Let us read Chapter 2, Verses 1-8, as found in the book of Job in the King James Version of the Book.
1. Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
2. And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
3. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou move me against him, to destroy him without cause.
4. And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
5. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
6. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
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.
8. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
The first three verses have already been considered. In the fourth verse the arguments of Satan, which have been proved false, are continued in a slightly different form. Satan had said that it was because of the hedge about Job, because the work of his hands had been blessed and his work had been prospered, that Job was responsive to the Lord, but now, when these arguments had been proved false, he continued in the same vein, and said: "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life." Here we pass from a consideration of the influence on a responsive human being exerted by external things, possessions, circumstances and then move on to losses to the influence of health, comfort and well being.
It is easy to understand why Satan chose boils from all the painful things in the world. And when Job had boils from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, his misery and suffering can well be imagined; for the eruptions were all over his body, so that he had to take a potsherd to scrape himself withal. Such a condition would be as painful as could be imagined. Here, again, there is emphasis laid on steadfastness and response to the LORD regardless of physical discomfort, illness or suffering. And we recognize that steadfastness—that unwavering response wherein the individual is not moved by things in the environment, nor personal suffering—is most vital. The whole scope of individual problems faced by man is covered in principle here. Nothing is left out. The principles underlying this portrayal apply to everyone in all phases of human life and relationships. The Way, the Truth and the Life is revealed to all who are willing to see and respond, to repent and be directed, that they may find that joy unspeakable and full of glory which comes to those who stand steadfastly upon the Rock, and emerge victoriously in the Dawn of the New Day of Spiritual Life, individually and collectively for the whole world.
However there is an even deeper significance. There is the direct portrayal of obvious lessons, some of which we have already considered, and there is also the symbolism involved, of which there are many phases. For instance, we have a symbolic portrayal of the experience of incarnation, in a manner which gives some idea of the difference between the heavenly, or natural, state of the God Being, and the fallen state of man as he now is. In this portrayal we recognize that the putrid nature of sin and suffering into which man by reason of his self-willed arrogance has plunged himself, without necessity and without cause, is so vividly pictured by the boils from which Job suffered. Coming from the Divine Realms into the state of fallen man—who functions without enlightenment—is pictured by the process of transition from the state of health to that of being covered with boils. Now this idea does not indicate that the God Being suffers through incarnation as Job did, but rather, a portrayal of the difference between what is lovely, pure and glorious, and that which is born of the self-centered expression of man in the fallen state.
Another phase of the symbolism here portrayed deals with the outer expression of man in the sense that, regardless of adverse circumstances or the intensity of suffering experienced, it is possible, if he is steadfast enough, to retain conscious attunement with the Divine. In this phase it is shown that, regardless of outer circumstance, Satan is powerless to touch the Life that permits man to function in the outer world. The LORD said: “Behold, he is in thy hand; but save his life.”
Satan, the self-activity of mind and body, may remove life from the form, but it cannot touch the Life itself. It can touch the expression of life as it appears through mind and body, but Life is Eternal, and Satan cannot destroy it. To the degree that man abides in the realization that the Life that pulses through him and permits him to live, and move, and have his Being is Eternal, and cannot be touched, nor destroyed, nor harmed by outer world circumstances, but that only the expression can be hindered and disturbed by such things, all cause of fear is banished and he lives, day by day, in an abiding sense of Eternal Life. He comes, gradually perhaps, but surely, to an awareness of where he was when the foundations of the earth were laid. He comes to know with certainty that before the world was, he was, in the Divine Inner sense, and he comes to recognize that after these passing forms are gone and all ill circumstances are banished, his Life, that which he really is, will still Be. From the Inner standpoint he is an Eternal Being, and while for a time he may move within the limited confines of the present human form, and the ill things of this outer world, he will not be so limited forever. And when all the limitations are broken asunder he will continue on free and Eternal.
