Today we continue our study of the book of Job. Yesterday, we looked at chapter one and the nature of Character. Today, we continue looking at character but through the lens of Integrity. Below you will find Chapter 2 of the book of Job:
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
-Job 2 ESV
Once again, we see Satan coming to God in an attempt to show that there is no one on earth who is righteous. Having failed to get Job to curse God, to sin against God, by taking his property, children, and servants, Satan seeks permission to harm Job physically. God gives him permission, but that Satan must spare Job’s life. So Satan inflicts Job with sores from head to toe. To soothe the discomfort caused by these sores, Job takes a piece of pottery, likely clay, to scratch his skin. During all of this, Job’s wife turns on him and God saying “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” Hearing this, Job recognizes the foolishness of her words. “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”
In the midst of his affliction, Job identified the lies being cast from the lips of his wife and replies back with truth. Job knew and understood that all good things come from the Lord, and that the Lord does not give out evil. Here Job continues to hold fast to the truth, that he refuses to let the trials and temptation separate him from the truth found in God. Y’all, Job remained the same before the trial, through loss, and now through pain and suffering. Job was a man of integrity, something that is far too often lost on us today. We’re like the leaves that blow down the street, blown about in every which way, without structure or fortitude. When life gets difficult we run for whatever brings comfort.
However, to be people of character, we must have integrity. Integrity means that we are the same when times are good, when times are bad. When we’re comfortable, when we’re in need. When we have plenty, and when we have nothing. We are not phased by the circumstances of life. To be someone of integrity, we must have consistency. We conduct ourselves the same no matter who’s watching. If I act one way at church, a different way away from believers, a different way at home, and differently at work, then I’m deceiving others. If I have a different mask for whatever situation I’m in, then I lack integrity. Why? Because I’m not who I claim to be. I’m whatever suits my needs, wants. Being a follower of Christ requires that I hold to my convictions and that I am the same no matter the situation. We all know someone who is a person of integrity, they’re reputation proceeds before them, and they can be held up to the reputation that they have.
We, also, all know someone who’s lacking in integrity. They weasel their way through life, saying whatever it takes to get them out of the situation they find themselves. They’re like Job’s wife, spewing lies and encouraging others to turn from what they know is true. They take whatever form it necessary to get their will done. They lack consistency in character. The difference between one of integrity and one without is nearly polar opposites and the disparity between them can easily be seen and assessed. The person lacking integrity also lacks responsibility, and we see something encouraging in the friends of Job. Hearing of his time of suffering, they come to him and they share in his suffering.
Upon seeing Job, his friends shred their robes and sit with him for a week. They knew that his suffering was great, and, at this time, they did not know why or for what purpose. Still, they came along side Job and joined his suffering. Being a person of integrity means that we share in life with others. We welcome correction, we welcome responsibility for our actions. That means that we allow others to hold us accountable. At the time of this section of Job, his friends had no cause to correct Job, for they did not know the cause or reason for his suffering, but instead came to have sympathy and share in Job’s burden.
Why is integrity such a difficult thing for us to master? Why are we lacking in consistency? We are able to make a habit of getting coffee on the way to work every morning. We are able to make a habit of hitting the snooze button five times every morning. We are able to make a habit of going to church. Yet we are unable to make a habit of having a daily quiet time. We are unable to make a habit of encouraging others. We are unable to make a habit of sharing the Gospel with others. We lack consistency. I, myself, too, lack consistency. I am no immune from faltering and failing. I far too often are like the leaves that blow down the street on a windy day. Why? Because I’ve not set roots deep. I’ve not taken refuge from the winds and waves of life.
However, y’all, there is hope! God is consistent through everything. He is unchanging. He is forever the foundation on which my life is set! He is a strong tower that is unaffected by this life. Jesus, much in the same way as Job, had lies spoken to him and in turn replied with truth back to Satan. Jesus lived a life of consistency, of integrity. Christ is the example of what it means to be a person of character. To have a reputation of goodness. To have integrity. Christ set the example of what we are to strive for! And y’all, we can do it! We can fight to be like Jesus! In the times of good, in the times of bad, we can consistently cling to the truth lest we forget and fall into the lies. Y’all, let us worship God through it all. Through everything, let our hearts and our voices rejoice in the goodness that comes from God and God alone! Let us remember that no evil comes from God! Let us walk in integrity!
Grace and Peace,