Chapter 22. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” VII
“The Real Face of Job: True, Pure, and Without Falsity
“Let us read Job 2:7–8: ‘So went Satan forth from the presence of Jehovah, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes.’ This is a description of Job’s conduct when sore boils sprouted upon his body. At this time, Job sat in the ashes as he endured the pain. No one treated him, and no one helped him lessen the pain of his body; instead, he used a potsherd to scrape away the surface of the sore boils. Superficially, this was merely a stage in Job’s torment, and bears no relation to his humanity and fear of God, for Job spoke no words to demonstrate his mood and views at this time. Yet Job’s actions and his conduct are still a true expression of his humanity. In the record of the previous chapter we read that Job was the greatest of all the men of the east. This passage of the second chapter, meanwhile, shows us that this great man of the east should take a potsherd to scrape himself while sitting among the ashes. Is there not an obvious contrast between these two descriptions? It is a contrast that shows us Job’s true self: Despite his prestigious standing and status, he had never loved nor paid them any attention; he cared not how others viewed his standing, nor was he concerned about whether his actions or conduct would have any negative effect on his standing; he did not indulge in the riches of status, nor did he enjoy the glory that came with status and standing. He only cared about his value and the significance of his living in the eyes of Jehovah God. Job’s true self was his very substance: He did not love fame and fortune, and did not live for fame and fortune; he was true, and pure, and without falsity.”
First let us fellowship on “The Real Face of Job: True, Pure, and Without Falsity.” What does “real face” refer to here? Can it be understood as “original face”? Is such an understanding appropriate? This is the surface meaning of the text, but why do we call it Job’s real face? What kind of person was the real Job? He is said to be “true, pure, and without falsity,” three descriptors, three meanings. Then what does it mean to be true, pure, and without falsity? Let us look to the fact described next, “So went Satan forth from the presence of Jehovah, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown” (Job 2:7). Why was Job covered with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown? Some say it was the doing of Satan. But is knowing the surface meaning of the words enough? Such an understanding would be too simple. “So Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah.” But where does this line pick up from? This was after Satan received God’s orders. After Satan received God’s approval, it went forth from His presence. What was the first thing it did after leaving Jehovah’s presence? It “smote Job.” These words tell us the smiting was a deliberate act, that it did something to Job. What, specifically, did it do to Job? The text doesn’t tell us, but the text tells us it “smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown.” Do you know what boils are? Boils are lesions that rot surface of your skin and ooze liquid. They are terribly itchy and terribly painful. Job’s boils were strange, they grew everywhere on his body. From his feet to his crown he was covered in boils, all oozing pus, all itchy. Where did the boils come from? From Satan. This is key. After Satan smote Job, boils grew all over his body. Job was oozing pus from his feet to his crown from boils that were horrifically itchy and painful. Some people say, “His boils were a common skin illness, how could they have come from Satan?” Have you ever heard that suspicion raised? You must have. Unbelievers only admit the natural phenomenon, but deny its relationship to Satan, but the text here says this was related to Satan. Why was it related to Satan? Because God allowed Satan to tempt Job. But, after reading this story, some people ask, “Then does this mean all the boils that grow upon the entirety of corrupt mankind are caused by Satan’s smiting?” Is that a reasonable assumption? This isn’t the place to debate this matter. There are certain especially strange diseases caused by temptations and attacks from Satan, as well as others caused by discipline and punishment from God, others are caused because people might eat unsanitary food, and others still are transmitted from outside the body. It is undeniable that all these situations exist. Today we have an entirely new and pure understanding of disease. Some diseases are related to punishment and discipline from God, others are related to temptations and attacks from Satan. Then is it possible to say Satan is responsible for all diseases? (No.) Can we say all diseases are caused by objective natural factors? (No.) If we encounter strange diseases in the future, how should we look at them? Should we look only for objective factors, such as living in unsanitary conditions or eating something that’s unhealthy for us? Can we merely look for answers in natural law? There are certain strange diseases that are a reflection of the spiritual world. “Is God disciplining me? Is Satan attacking and smiting me?” They also need to be examined from this perspective. We need to have a pure understanding of disease. We have a true historical record of Satan afflicting Job in this way. So, some diseases are related to the spiritual world, and not caused simply by human or natural factors. Some diseases are caused by human or natural factors, but others originate in God’s discipline and come from the spiritual world, and this must not be ignored.
