God, Justice & Delegated Authority

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God Justice Authority

Wednesday 1/03/24

Title: God, Justice & Delegated Authority

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God, Justice & Delegated Authority

Job 1:21-22, 

This is our fourth week into Job and we are still in the first chapter.

The main points we’ve covered IN the book, subsequent to our lengthy introduction are these:

  • Job was approximately a 70 year old man with the events recorded in this book began, which means he had only lived 1/3rd of his life.
  • We can’t be dogmatic about who the “sons of God” are in this chapter nor the second chapter which we MIGHT get to tonight.
  • Regardless of who these “sons of God” are – it has ZERO impact on the meaning or understanding of the book nor its theology.
  • God is sovereign, yet He does not control everything. 
    • How this plays out is God’s ultimate plans and purposes CANNOT be thwarted. He WILL accomplish them. 
    • The details of our individual, smaller stories however are largely developed by our freewill.
      • The devil has a right to tempt us away from God’s will for us as individuals.
      • God will not tempt us, will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist and will ALWAYS supply a means of overcoming the temptations of the enemy.
  • Satan had been following God’s M.O.A.. When he first shows up in the narrative, he had been going throughout the whole earth.
  • Like God, he is looking for hearts who are devoted to God. Only his purpose is to destroy their devotion and trust. While God’s purpose is to show Himself strong on their behalf.
  • God sees that satan had set his target on Job and asked him if he had considered the character of this man who he was attempting to pick a fight with.
  • Satan tries to incite God against Job, but of course, God cannot be tempted towards evil and does not tempt anyone, so He refused.
  • God does give satan the authority to attack Job’s loyalty only with the restriction that he could not touch his person.
  • Satan destroys Job’s means of income.
  • Satan kills Job’s children which we determined was NOT due to God’s allowance against Job, but was an independent ace in the whole satan used at this moment in order to get as much mileage out of their deaths as possible.
    • If you remember, our other example found in 1 Kings 22, it was God Who called for the destruction of Ahab due to his sin being “ripe”.
    • In this case, it would have been the devil seeking permission to destroy these defiant children.
    • As we discussed on Sunday, God treats rebellion differently than defiance.While we do NOT know if Job’s children truly were ungodly, we have great reason to suspect it. These children grew up in the home of the most godly man on the planet. Therefore their culpability for their sin was greater due to their knowledge and exposure to the blamelessness of their father. Satan would gain nothing from killing his own, but in this case their association with Job made them a prime target. This is conjecture, but fits within scriptural truths.

This left the question about Job’s servants. If this attack was to destabilize Job’s faith, why were other people’s lives able to be sacrificed as if they were nothing more than pawns?

Were Job’s servants just pawns?

That is the real issue and the one that stands to make most people angry. It is however a certain truth that we MUST embrace if we are to align with and understand scripture.

To be clear, what I’m seeking is a justification, which is in accordance with scripture, which addresses why these servant boy’s lives were open to attack by satan. Clearly the concession given satan by God in His sovereignty was to attack Job’s possessions, but not his person.

Remember the accusation was God’s blessing on all Job owned. So it was in regard to those things Job owned that God gave satan authority to attack Job.

If you remember in all four instances where servants came to Job to inform him of the devastating losses he had sustained, all his servants had been killed except the one who survived to inform Job of his terrible loss.

One of the keys to understanding this is the word servant. It is the Hebrew word Na’ar, but there is a fair amount of question as to how to translate it. 

In Genesis 14, the word seems to mean “servants” where it is used for Abram’s trained men who fought to recover the people kidnapped from Sodom. In other places the word is often used for servants of unspecified age such as Gideon’s servant Purah (Judges 7:10) and Saul’s servant (1 Samuel 9:5). 

So while the word is often translated as young man, it covers a wide spectrum of age and is often associated with one who serves. The scope of ages we have in scripture for the word ranges anywhere from birth to late twenties.

There is a Hebrew word for an “owned slave”, a “hired servant” and a “bond-servant”. In fact those last two are even used in this book of Job.

Job 7:1-2,“Does not humanity have hard service on earth? Are not their days also like the days of a hired man?  (2)  Like a servant longing for the evening shadow, and like a hired man looking for his wages,”

In this passage, “hard service” is typically used for those in military service. These are compared to the days of a “hired man” which would be either an employee or a bond-servant.

So I turned to the Septuagint to see how this word Na’ar is translated into Greek and they seem to prefer the word Pais (pa-heece) which is the specific word they used here in Job 1

This word is believed to derive from the Greek word Paio (Pah – yo) which means a boy as often beaten with impunity. 

Now I am not suggesting for a minute that Job beat his servants, but it does give us insight to the nature of the relationship. One does not beat employees – not literally. This indicates someone whose freedom is not their own.

