Prosperity, Eternity (13): Old Testament Saints had Bosoms
By Eferovo Igho
Of Abraham’s bosom that reaches out to multitude while he was on earth and of his bosom in the great beyond we have discussed in “Abraham’s Two Bosoms”. Abraham had many old testaments saints ‘hewn from him’ who looked unto him in many ways including this art of godly giving, giving that reaches the heart of God and connects the giver with his God. Men with bosoms, that is! We shall talk of Lot, Joseph, Moses, and Job; (and of David we have discussed already in “Between Holiness and ‘Prosperity’ Preaching”, which please endeavor to see). Of course, this is a representative list.
Righteous Lot had Bosom
Lot’s herdsmen may have had problem with his uncle’s herdsmen; and Lot may have been led by the flesh to lift up his eyes, to behold the well-watered plain of Jordan and to desire it, but the ways of Abraham were to lead his ways thereafter. Of his holiness and righteousness Peter speaks of glowingly. Of his being vexed with the unrighteous ways of the people (2 Peter 2:6-9) and of his often taking time out from that rubbish (as implied by Genesis 19: 1) are there for our learning and admonition.
In Genesis 19:1-3 we read: “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.”
And this is how the Holy Spirit through Peter sees or interprets that scene and or summarized the lifestyle of Lot in 2 Peter 2:6-9: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.”
So, of Lot’s ‘righteousness’ we will now briefly speak before we look at his ‘giving’: Lot was vexed with the filthy conversation of the people (i.e. their filthy way of life, including of course their speech and immorality): ‘For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds’. That righteous man! Vexed his righteous soul! And that, from day to day! How do you explain that?
Now, ‘situate’ Lot in our age. Put him in our so-called churches. The result will be this: ‘For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds’. May God help us all in our age!
That is not all. The Holy Spirit tells us again of Lot’s righteousness when He says: ‘The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished’. Never should you miss the context. This Scripture flows directly from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot. In all the unrighteousness of Sodom and Gomorrah with all the many temptations they present to Lot, the Lord implies here that He has been delivering Lot from them all. Why? Because he was godly! The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations. It was this godliness of Lot that delivered him from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; even as He reserved ‘the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished’.
Abraham knew of the righteousness of Lot. So, the intercession of Abraham to God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah was not for Lot not to be destroyed. Abraham knew Lot will never be destroyed. He (Abraham) was interceding for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He knew that Lot and his family members were safely within the last intercessory figure of ten people he got to with God. Remember too that Lot’s two daughters have not known man: In Sodom and Gomorrah! What a righteous man; what righteous daughters; what righteous upbringing! In Sodom and Gomorrah! And even before the Law! May God help you and me who are under grace; may He help us not to frustrate His grace by our flesh!
Yes, Abraham knew God will not destroy Lot. In righteousness Lot was a chip off the old block. In righteousness, he looked unto Abraham from whom he was hewn.
And in giving too! Lot had bosom. He, like Abraham, has a tradition of inviting, receiving, entertaining strangers (even strangers) and entertaining angels of God in the process! The word ‘inviting’ is very instructive. More than that it was done with pleading, earnest pleading. ‘And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.’ All such men as Lot is here must one day entertain angels. With the way many of us are going, even in the Church, can we ever entertain angels? Have we entertained an angel? Thank God, some still do in our time.
We cannot entertain angels if we are living in sealed houses. We cannot if only those we harbor in our homes are our ‘loved ones’ and our close friends. Learn to harbor missionaries, the persecuted believers, the physically-challenged, orphans and the others who are in need INDEED, and it will not be long before you entertain angels with or without knowing it. But you will know or feel it anyway: right there or very soon after. What a warm glow of satisfaction entertaining the brethren if you’ve been sincerely and lovingly involved in this before; then extrapolate that to what it could be like entertaining angels. The tradition of the former (that is, entertaining saints etc as a way of life) with its experiences may sometimes lead to the later (entertaining angels) with its overwhelming experiences. It is the privilege of givers. Once experienced, you wouldn’t want to miss their company in all of eternity. Nay, once experienced your dream will always be to abide forever with the giver and sustainer of that glow: Even The Ancient of Days! Holy giving as a lifestyle connects the saints with God’s heavenly hosts even while he is still here and with God’s own Heaven eventually. Lot learnt hugely from Abraham. Why can’t we?
