Job 6:10(b)

Sermon preached on July 10, 2016 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

During one of the Roman persecutions of Christians, in 304 A.D, a man named Timothy was a deacon in Mauitania. He and his wife Maura had only been married three weeks when he was arrested because of his faith. He was brought before Arrianus, the governor of Thebais. The governor knew that Timothy had some copies of the Scriptures so he ordered him to give them up so they could be burnt. Timothy answered,

"Had I children, I would sooner deliver them up to be sacrificed, than part with the Word of God."

The governor was incensed and said to him,

"The books shall at least be useless to you, for you shall not see to read them."

He then ordered that Timothy's eyes be gouged out with red hot irons. Timothy endured that indignity with such fortitude that the governor grew even more exasperated. The governor gave the order for Timothy to be hung up by his feet, with a weight tied around his neck and a gag in his mouth. Timothy's wife Maura was then brought in and she urged him to recant, for her sake. I think the point was that if he didn't recant, she would be tortured. When they took the gag out of Timothy's mouth, instead of giving in to his wife's entreaties, he admonished her for her mistaken love and declared his intention of dying for the faith. Because of this his wife gained courage and resolved to imitate his faith. She was then tortured. They were both crucified shortly thereafter. (Fox's book of Martyrs)

What devotion to God! What devotion to His Word, to His commands!

The great question I want to ask you is: How devoted are you to the Word of God? It's noteworthy that one of Satan's strategies in tempting people has to do with their attachment to God's Word. When Satan tempted Eve, he focused on trying to shake her confidence in God's Word. He said to her, (Genesis 3:1)

"Did God really say,
'You must not eat
from any tree in the garden'?"

His attack on her started with her confidence in God's Word.

When Satan tempted Jesus, in a very real sense all three temptations had to do with shaking His attachment to, and His confidence in God's Word. Satan was urging Jesus to not have confidence in God's Word. For example, when Satan told Jesus to turn the stones into bread, he was basically telling Jesus that he couldn't depend on the Father, that if he depended on Him, he would die of starvation. But Jesus stood unwavering on God's Word. He met every temptation with a quote from Scripture that showed that Satan was wrong. His every answer to Satan was with the phrase, (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10)

"It is written…"

Jesus stood on God's Word and stood firm.

Job had the same devotion to God's Word. He said, (Job 6:8–10)

"Oh, that I might have my request,
that God would grant what I hope for,
that God would be willing to crush me,
to let loose his hand and cut me off!
Then I would still have this consolation—
my joy in unrelenting pain—
that I had not denied the words
of the Holy One."

Job here highlighted his devotion to the Words of God.

Many people today see a great difference between devotion to God and devotion to His Word. Even many professing Christians will tell you that the Bible is just a book, that it's not reliable, that there's a huge difference between devotion to God and devotion to God's Word. They will tell you that the Bible is wooden, narrow, dead, while God Himself is living, active. They will tell you that you need to be in touch with the Spirit, as opposed to the written Word. If you're devoted to the teaching of the Bible they will tell you that you're holding the Bible as an idol and that you should be focusing on God, rather than some words that claim to be from God.

But Jesus didn't see it that way. In John 14:15–16 He said,

"If you love me,
you will obey what I command."

Obeying Jesus' words is equivalent to being devoted to Jesus.

The writer to Hebrews also didn't see a great divide between God and His Word. He wrote, (Hebrews 4:12)

"For the word of God
is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even
to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts
and attitudes of the heart."

In Luke 16:17 Jesus said,

"It is easier for heaven and earth
to disappear than for the least stroke
of a pen to drop out of the Law."

And in Mark 13:31 He added,

"Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will never pass away."

It was the same way with Job.

Job did not want to deny the 'words' of the Holy One.

Notice that he mentioned the 'words' of the Holy One. He could have said that he didn't want to deny God, that he didn't want to curse God. But he phrased it differently. He said he didn't want to deny the words of the Holy One.

