Job 14:1-10 “Who Can Bring a Clean Thing Out of an Unclean?”

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Study Aired March 18, 2012

Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
Job 14:2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
Job 14:3 And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
Job 14:5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
Job 14:6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.
Job 14:7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
Job 14:8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;
Job 14:9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, andbring forth boughs like a plant.
Job 14:10 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?

Introduction

As we have seen in the words of both Job and his miserable comforters, they have not been granted to see the things our eyes see or hear the things we are granted to hear.

Mat 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Mat 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. [ Including Job]

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are all pointing their fingers at Job, and Job is pointing his finger at them. Both are the Old Testament type of all of us while we are a part of Babylon the great who teaches us that we are the captain of our own souls via the false doctrine of “free moral agency”. Like all of us while we are in the darkness of Babylon, we pay God’s sovereignty great lip service, even as we deny it with our actions and our words. Here is how Job as the type and shadow of who we are at this point in our walk, is doing the same thing:

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

We “maintain [ our] own ways” because we are blinded to the true sovereignty of God over all our ways.

Pro 20:24 Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

What we do is not scripturally our own doing at all but God’s, be it good or evil.

Gen 45:8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Isa 63:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

When we are being judged during this part of our walk, we simply cannot see any of these verses declaring God to be sovereign over the evil that we do.

Mat 19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

Our Babylonian hireling shepherds have always told us that God does not create evil, so we have always believed that our evil deeds were of ourselves. Even so we do not see ourselves as being as evil as God sees these clay vessels. We see them as being tolerably evil, if not all together good and righteous. So, typified by Job, we plead our own case with words like Job’s:

Job 13:18 Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.

It is so very natural to see our own evils as being almost good deeds when compared to the gross evils we all see so clearly in others. We always tend to justify our own weaknesses by the greater weaknesses of others. Seeking spiritual excellence simply does not occur to our natural man. So it is always the case that when we contend with our Creator attempting to justify ourselves, we display our confusion for all to see. So now Job, who sees himself as righteous of himself, still must confess that God has already determined:

Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
Job 14:2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

This life may seem like an eternity when we are enduring trials such as Job has already endured and is still enduring with the added humiliation at the hands of his “inward friends, [ and] miserable comforters”. Nevertheless, the Biblical truth is that this life really is “of few days, and full of trouble”. The holy spirit has inspired these words here in Job, as a witness to these words in James:

Jas 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Christ used words very similar to these words of Job, and in doing so He agrees with Job. Without Christ living His life within us, we are all just “man that is born of woman”, and the very best of such men is still corruptible flesh which is unfit to inherit the kingdom of God.

Mat 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

But the only reason “He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than [ John]” is that “he that is least in the kingdom of heaven” has had Christ living His life within him, and his works have been judged and “tried with fire” first. There really is but one event to all men (Ecc 9:2). Those who are ‘least in the kingdom of heaven’ are simply judged first:

1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

“Every man’s work shall be… revealed by fire”. It is the fire of God’s Word which is revealing the self- righteousness of both Job and His miserable comforters, as types of us, “for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come” (1Co 10:11).
Job has noted, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.” It seems incredible to Job and to us, that God gives so much attention to such insignificant creatures as members of mankind such as himself and such as you and me.

Job 14:3 And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

So it appears that Job has some sense that mankind, “man born of woman”, is inherently unclean, even as he maintains his own ways, and declares that he is confident that he will be justified.
As we all do, Job displays his own confusion while contending with his Creator. Here is Job’s confidence in his own righteousness.

Job 13:18 Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.

Bildad expresses this same sense of mankind’s inherent uncleanness, using some of the same words.

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
Job 25:5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.
Job 25:6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

What these verses make very clear is what the scriptures mean when they tell us this of our own Savior:

(YLT) for him who did not know sin, in our behalf He did make sin, that we may become the righteousness of God in him.

How was Christ made sin? We are not left to speculate.

Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

“Made of a woman, made under the law” are both expressions of the sinful state in which we are “marred in the Potter’s hand… shapen in iniquity, conceived in sin”.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

As hard as it is for those who simply don’t have the mind of Christ and His Father to believe, Christ, by His own estimation, was neither “good” nor “perfected” while being “made of a woman, made under the law”. Let’s just let Christ speak for Himself, and then all we need to do is to believe Him:

Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Luk 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox [ King Herod], Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.

Christ tells us He does not consider Himself either “good” or “perfected” because He is well aware that His flesh too, is “made of a woman, made under the law”. The fact is that our Savior calls Himself “the son of man” twice as many times as He refers to Himself as “the Son of God”. Both are true, but Christ wants us to know that He identifies with us as “in Adam”, as well as being “in Christ”.
“Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” Who calls light forth out of darkness? Who brings life forth out of death? Whose strength is made perfect in weakness? Who uses the foolishness of this world to confound the wise? Who uses the weak to confound the mighty?

2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

It is God who sent our savior in sinful flesh and who perfected His strength in that weakness. It is God who used Christ’s corruptible flesh to bring forth a clean “new man” out of the filthy rags that are our own self- righteousnesses.