So the word Pais (pa-heece) is rendered as a slave or servant boy. They were used as subordinate servants, menial servants as well as domestic servants.

These young servant men were old enough to work land and herd cattle, don’t appear to be paid, yet may not be outright slaves either. 

It would have been helpful if Job had been after the giving of the Law. That would almost certainly have cleared this up, since the Law had very specific words and rules for the usage of servants and slaves.

So in all the due diligence I could give this, I believe these were young men who were very likely wage-free menial or domestic servants. As such they were, for better or worse, owned by Job. They belonged to him.

Now, this helps us quite a bit in understanding what was happening here.

God is, as we know, a God of justice and authority. 

Paul unambiguously claims that all authority comes from God!

What we have witnessed from the beginning of our trek ‘Thru the Bible’ is that God acknowledges authority and rewards it accordingly.

When Eve sinned, mankind was still safe for she was NOT the authority – Adam was. This is why the scriptures say that in Adam ALL DIED. Though Eve sinned first, it was in Adam that “sin and death” entered the world. 

When it came time for confrontation God did not say, Eve where are you?He went straight to the one in authority and asked, “Adam, where are you!?

Also, satan, being one who rebels against authority, did not approach Adam, but rather subverted his authority and went right to Eve and that right in front of him for the scriptures tell us that Adam was present with her.

Taking this a bit further, t was not due to the righteousness of Noah’s wife nor of his sons Ham, Shem and Japheth nor that of their wives that they were included in the Ark but because of Noah’s righteousness.

It was not because of any virtue of Isaac or Ishmael that God blessed them and promised they would continue to thrive, but because of Abraham.

Now let’s take this authority issue a little closer to the example we are scrutinizing here in Job

It was not due to Israel’s sin that so many died when King David ordered a census, but due to David’s authority over the kingdom. His command to transgress God’s command resulted in the death of  70,000 men – 2 Samuel 24.

Another example is that it was not due to the sins of the cattle or the wives or children that the family and possessions of Korah, Dathan and Abiram were swallowed by the earth, but due to the rebellion of these men.

I will read this last example from Numbers 16:23-33,

“(23) So the LORD spoke to Moses:  

(24)  “Tell the community: ‘Get away from around the homes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’”  

(25)  Then Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel went after him.  (26)  And he said to the community, 

“Move away from the tents of these wicked men, and do not touch anything they have, lest you be destroyed because of all their sins.”  

(27)  So they got away from the homes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram on every side, and Dathan and Abiram came out and stationed themselves in the entrances of their tents with their wives, their children, and their toddlers.  

(28)  Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will.  (29)  If these men die a natural death, or if they share the fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me.  (30)  But if the LORD does something entirely new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up along with all that they have, and they go down alive to the grave, then you will know that these men have despised the LORD.  

(31)  When he had finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open,  (32)  and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, along with their households, and all Korah’s men, and all their goods.  (33)  They and all that they had went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed over them. So they perished from among the community.”

Similar examples, both good and bad, include the entire tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20), Achan (Joshua 7) and some of the godly prophets who went into captivity WITH the unrighteous in Israel like Daniel, Jeremiah, Amos, Ezra…etc.. 

Examples of the power and impact of being under authority are abundant in scripture!  

So what am I suggesting to you?

That because these servants and cattle belonged to Job, being not only under his authority but part of his possessions, they were subject to being used against Job in his trial.

This is a clarification which I think the body of Christ largely lacks. There is a difference between what is just and what is fair.

Something can appear fair to humans which is not at all just. Likewise, there are things which are just which may not at all be fair.

Let me ask you? What would happen if a parent chose to spend the greatest portion of their income supporting some addition rather than on supporting their children? Do you suppose the children might suffer? Yes! 

What about a woman today who exercises her legal right to abort her child? Is that fair to her child? No.

I submit to you that in the end this is no different. 

Job owned the land, the crops, the cattle and the servants. All of this was therefore subject to attack due to their relation to Job relative to his authority. 

Now the response of Job was this…

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”  

(22)  In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

Because all that satan did, had to pass through the hands and sovereignty of God to take place, Job neither sinned nor charged God with wrong when he said it.

If you will remember those are two independent, but important claims. 

One says, Job did not say anything he knew to be wrong and the other that nothing he said about God WAS incorrect.

One thing that we were very sensitive to back in our Word of Faith days was any scriptural claim that seemed to attribute something negative as coming from God. 

Now that is not without a theological basis, however, our understanding of what is and is not “negative” is VERY subjective and often very much incorrect.

Let me present you with a scenario from my own life.

An illustrative example

When I was in 6th grade I had a teacher who’d had it in for my older sister for a couple of years. 