Job obviously loved the words of God. He said he would prefer to be crushed by God rather than to deny His Words. John E. Hartley tells us that the word 'crush', (Job, NICOT; p.134)

"means that one is either brutally beaten or trampled to death"

Job was afraid of failing to acknowledge and live by God's Word. Cursing God would certainly be an acknowledgment that God's Word was not to be trusted.

Thus Job held God's Word in great esteem. We're not sure when Job lived and whether he had any of the written Scriptures. Some speculate that he lived around the time of Abraham. If so his obedience to God's Word would have been like Abraham's—with it not being written down. But like Abraham, he knew God, he knew His will, and he obeyed God. He held God's Word in high regard. He did not deny God's Word. He held it dear.

We should take our cue from Job here and not from what our society today tells us. Today's society has abandoned the Scriptures. People used to refer to the Bible as "The Good Book". But that is changing quickly. I've seen several news articles lately that have had nothing but distain for the Bible and its teachings. They will tell you that it's a book of hate, a book that promotes slavery, bigotry, fear and intolerance. They imply that if you go by what the Bible says it will corrupt and pollute you and turn you into a person of hate.

How different the truth is. The teaching of the Bible is of love. That's what the cross of Jesus is all about. We are told to emulate that kind of love. In 1 John 4:19–21 the apostle John wrote,

"We love because he first loved us.
If anyone says,
'I love God,'
yet hates his brother,
he is a liar.
For anyone
who does not love his brother,
whom he has seen,
cannot love God,
whom he has not seen.
And he has given us this command:
Whoever loves God
must also love his brother."

From an ethical viewpoint, the message of the Bible is that we live lives of love, that we love all others, even our enemies. The Word of God shows us how to do that.

From another viewpoint, the Word cleanses us. In John 17:17 Jesus, praying to the Father, asked,

"Sanctify them by the truth;
your word is truth."

And in John 15:3 Jesus said to His disciples,

"You are already clean
because of the word
I have spoken to you."

We are cleansed from our sins by the work of Jesus, His death for us. The Word of God cleanses us because it's through hearing the Word that we learn about Jesus and His work. In another sense the Word of God cleanses us in that it shows us how to live. It tells us to repent of our sins, to get rid of our selfishness, our greed and live lives of love.

The Word of God is so precious. How we should appreciate it. As David wrote in Psalm 19:7–11,

"The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD
are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD
are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD
are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward."

Indeed, the Words of God are our life. Just before he died, Moses said to the children of Israel, as they were about to enter the Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 32:46–47)

"Take to heart all the words
I have solemnly declared to you this day,
so that you may command
your children
to obey carefully
all the words of this law.
They are not just idle words for you—
they are your life."

They are your life! The Words of God are the foundation of our lives. Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. The Word of God gives meaning and purpose to our lives. The Spirit transforms us through the Word.

No wonder Job did not want to deny the Words of the Holy One. He knew these truths. As he said about God in Job 23:12,

"I have not departed
from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth
more than my daily bread."

Next, notice how Job refers to God as the 'holy one'.

God is holy. We usually think of holiness as an ethical term. And that is certainly part of it. But it is much more than that. The root of the Hebrew word means 'to cut, separate'. In one sense God's holiness also has to do with God's relationship to the world. God is separate from us, utterly transcendent. John Frame writes, (Systematic Theology, p. 276, 278)

"We are not to meet God as an ordinary friend or enemy, but as One who is radically different from us, before whom we bow in reverent awe and adoration. God's holiness, then, indicates the fundamental distinction between Creator and creature." "Holiness… is God's capacity and right to arouse our reverent awe and wonder. It is his uniqueness (Ex. 15:11; 1 Sam. 2:2), his transcendence as our Creator. It is his majesty, for the holy God is like a great king, whom we dare not treat like other persons. Indeed, God's holiness impels us to worship in his presence. Because we are sinners as well as creatures, God stands over against us, not only as transcendent, but as ethically pure. It is particularly as sinners that we fear to enter God's holy presence."

