But then again, don’t forget something too. It is also pretty much certain that if anyone who’s still unrepentant, let alone willing to sacrifice one’s life for the sake of the gospel of Christ, shall likewise be “rewarded” too. And what “reward” would that be? It would be best left for those whoever preferred it that way to find it out by themselves. Maybe then, it will be too late for them to find out that it’s no longer “business as usual” when tragedy strikes without warning because no one ever know or can tell when their “own world” will end. There’s no such thing as only old people will die and not the young. Is there?
The Book of Revelation, the last epistle of the New Testament that the apostle John wrote, was a profound testimony of what the Lord Jesus Christ had revealed to him. Surprisingly, he was the only one who died of old age out of the 12 apostles. There was no record of him being persecuted and martyred like the other apostles. Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus was the only one who committed suicide out of guilty conscience after he betrayed Jesus with a kiss. The reason I highlighted about these 2 accounts is because I want to get a message across. Remember the ‘Good News’ post I wrote earlier? If anyone recalls, I mentioned that “all of the apostles of Jesus were victims of persecution and cruelly martyred” Right? Wrong! Know why?
Well, actually the “mistake” intentionally written, was a test to monitor if there would be “anyone” out there, whether Christians or not, who read that post would send a comment to correct me. But sadly, there’s none so far. This is the conclusion that I have arrived at from this little ‘test’ and unless someone is willing to prove otherwise, that means, it is either no one knows that anyone can get hold of a Bible and study it. Or, people simply are no longer interested in the Word of God. And worse of all is this – plain ignorance! This, of course is the Satan’s most valuable and successful weapon by far that ever struck civilization and that is, “it’s better to stay ignorant”. This will be also one of the Christians most heart-rending responsibilities to undo this evil and get people to come back to God.
It is really a pity that people don’t ‘see’ something even more powerful than meet the eyes when studying the Word of God, and that is the Bible. In the proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. He said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Most importantly he said, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil”
The question is. How many people are getting their priorities right? Will even great leaders of every nation? If you look at the chaos and scandals that are overwhelming most countries in the world today, and then start studying the Word of God – the Bible, believe me, you will begin to ‘see’ the urgency of not only reading the Bible at all cost, but even in ‘wanting’ to integrate it in all learning institution like schools, colleges and universities to get everyone starting to know God from young.
You’d be so surprised and would agree with me that the Bible is the only Book in the world that tells you everything there is to know that you need to know. It is so full of knowledge and wisdom that it is such a pity and so sad it is neglected and ignored by so many at all cost. But it’s quite comforting to know while at the same time there are also many who would be thrown into prison, tortured or killed for being caught having in possession of the Bible. This evidently proved that there is power in the word of God.
On one hand, no one seems to give a thought about reading it even when there’s no oppression in owning it easily. On the other hand, when someone so badly needed it could end up languishing in jail for having it. Can you imagine such disposition is happening now in this world? Surely, does it not make one wonders what is so wrong or bad in reading the Bible that some people are avoiding it like a plague or something, because of the fear of persecution? The Bible is the Word of God and is always available to help us, not destroy us for goodness sake!
Take the latest fake MC dispute as an example, where the MEF is reporting that employers had incurred over RM1 billion losses annually. Well, let’s see what the Bible has to say. In Colossians 3:22, 23. Paul wrote, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh: not with eyeservice, as menpleasers: but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” The scriptures here are being directed at people working for others and that means the employees. It is telling the employees not to become hypocrites and act like “working very hard” only when the boss is around and start to ‘lepak’ and do nonsense things when the boss is not around. The worse that could happen is employees don’t have any qualms in taking MC unnecessarily and unjustifiably. He is telling employees to be fair and not to simply pass one’s job to another, work hard and do one’s job well whether the boss is around looking or not!
In Colossians 4:1, Paul wrote, “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal: knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” This saying is being directed at the employers. He is telling the employers to be fair and equal to all the workers, not just to one or two just because they are his favorite “pets”. Like in the case of whatever leave a worker entitles to take, employers should not show favoritism and just give to whom it is due when an employee applies for it. And not exploit the employee by withholding it or only approve it on certain days that he prefers and not what the employee requested. The employer needs to be fair and equal also on the working time of the employees. When it’s time for the workers to finish and pack up, employers should not exploit the workers by dragging them to stay behind with other excuses of unfinished work or so-called meetings. Work is forever unfinished. There is a time for everything. There is time to start work and to end. However, it seems there’s never a time to finish work with most employers in Malaysia these days and even then, overtime is not paid. That’s very bad because Paul said, “hey, don’t forget, there’s also a Master in heaven, watching!” So don’t exploit the workers and the workers won’t exploit the employers, Right or Wrong?
So if the employees and the employers both are having the Bible as the ‘Light’ to follow and walk with the same mind of what The Bible teaches, then, naturally both shall not meet in the collision course like now, would they? The Bible has saved the day and always will. So who says the Bible is an outdated book that most people thought it is. It’s actually their thinking that became outdated, not what the Bible taught. In fact, people should read the Bible now more than ever because Jesus gave the greatest commandment in John 13:36, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Tell me. Is a commandment to love one another considered outdated?
