line up with the Word. And, to comment on what you said about the Word of Faith Movement, I would actually beg to differ. This is, I believe, God’s system and way of doing things. I think that the Zen Buddhists and Gnostic, New Age People, twisted God’s way of doing things. God’s pattern is established in that He calls things which be not, as though they were. (Gen. 1-Creation, through His Prophets). He taught that system to Abraham (about Isaac). I believe with all of my heart that these New Age/Gnostics, and the Zen Buddhists twisted what was the reality God created, and turned it into their false teaching. There may be an element of truth to what they say, which is why it may sound similar, but if you are trying to poison a man, wouldn’t you coat the poison with something that tastes good? Anyways, I hope this does not come off sounding combative in the least. I am trying to make my point without sounding dismissive. I would gladly like to hear what you have to say. Thank you very much brother.”

In Christ,

Dave

My response,

“Hey man, thanks for writing! I love good healthy debate. It is an excellent way to define and refine your beliefs. I don’t doubt that you are a good kid, and on fire for the Lord. That’s good! But, like Proverbs 19:2 says,

You saidNow, with Job, you need to understand a few things that have been taught wrongly, and understand the way things actually happened.” That’s a bit presumptuous isn’t it? To assume that you know the way things really happened? To assume that Biblical scholars who were thoroughly trained in the Bible, and Bible interpreters are ALL wrong about Job? Were you there? Were you with Satan when he approached the throne of God? I think not. There is this little thing called pride, a.k.a. the original sin. Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”In Job, we find that Satan comes to God, and begins to talk to him.” WRONG. Satan did come to God, but it was God who began talking to Satan, not the other way around. This is actually a critical point, that God initiated the conversation.God points out Job to Satan, and many times, we have been taught that God was almost dangling Job out in front of Satan, like a treat to a dog, to see if he would take the bait. I submit to you that God perceived what was in Satan’s mind, and if you change the emphasis in the way you read Job 1:8 you can see what I am saying. Of course God knew what was in Satan’s mind! He is God! He is all knowing! The only reason He let Satan do what he did to Job is because God KNEW beforehand that Job would not curse Him, that he would remain loyal to Him regardless of his unbelievably horrible circumstances, and thus shame Satan and bring glory to Himself! Do you really think that there was ever a doubt in God’s mind what the outcome would be? This wasn’t some stupid bet between God and Satan! He sees the end from the beginning! He supersedes time and space! The entire history of the universe, past, present, and future is laid out before God as if it were just a tiny sticky note. This is incomprehensible to us, because we are finite beings. God knew that Job would prove Satan wrong, that Job would glorify God by staying loyal to Him and not cursing Him! God WAS baiting Satan! Because in the end, He was glorified through it all, which is the only purpose for ANYTHING that EVER happens in the entire universe – to bring glory to God!Now, many times we read this and we try to say, ‘See, God is pointing Job out to Satan to test him.’ However, I would argue, looking at God’s character throughout the Bible, that He would not do such a thing. This would seem to be in opposition to His character.” You can argue all you want. It may seem to be out of character to you, because all you have heard about God is that He is a lovey dovey, benevolent God who never gets angry, but is just sitting up there in heaven twiddling His thumbs waiting for us to ask Him to bless us so He can make us rich and healthy. But it is absolutely futile to argue against the Word of God! God DID do such a thing, and it IS His character to do whatever He wants to! God is not bound by ANYTHING! If He were, than what binds Him would be God, and God would not be God at all, because something more powerful than Him exists. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. It is fact. You refuse or are unable to believe it, because you want God to fit into your little box of an idea that you have about Him. It may seem to be in opposition to His character, but He did it, you can’t change Him or what He did, so you’d better change your ideas about Him before you reduce Him to something He is not, and begin teaching a god who is not God at all.Reread that scripture again for yourself, and change the emphasis, and you will see that there is at the very least, the possibility that I could be right.” I am sorry, I have read and reread Job so many times, and it still says exactly the same thing, each time! It doesn’t change! You can change the emphasis all you want. That’s called twisting the Scriptures. It is a dangerous game.What I think is happening is Satan comes to Heaven, and God sees this plan in his heart, and brings it to light (because light chases away the darkness), and God says to him, (this is my paraphrase), “So, you want to attack My servant Job? There is no one like him in the whole earth, he is a just man, who reverently respects Me and avoids evil at all costs.” God isn’t dangling Job in front of Satan. He perceives that Satan has picked Job out of everyone on the whole, and then God starts bragging on Job, and talking about how good Job is. Reread that scripture again for yourself, and change the emphasis, and you will see that there is at the very least, the possibility that I could be right.” Why don’t you just rewrite the entire Bible while you are at it! You are not paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is expressing the same message in different words. You are expressing a DIFFERENT message than the original. You are re-wording, not paraphrasing! If this were a book report on Job, I would have to give you a “D” for inaccurate reporting and distorting the original meaning. I cannot gather from your writing the possibility that you could be right. You take a lot for granted. A theory based upon presumption is not a theory at all. It is, at best, a good work of fiction.Now, you may agree with that, but, you say, ‘What about the fact that God gave Satan permission to attack Job?’ Again, I must disagree.'” Well, actually, I don’t agree. But moving on…you can disagree with the FACT (your word) that God allowed Satan to attack Job all you want to, but again, it is kind of futile to disagree with God’s Word. You said it yourself – it is a fact. Whether you agree with it or not doesn’t change the fact that it is a FACT! If you believe God’s Word is truth, which I’m sure you do, then you MUST believe the entire thing.

