Biblical patience is needed in our world, more than ever. It runs the race of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2), ploughs through life’s obstacles, and continues on to victory. It is also a key to inheriting the promises of God.
That you do not become sluggish but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises – Hebrews 6:12
In our changing, trying times, the one thing we need above all else is divine patience; it can help you plough through the obstacles and keep going unto victory. More than that, it is a key to receiving the promises of God. Abraham had it, and so did Job – what about you?
In Part One we defined and described what is Biblical patience, based in part from James 5:7-11.
The paragon of patience was the patriarch Job. Few people have suffered as much as this man. He was exceedingly blessed by God and then tragedy hit on many fronts: in one calendar day, he lost his flocks, workers, and children. If that weren’t enough, he lost his health. His wife told him to let go of his integrity: just curse God and die. Fortunately for him and us, he did not listen to her.
And there’s more: three friends came to ‘comfort’ him in such a manner that they made the situation much worse – bad enough that God rebuked them in the end. Then a young man named Elihu rebukes the older Job as having justified himself and not God. Yet, outspoken Elihu does not get divinely rebuked at all.
Finally, mercifully, God speaks to Job out of a whirlwind. He does not tell Job why He allowed all that suffering but because He is God, Sovereign of the universe, we are called to trust Him even when it makes no sense to the natural mind.
How did Job respond to God’s lengthy message? He returned to the fear of the Lord, committed himself to obedience, and repented in dust and ashes. In addition, he also prayed for his friends (42:10).
What was the result of Job’s patience? In one word: restoration. His net worth was restored: The Lord caused his friends and extended family to come visit and they were compelled to give him money and jewels. His lost livestock was replaced by double the amount than before.
His family was restored: Job had another ten children to replace the ones who were killed.
Job’s legacy was patient endurance that caused him to be blessed and restored more than ever. James 5:11 says God also was glorified as a merciful and compassionate to him.
Gems of Job
Like silver and gold tried in the fire, so was patient Job. Once the fire ceased, the silver and gold, now purified, remains and are enhanced. Job’s suffering and the book that bears his name have given us some great gems in the Word of God. These include:
Job 42:5-6: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
The patience that was forged in the furnace of affliction afforded Job an audience with the Lord, which impacted him and others to our day. No doubt Job was humbled by this experience and such humility is a magnet to ever-increasing grace.
Job 19:25-26: For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
What a great Messianic and eschatological statement! Job speaks of a divine redeemer who is coming to ‘stand at the latter day’ upon the earth. Job believed that if death preceded the redeemer’s appearance, and worms ate his body, he spoke with perfect faith that ‘in his flesh’ – namely, his resurrected body – he would see God.
This is perhaps the earliest statement affirming the bodily resurrection of all humanity (Daniel 12:2). And as Paul clearly affirms in 1 Corinthians 15, if the dead do not rise, then Christ didn’t rise either (v. 13). Fortunately for us all, Christ did rise as the first fruits of many more to come. As a Biblical principle when you see the first fruits early in the harvest season, it is your guarantee that the rest of the harvest fruit is coming. A down payment is a putative assurance that the rest of the money is on the way.
Job 23:10: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Speaking of ‘tried as gold,’ that was Job’s experience in summarized form. This verse tells us that if you want the gold, hold tight, be patient, trust God, and He will do the rest. It is a clarion call to patiently persevere or, as UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the nation during the Second World War: Never give up.
In Part 03, we will learn about the benefits of patience and how to acquire it in your life.
—TO BE CONTINUED