(This is not conjecture on my part but was confirmed and was one of several contributing factors which led to that teacher’s dismissal.

Now this same teacher had me in one of his history classes. 

When he discovered that I was “the brother”, he seemed bent on failing me. 

Now I was no straight ‘A’ student, but I was SO determined to pass his class that I let all my other studies fall to one side just so I could pass his class and I did… with a D+

I had been counseled to not worry about his class and just focus on my other grades. If I had done so, I would certainly have failed his class, but my overall GPA would have been enough to let me pass. 

My determination to not be beat by this guy, resulted in more than one D and even an F or two in other classes in the last quarter. 

Since this teacher was being dismissed for actually targeting certain children, making it harder for them to pass, my parents were given an option regarding my education. They could either let the grades be rounded up, allowing me to pass, or they could choose to keep my grades as they were and hold me back a year. 

Due to the counsel they received and some careful thought on their part, they decided to hold me back. They thought it would be in my best interest in the end. 

The result of this decision was my being mortified, angry and humiliated before my fellow classmates.

Now, in this example I’m offering for consideration there are many fingers pointed in many directions all with various levels of authority.

  • If the teacher had not acted as he had, none of this would have happened.
  • If I had listened to the counsel given me, I would have passed having only sustained an F in history.
  • If my parents had decided to take the offer of the school, I’d have passed.

So who is to blame? 

In the very end – even though all of the other decisions played a part – my parents are the ones who made the ending decision.

They never shied away from that responsibility or its implications though I have no doubt it was very hard for them.

While this is a flawed example, in that all points cannot be lined up perfectly with our example in Job, and is by far a lesser issue – it is close enough to paint a reasonable comparison for our greater understanding.

While God is NOT the One Who attacked Job, nor did He incite the devil to attack him – it was ultimately the decision of God which allowed the attack to take place. 

As such, God assumes the responsibility, much like my parents did with my being held back to repeat the 6th grade.

So when Job said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away”, he indeed did not sin nor charge God with wrong. Without God’s judicial decision to allow the attack, it never could have happened!

Also, and I am getting way ahead of myself here, but God’s decision both here and afterwards ultimately led to Job becoming a different man, even as my parent’s decision did for me.

You see, my being held back played a good part towards my reawakening to God. I had backslided in my interest and devotion to God in these years. I gained a reputation for being a good fighter and a bit of a rebel and so earned the approval of my peers. By the time I reached 8th grade however, God got a hold of my heart. I began to see the emptiness of seeking the approval of my peers and began to really and honestly fall in love with God all over again.

By the end of 8th grade, my family had moved to Palmetto, and my only choice other than the Christian school I grew up in, was to attend Palmetto High School

Now I had been sought out to be recruited by the band director of Palmetto High the previous year when the band of my Christian school went to state.  It was in looking to take band as my elective in high school, that I wound up choosing Madrigal (a more advanced high school choir) as my elective instead. 

It was there that I met Blaine Cox, my life-long friend who in turn introduced me to his friend Teri who I eventually married. 

Now I hated being held back. It was, without a doubt, the most humiliating experience in my life. It wounded me deeply and left an emotional scar that I can still feel today when I think back on those events. 

That humiliation however, eventually precipitated all the events I just mentioned and therefore played a substantial role in making me the person I am today. 

From it I learned a very valuable lesson. 

In the end – I stand alone. 

My former friends ALL forsook me. I was the target of scorn and laughter. I began to feel the temptation to fall into my role as the dumb kid – which I did for a little while. But I later determined to not let others define me. 

While I desired the affirmation of my friends I found that I didn’t really need it. I was who I was and people were either going to like and accept me or they were not. 

What I was determined NOT to do, was to seek the emptiness of being accepted for what others wanted me to be. Somehow even at that formative age, seemed hollow to me and it was in that stretch in my life that I determined not to pursue approval or succumb to peer pressure.

As a result I learned how to handle social disapproval. It taught me how fickle friends can be and the foolishness of relying upon “friends” for emotional support or value statements. 

So by the time I arrived in a secular high school I was already mentally and emotionally prepared to go it alone. 

I also already loved God and both could not and would not deny that! I was determined to stand for what I truly believed regardless of how that made me appear before other students. 

From that came a boldness in my faith, a freedom to care for others and even pray for students in the hallways. I carried my Bible to classes and eventually led a Bible study in our school gymnasium before school started. 

It was these kinds of activities that caught Blaine’s attention and led to my friendship with Teri.

So while I hated the humiliation, shame, social distancing of my former friends which followed my being held back – I wouldn’t undo those events for anything in the world. 

In many ways, they were the making of me.

Now I know that such is no comparison to the trials Job faced, but they do share some similarities.