“It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.” I want to warn you – I am very blunt. I am going to tell you what I think, and I’m not going to mince words. Practice what you preach and don’t get offended. You don’t sound combative, just naive and idealistic. I can’t blame you, you are simply a product of your environment. You grew up in the word of faith movement, and that’s all you know. I was like you once, believe it or not. I came to rhema all fired up ready to build my faith and save the world. But then real life set in and I realized that the word of faith teaching isn’t all its cracked up to be. Please forgive me if I sound a bit sarcastic and cynical. I am. I don’t want to douse your fire for God. It is admirable. But you do need more knowledge to compliment your zeal, and you’d better be ready to answer some really hard questions and deal with some very disillusioned and very hurt people should you choose to be a minister within the word of faith movement. I call it a movement on purpose. Its time has almost come to an end. The word of faith movement will become just a tiny footnote on the bottom of a page of a very large book on the History of Christianity. I have seen the word of faith destroy peoples lives. Marriages have been torn apart, children have died, people have literally lost their minds, I know people who have turned completely away from God because of word of faith teaching. I know its not all bad. I know that not all the teaching is wrong. But therein lies the danger. A little error mixed in with the truth is like a little cyanide mixed in with your iced tea. It will still kill you if you drink the tea.

Your response to the Job question does not surprise me in the least. It’s what every word of faith teacher says about it. It’s the same answer every time. “Job was in fear, so God couldn’t protect him, he did it all to himself because he was afraid…” To which I say what a bunch of hooey! You said it yourself, that you have to “re-emphasize” the Scriptures to make it say what you want it to say, because you can’t accept the fact that God will let Satan test your loyalty to Him. If you are going to reinterpret the Bible, then at least be honest about it and don’t call it “re-emphasis”! Call it what it is – reinterpreting!

I am going to address some of your responses, your quotes will be blue.

 

