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Archive for the ‘Job’ Category


A friend raised the question whether Job was a real person. My understanding and belief is yes, he was real.

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Ezekiel refers to Job along with Noah and Daniel.

Ezekiel 14

[14] Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

[20] Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

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James draws upon the example of Job to comfort the suffering, proving the point that God is merciful. He commends the endurance of Job.

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:11)

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Doctrine & Covenants Section 121 gives a prayer and prophecies written by Joseph Smith the Prophet while he was a prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, dated 20 March 1839. The Prophet and several companions had been months in prison. Their petitions and appeals directed to the executive officers and the judiciary had failed to bring them relief.

The Lord answers Joseph Smith’s prayer:

[7] My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

[8] And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

[9] Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

[10] Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.

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The Book of Job teaches many important lessons.

Job’s suffering explains why developing character is more important in God’s eyes than the trials and pain we experience.

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Centuries ago the man Job—so long blessed with every material gift, only to find himself sorely afflicted by all that can befall a human being—sat with his companions and uttered the timeless, ageless question,

If a man die, shall he live again? (Job 14:14)

He later answered his question:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (Job 19:25-26)

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If any of us feels our challenges are beyond our capacity to meet them, let us read of Job. By so doing, there comes the feeling, “If Job could endure and overcome, so will I.”

Job was a “perfect and upright” man who “feared God, and eschewed evil.” Pious in his conduct, prosperous in his fortune, Job was to face a test which could have destroyed anyone. Shorn of his possessions, scorned by his friends, afflicted by his suffering, shattered by the loss of his family, he was urged to “curse God, and die.” He resisted this temptation and declared from the depths of his noble soul, “Behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.” “I know that my redeemer liveth.”

Job became a model of unlimited patience. To this day we refer to those who are long-suffering as having the patience of Job. He provides an example for us to follow.

– President Thomas S. Monson, They Marked the Path to Follow, October 2007

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– Tom Irvine

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The Greek philosopher Socrates said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

There are far too many people in the world who are careless and who do not accept responsibility for their actions. And there are many who say “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die,” as the Apostle Paul warned in 1 Corinthians 15:32.

But those of us who are trying to be disciples of Jesus Christ sometimes face a different problem. We may focus too much on our own faults to the point that we become discouraged. Our discouragement then becomes a wedge that separates us from Christ.

Even the prophets and apostles had weaknesses.

Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Adam then blamed Eve who blamed the serpent. (Genesis 3)

Noah became drunk after he left the ark and had planted a vineyard. (Genesis 9)

Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah, each time claiming that Sarah was merely his sister. (Genesis 12 & 20)

Lot had an incestuous relationship with his two daughters. (Genesis 19)

Jacob played a trick on Isaac in order to get the birthright blessing. (Genesis 27)

Aaron built a golden calf for idol worship. (Exodus 32)

Miriam had a bout of leprosy as punishment for gossiping about Moses’ wife. (Numbers 12)

Moses was not allowed to cross into the Promised Land because he was disrespectful to the Lord when he drew water from the rock at Meribah. (Numbers 20:8-12)

Gideon made an “ephod” out of the gold won in battle, which caused the whole of Israel again to turn away from God. (Judges 8:26-27)

Jonah at first refused to go to Ninevah. So he was swallowed by a whale. (Jonah 1)

David sinned with Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 11)

Solomon worshiped the gods of his wives. (1 Kings 11)

Elijah was depressed and asked God to let him die. (1 Kings 19)

Job cursed his own birth. (Job 3)

King Hezekiah showed his treasures to the ambassadors from Babylon. Isaiah then prophesied: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 39)

Zacharias was struck dumb because he doubted the angel Gabriel’s message that he, Zacharias, would be the father of John the Baptist. (Luke 1)

Mary Magdalene was possessed by seven demons before Jesus cleansed her. (Luke 8:2)

Martha complained to Jesus that her sister Mary was unhelpful with housework. (Luke 10:38-42)

Peter denied knowing Christ three times. (Mark 14)

Nathaniel questioned: Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? (John 1:46)

Thomas doubted that Jesus had been resurrected. (John 20)

Paul (Saul) held the coats of the men who stoned Stephen. (Acts 6)

John Mark left Paul and the other missionaries who were traveling to Asia Minor, and he returned to Jerusalem. This caused a break between Paul and Barnabas some time later. (Acts 13 & 15)

Paul confessed:

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
(Romans 7:15,19)

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Rabbi Saadiah Gaon, in his Book of Beliefs and Opinions, explains that God deliberately chooses human prophets whose mortal nature is apparent, so that
people will not ascribe the miracles they perform to themselves, but rather to
God.

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We all have things in our lives that we must change. I need to be more forgiving and let go of memories of past adverse experiences.

But we must always remember that Jesus Christ loves us, and he is merciful unto us as we turn our hearts toward him.

Let us come before God and humbly acknowledge our weaknesses before him. He will then give us grace and lift us up. (James 4:6 & 10).

May the Lord bless you,
Tom

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Job asked “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14)

He later answered his own question:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (Job 19:25-27)

The apostle Paul taught:

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

After my father died, I recited these scriptures spoke at his funeral. These scriptures brought peace and comfort to our friends and family.

Jesus Christ suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross at Calvary. He was buried in a tomb, but rose the third day. He then appeared to Mary Magdalene and his disciples.

Matthew records:

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (Matthew 27:52-43)

Like the saints of old, we too will arise from our graves as resurrected beings. We will greet Jesus and be reunited with our families.

May we be always grateful to our Heavenly Father for the gift of his son, Jesus Christ.

And may the Lord bless you,
Tom Irvine

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Adversity is a common theme in the scriptures.

Jesus taught “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

James declared “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11)

Paul proclaimed “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” (Romans 5:3)

Paul further described his trials.

2 Corinthians 11

[25] Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
[26] In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
[27] In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
[28] Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
[30] If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

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Over the years, I have struggled with and against my own set of tribulations. I have fallen vastly short of the heroic examples set by Job and Paul in patiently enduring adversity.

I have experience prolonged rumination over my own trials, especially those resulting from negative encounters with authority figures.

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As Christians, we often pray to our Heavenly Father that He will deliver us from adversity. There is merit in these prayers.

But perhaps we should pray instead that the Lord will help us understand the purpose of our tribulation.

We should ask ourselves “What is the lesson to be learned from this vexing experience?”

When we understand and accept the purpose, then the trial may depart from us. But even if the adversity persists, we will at least have peace.

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The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
– William Arthur Ward

Our petitions to the Lord should be for guidance in adjusting our sails.

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My wife and I recently completed a course for depression based on a program developed by Dr. Neil Nedley.

Dr. Nedley is both an M.D. and a devout Christian.

Yes, I firmly believe we should all exercise, eat properly, study scriptures, and follow the other steps which Dr. Nedley has wisely taught.

We should all try our best to lead happy and healthy lifestyles.

But I also believe that rumination can serve a useful purpose.

My own rumination has sharpened my mind and help me to define and develop my own value system.

I am beginning to be grateful for the painful experiences that I have had.

I would never have chosen these experiences, but I must have needed them in some way.

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Aristotle taught in the fourth century B.C. “that all men who have attained excellence in philosophy, in poetry, in art and in politics, even Socrates and Plato, had a melancholic habitus; indeed some suffered even from melancholic disease.”

Jesus Christ himself was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)

He lamented:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37).

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