Next let us look at “And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes.” How should we understand this matter? If someone has boils growing all over his body, do you know how many ways he might behave, or how many reactions he might have? The first, if someone was covered in boils, would be to race to doctor upon doctor to seek treatment. Many people would do that, wouldn’t they? But another reaction, for someone who is concerned about his image, someone with a public image to protect, would be to hide in his room if afflicted with such boils and call famous doctors to treat him there. He wouldn’t show his face or let others see the boils for fear of damaging his reputation or image. Wouldn’t many people react like this? (Yes.) Those are things you or I might do, but we would absolutely not sit down among the ashes and scrape ourselves with a potsherd. Why wouldn’t we do that? Fear of embarrassment. Is this not because of vanity? Some people, when boils, marks, or pimples appear on their faces, they don’t leave the house for several days. They vanish, afraid other people will see the growth on their face and think it ugly. Some people become sick, their appearance is destroyed, and when friends try to visit them, they don’t dare see them. “I’m sick today, I haven’t put on my makeup, my face is ugly, don’t see me.” There are far too many people like that, aren’t there? Job was very famous. He was the greatest of all the men of the east. A great man, immensely wealthy, who was able to sit down amongst the ashes and scrape his body with a potsherd. If we saw someone scraping himself with a potsherd on the street, we would say, “This man is a beggar without children or anyone to care for him.” Only a beggar would do such a thing, but Job wasn’t a beggar, he was the most famous man in the east, and he sat down amongst the ashes and scraped his body with a potsherd. What does this prove? He didn’t care about his name or how people saw him. He had none of those concerns within him. He sat down amongst the ashes and scraped his body with a potsherd, getting ashes all over his clothes, and that’s troublesome, because it takes an incredible amount of scrubbing to get ashes out of clothes. He was utterly filthy! But Job, at this point, didn’t fear dirtying his clothes with ash, nor did he fear others mocking him, and he even scraped himself with a potsherd. Why did he scrape himself with a potsherd? If the pus inside boils isn’t scraped out, the itchiness continues indefinitely, but once the pus is scraped out and the wound is patched with ash, the itchiness stops. He didn’t care if others saw him. He felt it enough to use this method to resolve his problem. From this, we can see that there was no vanity in Job’s nature, can’t we? (Yes.) Did he care about how others saw him? He didn’t care about that at all. “See me however you like, I’ll ignore you, because there is none of such concerns in my heart.” What does this prove? Job was not vain, did not care how others saw him, and did not care how others appraised him. He had none of that in him. And what is the best way to describe that? He was true, pure, and without falsity.
Next, “At this time, Job sat in the ashes as he endured the pain. No one treated him, and no one helped him lessen the pain of his body; instead, he used a potsherd to scrape away the surface of the sore boils. Superficially, this was merely a stage in Job’s torment, and bears no relation to his humanity and fear of God, for Job spoke no words to demonstrate his mood and views at this time. Yet Job’s actions and his conduct are still a true expression of his humanity.” This passage reveals the character of his humanity very clearly, doesn’t it? “In the record of the previous chapter we read that Job was the greatest of all the men of the east. This passage of the second chapter, meanwhile, shows us that this great man of the east should take a potsherd to scrape himself while sitting among the ashes. Is there not an obvious contrast between these two descriptions? It is a contrast that shows us Job’s true self: Despite his prestigious standing and status, he had never loved nor paid them any attention; he cared not how others viewed his standing, nor was he concerned about whether his actions or conduct would have any negative effect on his standing; he did not indulge in the riches of status, nor did he enjoy the glory that came with status and standing. He only cared about his value and the significance of his living in the eyes of Jehovah God.” This was impressive. This is not the behavior of someone with ordinary human character. This was related to his life values, his life goals, and his life principles, and this is precisely where Job’s value lies. Job’s real face is his essence, that he did not love or live for fame and fortune, and that he was true, pure, and without falsity.