The Heroes of FAITH
This is where it starts to get interesting because this is about real people doing the right thing by exemplifying FAITH in God in the olden days and now Christians persecuted and killed for the gospel of Jesus Christ in the modern days. This may sound like no big deal especially to those who are against it simply because they do not really know what was the significance of it. The Bible has been known to honor all the heroes of FAITH whether in the past or the present. The most popular one recorded in the Book of Genesis that most Christians or whoever have read the Bible would know, was Abraham. In Hebrews chapter 11, there’s a list of all the names whom God would consider as righteous for not fearing death even in the midst of suffering all kinds of affliction for their FAITH in God. But there is one man among them whom I found is the most notable, but is hardly spoken about. His name is Job. There are altogether 42 chapters entirely written on this man of God who is one of the greatest heroes of FAITH in the history of the Bible.
Job was not just an ordinary man. He was the son of Nahor who is the brother of Abraham. Job was a very wealthy man in the land of Uz as recorded in the Book of Job in the Old Testament. If there’s a poll at that time, maybe he’d rated at the top in the list of the richest man on earth. Even though he was very rich but one thing that made him even much ‘richer’ was that he was perfect and upright and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. That’s why he could become the son of God. That also makes a lot of difference about him compared to all the richest people now living in the present times who I might say fear more for their riches than God! Of course, it is not a sin to become rich as long as all forms of riches do not come from ill-gotten gains like killing, robbing and cheating.
Job as a married man was blessed with 7 sons and 3 daughters. All of them were useless. All they did and cared about was only “partying” all the time. Because of what they did, Job was always afraid this could offend God so he always make burnt offerings to God in the hope of sanctifying them. Then, there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also tagged along. No one would have thought that even Satan had the permission to join in the “council” that God convened, but the Bible indicated he could. The Satan also had the freedom to roam about because when the Lord asked him where he came from he answered God and said, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
Following that, God started having a conversation with the Satan. He asked Satan what he thought about his servant Job, that there is no one like him on earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil. The Satan being always cunning and vicious then sarcastically answered God, “Does Job fear you for nothing?” He feared you only because you protected his property and every fortunes that you blessed him with. The Satan then challenged God that if he was to take away everything from Job and left him penniless, Job will surely curse God to His face. Without hesitation, God agreed and told Satan that Job is in his hand now and allowed him to do whatever he wants to Job, but only make sure to spare his life. Satan then disappeared.
The next thing Job knew was, everything he once owned was all gone and even all his children were killed in a “freak” disaster. Although Job hadn’t a clue that it was all premeditated test, yet he was still faithful and didn’t curse God for losing everything for no reason and all of a sudden. Job knew he was innocent but, why he was punished for doing nothing wrong, he was not at all concerned. That is why he said something so powerful that so very much reflected on the power of FAITH. Job shaved his head and fell down on the ground and worshiped saying, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Satan was not at all satisfied and happy that Job continued to praise God and glorified Him even at such point in life. He went and asked God again for permission to inflict more serious injury on Job. This time he wanted Job to be smitten with a skin disease. Although the Bible did not exactly specify what it was, I suspected it must be “leprosy” because it said in Job 2:7, “So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” By this time, out of anguish and disappointment, even Job’s wife couldn’t stand it anymore and told Job, “Don’t you have any integrity at all? Curse God and die.” Job answered back and said, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” All these while, Job still refused to curse God.
Then, 3 of Job’s friend, Eliphaz the Termanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, who heard of his plight came to visit him. They were stunned at what happened to him. They couldn’t even recognize him because he’s like almost disfigured with all those sore boils over him. They were so sad that they wept and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. They sat with Job for 7 days and 7 nights and couldn’t speak a word with him because he was in great pain.
Later Job broke his silence. He was kind of like “regretted the day he was born” as indicated in Job 3:1. What followed was a long and winding “didactic poem” and theological discussion with his 3 friends and later another one the fourth one, Elihu the Buzite appeared.
In their discussions, Job’s 3 friends held their views that Job must have sinned against God so that’s why he was being punished for his sin. That’s because they believed that God only bless the righteous and punish the evil ones. Job was very angry with his friends who kept asking him to confess his sin to God. But then, they hadn’t a clue about what sin Job committed? Job upheld his innocence and only wanted to know why he was “cursed” with such sufferings.
After they have debated for quite a while, God finally responded and spoke to Job in Job 38:2, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” God was very angry with Job’s friends for being ignorant and failed to express understanding and having any knowledge at all about God and his sovereignty over His own creation. But God was pleased with Job who never uttered anything bad about God even though he requested for justice. Although Job’s friends offended God, they were forgiven after they made burnt offerings to God and Job also prayed for their forgiveness. In the end, God restored Job back to his normal health and even blessed him double of what he previously owned. He was also blessed with 7 sons and 3 daughters again. He lived into the old age of 140 and died peacefully.
Justification by FAITH
If Job’s FAITH in God was tested as one can read about his account in the Book of Job as were so many others who were even the sons of God in the biblical era. And even Jesus was tested. Therefore, should not Christians expect to be tested when the time comes? “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT of works, lest any should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9