Godly Joseph had Bosom
In Genesis 37:1-5 we read: “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.”
Joseph here represents a child in the bosom of his father. He was a child so loved by his father, and we are here told some of the reasons why he was so loved. But we still know too that love is reciprocal. Joseph also had bosom for his father. He loved the father and was always a faithful errand boy. Joseph also ‘had’ righteousness too!
As with bosom, Joseph had righteousness from his tender age. And it grew with its exercise until Joseph became one of the finest models of holiness in history (among men). Finis Jennings Dake says this of Joseph: “His character stands out as one of the purest in history. He allowed no temptation to affect his high morality, no calamity to shake his implicit faith in God, no adversity to depress him, and no power or position to make him proud and haughty. With that example, we may return to the youthful Joseph and his bosom:
Verses 14-17 of the same chapter tell us this: “And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.”
Here Joseph did not meet his brethren where he was supposed to have met them. He didn’t take the easy way out by dashing back home to rest. No: He ‘wandered’ here and there if he peradventure could see his brethren. What a lesson! His heart yearned after his brethren. He ‘wandered’! He ‘wandered’ not in the sense of being aimless or just roaming about, but he wandered with only one consuming thought, only one goal in life those hours: To find his brethren. A huge bosom, if you ask me. Then somebody showed up and knew the obvious. ‘What seekest thou’, he asked. ‘Seek’: That is a strong word, and puts the real meaning into the word: ‘wander’, earlier used. So, Joseph wasn’t aimless, roaming or lost! His seeking was so intense and consuming and he was thoroughly searching everywhere in that field of Shechem knowing no other thing in life momentarily that his search was referred to as ‘wandering’. Joseph answered: ‘I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.’ Can you see the whole heart, the whole life of the lad in it? That is ‘bosom’ of young Joseph playing out wonderfully!
For Joseph, he must see his brethren, and see them alive. Love for the brethren! But the brethren turned out to be of the exact contrary heart just few moments later. For Joseph, he must not go back to the father with news that will break his heart and so tarried and kept on till the only needed news that can be told the father is heard. Love for the father! But the brethren’s hearts also turned out to be the exact opposite of Joseph’s a little much later.
‘I seek my brethren’! And I just remembered Barnabas too going for Saul (Paul). And, O the bosom required of us all too! When there is a seeking, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament, a great story unfolds ceaselessly thereafter. The cases of Joseph and Paul and Barnabas are just handy.
So, Joseph got direction from this ‘certain man’, and he was off. And he saw the brethren. What follows immediately and thereafter are well known chains of stories full with great life-lessons. But we start from the end:
In Genesis 49:22-26 we read: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.”
This is a great combination of Joseph’s past, present and future. ‘Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall’. To think this is only about prophesy concerning Joseph’s future is only half-truth. Yes, through Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48: 5) this is true in the future, but we also know that Joseph was already in a very great way what Jacob said here: ‘a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall’. Up till this point all of this is already true with Joseph, even though the future element cannot be denied also. If by this time there was only one fruitful bough in Jacob, a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall, it was Joseph.
In fact, if there was only one fruitful bough in the then world, a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall, it was Joseph, the Prime Minister of Egypt and the lifeline of Pharaoh and the then world. So, Joseph was not only a fruitful bough by now, but also a fruitful bough by a well whose branches were already running over the wall. All of that may well be another way of saying Joseph had a bosom that reaches out. Joseph is ‘a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall’. Think about it!