Now we’ve finished our reading and fellowship of this passage, but our work doesn’t end at simply understanding God’s word. The other lesson we must take is to reflect upon ourselves. Reflecting upon ourselves is the most important step. We must examine our own condition and compare ourselves to Job. We must look at what we lack in our humanity and where we are most corrupt, and if there is truly corruption within us, we must examine the consequences of that corruption and what it makes us do. We need to see these things clearly, because these are the problems we must resolve. Understanding the matter of Job is one matter, but knowing ourselves is another, and they are both important. Through Job’s behavior and his true character and real face we now see, we should look at how deeply we are corrupted by Satan and which of Satan’s poisons are within us. The real lesson we should learn is here. Do we still need the corruption within us exposed? After this, we should know what it is even without it being exposed. Consider our reckless arrogance. Job was the greatest man in the east, but he was not arrogant, yet we are arrogant without his greatness. Why is this so? What status among men of the east do we possess? Are we “the sick man of East Asia”? And yet we remain arrogant, so what is the problem? Is it merely that we are unreasonable? We each know clearly that we are insignificant, and that we are corrupted, filthy, and worthless, yet we remain wildly arrogant. Our sickness is far more difficult to cure and frightful than Job’s boils, is it not? Job had boils from his toes to his crown because he was smote by Satan, and we are arrogant from toe to crown because we are corrupted by Satan. We are corrupted deeply by Satan, but what does this “deeply” refer to? We are corrupted from the top of our heads to the soles of our feet. We are obviously “sick men of East Asia,” and yet we are wildly arrogant and refuse to submit to anyone. Our condition is far graver than Job’s. Satan smote Job with boils all over his body, and Satan smote us with corruption so deep it runs from our head to our toes, to the point that we would not sit amongst the ashes and scrape ourselves with a potsherd because we fear shame and embarrassment. How much worse are we than Job? Job was a real human being, but it would be difficult to even call us human beings. We are living devils, without humanity. We are as far below Job as the earth below the heavens, but perhaps that analogy doesn’t fit here. Job was a real human, while we aren’t fit to be called human, we are only fit to be called living devils. “Truly deeply corrupted demons.” That is how to understand our condition. That is a more apt description. Now let’s look at the next passage.
Only Those With Normal Humanity and Who Can Separate Love and Hate Can Stand Testimony Amidst Trials
“Job’s Separation of Love and Hate
“Another side of Job’s humanity is demonstrated in this exchange between him and his wife: ‘Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die. But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?’ (Job 2:9-10). Seeing the torment he was suffering, Job’s wife tried to advise Job to help him escape his torment—yet the ‘good intentions’ did not gain Job’s approval; instead, they stirred his anger, for she denied his faith in, and obedience to Jehovah God, and also denied the existence of Jehovah God. This was intolerable to Job, for he had never allowed himself to do anything that opposed or hurt God, to say nothing of others. How could he remain indifferent when he saw others speak words that blasphemed against and insulted God? Thus he called his wife a ‘foolish woman.’ Job’s attitude toward his wife was one of anger and hate, as well as reproach and reprimand. This was the natural expression of Job’s humanity of differentiating between love and hate, and was a true representation of his upright humanity. Job was possessed of a sense of justice—one which made him hate the winds and tides of wickedness, and loathe, condemn, and reject absurd heresy, ridiculous arguments, and ludicrous assertions, and allowed him to hold true to his own, correct principles and stance when he had been rejected by the masses and deserted by those who were close to him.”
