An Exemplary Man Who Accepted Correction
“ZAMBIA Crocs Eat 30 People a Month.” So reported an African newspaper some years ago. According to a zoologist who caught these reptiles for study, “it took 12 men to hold down one croc.” With a powerful tail and mighty jaws, the crocodile can be a terrifying animal!
Apparently referring to the crocodile as “Leviathan,” the Creator used this “king over all majestic wild beasts” to teach his servant Job an important lesson. (Job 41:1, 34) This took place about 3,500 years ago in the land of Uz, likely somewhere in northern Arabia. While describing this creature, God told Job: “None is so audacious that he should stir it up. And who is it that can hold his ground before me?” (Job 41:10) How true! If we are afraid of the crocodile, how much more should we fear to speak against the One who created it! Job showed appreciation for this lesson by confessing his error.—Job 42:1-6.
When Job is mentioned, we may recall his faithful example in enduring trial. (James 5:11) Actually, Jehovah took pleasure in Job even before his faith was severely tested. In God’s estimation, at that time there was “no one like him in the earth, a man blameless and upright, fearing God and turning aside from bad.” (Job 1:8) This should move us to learn more about Job, as doing so will help us to see how we too can please God.
Relationship With God Came First
Job was a wealthy man. Besides gold, he had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 she-asses, 1,000 head of cattle, and a very large body of servants. (Job 1:3) But Job trusted in Jehovah, not in riches. He reasoned: “If I have put gold as my confidence, or to gold I have said, ‘You are my trust!’ If I used to rejoice because my property was much, and because my hand had found a lot of things . . . , that too would be an error for attention by the justices, for I should have denied the true God above.” (Job 31:24-28) Like Job, we should value a close relationship with Jehovah God far more than material things.
Just Dealings With Fellow Humans
How did Job deal with his servants? That they found him to be just and approachable is indicated by Job’s own words: “If I used to refuse the judgment of my slave man or of my slave girl in their case at law with me, then what can I do when God rises up? And when he calls for an accounting, what can I answer him?” (Job 31:13, 14) Job valued Jehovah’s mercy and thus dealt mercifully with his slaves. What a fine example, especially for those who have positions of oversight within the Christian congregation! They too must be fair, impartial, and approachable.
Job also showed interest in those outside his household. Revealing his concern for others, he said: “If I used to hold back the lowly ones from their delight, and the eyes of the widow I would cause to fail, . . . if I waved my hand to and fro against the fatherless boy, when I would see need of my assistance in the gate, let my own shoulder blade fall from its shoulder, and let my own arm be broken from its upper bone.” (Job 31:16-22) May we be as considerate of disadvantaged ones whom we know in the congregation.
Because of his unselfish interest in his fellowman, Job was hospitable to strangers. Thus, he could say: “Outside no alien resident would spend the night; my doors I kept open to the path.” (Job 31:32) What a fine example this is for God’s servants today! When those newly interested in Bible truth come to the Kingdom Hall, our receiving them hospitably may contribute to their spiritual progress. Of course, traveling overseers and other Christians need our loving hospitality too.—1 Peter 4:9; 3 John 5-8.
Job had the right attitude even toward his enemies. He did not rejoice over calamity that might befall someone who hated him. (Job 31:29, 30) Instead, he was willing to do good to such people, as seems evident from his readiness to pray for his three false comforters.—Job 16:2; 42:8, 9; compare Matthew 5:43-48.
Job was loyal to his marriage mate, never allowing his heart to develop an improper attachment to another woman. Said Job: “A covenant I have concluded with my eyes. So how could I show myself attentive to a virgin? If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I kept lying in wait at the very entranceway of my companion, let my wife do the grinding for another man, and over her let other men kneel down. For that would be loose conduct, and that would be an error for attention by the justices.”—Job 31:1, 9-11.
Job did not let immoral desires corrupt his heart. Rather, he pursued an upright course. No wonder Jehovah God took pleasure in this faithful man who fought against immoral enticements!—Matthew 5:27-30.
Concerned About Family Spirituality
At times, Job’s sons arranged banquets at which all his sons and daughters were present. After these banquet days had passed, Job was very concerned lest his children had sinned against Jehovah in some way. So Job took action, for the Scriptural account states: “It would occur that when the banquet days had gone round the circuit, Job would send and sanctify them; and he got up early in the morning and offered up burnt sacrifices according to the number of all of them; for, said Job, ‘maybe my sons have sinned and have cursed God in their heart.’” (Job 1:4, 5) How this must have impressed upon Job’s family members his concern that they have reverential fear of Jehovah and walk in His ways!