“The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel)”. This is clearly in the past tense. The archers here represents his brethren that hated and sold him, Potiphar’s wife who grieved him with arrows of sin continually and lied against him, and Potiphar himself who threw him into prison etc. But his bow (some think this refers to his righteousness and moral character) and arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob. The parenthesis that follows in the quoted scripture reveals for the first time One called THE SHEPHERD, THE STONE OF ISRAEL. This is one of the greatest revelations in Scriptures.
That it came whilst Jacob was blessing Joseph must not be surprising to us. Joseph with his father’s flock and with Jacob’s household in Egypt, and with all Egypt as prime minister was a shepherd par excellence. And it takes a bosom to be that. Joseph could have well decided to close his channels to his brethren, family, the Egyptians and the whole then world, and nothing may have gone amiss with him in the reckoning of Pharaoh, for Joseph’s words and actions were, as it were, ‘yea and amen’, and this is coming from Pharaoh himself: “According unto thy word shall all my people be ruled”.
Bosom forgives, and enriches the offender; and it doesn’t matter whether they are offenders without (as with Potiphar and family) or within (as with Joseph’s brethren)! Joseph didn’t recompense Potiphar and his family for their evil, but became their benefactor as he was to all Egyptians: “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt” – Genesis 41:39-44. ‘Without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt’! Blanket authority! With this Joseph was placed far and above Potiphar and had the maximum freedom to deal with him and his wife to any height, depth and length. But not Joseph!
In fact, Psalm 105: 17-22 paints the story, authority and power of Joseph this way: “He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him. The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.” Pharaoh made Joseph lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance. That was enough trouble already for Potiphar if Joseph didn’t fear God. Yet, hear this: Joseph had the power to bind all Pharaoh’s princes (including Potiphar, of course): AT HIS (JOSEPH’S) PLEASURE! The forgiveness of Joseph was total. Just to add also that Joseph had the mandate to teach all Pharaoh’s ‘senators’ (Hebrew: zaqen, meaning elders) wisdom. He was not only an adviser to Pharaoh, but a pedagogue to all Pharaoh’s advisers.
“And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do” – Genesis 41:54-55. Potiphar and his wife were among ‘all the Egyptians’ that went to Joseph; either directly or through their proxies, and got all that they needed.
Then talk of his brethren! From their initial visits to Joseph’s revelation of himself to them, to the coming of their father and all his, and to their stay in Egypt until you see a nation forming within a nation, Joseph was exemplary bosom all through. This love must recommend itself to all of us in this dispensation.
Brotherly love: We saw it hugely in the early church, and God added to the church daily they that are saved! We must go back to it for by this shall men know that we are Jesus Christ’s disciples, so the Scripture tells us. And if men do not know that we are Christ’s disciples I wonder if God knows! We must have bosom, we must love, we must share and communicate; we must be concerned with one another’s welfare; and we must live together in a way that sees none having too much and none lacking. That is the bold and exemplary way of living in the Household of Faith in the New Testament.
We are still with Joseph. It takes a man with bosom to occupy the office Joseph occupied in Egypt; an office that saved the then world: “And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands” – Genesis 41:56-57. Only a godly heart, a nursing mother’s breasts and a flourishing bosom can accomplish that.
It should not be surprising that God promoted, blessed and honored Joseph this way. His righteousness at every point – from when he started bringing ‘evil reports’ of his brethren to his father as a young boy to his premiership of Egypt – is evident and exemplary. And it will also interest you and me to know that Joseph gives nothing of Egypt or of Pharoah to his family except that which he paid for (as in Genesis 43: 23) or asked for from Pharoah and duly granted (as with the land of Goshen – Genesis 46: 31-34). That he handled the wealth of Egypt the way he did speaks volumes and should always be example to all of us including our modern day ‘prosperity’ preachers. There is needed or commensurate righteousness that handles wealth or we make shipwreck of our faith. Joseph’s righteousness, bosom and faithfulness will always remain a challenge to all of us under grace.
Therefore now, hear Jacob looking at Joseph’s future in these blessings and prophesies concerning Joseph: ‘… Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren’. That is verses 25 and 26 of Genesis Chapter 49.
