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3-1-3 Job's Spiritual Growth

It is unlikely that Job's period of affliction lasted more than a year or so (Job 7:3), and yet this is the part of his life and spiritual growth that is presented to us in such detail. It was his spiritual growth during this period which led him to exclaim: " I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5). Job was like so many of us; he knew the doctrines, he believed, he loved his Bible, he did good, he tried to do the very best for his kids spiritually, he had worked his way up in the world (from being an orphan, 6:27?) without consciously seeking prosperity (1:10 AVmg.; 8:7; 31:25), and had shared his blessings with others; he realized at least in theory the weakness of his nature; and yet when he examined himself, he really didn't think he was too monstrous a sinner. And his 'ecclesia', such as it was, thought the same. Even the 'world' around him thought so. But in the final triumph and pinnacle of spiritual growth which he achieves by the end of the book, Job looked back on all this and saw it all as so much theory. In those long years (his children were old enough to have parties and get drunk), he finally recognized that he had only heard of God " by the hearing of the ear" . There had been no real spiritual vision of God, no real personal understanding- just hearing in the ear (note how the Queen of Sheba alludes to Job’s words- she had heard in the ear, but her spirit failed when she saw with her eyes). In the theological context in which Job was, the idea of seeing God for oneself was a huge paradigm jump. Centuries later, righteous Isaiah was sure he would die because he thought he had seen Yahweh (Is. 6:5). Job reached the same spiritual peak of ambition and closeness to the Almighty which Moses did when he asked to be shown God's glory, with the apparent implication that he wanted to see Yahweh's face (Ex. 33:18,20). This peak of ambition which characterized Job's maturity was partly due to the way in which God recounted His greatness before Job (e.g. ch. 38). And yet (as the above chart makes clear) an appreciation of the physical greatness of God was something which had consistently featured in Job's words. Yet he had to be taught that what he thought he knew and appreciated so well, in fact he didn't.  

Dare, dare I say it: but isn't this just where so many of us have been for years, hearing in the ear, in the calm quietness of our church halls; but not seeing God for ourselves, not  grasping the personal intensity of knowing, understanding (" seeing" ) the Almighty for ourselves, on a very personal level? " I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee" (42:5) must be connected with 19:27, where Job reveals that his perception of the Kingdom is that then he would see God with his own eye. But by 42:5, he has come to the realization that what the depth of Divine understanding which he thought would only be possible in the Kingdom, was in fact possible here and now. This same progressive, awesome realization that so much is possible here and now is something which both individually and collectively we must go through.