This section is titled “Job’s Separation of Love and Hate.” People with normal humanity must separate between love and hate, but corrupt mankind does not make this separation. Job separated love and hate especially clearly. What does this “separation” represent? What does it prove? The answer is worth seeking and investigating. “Another side of Job’s humanity is demonstrated in this exchange between him and his wife: ‘Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die.’” We don’t need to explain the meaning of this passage, but it’s worth pointing out from whose mouth these words came, who uttered the phrase. This is a fact we can’t ignore. We see here that after Job’s great trials, his wife began to express her opinion. Is it not both a shame and entirely a surprise that Job’s wife expressed such an opinion? No one could have expected such words to come from Job’s wife, because they had lived together for at least fifty years. They were an old couple who had been through thick and thin together. They experienced hardships together and enjoyed blessings together. They spent fifty years weathering the tides of life together, and it’s entirely appropriate to say she was Job’s confidant. Job’s life was one spent in fear of God and staying far away from evil. It’s undeniable that he was a man who worshiped God, and this unquestionably must have impacted his wife as well. It’s possible that his wife lacked Job’s spiritual stature, but she must have had at least half of it. She must have been a genuine believer, someone who feared God. Yet here, she said these words. That must have deeply hurt Job. After all the disasters that befell him, his wealth was gone, his sons and daughters were gone, and he was covered in boils, sitting amongst the ashes scraping himself with a potsherd. In such a state, what did he need most? Understanding and consolation. He needed words from someone who knew, cared for, and understood him. He needed most someone to stand with him, share his will, and to help him stand firm, bear testimony, and humiliate Satan. He needed most someone to encourage him, to say, “Job, you’re doing the right thing! We don’t need anything but God.” But at that crucial juncture, when his wife said such words, was it not salting Job’s wounds? Aren’t husbands and wives partners in life? In old age, they are meant to be partners. They share a common language and walk the same path. On this path, there are always obstacles and times when things don’t go well, and at such times, husbands and wives need to help and support each other. Isn’t that the case? But it was just at this moment that Job’s wife said those words. No one could have predicted that. It would be normal if she had cried or been weak, but she actually asked Job to curse God and die, and bluntly asked him, “Do you still retain your integrity?” She had become a messenger of Satan, hadn’t she? Wasn’t she tearing him down? How could she be called a wife at this moment? How could she be called a partner? How must Job have felt after his wife said those words to him? Who could clearly express Job’s mood and the words he must have wanted to say in that moment, and his torment? There must have been so much that was so hard to say! Don’t you see, in this, how important it is to find the right spouse? Can you see the agony finding the wrong spouse can cause? To leave his wife after a lifetime and so many children together? His conscience wouldn’t have allowed leaving her. It would have devastated her. But to not leave her, and have her tear him down at the crucial moment, salt his wounds, make him vexed, and make him suffer more? Wouldn’t it be nothing but torment to have such a wife? But what were her intentions in saying those words at that moment? It says below, “Seeing the torment he was suffering, Job’s wife tried to advise Job to help him escape his torment.” She thought by saying that, Job’s suffering would be lessened, that she had found a way for him to end his torment and escape the suffering, that he would no longer be constrained by it. She never imagined that instead of relieving Job’s suffering, she was adding to it. So, based on these words, do you think she really knew Job? Was she truly Job’s confidant? She didn’t understand her husband at all. After a lifetime with him, she didn’t know his will or what he considered important. She lacked penetration into Job, which is why those words, once uttered, only made things worse. They not only revealed her own lack of faith, they also made Job think, “You are a bad person who asks me to curse God, you would have me abandon my integrity, and your character is deeply flawed. How could you say such words? You’ve been with me for a lifetime, but you still don’t understand me. You would drag me down and make me curse God. You are foolish, you are a foolish woman, and you are not a good wife.” Job’s wife’s words revealed her essence as an unbeliever. She had no place for God in her heart, and she was not someone who feared God and avoided evil at all. When the