II. JOB’S EXPERIENCE OF GOD’S CONSUMING
AND STRIPPING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
BEING FAR BEHIND THAT OF PAUL
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Job’s experience of God’s consuming and stripping in the Old Testament was far behind that of Paul in the New Testament. God’s consuming is to exhaust us, and God’s stripping is to take away our riches from us. First, God stripped Job of his possessions, and then God consumed him. Job’s suffering of the plague on his body was a consuming. Day by day and hour by hour, Job was being consumed. In the New Testament God’s consuming and stripping become pleasant things. Since the day he was converted, Paul was a person under God’s consuming and God’s stripping (2 Cor. 4:16).
A. Paul Being Born Destined to Be Crucified
and Being Reborn Crucified
Paul was born destined to be crucified, and he was reborn crucified that it would be no longer he who lived but Christ who lived in him (Gal. 2:20a). When we were regenerated, we, like Paul, were reborn crucified for the purpose that from that time it would be no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us.
B. Paul Not Being Constricted
under the Pressures on Every Side
In his experience of God’s consuming and stripping, Paul was not constricted under the pressures on every side and did not perish despite his being cast down (2 Cor. 4:8-9). There were pressures on every side, yet Paul was not constricted. Every day he was cast down, but he did not perish. Paul did not curse the day of his birth, and he did not say that he preferred to die rather than to live. On the contrary, after much consideration Paul said that he still preferred to live, not to die, because to him to live was Christ (Phil. 1:21-25). Paul’s living Christ was for him to magnify Christ. His desire was to magnify Christ whether through life or through death (v. 20). He did not care for life or death; he cared only for magnifying Christ.
C. Paul Being Well Pleased in Distresses
for the Sake of Christ
When Paul was suffering distresses for the sake of Christ (2 Cor. 12:10), he was well pleased, he was happy, and he was even rejoicing in the Lord for his experiences (Col. 1:24). Paul’s reaction to his sufferings was very different from Job’s. Job did not rejoice but was all the time vexed.
(Life-Study of Job, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)