He who knows these things with a certainty, and lives each day in a consciousness of the fact of Life Eternal, finds it easy to remain unmoved, and to abide in serenity, regardless of the outworking of conditions in the world. We recognize that the ideal is transmutation into the Divine Estate without death, but we also recognize that the process of transmutation is constantly taking place, and if for some reason or other, the physical should end, that is not the end of that which we really are. Why should an individual who is Eternal, who has enjoyed Eternity of the past, who lives in the Eternity of the present, and who can look forward with confidence and assurance to the Eternity of the future, be greatly disturbed because of what takes place in this outer world? This life is given to us to enjoy in the outer sense, but that portion of the outer which refuses to respond and to enter into the Joy of the Lord now, cannot prevent that which we really are from continuing on, for Satan cannot touch nor destroy the Life that is in us.
There is further symbolism in these Eight Verses. “And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.” In the potsherd we have a symbol of the outer things with which man seeks to improve his ill condition. He may remove a certain amount of putrid matter that has come to the surface, so that it can be seen, but such activities have little effect on the true causes of the ill conditions from which man suffers. The futility of depending solely upon external things is emphasized, but at the same time it is made clear that there is nothing wrong with utilizing such external things as may be available for improving conditions that exist. The importance of avoiding extremes is made clear.
“And he sat down among the ashes.” Throughout the Old Testament, sitting down in the ashes is used to symbolize a state of humility, sorrow, or extreme depression. This phase is included here. However, there is a deeper meaning. Mention has already been made of the symbolism of the process of incarnation, and here it is indicated that this physical world in which we dwell is actually the ash of the Creative fires, and it is this ash of the physical world which is being transmuted and lifted up through the process of life that finds form in this world—whether vegetable, animal or in the human expression. We are actually, no matter how high may be our estate in this world, sitting down among the ashes. These ashes can become beautiful, have meaning and be channels for the expression of the Divine, only to the degree that man, as the key point of all nature in this world, permits himself to be the connecting link between heaven and earth, instead of the missing link. As we in our daily environment find it necessary to sit down among the ashes, and to deal or work with things that are properly below us, let us remember that everything in this world is designed to further the transmutation of the ashes of creation. And also let us remember that Job did not hesitate to sit down among the ashes, and that when he did he remained steadfast and true in his love response to the Lord.
In Chapter 2, Verses 9-10, we find the following lesson, which is one of the most valuable Keys to living ever set down in Holy writ.
9. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.
10. But he said unto her, 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? In all this, did not Job sin with his lips.
Job again portrays the individual in the outer world, and shows the way. He symbolizes the Spiritual-mental phase of being, while his wife symbolizes the physical-mental phase of being, between which two phases in many individuals there is a certain conflict. As long as this conflict between the two phases of an individual continues he is as a house divided against itself, which cannot stand. When the outer physical is inclined to give up, saying, “What is the use?” it is wise to listen to the Spiritual-mental phase, which, if properly attuned to the Lord in steadfast love response, will be the channel of correct direction in whatever function is required.
To examine further, his wife, the one who was supposed to be closest, who should be first to give comfort, encouragement, assistance in his hour of trial, says: “Dost thou still retain thine integrity?” Integrity relates to honesty. The person who is truly honest, whose life is dedicated to true function, as in the case of Job, is steadfast and true regardless of what takes place in the outer world because of the capering of Satan, the outer mind. In order to waver from the Way, the individual must let go of his integrity; he must be dishonest with himself, with his neighbor, and with God. In this there is a reminder of the words of Jesus. He said that we should be led into all Truth, and that the Truth would set us free. Job acted out of the Truth. It is only as we preserve our integrity, being true to God, man and ourselves, that we can hope to carry through successfully and prove the wonder-working power of God in the meeting of such ill conditions and circumstances as may appear in our lives, as individuals and collectively. Consider what a tremendous Truth—and all the implications of it—is contained in this question, and in your time of trial, ask yourself this same question: “Do I still retain my integrity, in the face of this?” When you can honestly answer that question in the affirmative, all is well, and the God of our Fathers shall surely be with you in the Way.