This is how the New Living Translation puts it: “May the God of your ancestors help you; may the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the earth beneath, and blessings of the breasts and womb. May the blessings of your ancestors be greater than the blessings of the eternal mountains, reaching to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills. These blessings will fall on the head of Joseph, who is a prince among his brothers.” That is the blessing of being ‘faithful in little’.
Eternity is near. The blessings of God’s own eternal mountains that reaches out to the utmost bounds of His everlasting hills shall all be the saints’; and indeed they shall fall on the heads of each of His saints, who today would live as ‘prince among his brothers’: A prince, not only in its ‘royal’ sense but also in its ‘generous’ sense or meaning, for a prince is also a ‘good man’ or ‘a man who is outstanding especially because of his generous nature’, to draw from the dictionary! Joseph was both: royal and generous, and we all should.
He that is faithful in little today shall, in all of eternity, be given that which no man or any man’s machine-device can quantify now. Very soon the blessings of His everlasting hills will break forth and fall on the head of the saints. The rapture of the saints is here. Let us therefore keep ourselves pure and holy, and let us also be faithful as caretakers of all that is with us – which we have noted somewhere in this series is actually ‘another man’s’ – so that we can be given that which is truly our own when we dwell with the God that inhabits eternity.
Meek Moses had Bosom
Moses had bosom; so great a bosom, he was simply overwhelmed by it and rendered a prayer with almost unimaginable full weight of compassion for his flock to the extent he was willing that God take his life if He will not meet with the needs of his people. Moses was ready to die so that Israel could have bread. Think about it! It is a prayer that used every conceivable means of bringing God to act. It is a prayer from the man’s innermost being:
“And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? And wherefore have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the suckling child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? For they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand (i.e. at once), if I have found favor in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness” – Numbers 11:11-15. Parenthesis is mine.
Do not fail to learn here about this man’s great bosom; his affliction and burden (v. 11) his breast feeding (v. 12), care (v. 13), burden-bearing (v. 14); ‘wretchedness’ (v. 15). Have we been so burdened halfway? Why not? God wants us to. This is no time to live in ceiled houses, luxury when the houses and vineyards of God lay waste.
Remember this man forsook Egypt with its knowledge, riches and even throne which could’ve been his and chose to suffer with the people of God for He had respect unto the recompense of the reward, for “he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible”. (See Hebrews 11: 24-29). He chose to lay treasures in heaven; and his heart was there; and so could see Him Who is invisible.
He could see his God from afar. Do you know partly why? Moses had a bosom: a bosom for the people of God! He was properly laying up treasures in Heaven by faithfully giving himself to His people and managing them and the commonwealth God’s perfect way. All who do likewise will always have their hearts in Heaven. Let’s learn from this father of faith. ‘Faith of our fathers living still’! We have no alternative.
Do you have a bosom? Do you bother that the people of God are unfed, unclothed, un-housed? Are you pained at all? Are there not many Moses’ today appropriating God’s rich provision for the Church to themselves and families? Are there not ministers having respect for millionaire members of their denominations and forming clique with them ostensibly for their own (ministers’) survival while the vast majority of the people of God are virtually uncared for? Not Moses! Moses chose to sacrifice that the people of God may live. Moses laid treasures in heaven and so his heart was there. He also made sure all with him did same: For none had too much and none had too few. Everyone had just enough:
“And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them” – Exodus 16:15-20
Though this community-lifestyle lasted only while the manna from God lasted for forty years (i.e. from Exodus 16 to Joshua 5); it was however to form a kind of model, an ideal that society must approximate after the manna eventually ceased. It got some forms of expressions in the laws; formed some of the meditations of the Psalms, the wise writings of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes etc: which Boaz knew and engaged in, put him in the ancestry of the Savior of humanity; which Nabal was not ready to comply with, paid dearly for it and that with his life; and which Abigail obeyed, ‘ascended royalty’. You can go on and on. And at the fullness of time that lifestyle became the perfect pertain of living in the early Church:
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” – Acts 4:32-35. “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God” – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5.
