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…
The Book of Job opens with a description of its hero. The portrait is drawn with the few swift, strong strokes of a master-hand. We have first the outer man and then the inner - first Job as he was known to any casual observer, and then Job as he was seen by the more thoughtful and penetrating, i.e. as he was in his true self.
I. THE OUTER MAN.
1. A man. Job first appears before us as a man.
(1) Only a man. Not a demi-god, not an angel. Frail as a man, feeble, and fallible.
(2) A true man. Diogenes went about with a lanthorn to search for a man. He need not have gone far if he had been in the land of Uz. Here was one who revealed the heroism of true manhood in the hour of most severe trial
(3) A typical man. Job is not called "the man," but "a man," one of a race. He is not named "the son of man." Only One could bear that title in its fulness of meaning. Job was an exceptional man indeed. But he was not unique. We are not to think of him as standing alone. The drama which is enacted in his experience is a type - though on a large scale - of the drama of human life generally.
2. A Gentile. Job was of "the land of Uz" - a Syrian or an Arab. Yet his story occurs in the Jewish Scriptures, and there he appears as one of God's most choice saints. Even in the Old Testament the Books of Job and Jonah show that all Divine grace is not confined to the narrow line of Israel God has now those whom he owns in heathen lands. To be out of the covenant is not to be renounced by God, if one's heart and life are turned heavenwards.
3. A marked individual. "Whose name was Job." This man had a name, and his history has made it a great name. Though one of a race, every man has his own personality, character, and career. The significance of a name will depend on the conduct of the man who bears it. Job - Judas: what opposite ideas do these two names suggest? What will be the flavour of our names for those who come after us?
II. THE INNER MAN.
1. A moral character.
(1) Inwardly true. This seems to he the idea of the biblical word "perfect." No one is perfect in our sense of the word. Certainly Job was not faultless, nor had he attained to the top of the highest pinnacle of grace. But he was no hypocrite. There was no guile, no duplicity, in him. He was true to the core, a man of moral simplicity, who wore no mask. Tests of trouble could not prove such a man false.
(2) Outwardly upright. This characteristic is a necessary consequence of the preceding one. No man can be inwardly true whose way of life is crooked. Truth in the inward parts must be followed by righteousness of couduct. Note what tremendous stress the Bible lays on plain integrity. There is no saintliness without it. Job was an honest man - true to his word, fair in his dealing, trustworthy, and honourable. Such is the man in whom God delights.
2. A religious character.
(1) Positively devout. "One that feared God" Thus Job had "the beginning of wisdom" Here was the secret of his moral integrity. The deepest moral characteristics of a good man rest on his religion. The interior life cannot be sound without this; for then, even if the second table of commandments may be kept, the first is neglected.
(2) Negatively opposed to sin. Sin is the opposite of devoutness. The religious man not only shuns it; he hates it. Though sometimes he weakly succumbs to it, yet he detests it. It is not enough not to sin, we must hate and loathe sin. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.