trial came, Job was perfected and his wife was revealed. Just a single trial revealed the woman he had spent fifty years with, whose hair had grown white with his. After she was revealed, Job rebuked her by saying, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks,” and then by saying, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Just these words. He might have actually said more, but the Book of Job gives us these words as a summary of his primary meaning. “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Crucial moments not only reveal whether people have faith and fear God, they primarily reveal whether or not someone has the truth. So, what else can we see in Job’s words? Job had seen clearly before the trial came to him that believing in God does not merely mean receiving good, some also receive evil. And it’s impossible to say whether someone will receive good or evil. They might receive one or the other, but there’s no way to know. Job understood very well what it means to believe in God, for his experience of over fifty years was quite deep. Trials reveal whether someone has the truth and what their character is. There is no question about that. Job’s behavior amidst this trial expressed that his fear and obedience to God was unmoving, and that no person, matter, or thing could disturb or obstruct it, not his children, not his wealth, not even his wife. He did not suffer the constraints of any person, and we can see that today. We could say that Job’s faith in and obedience to God were absolute, and did not suffer the constraints of any person, matter, or thing. No person, matter, or thing could sway it. Is such testimony not revealing? It is incredibly revealing. Then let us look at whether our own testimony and performance of our duties suffers constraints from any person, matter, or thing. Many people cannot even discern false leaders and antichrists. The performance of duties, faith, and obedience to God of such people can be swayed by the deception of false leaders and antichrists, can’t it? It absolutely can. Are people who can be swayed by the constraints of false leaders, antichrists, or any person, matter, or thing people who fear God and avoid evil? Most certainly not. Are such people genuinely obedient to God? Most certainly not. If someone can be deceived or swayed by false leaders or antichrists, or suffers the constraints of any person, matter, or thing, it proves this person has not been gained by God and does not belong to God. Job belonged to God, and this is certain. His wife couldn’t move him, and afterward three of his friends tried to persuade him, but he did not suffer their constraints. He remained someone who feared God and avoided evil. He absolutely refused to complain against God and remained absolutely obedient to God. His faith and obedience earned God’s approval in the end. That was no simple matter, and there is truth in this. What are the constraints most easily suffered in times of distress and pain? Is it not those of wives (husbands) or children? Especially old couples, whose words to each other are worth a thousand tons of gold. But did the words of Job’s wife, in his moment of greatest torment, sway him at all? No. Job righteously refused and denied her. Job’s wife tempted him as a servant of Satan, and Job immediately rebuked her, refuted her attack, and left her defeated and humiliated. Do you know how Job’s wife would respond after hearing his rebuke? She would turn and slap herself twice. “I am a fool, I am ignorant, after so many years I still don’t understand Job, I still spoke such words.” Is it written that she slapped herself twice? (No.) Yet is what I say a fact? (Yes.) This would have been her true state, but there is no need to say it here. Job’s wife must have felt that way at the time. She must have hated herself for her ignorance, for not knowing or understanding Job even after so many years together. She must have thought, “How could I have spoken such foolish words to his face?” She would have regretted it and felt pain. There is no record of this, but is it appropriate to assume this is the truth? (Yes.) If you were Job’s wife and said such words during Job’s trial, what would your reaction have been? Haven’t we all done such things in our own lives? (Yes.) We all have, and we’ve all regretted doing so. In fact, even if we’ve not done such things, haven’t we all felt such things in our hearts? Haven’t we all at least had the notion? Do such notions mean we have spoken such words? They do in part. When people speak words of dejection and loss of faith, they immediately feel regret and torment, and slap their own face. I’ve seen many of our brothers and sisters pull their wife (husband) in when they undergo such trials, hoping to, alongside their wife (husband), go back on their faith or withdraw from it. There are too many examples to name, but I’ll give you one. A husband was in jail, and his wife brought their child to see him, and what did she say? “Let’s stop believing and just live our