In Chapter Two of Job, the title character’s suffering is intensified to include the physical infliction of his body and yet Job still reacts with godly character that is poor in spirit. Let us look at God’s comment of Job to Satan the Adversary:
The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” (Job 2:3, NASB, emphasis added)
Despite the suffering Job was going through, the loss of his family and wealth, God recognized Job held fast to his integrity. Integrity is complete and steadfast adherence to a strict code and in this case to godly character, most notably poor in spirit. Job was not wavering in who he was. Job was a man who worshipped God and was devoted to godly living. Despite horrible circumstances Job did not change his feelings or his behavior. Job was true to God because that is who he is. Character is who we really are and a test of that character comes through suffering as in the story of Job. Job passed the test in the eyes of God and the Lord recognizes that fact in conversation with Satan. Job cannot be shaken because of who he has become in the Lord. Peter commented upon testing by trials:
You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith – more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9, HCSB)
Satan struck Job with painful boils that covered his whole body and recorded for us is a conversation between Job and his wife that again demonstrates Job’s character (poor in spirit being evident) in response to adversity in his life:
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10, NASB)
Still Job holds fast to his integrity because that is who he is. Character has been developed in Job that allows him to be faithful to God and what he believes in; he cannot be shaken. Job recognizes that adversity is part of life and due to his character he reacts in a way that does not bring reproach to the Lord or causes him to sin in any way. This passage’s ending sums it up well: In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job did not react in sin, and neither do we have to when adversity strikes. The key is developing godly character: be poor in spirit.
It is interesting the view Western Christians have of suffering. They view suffering as punishment of sin or that God is not pleased with their lives. I actually had “friends” tell me that my trials would go away if I gave more money to my church. But the Bible is clear that suffering is one process by which we become more and more like Jesus. If it takes suffering to develop I will embrace the process, but not enjoy the pain that comes with it. But God is good, there is a purpose for everything. We just need to trust in Him.
Are you going through a trial in your life right now? If you are: how are you reacting? Is it in sin or have you started to develop godly character to get you through without sin? Pray right now that in our current trial and trials to come the Holy Spirit will develop the character you need to be like Job and not to sin with your lips.