And as we said elsewhere in this series we will say again: ‘May these Scriptures still be relevant, valid and remain the compass in our age’. God’s provision is given to us: To be channeled or distributed according to needs in God’s vineyard (especially the mission fields) and God’s household (especially the missionaries). We are simply caretakers. The life and ministry of Moses sets a pattern:
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned” – Hebrews 11:24-29.
And this man became the best epitome of meekness among all men. He had a very rare bosom that complemented that. He was a good shepherd and faithful steward; not one that smites or starves the servants or the brethren; not one appropriating the commonwealth for himself and family; and not one living in ceiled houses and leading a flamboyant life at the expense of the people.
Of course, his meekness and bosom won’t allow all that. Instead, he became among men the unequalled nursing mother, burden bearer, affliction sufferer and of course, law giver. To say it again, ‘He chose to lay treasures in heaven; and his heart was there; and so could see Him Who is invisible’. That was enough for him! All the mundane things around could not therefore turn off his gaze from Him that all things consist. There is a righteous that must compare with all our getting and use them according to God’s purpose or we make shipwreck of our faith.
Upright Job had Bosom
Like Abraham, Job had a great household: “And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east” – Job 1:2-3. Job’s wife and seven children certainly do not make a great household, especially when it is the Bible saying so. The Bible says he had a great household. The servants were there. Others we should expect to be there were there. Yet, more than that:
In Job 29: 11-17 we read and very instructively too; “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widows heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.” Perhaps we can begin to imagine Job’s household from this angle. What a bosom!
Yes, Job was stupendously rich. First of all, his riches were commensurate with his righteousness. He sought the Kingdom of God and its righteousness. And with this Job knew all he had was for the benefit and in defense of the poor and helpless! Job was rich unto God. That is why God exonerated Job of all the charges of his wise friends including their charge in Job 20: 15: “He has swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again. God shall cast them out of his belly”. That is ordinarily a statement of fact, but here addressed to the wrong person: Job. But do they describe us: You and me? Certainly, not Job! Hear him: “But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” – Job 23: 10.
In Job 29: 11-17 which we have read already and shall now read again for its instructiveness Job didn’t only thoroughly debunk his accusers but lay bare the purpose of wealth from God with his wonderful example, and there can hardly be a better message on giving and on the working of the bosom: “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widows heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.” In all our getting let us get commensurate righteousness!
How are you, with your riches? Or, what will become of you when you get what you are craving for? Job was a man of like passion as we. If men have made shipwreck of their faith in pursuit of riches, the want of commensurate righteousness in that ‘pursuit’ and the way they use the riches when gotten is the reason. But remember anyway that righteousness does not pursue wealth but are rather added to it. If men have made shipwreck of their faith after God has blessed them, it is because of lack of commensurate righteousness.
And when the Savior says that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to make it to heaven, the whole thing almost boils down to righteousness: the righteousness to package, employ and handle God’s riches the way God wants it packaged, employed and handled; a righteousness void of surfeiting, selfishness and holding more than we need in relations to other members of the household (especially the missionaries, persecuted, holy and zealous but needy brethren, etc); orphans, widows indeed, the physically challenged, and others genuinely in need etc.
Job laid treasures in Heaven and so his heart was there. You wonder why he knew his Redeemer lives, and that He will stand at the latter day upon the earth; and that though after his skin worms destroys his (first) body, yet in his flesh (i.e. a new spiritual body) shall he see God? (See Job 19: 25-26). Of course, this mortal flesh of the saint shall be gone and in its place shall be an immortal body that shall house the spirit, an incorruptible body like the spirit; and with the spirit it houses shall live eternally with God.
Job could see his God from afar. Do you know partly why? Job had bosom! Let us learn from this father of faith. ‘Faith of our fathers living still’! We have no alternative.
All these men: Lot, Joseph, Moses, Job and David; all with bosoms like Abraham whom they were all hewn from, are today in the bosom of the God that inhabits eternity. O that we could join them there!