You said, Without this proper understanding, you will misinterpret Job, and find that it doesn’t line up with the rest of the Bible.” Really??? Job doesn’t line up with the rest of the Bible??? Don’t forget, Job is one of the books of the Bible! Maybe you could just rip out those 42 chapters from your Bible. Word of faith people HATE that book anyway, can’t explain it. No one would miss it much in those circles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happened, earlier in the chapter, is that Job would “rise early in the morning” (a Hebrew phrase, meaning to make a new beginning) and offer sacrifices to God, claiming that, “‘It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did regularly.” You see here that Job is operating in fear. He was afraid that his sons had cursed God, so Job continually went and made a new beginning before God, out of fear, and that is what opened the door for Satan to attack him. Job’s fear tore down the Blessing wall that God designed to protect Him.” Whoa whoa whoa! Let’s back up a bit further, to get the CONTEXT of what we are reading. Job 1:1 “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.” (emphasis added) In Job 1:1-5, the author is PRAISING Job for his holiness and his care for his children! He was taking care of his kids spiritually! The very first verse says Job was perfect and upright, one the feared God and eschewed (shun, avoid and stay away from deliberately; stay clear of) evil. The next 4 verses tell us HOW and WHY he was perfect, upright, feared God and eschewed evil! Are you telling me that the author suddenly switches tunes in verse 5 and tells us what Job was doing wrong?! It’s absurd to think so! It just doesn’t fit the flow of the writing! That is basic Bible interpretation! His offering sacrifices for his children was a holy and upright thing to do! He was NOT acting out of fear. He was acting out of care for his children! If Job was indeed “in fear” and if fear is a sin, then the author wouldn’t have called him perfect, upright, fearing God and shunning evil! He would have said something like, “Job was mostly a good guy, but he was afraid for his kids. Job was so afraid, in fact, that he allowed his fear to turn to sin, which separated him from God’s protection. So, Satan, seizing the opportunity, came before God…” Nope. Not what my Bible says! The only fear Job had was the FEAR OF GOD. It’s your turn to reread those first 5 verses! Tell me I’m wrong!God was essentially telling Satan, ‘I’m not gonna attack him. But, his wall is down, so I cannot stop you. All that he has is yours. (By his choice)’.” You are again putting words in God’s mouth. A very dangerous thing to do. You should be more careful.You see, the way I read it, by Job living his life in fear, the Blessing wall of protection was down, and even though he had a covenant with the Almighty God, God could not protect him from the god of this world, because Job was operating outside the covenant. God is moved by faith, not fear. Fear is what opens the door to the attack, and no matter the covenant, if you are operating in fear, you are open to an attack.” You either serve a very weak god, who can’t protect his children even when they are afraid; or a very cruel god, one who WON’T protect his children when they are afraid. Let’s put it in human terms. Say your kid is outside playing when suddenly a thunderstorm roars up and it begins to rain and hail and thunder and lightning. Your kid runs up to the door and bangs on it for you to let him in. He is crying and scared and hurting from the hail and heavy rain. You say, “Uh…sorry kid, I can’t let you in until you aren’t afraid anymore. Can’t help ya! My hands are tied up and I can’t get to the door because you’re scared. I am only moved by faith, not fear. You are in fear. As soon as you quit crying and get in faith, I’ll let you in.” How utterly ridiculous, right?! But THAT is exactly the kind of god you are telling me you serve. (For more on fear, see my blog post on fear and courage) I, for one, don’t want any part of him. I serve a God who is moved ONLY when HE wants to be moved. You are not powerful enough to MOVE the God of the universe. Any god you think you can move is no god at all…For your consideration: Romans 9:14-2414 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”f]”>[f] 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”g]”>[g] 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?You said, “but if you are trying to poison a man, wouldn’t you coat the poison with something that tastes good?” Ah, you are a very smart young man, but it is hard for you to see the forest because of the trees. Think on that for awhile…

 

 

 

 

So what is the lesson to learn from Job’s story? Maybe we should ask God instead of trying to explain it ourselves…

Proverbs 3:5-8

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”

God tells us Himself – in His own words – in nearly 130 verses from chapters 38-41 what we need to know. Read it. God is telling Job and his friends that His ways are beyond our understanding! THAT is the message! You can’t explain what happened to Job. No one can. That is the whole point. God is in control. Job’s response to God at the end of the story is most appropriate:

Job 42:2
1Then Job answered the LORD and said:

2 “I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

4 Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’

5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.

6 Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”

Let me ask you a question. What is the difference between a satanic attack and a test from God? I want you to really think about this and let me know what you come up with. (Hint: you can get the answer in Job 1:8-12.)

I would again caution you against adding your own words to the Bible. You ignored what the Bible really said and “explained” what you wanted it to say. God does not look favorably on those who twist His words and add or take away from them…

We will leave Paul’s thorn for another time.

I look forward to hearing from you, Dave.”

Adam                   image

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