lives.” Aren’t there many such examples? (Yes.) Sometimes a wife is jailed, and her husband brings their child to see her or writes a letter to her, saying, “Let’s reunite and live out the rest of our lives.” Their child might say, “I need my mother’s love!” And of course the wife cries after hearing such words from her child. Is this the same as the words spoken by Job’s wife? Very much so! This is deeply revealing. But what other things are sometimes said? Some, in the course of performing their duties, find it hard or tiring, and their families say, “You’re away from home all day, and you’ve abandoned your wife (husband) and child, and you are made to suffer and exhausted by your duties, just what are you trying to do? Why do you do this?” The moment he hears this, he regrets it, and thinks, “That’s right, I’m so busy and I suffer so much, for what?” This is Satan tempting him. Have you had this experience? Even without someone like Job’s wife saying such words to you, you may have had such thoughts in your mind. But isn’t that notion frightful? When you have such thoughts and notions, how do you treat them? Are you able to say to yourself, “You are a foolish woman”? If you are a man, are you able to say to yourself, “You are a fool of a man, a stubborn wastrel,” or “You are the devil Satan”? So, in your daily lives, you often experience such temptations. It needn’t be having your wealth or children stripped away from you for you to encounter such temptations as the words of Job’s wife. Simply from the daily exhaustion of performing your duties, or when you suffer setbacks, pruning, and dealing, you may have such notions. How are these notions any different from the temptation posed by Job’s wife? They are the same. So, can you recognize the times when you are a foolish woman such as Job’s wife? Your own heart often tempts you this way, and you are weak and rebellious, so you often lose faith, become passive, and wish to withdraw.
If, in the course of performing your duties, no matter if you are arrested, jailed, or fall sick from overwork, you don’t complain, and in fact you feel happy as well as exalted and blessed by God, because in experiencing God’s work and fulfilling your duties, you are receiving much of God’s grace and salvation and gaining understanding of the truth, then you are someone of especially good humanity and character, you have conscience and reason. You know what you are doing and why you are suffering. You feel this isn’t suffering at all, this is joy, the joy of receiving God’s salvation, the joy of receiving God’s love. The depth of the corruption of the flesh renders it impossible to escape such suffering. If you have this understanding, you have genuine faith in God. Some can stand testimony as they suffer. What does this prove? That they have true faith, that they have a heart that truly fears God, which enables them to avoid evil and overcome Satan’s temptations.
What was revealed after Job’s wife spoke those words? The evil of unbelief in her heart. Could such evil have been revealed in more favorable circumstances? What circumstances would be able to reveal this? Only the most difficult and desperate of circumstances. If Job hadn’t encountered such great temptations, would his wife have been revealed? (No.) Would people not look at Job and his wife and think, “Job and his wife fear God and avoid evil. They are perfect”? Isn’t that what outsiders would say? When people talked about Job, they would include his wife, and some people would even think their children must at least have half a heart that fears God, but what was revealed after the trial? His children died, they were eliminated, and God allowed them to be taken, because they were beyond saving. They spent their idle hours in pleasure-seeking, and all of Job’s offerings for them were in vain. Job’s wife was different from Job, and her evil unbelieving heart was revealed. She was not someone who feared God and avoided evil. Only Job stood testimony, which is why after his fleshly body died, Job’s soul resided with God. Job’s wife was revealed and eliminated. So, what is your condition as you do your duties? Are you Job, or his wife? If a trial such as Job’s comes to you, will you say such things as Job’s wife did? Will you do as Job’s wife did? Do such matters not reveal people? Today, there are some evildoers and antichrists who emerge and speak cunning words to deceive others, and some cannot discern them. Some even think, “This person is good, he has forsaken everything to expend for God, he even doesn’t look for a girlfriend! He gives up his family and his parents to perform his duties. How could such a person be eliminated? Have I also believed in vain?” Aren’t there people who think this way? Even if they don’t say it, they absolutely think it. Some say, “How is it that someone expends effort to perform his duties and is eliminated? I’ve certainly never seen him be a murderer or arsonist!” Simply expending effort isn’t enough to gain blessings. They should testify to and exalt