Frame goes on to quote from Isaiah 6. The seraphs were above God who was sitting on His throne, high and exalted. We read, (Isaiah 6:3–4)

"they were calling to one another:
Holy, holy, holy
is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.
At the sound of their voices
the doorposts and thresholds shook
and the temple was filled with smoke."

Isaiah's reaction is given to us in verse 5,

"Woe to me!' I cried.
'I am ruined!
For I am a man of unclean lips, and
I live among a people of unclean lips,
and my eyes have seen the King,
the LORD Almighty."

The Holy One is one whose very presence is threatening to us because of our sin. Isaiah said that the vision of God threatened him with personal disintegration. God is One who should evoke from us the greatest awe and reverence. We must treat Him lightly, we must not treat His Word lightly.

Job knew God as the incomparable One, the Almighty, the One who was mysterious, transcendent, inscrutable. As Psalm 97:2 says of God,

"Clouds and thick darkness
surround him;"

In contrast to his friends, Job knows that he doesn't understand God. God's ways are exceedingly puzzling to Him.

Yet He knows that God is holy—that He is the Holy One, the Pure One. One aspect of holiness that God's Old Testament people were familiar with was that of purity. Indeed, Exodus 30:35 and Leviticus 16:19 show us that the adjectives 'holy' and 'pure' are synonymous.

So when Job referred to God as the Holy One—he was referring to Him as the incomparable One, the One who is transcendent, mysterious—but absolutely pure. He would not deny His words.

What this means for us is that

our message to today's society is that one day deal they will face the great Holy One.

People today are so independent, so self-centered. They have no conception of a holy God. They think they're all right as they are. They think they can do as they want and that they're not answerable to anyone. They're like Pharaoh when Moses came to him and told that God said to let His people God. Pharaoh responded, (Exodus 5:2)

"Who is the LORD,
that I should obey him
and let Israel go?
I do not know the LORD
and I will not let Israel go."

Pharaoh thought he could do whatever he wanted. He thought that he wasn't answerable to the Lord. He soon found out that he was totally wrong.

So we need to tell others that they aren't all right as they are. Their sins put them in grave danger. One of the great messages of the gospel is that people need to repent. They need to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus. If they don't do that they're going to be lost forever.

But what about you?

Are you denying the words of the Holy One?

Are you willing, like Timothy in our opening illustration, willing to die for God's Word?

Do you take it seriously? Is it precious to you like it was to Job? Or are you like King Saul, who paid lip service to God's Word, but really didn't have his heart in applying it to his life? In 1 Samuel 15 we saw that he disobeyed God. God said to him, (verses 2–4)

"This is what the Lord Almighty says:
'I will punish the Amalekites
for what they did to Israel
when they waylaid them
as they came up from Egypt.
Now go, attack the Amalekites
and totally destroy everything
that belongs to them.
Do not spare them;
put to death men and women,
children and infants,
cattle and sheep,
camels and donkeys."

How did Saul react? We read, (verses 7–9)

"Then Saul attacked the Amalekites
all the way from Havilah to Shur,
to the east of Egypt.
He took Agag king
of the Amalekites alive,
and all his people
he totally destroyed with the sword.
But Saul and the army spared Agag
and the best of the sheep and cattle,
the fat calves and lambs—
everything that was good.
These they were unwilling
to destroy completely,
but everything that was despised
and weak they totally destroyed."

When Samuel confronted Saul about this, Saul said, (1 Samuel 15:20)

"But I did obey the Lord.
I went on the mission
the Lord assigned me.
I completely destroyed the Amalekites
and brought back Agag their king."

Saul didn't obey the Lord—yet he said he did. He maybe even thought he did. He held the Lord's commands in such low esteem.

Are you like that? Or are do hold God's commands as being so valuable, so essential, that you're willing to put them into practice in your life and, if necessary, to die for them?