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Chinese3/31/2006English
經文:約伯記廿九至卅章
鑰節:「我以公義為衣服……」(29:14)
提要

        約伯明銳地述說兩幅相反的圖畫:他從前在廿九章所有的名聲、財富、幸福與健康;和他今日,在卅章的卑微、貧窮、痛苦與受罪。他以渴望的語調,追述他過去的情況,正如約伯記開始的情形。他一度在身的四周有上帝的保護和遮蔽,而且所做的一切事,都有祂的祝福;既有豐富財產,又有許多土地(1:10)。除了這些物質的祝福和人們的恩惠以外,約伯還希望與上帝一度曾有的朋友關係;那時上帝以恩慈眷顧他,並與他同在(29:2~5)。

        約伯曾是一位社區領袖和審判官,為被壓迫者伸張正義,並坐在城門的高位上(29:7,一個決定內部事務的公會所)。他大大地被每一個人尊敬,甚至王子在內,因為他對他們,就像國王一樣。他是那麼偉大,以致於當他在許多貴人中就位時,青年躲避,老者起立。不僅因他擁有大量的財富,崇高的地位,和聰明的智囊;而且主要是為了他的正直,贏得了人們的尊敬。

        約伯說了一些他為窮人、孤兒和寡婦造福及主持正義的方式(29:12~13)。他幫助瘸子和瞎子,又幫助受難者脫離惡人的爪牙(29:17)。約伯的話語強烈否認以利法說他壓迫別人的罪狀(22:5~9)。反之,約伯表示自己是一位解救者(29:12)。約伯深受以利法控告的傷害,不能再緘默了。他知道一些他對被壓迫者所做的好事,現在需要別人為他做時,卻得不著;而他向別人所示的公正,卻被人否認甚至上帝也否認時,便深感受傷(30:24~26)!

        約伯在說明自己如何善待他人之後,又提到他仁心公正的理由:「我以公義為衣服,以公平為外袍和冠冕」(29:14)。雖然他生活在耶穌道成肉身數百年前,卻很像耶穌,因為他愛上帝且願意做討祂喜悅的事。我們也應該穿上基督的義,這樣才能立定,對抗撒但的計謀(弗6:11,14;羅13:14)。如果約伯沒有以義為衣(義由上帝而來,賽61:10),他絕不能承受撒但要他咒詛上帝的試探。

        當約伯停止了追憶,他再度唱起了自己的哀歌,顯示他在受難前後的生活,是多麼強烈的對比。他的幸福,原本由琴和笛的可愛聲音代表,已經轉為悲哀和哭泣(30:31)。子孫滿堂、壽終正寢的美夢(「我的根伸展開來」,29:18~19原文),已經粉碎而消失。他原有一個家庭和許多朋友,現在陷於孤單痛苦之中。他原是公候領袖,如今卻被所有的人責罵,甚至最低下的人也以他為笑柄,而唾他的臉(30:9)。那些卑賤的人,在城外有他們的社區;他們是卑鄙可惡的雜碎;但是就算在他們中間,約伯也是一個被棄者。他那可怕的使他改變形像的皮膚病,可能顯得比痲瘋病更壞,所以每一個人看到他都感到厭惡(30:18;參2:12)。

        約伯由對以利法、比勒達和瑣法的講話,轉為對主祈禱的哀歌。對約伯來說,上帝輕視他比人們的輕視還要令他傷心。他那樣強烈地相信,至尊的上帝管理每一件事,甚至他的生命也在內。因為他是上帝的孩子。因此,他責備上帝不該棄他於污辱、受苦之中,且毀了他的成功(30:19~22)。是的,上帝實在是至高的統治者,但是約伯卻不知道上帝容許這些事發生的旨意。不過,撒但才是約伯苦難的真正原因,並非上帝。上帝是要來從侮辱中高舉約伯,並把他放在磐石上(詩40:2)的一位。後來約伯有了更多的領悟,便為自己放肆的話語悔罪(42:3~6)。