It was not in asking the question that Job's wife proved her failure; it was what she said afterwards. We can all from time to time in difficult situations properly ask ourselves if we are retaining our integrity, but she said nothing to give him confidence, nothing that recognized his courage and steadfastness. She said, “Curse God, and die”. In these four words is expressed in vivid form a portrayal of the way and cause of death. The concept of cursing God should not be limited to blasphemy in words, although that is certainly included. We should remember that every time a human being, by word or deed, denies the Lord, or acts contrary to the Will of God in any respect whatsoever, he is to that degree cursing God. He who rebels against the Lord, though he never blasphemes His Name, is cursing God. He who refuses to receive what the Lord offers in salvation, peace and Perfection of Being is thereby cursing God. He who curses God dies, just as surely as God said in the beginning, “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” Let us not curse God and die but, rather, let us respond in love to Him and live. The Way of Life is implied in our quotation. If cursing God brings death, then perfect response to God, whereby God is glorified in our lives, brings Life. This is a simple fact, an obvious Truth, which no one who gives consideration to the matter can honestly deny. The Way lies in steadfastness in response to the Lord, regardless of happenings in our environment, loss, apparent disaster, failure of loved ones or friends to stand with us upon the Rock.
Note that Job did not berate his wife. He did not even call her a foolish woman, but he faced the facts, saying, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.” He who curses God by act or word or thought, acts foolishly. He who remains steadfast in all patience, unwavering, regardless of the slowness of the outworking of conditions, acts wisely. At times the human mind suggests that if these things were true, an hour, a day, a week or a month should suffice to bring marked changes and great results. It is not for the human mind to say when the changes and improvements are to appear, for “no man knoweth the hour”. It is for the human mind to be content to abide in love response to the Lord that the Lord may bring forth the results in His own season, according to His own Way and Will. Let us be wise. Let us respond in Love to the Lord, and Live.
Job says, “What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Job does not say that we receive evil from the Hand of the Lord. He recognized that what is of Reality comes from the Hand of the Lord, but he also recognized that we live in the state of the fallen world, and that just because we seek in all ways to know and do the Will of the Lord, there is no assurance that we shall not find it necessary to share in the evil world, insofar as suffering, and limitations are concerned. Some seem to feel that if we are to receive good from the Hand of the Lord we could not possibly experience any discomfort, inconvenience, or difficulty because of the evil that is in the world. What foolishness!
While we live in the world as it now is, we must recognize that we are a part of the world body and that, although we receive good from the Hand of the Lord, we must, as part of the world body, be willing to experience inconvenience and difficulty by reason of the evil that is in the world. Because of Job's recognition of these things we find the statement, “In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Here is the correct attitude. Here is the sure and definite instruction for those who would walk in the Way and the Truth and the Life. Retain integrity, respond in Love to the Lord, and Live. The role of the Lord Within is revealed, and also that of the outer individual who allows the Lord to express through him.
Now consider Chapter 2, Verses 11-13.
11. Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
12. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
13. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
Job had three friends. Again we are reminded of the symbolism of the three. They represent the human trinity—spiritual, mental and physical, with Job representing the expression of the Divine in the earth. The following interpretation of the names of the friends may be found in any good Bible dictionary.
The first friend was Eliphaz, which name means “to whom God is strength”. He was the Temanite, one of the children of Teman, meaning “on the right hand”. These two characteristics, “to whom God is strength” and “on the one right hand”, suggests the Spiritual only to the degree that we are those “to whom God is strength”. And when we function from the standpoint of the Spirit of the Truth of Love we have the correct attunement “on the right hand”. And with the right hand representing the Positive, this is function that is in harmony with the Positive expression of the Divine into the earth. Thus, the first friend mentioned may be regarded as the most important, and it is evident that attunement to the Spiritual Expression Plane is of first importance, for if that is established the rest follows. For the other two phases, mental and physical, are properly Negative to the first.
