[b]A Godly Man[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
Notice the first sentence in the first inspired book of Scripture: "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil" (Job.1:1). Can you see the heart of God in the first sentence of Scripture? It was about one man - a man identified by his name Job - and by the place he lived in Uz (so that he is not confused with some other Job living somewhere else). And God gives His testimony of that man not about his cleverness, or his wealth, or his reputation with other men, but only about his character. There we see what God truly values uprightness, fear of God and turning away from all evil. I hope that challenges us.
God is not looking for people with Bible-knowledge. Job did not have any Bible knowledge because there was no Bible then. He had no-one around him to encourage him to a godly life either. Even the preachers of his day only discouraged him by what they said. But in spite of all this, he lived an upright life.
When we read of someone like Job who suffered so much, losing all his property and his ten children in a single day, we can wonder whether this whole story is just a parable. But 1400 years after Job lived, God said in Ezekiel14:14 (repeated in verse 20), that Job was one of the three most righteous men who ever lived, Noah and Daniel being the other two. (Amazingly, God included young Daniel also, who was living at that time in Babylon!!). And James writes about the endurance of Job (James 5:11). That should convince us that this was a true story.
In Job Chapter 1:4,5 we see the concern that Job had for his children. The first book of Scripture shows us also the importance of having a godly family. A godly man brings up his children in godly ways.
Job had seven sons and three daughters. They had all grown up and were living in their own houses. Job was very concerned that none of them should fall away from God. His sons used to celebrate their birthdays with a few days of feasting in their own houses and would invite their sisters to come and eat and drink with them. When these periods of feasting were over, Job would send for them. He rose up early in the morning (Even that significant habit of this godly man is mentioned in the first pages of inspired Scripture.) Job would then offer separate burnt offerings for each of his children and consecrate each of them afresh to the Lord. Job did that because he felt that his children may have sinned in their hearts during their time of feasting. Notice that he was concerned that they might have sinned in their hearts. Job was not thinking merely of external sins like worshipping idols or adultery that they may have committed. He was concerned about sin in their hearts by which they may have dishonoured God. And he prayed that God would forgive his children their sins. A man becomes godly by being sensitive to sin in the heart. Such a man shuts the door, gets alone with God, judges himself and has dealings with God over sin in his heart that other people know nothing about.
There were many good things that Job did, like caring for the poor, the blind and the widows (Job 29:12-16). But primarily he brought up his children in godly ways. He prayed for his children and it is written that he did so continually. A godly man has habits that he practises constantly. He practices his faith continually and not in occasional spurts. Many people seek God only when they are in trouble. But Job was not like that. He lived close to God even when things were going smoothly.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon