An Upright Man that Feared God and Eschewed Evil
Job 1:1 - 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.
“There was a man.” This phrase is found in the Bible 15 times. In one powerful use of the phrase, John the Baptist is introduced: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John” (John 1:6).
Modern historians discount what they term the great man theory of history. By this, they mean the idea that history is moved and directed by great men who make a difference in the outcome of history. To them, men do not make history but history makes men. They see the great movements of history as the grinding of colossal wheels. Individuals are too small and weak to make any real difference. We are all simply products of our time.
But God takes a different view. O yes, there are times when the event outweighs any man’s attempt to change it. Ezekiel taught that even the righteousness of Noah, Daniel and Job together could not stop the Babylonian captivity (Ezekiel 14:20). They would only be able to deliver their own souls. But there are many other examples where one man, or a handful of godly people, could make all the difference. Sodom and Gomorrah, despite their wickedness, would have been spared if they had contained ten righteous people (Genesis 18:32).
Evidently, God seeks for such men. He sent searchers through the streets of Jerusalem to “seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it” (Jeremiah 5:1). He even told Ezekiel, “I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none” (Ezekiel 22:30). God will sometimes change the course of history because of one man.
God is seeking today for men and women who will make a difference. Perhaps you will not change the course of history, but Jude thought it worthwhile to “have compassion, making a difference” (Jude 1:22). That difference you make may be in your children or in one or two people God brings your way. But the difference you make is still significant.
I sometimes see the world as falling down a universe-sized whirlpool. Spinning round and round as one person after another, one truth after another gets sucked down to the depths. On days when this vision is most real, I tend to despair. What can I do to stop this thing? What difference does my whole life make against such odds.
But then, God’s light shines. There was man named Job. There was a man named John. There was a man named Simeon. God reminds me that He does respond to us when we give our lives to Him. I may not stop the whirlpool, but I can keep some from sinking to destruction. I can help some who struggle along life’s way.
As the years of my life multiply, I am often brought back to the opening paragraph of E. M. Bounds book called “Power Through Prayer.” Perhaps this meditation is best closed with his powerful words:
“God’s plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. ‘There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.’ “