Noah Was Perfect and Protected; Job Was Perfect, Yet Persecuted -- Why?
"These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and
perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:9)
"1There 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)
I have placed these two verses next to each other for a reason.
We have two clear figures, men of God, who are revered in the Old Testament and even mentioned in the New.
Noah was spared the great suffering of the world, and God used him to build an ark, save mankind and the animal kingdom.
Job, on the other hand, suffered greatly. God allowed Satan to trouble Job. He lost everything, everyone, until the very end.
What's going on? Why was Noah protected and Job persecuted?
They were both "perfect", or "tamim" in God's eyes, were they not?
"Noah was perfect ..." This does not speak to moral perfection, but physical perfection, in that he was fully human, not adulterated with the genetics of the "sons of God" aka "Bene Elohim" (Genesis 6:1-4)
That same word "perfect" describes Job. He was fully human, too. God could interact with them as His creation.
But then differences clearly emerge.
Noah was "just", righteous.
He had found grace in God's eyes:
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." (Genesis 6:8)
In contrast, what do we read about Job?
"He was upright."
In the original Hebrew, "upright" translates the word "yashar", which speaks of good conduct on the outside. In fact, Job even feared God and avoided evil.
And yet ...
Job did not find favor in God's eyes. He was not righteous.
Job had not found grace. Noah did. Noah depended on God, believed in Him, i.e. "walked with God."
Noah was righteous. He believed in God.
Job was merely upright. He trusted in his own efforts, and spent much of his efforts covering for his children:
"5And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone
about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and
offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It
may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job
continually." (Job 1:5) Good works do not save us. Good behavior does not protect us. Only God's grace protects us, His goodness secures us. God does not want us depending on our efforts, but resting in His word. That was God's plan from the beginning: "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden
of Eden to dress it and to keep it."(Genesis 2:15) God provided everything. He wanted to bless man, and allow man to just receive His goodness: "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth
hath he given to the children of men." (Psalm 115:16) God wants us to believe on Him and receive from Him, not achieve on our own, grieving His heart. In fact, we cannot live apart from Him, for God Himself brought us to life with His own breath! Noah walked with God, believed on Him, depended on Him. Because Noah believed, He was righteous! And because Noah believed, God formed a covenant with him, a covenant of peace and protection.
"But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee." (Genesis 6:18) and also "And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with
your seed after you;" (Genesis 9:9) God did not establish a covenant with Job,, and He could not because Job did not believe in Him. He was afraid of God, sure, but Job did not trust in Him, did not see Him as a good God from whom he could draw all things. In fact, Job did not start walking by faith until the very end, after he had suffered greatly, reduced to the end of himself, where he could do nothing more but ... believe and receive: "1Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
2I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be
withholden from thee.
3Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I
uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
4Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and
declare thou unto me.
5I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth
6Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (John 42:1-6)
And let's not forget that when Job "repented", or rather rested, felt sorry for his wrong beliefs, but more importantly he "rested", he stopped striving, and started believing in Him!
And with that, God turned Job's captivity!
"10And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed
for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:10)
So, what does it all come down to? Why was Noah perfect and spared, while Job was perfect yet persecuted?
Noah believed in the LORD, that He is good, and he received God's grace (cf. Genesis 15:6)
And with that, Noah was righteous!
And righteousness opens up manifold blessings to us!
"Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence
covereth the mouth of the wicked." (Proverbs 10:6)
"In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be
far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not
come near thee." (Isaiah 54:14)
Note that in Isaiah 54:10, God speaks of "my covenant of peace", which will not be removed from us--a covenant just like the one which God made with Noah, with Abraham (Genesis 15, 17). This covenant is enacted because of righteousness!
And this righteousness is not our righteousness, but His!
"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and
every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This
is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me,
saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54:17)
No tyranny, no terror can afflict us because we are established in His righteousness
In fact, today, we can rest in God's favor, in God's grace, because we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Beloved, you do not have to fear or wonder why Noah was protected and Job was persecuted. Today, when you believe in Christ Jesus, you receive His righteousness--and keep receiving it! (Romans 5:17), which in turn causes you to reign in Life and be freed from sin, destruction, and death!
You need not fear enduring the troubles of Job, but can rest in the gracious protection and favor of Noah--because of His righteousness!