The Character of Job

God is always searching for men who will be men for Him. The Bible confirms this truth. Samuel said to Saul, the Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Jeremiah 5:1 says, Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now, and take note. And seek in her open squares, if you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth. And God lamented at the pathetic absence of courageous men: I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none (Ezekiel 22:30).

Oswald Sanders, in his book, Spiritual Leadership, writes, “Both Scripture and the history of Israel and the church attest that when God does discover a man who conforms to His spiritual requirement, who is willing to pay the full price of discipleship, He uses him to the limit, despite his patent shortcomings.” The same is true today. God is looking for a few godly men who will be sold out to follow Him.

This morning, as eighteen men in our church began a 5-week study through Don Whitney’s Family Worship, we decided to spend time in the first chapter of Job. There we found the example of a godly man whom we affirmed we long to emulate. He was a man, that is, he was subject to like passions and had the same limitations as we do, but he loved and feared God above all else. And that’s the kind of man we want to be. We want to be men in whom the grace and truth of Christ dwell.

Job was a man of notable position and authority in the walled city of Uz in northeast Arabia, probably near Ur of the Chaldees from which Abram was called. The first chapter of this man’s biography reveals him to be a man after God’s own heart and a man of great principle. Take a moment to read Job 1:1-22.

The first verse reveals Job to be a man of character. He was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil. Four character qualities are evident.

  1. Job was without blame. He was not sinless, but blameless in the sense that when people looked at his life as a whole they saw a man of godly character. He had an impeccable reputation among God-fearing people and unbelievers. The New Testament epistles teach that this should be true of all believers in Christ. Therefore, the apostle prayed: “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11). When accused by his so-called friends, the testimony of Job’s life defended him.
  2. Job was upright. The word means “straight” in the sense of not deviating from God’s standard. Job’s behavior remained within the boundaries of God’s revealed will and commands. He walked a straight path. All his business dealings were on the up and up. He was an honest man who could be trusted. He was dependable, ethical, and could never be rightly accused of cheating anyone. His life was characterized by sincerity and a quest for perfection. He did what was right even when it was personally painful. All in all, his walk matched his talk.
  3. Job feared God. Above all, his greatest love was God. Matthew Henry wrote of Job, “The fear of God reigning in his heart was the principle that governed his whole conversation [life]. This made him perfect and upright, inward and entire for God…this kept him close and constant to his duty. He feared God, had a reverence for His majesty, a regard for His authority, and a dread of His wrath.” The fear of God is widely lost in the church today.  Instead, we have adopted the mindset that God is only love and, therefore, He cannot possibly bring Himself to punish anyone. That is a distortion of God’s nature. Yes, God is loving and fatherly, but His love works itself out in doing what is right and just. As far as believers are concerned, the fear of God is a holy reverence and awe of His loftiness, which produces a cautious dread at the thought of displeasing Him. Job possessed this. He did right even when people opposed him. He stood up for God’s reputation even when his friends attacked. He feared God.
  4. Job turned from sin. He shunned evil. The word used here means to keep away from, to be cautious. Job was cautious because he was afraid to sin. He knew the power of sinful flesh and kept away from those things which would cause him to be tempted or make it easier for him to sin. The New Testament calls us to have this same quality: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21-22). To turn away from something means you are at the same time turning toward something else. To turn away from sin means to turn toward God in obedience.

These are the qualities that made Job a man worth following. Let us pray the Holy Spirit will make us like this great man of God.

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