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Job is well aware of the temporal and limited nature of being “born of a woman”:

Job 14:5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;

“His days are determined, the number of his months are with thee” is very close to these words of King David:

Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them. (ASV)

“Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with you.” Taken at face value, Job is admitting that God knows in advance just how long any of us will live.

Job 14:6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.

The ‘him… he… and his of this verse are all Job himself again pleading with his Creator to give him a break, and give him rest from his afflictions. Never once does he even consider that “maintaining his own ways” just might be an element necessitating his chastening afflictions.

Pro 5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
Jer 2:19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
Eze 36:31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.

But as the self- righteous people we all are while in Babylon, being wicked and backslid are always words which have no personal application. Those are words which always apply to publicans and harlots who are far beneath us. On the other hand, we think of ourselves as worthy of being used by God to stone such people to death.

Job 13:18 Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.
Job 27:5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.
Job 27:6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
Job 33:9 I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
Joh 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

The self- righteous spirit of Job is exposed for us by Christ Himself:

Luk 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Luk 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luk 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Like any good Pharisee, even when Job confesses that he is a sinner, he considers himself to be a fairly good sinner who is ‘without transgression… innocent… without iniquity’, and totally undeserving of being afflicted, or being “a burden to [ him] self”.

Job 7:20 I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?

Throughout scripture trees are used to symbolize men. Christ Himself is said to be “the life” and tells us that He gives Himself for us as ‘the Tree of Life”.

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

God’s witnesses in this world are called “two olive trees”:

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

John calls God’s witnesses ” the two olive trees” because he is referring to the “two olive trees” which are first mentioned in Zec 4 where the angel asks repeatedly “Know you not what these be?” What do these two trees represent?:

Zec 4:1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,
Zec 4:2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:
Zec 4:3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
Zec 4:4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?
Zec 4:5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
Zec 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
Zec 4:7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
Zec 4:8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Zec 4:9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.
Zec 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; t hey are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
Zec 4:11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?
Zec 4:12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?
Zec 4:13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
Zec 4:14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

So a tree whose roots are still in the earth is revived with the mere scent of water, even after it is cut down. This tree Job speaks of is actually himself, who though he has been cut down, he refuses to die to his own self- righteousness. With just “the scent of water”, with just a hint of God’s word, as opposed to “the sum of [ God’s] word” (Psa 119:160), the old Job is revived.

Job 14:7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
Job 14:8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;
Job 14:9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

If any of our “old man” survives, he again blossoms, is healed, and will overcome the saints, and “bring forth like a plant”, that was never cut down. Here is the way this same principle is expressed in the book of Revelation:

Rev 13:3 And I saw one of his heads [ of the beast that is mankind, Ecc 3:18] as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
Rev 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

It is God who both gives us our deadly wound and who also heals that wound and restores our beastly health, to continue opposing Him and His ways. It is God who helps us to fight and overcome the “giants” in our land, and it is God who has predestined that we will all go into Babylon to learn the ways of that system.

Hos 11:3 I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.
Hos 11:4 I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
Hos 11:5 He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian [ Nineveh and Babylon] shall be his king, because they refused to return.

God has all our days written in His book. Our very thoughts are predestined to show us who we are and what mankind is. Our suffering is all for the purpose of bringing forth a good end. It takes decaying matter to produce nourishing fruit. We, like Job, may at first have a glimpse of these truths, but for “a long time” we are not granted to see the process through which God is bringing us all to Himself.
So at this point Job sees death simply as relief from man’s “days [ which are] few… and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Neither Job nor we can see the connection between the tree that revives at the scent of water, and the beast within. We cannot accept, at this time in our walk, that we live by every word of God (Mat 4:4), that all things are ours (1Co 2:21-22), and that all things come alike to all men (Ecc 9:2). So he attempts, as we all do until we granted to see the Truth of those verses, to segregate himself from the tree that is cut down.

Job 14:10 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?

“Man dies… gives up the spirit… and where is he?” Job, does not know the answer to that question. He later affirms that “when I am tried I will come forth as gold”.

Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

So, just as Job, we have hints of what God is doing, but we have no idea that the goal is the salvation of all who are in Adam, even though the whole process is right there before our eyes all along:

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The scriptures answer Job’s question. Man returns to the dust whence he was taken and the spirit from God which gives him this temporary life in this clay vessel, returns to God who gave it. That spirit is the spirit of God from which all things come. It is not an individual personality, and it “knows not anything” as such.

Gen 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

“All things are of God”. He sends forth His spirit and creates all life, but when He withdraws that spirit, they die, and without a resurrection they are perished. They are not alive in joy in heaven, nor are they suffering in eternal flames in hell. They are asleep in the earth until they are resurrected from among the dead.

2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
Psa 104:29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
Psa 104:30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.
1Co 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1Co 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1Co 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

But Christ is risen, and just as we are all dying “in Adam… so in Christ shall all be made alive” via a resurrection from the dead.

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Next week we will, Lord willing, consider the rest of the verses here in chapter 14 of Job.

Job 14:11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:
Job 14:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
Job 14:13 O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
Job 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
Job 14:15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
Job 14:16 For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?
Job 14:17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.
Job 14:18 And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.
Job 14:19 The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.
Job 14:20 Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.
Job 14:21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.
Job 14:22 But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.

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