Faith Comes by Hearing God

TODAY’S READING: JOB 1-4

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17

I believe this is the story of Job in a nutshell.

How so?

Job was the greatest of all the people of the East. He was extremely wealthy and had a large family. But, he was continually afraid of losing it all. Job’s prayer reveals this. Job 1:5 says, “For Job said, ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually.”

How do we know fear motivated Job’s prayers?

Job says so himself. In Job 3:25-26, Job says, “For the things that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.” Job walked in fear.

But, not only did Job walk in fear, he walked in darkness. Again, Job says so himself. Speaking of his conception and his birth in Job 3:4-6, Job says, “Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let coulds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. That night – let thick darkness seize it!”

What was the result of Job walking in darkness and fear?

Job saw God as both and good and evil. Again, Job tells us this himself. After he had lost everything, in Job 1:21, Job says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.”

Job believed that the Lord gave. He saw God as good. But, Job also believed that God took away everything he had. Does a good father take away all that his son has? Would we not consider that father to be evil?

In Matthew 7:11, Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Even evil fathers give good gifts to their children. But, God, as the perfect Father in heaven,¬†only gives good gifts to his children. God does not give and then take away.

So, Job lacked faith in God’s goodness. Job walked in darkness and fear and saw God as the same.

It’s interesting that Job lacked faith given the meaning of his name.¬†There are number of meanings proposed for the name of Job:

  • enemy
  • the persecuted
  • no father
  • where is my father

Given where Job is at the beginning of the book, walking in darkness and fear, all of these meanings seem appropriate in describing Job. Job was persecuted by Satan. It was this persecution that led Job to walk in darkness and fear, thus becoming an enemy of God. Job was questioning just who and where his father was.

But, there is another possible meaning of the name Job: returning, as in one who returns to God. We could say that one who turns to God is a man of faith.

Do you see any connection between the name Job and faith?

The name Job is spelled with the Hebrew letters aleph, yod, vav, bet. All Hebrew letters are also numbers. The numerical value of these letters, and Job’s name when added together, are:

1 + 10 + 6 +2 = 19

Even though the number 19 is only used two times in an ambiguous way in the Bible, the number 19 means faith. And, not just any faith, but faith in Jesus.

The number 10 often symbolizes testimony (think the 10 commandments, or the testimony of the law). The number often symbolizes the Spirit (consider there are nine aspects to the fruit of the Spirit). Added together we have the testimony of the Spirit.

What is the one thing the Spirit testifies about?

Jesus!

In John 15:26, Jesus said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness [testify] about me.”

And, Revelation 19:10 says, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Noah’s name is mentioned the 19th time in Genesis 7:13. In this verse, Noah and his family entered the ark. The ark is a picture of Jesus and his salvation.

How do we receive salvation?

Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.”

Abram’s name is mentioned the 19th time in Genesis 13:1. Abram had overshot Canaan and gone down into Egypt, a picture of the world. But, in Genesis 13:1, Abram left Egypt and went back into the Negeb, the wilderness. It was an act of faith for Abram to leave Egypt, the world, and all that it had behind.

Paul’s name is mentioned the 19th time in Acts 15:36, which says, “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.'” Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the word of the Lord and he wanted to see how those people were who heard the word. In other words, Paul wanted to see what their faith was like.

If Job started without faith, then when did he become a man of faith?

Job 38:1 says, “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?'” When God spoke to Job, he immediately addressed Job’s walking in darkness.

After God’s speech, Job answered God in Job 40:4-5, which says, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoke once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.”

What did Job say there?

It is time for me to shut up, to cover my mouth, and hear God.

Job came to faith in the Lord when he stopped speaking and started hearing God.

This is exactly what Paul says in Romans 10:17 about faith coming by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.

But, what exactly is the word of Christ?

1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

The first message of Jesus is that God is light. Period. There is no darkness in God. God does not give and take away like Job thought. This first message of Jesus addressed the first thing Job said to his friends about his situation – he was in darkness.

1 John 3:11 says, “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

Why did we hear this message?

Because God is love (1 John 4:16).

And what does love do?

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever has not been perfected in love.”

What is punishment?

The taking away of something.

But, love does not operate by taking away something. That is how fear works.

So, the second message of Jesus is that God is love. Period. There is no fear in God. So, the second message of Jesus addressed Job walking in fear, which was a direct result of his walking in darkness.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. This is how Job became a man of faith.

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