Sunday, August 08, 2010

0 Caryl on Job: A Plaine and Upright Man

I'm endeavoring to pick up right where I left off with the reposted article from January - namely, the section in which our author describes Job's character according to the description given in Job 1:1. Here, again, is our verse:
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. (Job 1:1 ESV)

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. (Job 1:1 KJV)
First, Job is characterized as perfect, or blameless - which Caryl explains as "sound", "upright" or "plaine". Caryl, in explaining the sense of this word, goes to several examples of men in the Old Testament also characterized by the same Hebrew word rendered here 'perfect': Jacob and Noah in particular. It is also the same word God used in speaking to Abraham, when he said, in Genesis 17:2, "Walk before me and be perfect." It is a word connoting soundness or integrity of heart and plainness in dealing with God.

Secondly, he is described as upright - which Caryl is careful to distinguish. He writes,
"The former word which was rendered perfect, in other Texts is rendered upright; But when we have both the expressions together as here, we must distinguish the sense. It is not a tautology. Then, the former being taken for inward soundness, plainness and sincerity; This latter (to be upright) may be taken for outward justice, righteousness and equity, respecting all his dealings in the world. He was a perfect man, that is, he was plain-hearted, and he was plain-dealing too, which is the meaning of, He was upright. So the one refers to the integrity of his spirit, the other to the honesty of his ways, His heart was plain, and his dealings were square. This he expresseth fully in the 29th and 31st chapters of this Book, which are, as it were, a comment upon this word upright." (p. 26, Joseph Caryl, Exposition of Job)
This is a full orbed honesty - both in terms of heart and intention, and in terms of dealings with others. Both are to be things we strive for as followers of Christ. In Christ only are we truly free to walk in such a way, I should think - the freedom we know in Christ, and in Christ only, is necessary if we are truly to be so plain as Job is said to be. Warts and all is how we are to walk before others and before God - for He knows us as we are, and to pretend otherwise is to walk in a way that is NOT plain, nor is it one of integrity. If we truly grasp the radical nature of God's gracious acceptance of us in Christ, for Christ's sake and through His atoning work for us - this will be something we can readily do. As it is, of course, we often have but a tenuous grasp on the reality of God's grace... and seek to 'save face' because we fail to recognize our acceptance in God's house despite our warts.



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