As we continue our study of “Soul Care” this week, and begin reading from Peter Scazzero’s masterful book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, I was reminded of the description of Job. Here is what Job 1:1 states according to various translations:
“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (NASB)
“There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” (NLT)
Most other translations do one or the other: they follow the NASB by using nearly identical words, or they summarize those four key traits regarding Job and essentially declare he was a “man of integrity.”
The problem is we need to know what those four traits describing Job really mean! So let’s begin, with the help of Christopher Ash and his great commentary on Job from the Preaching the Word series.
- When the word “blameless” is used of Job, it doesn’t mean he never sinned, but that he was “genuine” or “authentic” and “sincere.” I love how Ash describes this, quoting an ancient rabbinic tradition – “his ‘within’ was like his ‘without'” (p. 31).
- The word “upright” tells us more about his integrity, but the emphasis is directed on the way he treats other people. So to be upright is to treat others well, and to be honest with them.
- Then, Job was a man “fearing God” which stresses that he had a healthy reverence for God and ascribed the proper respect God is due.
- Lastly he “turned away from evil” or as the NIV states he “shunned evil.”Notice the order of the traits: if one is blameless and upright, fearing God, then such a person must logically turn away from evil. The New Testament will state this same principle another way: “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” (1 John 1:6 NIV). In other words, when one turns to God, they must simultaneously turn their back on evil.
What a description of a person who was healthy emotionally and his spiritual life was integrated into every aspect of who he was. May all of us have this as a goal.