The next friend is Bildad, the Shuhite. The name Bildad, means “son of contention”, which is an apt characterization of the self-active human mind. The human mind is forever contending with the Lord, or trying to—and with other human minds. The mind attempts to be Positive to the Spiritual expression, instead of responding and being Negative. Shuha means “wealth”. The mind spends a great deal of its effort on striving to achieve power in the world through contention and through wealth.
We may expect the name of the next friend to express something characteristic of the physical plane and of those whose control lies chiefly in the physical nature. We find that Zophar means “the chatterer” and that a Naamathite is “one who seeks pleasure”. Our expectation is fulfilled, for one of the outstanding characteristics of those who have little Spiritual attunement, and little mental capacity, is their tendency to spend their time in meaningless chatter and gossip about trivialities, and their constant pursuit of pleasure, eating, drinking, gratification of the senses.
When all the evil had fallen upon Job, his three friends came “every one from his own place”. The three, as we have said, suggests the trinity of human expression, each one having a specific place in that harmonization. “They came every one from his own place.” Each one had a place peculiar to himself within the Divine Pattern. “For they had made an appointment together, to come together to mourn with him and to comfort him.” This plainly says that it was the focalization of the individual's outer trinity that is being considered. The three phases had made an appointment to come together “to mourn with him”—that is, to express the difficulties and tribulations, the trials and tests of this outer world, and “to comfort him”. What would bring satisfaction and comfort to the LORD would be an accomplishment through the human trinity of the Divine Will—meaning the working out of ascension, transmutation and release of Spiritual Truth and understanding into the world.
“And when they lifted up their eyes afar off and knew him not”—the appearance had completely changed. The appearance from the outer standpoint is altogether different from the appearance from the Inner. The recognition of the outer—for the Divine is afar off—is as through a glass darkly. The outer human expression of the trinity, when it thinks of the LORD, tends to picture Him as being afar off. The human vision is so limited that there is no direct recognition of the true nature of the Divine. “They lifted up their voice, and wept”. The first thing that a baby does when it comes into the world is to raise up its voice and weep.
“And they rent every one his mantle.” The mantle represents the clothing, the surrounding expression, or what is typical of each of the phases. The action of rending indicates that each phases of the outer trinity was letting go of what separated it not only from the other two phases, but alas, from the Lord—the wall that is between the human and the Divine. It is obvious that as long as there exists a wall between the human being and the Divine, the human being cannot act from the standpoint of the Divine. In that state he is under the necessity of acting from the standpoint of the chatterer.
The LORD’s word in contrast is clear and direct. In fact, there is even a little Divine sarcasm apparent in the word of the LORD when He does speak to Job: “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said; Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.” (Job 38: 1-3) Too often we find that in this outer world, counsel, or understanding, is darkened by words without knowledge. Simply multiplying words accomplishes nothing. Whatever words are expressed should be words that convey meanings that help the individual, and not words that darken counsel.
We see the necessity of removing what separates. The body and mind are so completely blended that it is impossible to draw a line between them. To the degree that there is Spiritual expression, it permeates the individual’s whole expression. There is not any division between body, mind and Spiritual expression. Too many try to separate what they think to be their Spiritual expression from their daily activities—their bodies and minds in everyday expression—but if Spiritual Expression is to have any meaning for us it has to permeate the body and mind and be the motivating factor in everything.
