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3-3-8 Paul and Job

Paul in Philippians appears to have read Job in a very positive light (under inspiration), holding up his constant recognition that God would be glorified through his sufferings as an example to himself during a similar time of great physical trial. Whilst he wrote the letter he was so ill that he had a choice of being able to " depart, and to be with Christ" (Phil.1:23) or remain. One way of understanding this is to read it as meaning that Paul was so ill that he could give up his will to live if he chose, but struggled for their sake to keep alive. No wonder his mind went to the afflicted Job, under inspiration. The following are the connections Paul makes with Job which apparent to me- doubtless there are many more: 

1) Phil.1:19 is made a mess of in the A.V. Moffat does better with " The outcome of all this, I know, will be my release" . The Greek here is almost identical to Job 13:16 LXX: " Though he slay me...even that is to me an omen of salvation" . The context is of Job speaking of the good conscience he had maintained with God; similarly Paul's good conscience made him fearless of approaching death, as he also made clear when on trial for his life (Acts 23:1; 24:16).

2) " Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death" (Phil.1:20) seems to echo Job 13:13-15 (especially in RVmg.), where Job says he is willing to face every trial, but knows that death will be his lot; yet he is certain that God will still be glorified through this. All of this is very apposite to Paul's situation.

3) " To die is gain" (Phil.1:21) was Job's attitude too, particularly in Job 10:20-22, where whilst recognizing the unpleasantness of death he is speaking, in the context, as if he were willing to suffer it to maintain his integrity with God. Paul is reasoning along similar lines.

4) The previous three allusions to Job in Phil.1 make a fourth one not unlikely. " In nothing terrified by your adversaries" (Phil.1:28) employs a word classically used (although unique in the N.T.) to describe the startled shying of horses, perhaps suggesting Job 39:22, where the horse is said to mock at fear, " and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword" . This would be as if Paul is saying 'Don't be terrified horses but like that one spoken of in Job, which represented what, in the Lord's opinion, Job was potentially capable of'. 

By now it should be possible to read Job in a similar light to Adam- striving for acceptance with God, and yet clearly a sinner. Like so many of us, Job found it hard to accept the enormity of the guilt we each personally have in the sight of God due to our sinfulness. It needed severe mental and physical trials to make Job come to terms with his true relationship to God, and yet those trials in themselves made him a clear type of Christ. The Lord Jesus learnt the lesson from Job, to accept the  consequences of being a member of a fallen race regardless of one's personal spiritual status. By contrast Israel, whom Job also represented, trusted in their own righteousness and through their mental stubbornness to have their concept of God changed, suffered and still suffer the prolonged mental and physical torture of God's displeasure with them, as Job did in his suffering. May we in these last days avoid the fatal mixture of legalism, human philosophy and spiritual pride which Job and his friends gave way to, so that we may develop our comprehension of God's ways to the point where we too can say " I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear (cp. our theoretical grasp of 'first principles'): but now mine eye seeth Thee" (42:5).