Endured Faithfully Under Test
Most Bible readers are familiar with the severe tests that came upon Job. Satan the Devil had asserted that under trying conditions Job would curse God. Jehovah accepted this challenge, and without delay Satan brought calamity upon Job. He lost all his livestock. Worse still, he suffered the loss of all his children in death. Shortly thereafter, Satan struck Job with a malignant boil from head to foot.—Job, chapters 1, 2.
What was the outcome? When his wife urged him to curse God, Job said: “As one of the senseless women speaks, you speak also. Shall we accept merely what is good from the true God and not accept also what is bad?” The Bible record adds: “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10) Yes, Job faithfully endured and thus proved the Devil to be a liar. May we similarly endure trials and prove that our service to God is motivated by pure love for Jehovah.—Matthew 22:36-38.
Humbly Accepted Correction
Though Job was exemplary in many ways, he was not a perfect man. He himself said: “Who can produce someone clean out of someone unclean? There is not one.” (Job 14:4; Romans 5:12) So when God said that Job was blameless, this was true in the sense that he lived up to all that God expected of one of his imperfect and sinful human servants. What a source of encouragement!
Job endured his trial, but it revealed a flaw. Upon hearing of all the calamity that had come upon him, three so-called comforters visited him. (Job 2:11-13) They charged that Jehovah was punishing Job for committing grave sins. Naturally, Job was hurt because of these false accusations, and he vigorously sought to make a defense. But he became unbalanced in trying to justify himself. Why, Job even implied that he was more righteous than God is!—Job 35:2, 3.
Because God loved Job, He used a young man to point out Job’s error. The account says: “The anger of Elihu . . . came to be hot. Against Job his anger blazed over his declaring his own soul righteous rather than God.” As Elihu observed: “Job has said, ‘I certainly am in the right, but God himself has turned aside the judgment of me.’” (Job 32:2; 34:5) Nevertheless, Elihu did not join the three “comforters” in wrongly concluding that God was punishing Job for his sins. Instead, Elihu expressed confidence in the faithfulness of Job, and he advised him: “The legal case is before [Jehovah], and so you should wait anxiously for him.” Indeed, Job should have waited on Jehovah instead of speaking rashly in his own defense. Elihu assured Job: “Justice and abundance of righteousness [God] will not belittle.”—Job 35:14; 37:23.
Job’s thinking needed to be corrected. Therefore, Jehovah gave him a lesson in man’s littleness compared with God’s greatness. Jehovah pointed to the earth, the sea, the starry heavens, the animals, and to many other marvels of creation. Finally, God spoke of Leviathan—the crocodile. Job humbly accepted correction, and in this he sets a further example.
Though we may be doing well in Jehovah’s service, we will make mistakes. If a mistake is serious, Jehovah may correct us by some means. (Proverbs 3:11, 12) A scripture that pricks our conscience may come to mind. Perhaps The Watchtower or some other publication of the Watch Tower Society may say something that makes us aware of an error. Or possibly a fellow Christian will kindly point out that we have failed to apply a Bible principle. How will we react to such correction? Job manifested a contrite spirit, saying: “I make a retraction, and I do repent in dust and ashes.”—Job 42:6.
Rewarded by Jehovah
Jehovah rewarded Job, allowing his servant to live on for another 140 years. During that time, he received far more than he had lost. And though Job finally died, he is sure to have a resurrection into God’s new world.—Job 42:12-17; Ezekiel 14:14; John 5:28, 29; 2 Peter 3:13.
We too can be sure of God’s favor and blessing if we serve him loyally and accept all the Bible-based correction that comes our way. As a result, we will have the sure hope of life in God’s new system of things. More important, we will honor God. Our faithful conduct will be rewarded and will add to the proof that his people serve him, not for selfish reasons, but out of wholehearted love. How privileged we are to make Jehovah’s heart rejoice, as did faithful Job, who humbly accepted correction!—Proverbs 27:11.
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Job showed loving concern for orphans, widows, and others
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Job was richly rewarded for humbly accepting correction