Job’s life was one of integrity, sincerity and consistency. He reverenced God and worshiped Him. God blessed him with a large family, many possessions and the esteem of friends.
Suddenly, disaster came upon him. He lost his children, wealth, influence and his health. He sought an explanation as to why God should permit such calamities to come upon him. Still, he trusted in God, saying, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him!”—Job 13:15
Job’s character was being tested and refined. Likewise, every Christian will go through trials to test their character. In James 5:11, we read, “You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings.” (New American Standard) The Lord desires to develop patient endurance in His people.
If we have difficulties, persecutions or troubles of any kind, we should look to God. We should say: This thing could not happen to me unless the Lord permitted it. We have come under special Divine care. God has promised that all things shall work together for good to us who are His children. (Rom. 8:28) The lesson of trust is one of those difficult lessons for us to learn and apply. We must come to realize that all of life’s experiences are under Divine supervision. Nothing can happen to us but what ultimately is for our highest, eternal good.
The Lord’s people have such a peace and rest of mind through the knowledge of God’s Plan. The knowledge of His Justice, Mercy and Love, and a blessed realization that He is our God give us peace, quiet and rest of mind. While the people in the world today are more or less troubled, God’s children have a peace that the world cannot comprehend. (Phil. 4:7) It is a peace that the world can neither give nor take away. When our trials are over, the Lord will make up for all the troubles of the present life. Then, we shall look back on these trials and consider them but light afflictions, only for a moment. —2 Cor. 4:1
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Having been freed from Egyptian bondage and led to safety by God’s providence, the Israelites—descendants of God’s friend Abraham (James 2:23)—were given the opportunity to become God’s “treasured possession,” His “holy nation.” These blessings would be poured out if the nation fully obeyed God and kept His covenant. Israel responded, “All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.” (Ex. 24:3) Thus began Israel’s Law Covenant.
The Ten Commandments soon followed and formed the basis of the Jewish Law. (Ex. 20:1-17) The first four of the ten commandments defined man’s relationship to God. The fifth commandment described the relationship with one’s parents. The last five commandments described relationships with others. The final commandment makes the Law unique from all other laws in that it forbids selfishness toward others, a law that can only be enforced by God. These were combined with about six hundred other laws and regulations that governed everything from hygiene, to diet, and relationships. The Law was from God and it was holy (Rom. 7:12,14), a standard of perfection which if kept would grant life.—Lev. 18:5
Throughout Israel’s history, it was shown again and again that it was impossible to keep the Law in full. All fell short of the standard it established. Even those whom God loved fell far short of keeping the precepts of the Law in major ways, including murder, lust, envy, and hatred. In the New Testament Jesus stated that the Law hung on two main things, loving God supremely and loving others as oneself. (Matt. 22:35-40) He showed that in perfecting these two loves it was possible to satisfy the demands of the Law. Christ was the only human to ever keep the Law in every aspect and thus, he alone was worthy of life.
The Apostle Paul wrote the Law was “added because of transgressions, till the seed should come.” It was a “schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” It revealed that all humans, including the Jews, are under sin and cannot obtain life by the “works of the law.” (Gal. 3:19,24,10) It proved the words of Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It showed the nation of Israel then and us today how very important God’s forgiveness and mercy are to our standing as favored sons and daughters.
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When God sent Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, He told Moses: “When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.” (Ex. 7:4-5 New American Standard) These judgments were the ten plagues God brought upon Egypt to force Israel’s release.
The first three plagues affected both the Egyptians and the Israelites: (1) turning the water of the Nile river into blood (Ex. 7:17-22); (2) plague of frogs (Ex. 8:2-7); (3) plague of gnats (Ex. 8:16-19). Plagues four through nine affected only the Egyptians. “But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of flies will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land” (Ex. 8:22-23 NASB).The next five plagues were: (4) swarm of flies (Ex. 8:21-24); (5) pestilence on the livestock (Ex. 9:2-7); (6) boils (Ex. 9:8-12); (7) hail and fire (Ex. 9:18-26); (8) locusts (Ex. 10:3-11); (9) three days of darkness.—Ex. 10:21-24
After each of the first nine plagues was lifted, Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go. Therefore, “the LORD said to Moses, ‘One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here. … About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well.”—Exod. 11:1,4,5 (NASB).
To protect the first-born Israelites, God instructed each family to select a male lamb without blemish, kill it, sprinkle its blood on the lintels and sideposts of the doors and eat the rest of the lamb roasted by fire that same night. (Ex. 12:1-33) This ceremony, known by the Jews as the Passover, saved the Israelite first-born while the first-born Egyptians died. This plague forced Pharaoh and the Egyptians to let the Israelites go free lest “We be all dead men.”—Ex. 12:33 (NASB)