How is the mantle to be rent? Jesus gave definite instruction on this point. The first step is to love God with the whole body. We are to love the Lord with all our feelings, with our entire mind, and with our whole Spiritual expression. That is the first Commandment. The Second is to love thy neighbor as thyself. If our love for our neighbor is to be of any value, that love must come from the Lord. If it is merely the expression of outer human love, it cannot be of lasting value. Jesus said that we are to love the Lord with our whole being, physical, mental and Spiritual. The Love of the Lord is pouring forth to us without limit at all times, but this does not change us, or help us in our difficulties, until we become attuned to God's Love. God says that it is a fundamental Law that man can receive Love only to the degree that he gives love. You can love another human being, but your love is not received until he or she loves in return. How are we to become attuned with that Love, letting it take hold of us, that joy and fullness of life may result here and now? The fulfillment of the First Commandment provides that attunement with the Divine Current. To the degree that we love God, we have established a contact point with that which comes from God, a channel through which we can receive the Love of God unto ourselves. The more we love God the more love we receive, and the more power can flow through us.
The wall or veil between the human and Divine is swept away through love response to God, in body, mind and Spiritual expression. It is a simple Law, clearly expressed in the Bible, and proven to work time and time again. It will work for everyone, but no one can receive the blessings of God until he opens himself to the Love of God by obeying the First Commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” The love must come in the feelings, or emotional sphere, too. That is why Jesus mentioned the heart.
“And they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.” Here is the expression of humility, of willingness to respond to the Lord, and let what is Divine come forth. “So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” Seven refers significantly to the Seven Days or periods of time involved in the creation. The world was brought forth of a Seven Vibration. In Revelation we read of the seven golden candlesticks, and in many other places the importance of the seven is underlined. Every individual on the earth is brought forth upon what is called a Seven Plane Vibration, or number of manifestation.
Reference has been made to the human trinity, and the Divine Trinity that should properly find expression through the human trinity. There must be something to bind the two trinities together, and that is the Seventh. When the Christ expression, which has been called the Seventh Plane Vibration, blends the outer human trinity with the Divine Inner Trinity, we have seen that it is one thing.Then there is no longer separation. The goal appears before us—bringing that which is of Heaven down into earth. This is the Whole Plan ofHeaven, the means whereby the Divine can come down into the earth so that Heaven and earth canbe one. We find in the record that they sat down with him upon the ground for seven days and seven nights. The day represents the Positive, and the night the Negative. The three friends undertook attunement with Job without much talking, in fact without saying a word, seven days and seven nights, on a Seven Plane Vibration, in harmony with the Law of the Positive and Negative, which produces a completely unified state that accomplishes something that is necessary to complete harmonization.
In Chapter 3, the picture changes as Job's three friends have come to him and have blended with him, according to appointment. At this point Job is symbolizing the outer form of man. It must be realized that the symbolical portrayal has a different setting. A human being who feels himself shut off from the Lord, and troubles and disturbances come upon him, is inclined to think that death and oblivion would be preferable to existence in such a state. Job makes such statements as are typical of the feelings of the human being who comes to the point of letting himself besubjected to what he conceives to be great difficulties, sorrows and tribulations. It portrays what actually is the state of those who function from an outer standpoint. There is a very important point contained in the 25th verse. “For the thing that I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.”
We know that, “Perfect Love casteth out all fear”. We also know that the state of fear is one of faith in something that we do not want, or do not like. The person who is afraid, or is subject to fear, draws to himself the very thing that he does not want. In this, death from the outer standpoint is pictured as oblivion. Insofar as that which does not respond to the Lord is not transmuted and does not ascend, that is true. If there is that form which refuses to respond to the Lord, and is in great distress, the only way of release is through death. But we find that death is not the only way of release. Death is the only way of release known to the outer aspect of being in its self-active state. And this is in striking contrast to the way of release through Response to the Lord.
In the 5th Chapter, Verse 7, we read, “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” As man is born unto trouble in the outer world, he is moving upward as the sparks fly upward. He is supposed to be working on an ascending vibration—supposed to let transmutation take place so that ascension may be possible. The mere fact that we are born into a world of trouble should not disturb us, if we recognize that it is a starting point for this process of transmutation and ascension, as the sparks fly upward.