God, and do real deeds as testimony of God. Without real deeds to stand as testimony of God, if all they do is disrupt and disturb others from testifying to God, they are doing evil. They have not forsaken everything to perform their duties, they have sacrificed everything to do evil, to disrupt and disturb God’s work and obstruct the carrying out of God’s will. They are eliminated because of this. If you lack penetration and discernment of the essence of this matter, you are a “foolish woman,” more foolish than Job’s wife. And there are too many blind fools in the church. All are Job’s wife, all make complaints. No wonder it is so hard for them to discern false leaders, antichrists, and evildoers. None have penetration, and they are too deeply blinded, too foolish. Are such people able to separate love and hate? (No.) What do we call someone who cannot separate love and hate? A fool. Normally, Job should have loved his wife, because they were together for 50 years. Who wouldn’t love his companion? Do old couples embrace and kiss to greet each other when together? (No.) But in their hearts is sincere love, they can’t leave one another. When Job was old, a trial came to him, and his wife said those words to him. Did he still feel love for her in his heart? None at all. Did they have any common language after that? None. Did they speak much after that? No, just a few simple words, such as, “Dinner is ready,” or “Time for bed.” What else did they have to share? Nothing, not even the everyday things one would think to casually share.
When you suffer and pay a price to fulfill your duties, first, your humanity is tempered and your caliber improves, but also, as you understand the truth, the character of your humanity changes. For example, you can learn to be an upright, honest person, which is critical. And you can also learn to be simple, not be arrogant, speak only the facts and do things reliably and earnestly. This cultivates your character. The ability to bear suffering proves a person is stable and mature, but someone who can’t bear suffering or pay a price in the performance of their duties is unqualified in character, unstable, immature, and lacks normal humanity. This is how matters should be seen. Job suffered, and he could bear much suffering, and despite all his fine possessions, he didn’t care to enjoy them, and he was also able to bear suffering. This proves he was a simple person with normal humanity. The desire to enjoy such things without the conditions to do so is called a desire for luxury. Now you are living without luxury. Would you dare to say you could put it down if you had it? You don’t dare, because you don’t have it, and if you were to say it, your words would be unrealistic. You would only say it because it would be the proper thing to say. Job had it, and was able to put it down and regard it as nothing. He didn’t enjoy it, he acted as though he didn’t have it, which is why he didn’t suffer a lot when it was taken away, which proves Job was not greedy. The behavior of a greedy person would be very different when these things were taken away. Such a person’s heart would be broken! What would be most heartbreaking in one’s old age? Losing his wealth or losing his children? (Losing his children.) If someone had ten children, wouldn’t losing one be painful? What about two? Losing one would be one share of pain, two would be two shares of pain, but ten would be ten shares, the full amount. Did Job experience the full amount of pain? It seems that he didn’t, it seems he apparently felt five or six shares. Job didn’t feel much pain over losing so many children, do you know why? Because Job saw that none of his children could believe in God properly, none read the scriptures or prayed and worshiped God. He felt that none of them were good children. God didn’t like or bless them. In God’s eyes, they were cursed. This is why Job had long ago loathed these children in his heart. Isn’t this what he thought? Job saw things according to God’s word, he saw things according to whether God liked them. If God liked something, so did Job, and if God didn’t like it, neither did Job, so although Job had ten children, they didn’t have much status in his heart. When Satan smote him with boils and he sat amongst the ashes scraping himself with a potsherd, he did not sob and wail, he simply sat there and scraped his boils as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world. But, as he sat amongst the ashes scraping himself with a potsherd, what was he thinking? From the way his wife tempted him and his response to her, we can see that he was still praying to God, still close to God, and still seeking God’s will. “What must I do to satisfy God?” His heart never left God, isn’t that true? What is our proof? His response to his wife proves it. It is true. So, in Job’s answer to his wife, we can see the real state of Job’s heart as he sat amongst the ashes scraping himself with a potsherd. By reading God’s word in this way, little by little, we come to understand it.