Home Job: Sifted for Preciousness

T. Austin Sparks - Messages.




                                         2 Precious Souls The Lord allowed to be

                                             Sifted by Satan to Produce in them

                                                      Heavenly Preciousness  

The Illustrated painting above is depicting Peter of course. It could be considered that, The Lord was hauled into a contest by Satan, concerning Job, but in actual fact the truth is the reverse, and once again the Devil "bit off more than he could chew". Man tends to be the same with over bloated appreciation of himself, and that's why Paul gives the very important advise that each one of us should   "not think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith"  [Romans 12:3.]

Jesus said to Peter   "Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift  you as wheat but I have prayed for you that your faith fail not, and when thou art converted strengthen thy brethren"  [Luke 22:32.]

How devastating is this beginning of Job's suffering, and he wishes that his day was cursed. God had told the Devil to "save his life". His wife tells him to "curse God and die" and his friends cannot speak but just sit with him for seven days and hold their tongues because they  "saw that his grief was great" [Job 2:6,9,13.]

These statements of Job cursing his day come from a complete feeling of devastation that all his genuine and sincere desire for Truth and Godliness, of being one that "feareth God and escheweth evil" has not saved him from the thing, (as he says in chapter 3 and verse 25), that he "greatly feared". The "fear of The Lord" is a good thing, because it cleans us up, as we read in Psalm 19:9. "The fear of The Lord is clean enduring forever" but within that realm of spiritual attainment, and "righteous" nobility can lie a very neatly camouflaged bloated self, operating from a  hard unbroken character base, lacking to an awful degree, true lowliness and humility. O how we Christians can lack so greatly, this lowliness and meekness of heart and mind!  [Ephesians 4:2. Philippians 2:3.]

Job had obtained a very high moral and spiritual standard of achievement, the Lord appreciated it, and the problem was that Job appreciated it MORE Than God did! and this spiritual and highly commendable "self righteousness" can only be accommodated so far by the Lord, and that is "no far" as was the case with Cain, with his rejected offering. [Genesis 4:5.] Like Peter, Job had Revelation;  "Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery and Life unto the bitter in soul; Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in" [Job 3:20-23.]

Spiritual "Light" or "Revelation" of spiritual things does not mean spiritual maturity, The Corinthian Church "came behind in no  gift" and "in everything" they were  "enriched by Him in all utterance and in all knowledge" [1 Corinthians 1:5-7.] and yet Paul had to say that he could not speak to them as unto   "spiritual but as unto carnal even as unto babes in Christ"  [1Corinthians 3:1.] Job later on complains in chapter 29 how that, when he would speak, others  would put their hand to their mouth but after his reductions, he became a derision.

The Word says,  "Knowledge Puffeth up but charity edifieth" [1 Corinthians 8:1.] Spiritual knowledge is important, and is also a great danger in that, it can "puff" us up with self-righteousness and a high opinion of ourselves that isn't The Lord at all. Job is now on the decrease, Sifting is "separation" of the chaff from the wheat, but the encouragement is.....


John the Baptist declaring the "Mighty" one coming after him, said of Christ that He would baptise with the Holy Ghost and with fire and that, He would thoroughly  "purge His floor, gather the wheat into His garner, and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire". [Matthew 3:11-13.]

This fire that Job has begun to experience will continue for some time, but the wonderful thing is that with The Master of "The treatment Plant" on the job, the purifying work will be carried out with such beautiful skill that the end product will produce a man that the community won't recognise but people will be drawn toward him to hear, learn and know like never before. He will become a man with a soft heart,  "For God maketh my heart soft."  [Job 23:16.] Humbly praying for and understanding the needs of others, as we read at the end of the book, that the Lord released the captivity of Job  "when he prayed for his friends" [Job 42:10.]

How precious did Peter become in the "fireball" with all his beautiful encouragements in his letters of "Grace" and "Humility" "He careth for you" etc. His last word being  "But grow in Grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" How Peter learned that there was a need for him to grow "in Grace" and knowing The Lord. [2 Peter 3:18.]

The most destructive Influence upon The Church today is this "Self Righteous Legalism"; Knowledge without Grace:  It has been said that a good definition of Legalism is....


                                    "Grace without Truth is Sentimentality,

                                     And Truth without Grace is Severity"


How sad when this "Severity" is found among Gods people as it was with Job and his three friends, Things started off ok, but as the dialog continued the three "friends" laboured much to point to wickedness behind the scenes in Jobs life and Job ended up with a lamentable cry against them,  "Miserable comforters are ye all" [Job 16:2.] How great is our need as Paul wrote to the Ephesian Church,  "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." [Ephesians 4:32.] The Church at Ephesus is the Church that The Lord charged in the book of Revelation, that they had "Fallen" from their "First Love" and to "Repent"; When love is "fallen" from, all that remains, are beggarly elements to carry on with in fellowship and ministry; The Lord help us to give diligence as Paul admonished in the book of Hebrews,  "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the Grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you..." [Hebrews 12:15.] This severity of Self righteousness and Legalism moves very easily in the direction of "bitterness" as was the case with Job and the three friends, and in the end the result was that the "captivity of Job" wasn't going to be released until he prayed for his friends and the friends were to present an offering  to The Lord and themselves to Job for prayer to avoid stern dealings of The Lord, because they hadn't spoken of The Lord the "thing which is right" as The Lord also said,  "like my servant Job". [Job 42:8.]

How greatly we need the "Fire" in these days and there is no doubt that it is being applied. We must be assured in our own hearts that if there is any of the above operating in our service for The Lord and not under the fire now, then it will be on that day  "when every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." [1 Corinthians 3:11-15.]

There is no escaping the fire, if the chaff is dealt with here then there will be no burning of the chaff then, to reveal that our work was the flesh and not of The Lord. How meaningful is, Pauls word  "Let us have Grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear for our God is a consuming fire." [Hebrews 12:28-29.]

There is a huge learning curve for us all, and The Lord help us to have soft hearts that The Lord can deal with, and bring us through as he did Job and Peter into great blessing - Praise the Lord! There is much of the goodness of The Lord's dealings to discover as the book of Job unfolds.

Jesus Loves You.

God Bless.