You Have Heard of the Patience of Job…

Thursday, July 11, 2019

“As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered.  You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”  (James 5:11 NIV)

In his New Testament letter, James talks about the perseverance of Job.  Some translations render the original Greek word as patience rather than perseverance.  Regardless of which of the two words is used, it is evident that Job is being set forth by James as an example of a person who was blessed and who had a good outcome because he endured.  He was, in fact, lauded and memorialized as someone who was blessed because of his forbearance and his fortitude in the midst of adversity.

So God’s Word says, “You have heard of Job’s perseverance.”  Notice what it doesn’t say.  It doesn’t say, “You have heard of Job’s frustration.”  It doesn’t say, “You have heard of Job’s almost rebellious attitude when he was blinded by his grief.”  To be sure, those things were true as well, and they are not hidden from us in Scripture.  We can read in the book that bears Job’s name that Job’s reaction to the misfortune that had befallen him was not altogether pretty.  Likewise, we can read in the Bible about the sin of David with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11); and the lack of faith on the part of Abraham, the father of faith, when he lied to Pharaoh about his wife, Sarah, because he feared that Pharaoh would kill him when he saw how beautiful she was (Genesis 12:10-20).

These and many other examples in the Bible show us the humanity of the people involved; and they serve as an encouragement to us, for we are just as weak and frail as they were.  But the Lord knows that as well; and he does not throw us away when we fail. The Bible says that “he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).  Moreover, Jesus laid aside his glory with the Father to come to earth and experience what we experience.  Scripture says that, in Jesus, we have a faithful high priest who can empathize with our weaknesses; because he was tempted in every way that we are—yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).  It also says that “if we confess our sins, [the Lord] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

It is the grace of God that causes him to speak about the perseverance of Job rather than how he also faltered in his time of pain and grief.  Christian, be encouraged; for he will do the same with you.

Read James 5:7-12

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