As a result of his trials, Job became a man who came to know God like no one else in his day. It eventuated in his being blessed with far more than he’d ever lost, but more than that, it led to intimacy with God. 

Job moved from being a man who feared God due to His holiness and power to judge – to knowing God as a Father and friend as well.

I dare say, towards the end of Job’s life, looking back, that he could no doubt still feel the sting of the loss of his children and the scorn of his fellow man. I also believe that Job would not have taken back those events for anything in the world. 

NOTHING can be compared with knowing God in honesty and true intimacy!

Now let’s move on to chapter 2.

Job 2:1-13, 

“(1) Again the day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and satan also arrived among them to present himself before the LORD.”

“(2)  And the LORD said to satan, “Where do you come from?” 

satan answered the LORD, “From roving about on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it.”  

(3)  Then the LORD said to satan, “You’ve set your heart on My servant Job!”

Now I want to be clear, this phrase is nearly the same as the one like it in chapter 1 verse 8 and means the same thing. As best as I can tell the last word is different only because it is a shortened version of the last word used in chapter 1:8 where the meaning is,

have you placed your heart on Job?  or have you directed your mind towards Job.

Verse 3 continued…

Have you considered that there is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil. And he still holds firmly to his integrity, so that you stirred me up to destroy him without reason.”  

Now this is another difficult translation. This is not saying that God was moved by satan’s reasoning in any way, nor that it was God Who personally attacked Job.

The New English notes say,

“The vav (ו) with the preterite (which expresses a past action or state) is used here to express the logical conclusion or consequence of what was stated previously. God is saying that Job has maintained his integrity, so that now it is clear that satan moved against him groundlessly.”

Job 2:4…

“(4)  But satan answered the LORD, “Skin for skin! Indeed, a man will give up all that he has to save his life!  (5)  But extend Your hand and strike his bone and his flesh, and he will no doubt curse You to Your face!”  

(6)  So the LORD said to satan, “All right, he is in your power; only preserve his life.” 

More literally translated this has God saying, “Behold or there he is”.

The next word is literally just “hand”, but because that symbolizes power it is translated as “he is in your power”.

The next words out of God’s mouth was a charge. It literally means, “nevertheless protect his person.” 

God seems to love to do this sort of thing. God gave the devil a two-edged sword. He was free to attack in the area satan proposed would result in Job’s rejection of God, but because Job was now in satan’s power – it was satan’s responsibility to see to it that Job did not die.

“(7)  So satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and he afflicted Job with a malignant ulcer from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.  (8)  Job took a shard of broken pottery to scrape himself with while he was sitting among the ashes.”

Now this was not a life threatening disease but it was terrible and miserable. The word boil is not so much a translation as a guess. 

The general consensus is that this was very much akin to elephantiasis resulting in rough skin and swollen limbs or some other form of leprosy – many of which begin with ulcers on the skin. 

When we reach the end of this chapter it becomes clear that Job’s affliction altered his appearance so much that he was difficult even for friends to recognize.

“(9)  Then his wife said to him, “Are you still holding firmly to your integrity? Curse God, and die!”  

Now we’ve seen something very much like this earlier.  Remember that Job was afraid that this is something his children would do – curse God and die as a result. 

It would appear that at least in Job’s family, if not in the early postflood / post-tower of Babel world, the notion of death following the cursing of God seems directly linked together.

“(10)  But he replied, “You’re talking like one of the godless women would do! Should we receive what is good from God, and not also receive what is evil?” 

Job clearly makes a reference to “godless” women, which indirectly affirms the likelihood of the “sons of God” mentioned twice so far being a reference to men who were godly.

Now I think that Job’s wife gets a little bit more of a bad rap than it can be proven that she deserves. 

True, this is a bit of a harsh statement. However, we do not know what people of this era knew or even believed about existence after death. So in the mind this may have been nothing more than an anguished wife eager to see an end to Job’s suffering. 

We have to remember that Job is not the only one who suffered in all of this. His wife also lost her children and their livelihood as well as all but a few servants who otherwise might have helped them re-establish their wealth. 

If Job is in desperate straits it is possible that she was now the sole breadwinner as well.

So, we need to be careful not to mischaracterize her. Job did not call her an ungodly woman, only that in this instance she was talking like one of the ungodly women.

Next Job says something which to us seems perplexing.

Should we receive what is good from God, and not also receive what is evil?” 

Now some translations say “trouble” instead of the word “evil” and I believe knowing which is correct is important. It helps us to get a handle on Job’s understanding of God which transfers a large impact on the cumulative theology revealed in this book.

Like most ministers I am not an expert in Hebrew so I have to rely upon study helps. 

So that is where we will pick up nect time!


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!