禱告

        主,我們渴望像約伯一樣,離開他的苦難和失喪。您曾應允我們榮上加榮的改變,直到我們模成您兒子我主耶穌的形象。假如受苦和失喪要來,您給的大恩使我們勝過。奉耶穌基督的名禱告,阿們。

English

Scriptures:Read Job 29&30
Key Verse:"I put on righteousness, and it clothed me..."(Job 29:14)
Overview

        Job eloquently describes two contrasting pictures: his former prestige, wealth, happiness, and health in chapter twenty-nine, and his present humiliation, poverty, and miserable suffering in chapter thirty. He begins by wistfully recounting his past situation as it was at the beginning of the book of Job. He once had God's protective hedge around him and was greatly blessed by God in all he did, as well as with many possessions and much land (1:10). More than these material blessings and favour with man, Job longed for the restoration of the friendly relationship he once had with God, when God looked upon him with favour and was with him (29:2-5).

        Job had been a community leader and a judge who brought justice to the oppressed and sat in a prominent place at the town gate (29:7, a forum where civil matters were decided). He was greatly respected by everyone, including the princes, for he was like a king over them. He was so great that young men hid and older men stood when he came to take his place among other dignitaries. It was not only his great wealth, high position, and wise counsel that brought him respect, but it was mainly his righteousness.

        Job tells of the way he was benevolent and just to the poor, orphans, and widows (29:12-13). He helped the lame and the blind, and he helped to release victims from the jaws of the wicked (29:17). Job's words are a clear denial of Eliphaz's charges that he was an oppressor (22:5-9). Rather, Job showed he was a deliverer (29:12). Job had been deeply hurt by Eliphaz's accusations, and he could no longer be silent. He was also hurt to realize that the things he had done for the oppressed were not being done for him during his time of need; and the justice he had shown others was being denied him — even denied by God! (30:24-26).

        In the midst of describing his benevolence, Job gives the reason for his kind heart and justice : "I put on righteousness, and it clothed me" (29:14). Even though he lived centuries before the incarnation of Jesus, Job was Christ-like, because he loved God and desired to do that which pleased Him. We too must put on the righteousness of Christ, that we may be able to stand against the schemes of Satan (Ephesians 6:11; 14; Romans 13:14). If Job had not been clothed with righteousness (righteousness that came from God, Isaiah 61:10 ), he never would have been able to withstand the temptation of Satan to curse God.

        When Job stopped reminiscing, he again took up his lament, showing the sharp contrast between his life before and after his calamities. His happiness, represented by the lovely sounds of the harp and flute, had become sounds of mourning and weeping (30:31). His hope of dying peacefully at a ripe old age and having many descendants ("my root is spread out," 29:18-19) was shattered and gone. He who once had a family and many friends was now alone and in misery. He who was once the chief of princes was now scorned by all, even the lowest class of men had made him a byword and would spit in his face (30:9). These lowest-class people had a community of their own outside of the town; they were wretched and wicked outcasts, and yet even among them Job was an outcast. His horrible disfiguring skin disease probably appeared worse than even leprosy, so everyone would have loathed to look at him (30:18; cf. 2:12).

        Job turned from addressing Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, and took his lament to the Lord in prayer. It was much more distressing for Job to be disdained by God than by man. Job believed so strongly in the sovereignty of God over everything, including his life, since he was a child of God. Therefore, he blamed God for casting him into the mire, being cruel, opposing him, and spoiling his success (30:19-22). Yes, God was indeed sovereign, but Job did not understand the permissive will of God in allowing this to happen. However, it was Satan who was the direct cause of Job's misery, not God. God was the One who came, lifted Job up out of the mire, and placed him on solid ground (Psalm 40:2). When Job later had more understanding, he repented of his presumptuous words (42:3-6).

Prayer

        Lord, we desire to be like Job was, apart from his suffering and loss. You have promised to change us from glory to glory, until we are conformed to the image of Your Son, our Lord Jesus. If suffering and loss should come, give us Your great grace to overcome.


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