A few years ago, I started to write another book, and got as far as Chapter 6. However, in light of how hard it is to get a publisher, and how many books are out in the marketplace, I decided to begin to feature it here on The Christian Woman. Titled, “Living in the Light of God’s Lamp,” this book is about “the lamp of God,” which is mentioned a handful of times throughout scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments.
Each chapter is very long, so it will have to be broken up with each installment. Today, I’m finishing up Chapter 1. I hope you enjoy it, and would love to get your comments.
I went to college in Flagstaff, Arizona. My parents lived in Phoenix, about a two-hour drive away. On the occasional weekend, I would drive home to be with mom and dad. I had a problematic car—I honestly can’t remember what the model was—but it had been causing me problems for a while, and had managed to elude the wisdom of a couple of mechanics who’d looked at it. Nobody could figure out the problem.
As I was driving back to my dorm room at college, my car began to act up again, and I pulled over on the side of the road. Back then, the road between Phoenix and Flagstaff was even more desolate and unpopulated than that between Sandpoint and Issaquah. What’s more, cell phones did not exist, so I could either sit in my car and pray that someone took pity on me and stopped, or take matters into my own hands and get out and start walking. For anyone who knows my personality, there really was only one choice since patience is not my strong suit.
I got out and proceeded to walk down the highway. I don’t remember if I prayed, but most likely I did, since I’ve had a love relationship with the Lord since my childhood. I hadn’t even really thought it through as to how far I’d have to walk, but there’s an old saying that I subscribe to: If you don’t get moving, how can the Lord guide you?
I had only been walking for a minute or two when an old pickup pulled up beside me, with three young men sitting in it. There was only one bench seat, and three guys were occupying it. They rolled down the window and asked me if I needed a ride. I have no idea what possessed me, but I accepted a ride from them. Then, to my surprise, the young man who had been sitting near the window got out and let me in, so that I was wedged in with one young man on my right, and two on my left.
I began to think my goose was cooked, but then the men began to ask me about where I was going, how I liked college, etc., and soon the driver pulled in at the next off-ramp where there was a gas station and convenience store. They let me out of the car and I thanked them for their help, and then the driver said to me, “Hey, no problem. Do the same for someone else sometime.” As they drove away, I knew without a doubt in my mind that God had brought those young men exactly when I needed them. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were angels in disguise.
I am not suggesting that you should go and do likewise. I presume I accepted the ride because God spoke to me in my heart. Or perhaps I had the same crazy trust in Him that I do to this day. But the point is, this is what happens when you put your trust in God and live under the lamp of His provision.
How is it that Job was so blessed with God’s provision? What made him different from any other mortal? We can’t speculate as to why Job was so wealthy. God blesses people as He sees fit. But we can assume that Job’s wisdom and honored status was a direct result of his close walk with God. As it states in the first verse of the book of Job, Job feared God with a reverential, holy fear. In Psalms 111:10 it states: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
The fear of the Lord is the foundation, the underpinnings of wisdom. When we fear God, wisdom is then given to us, measure upon measure. The more we fear Him and draw near to Him, the more is given to us.
This wisdom is quite possibly at the base of Job’s wealth. As he grew in wisdom, God showed him how to profit. Consider the following scripture:
Thus says the LORD your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;
“I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you in the way you should go.
“If only you had paid attention to My commandments!
Then your well-being would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17-18)
In this scripture, God is speaking to the nation of Israel, but the point He makes is universal. If we would only pay attention to His commandments! The direct translation of that verse from the original Hebrew text is even more beautiful:
O that you attended to instructions of me…[i]
He gives us instructions, and if we would follow them, our “well-being” (literally translated as “peace”) would be like a river. We would have peace like a river, flowing gently over us continually. When we revere God and follow His instructions, we don’t have to be fearful or anxious—about our next paycheck, our next mortgage payment, our health, our future. We know that He will teach us to profit and lead us in the way we should go.
In addition, when we attend to God’s instructions, our righteousness is like the waves of the sea. Righteousness has a variety of meanings. In fact, there are three Hebrew words directly related to the righteousness mentioned in the verse from Isaiah, and they are very similar in meaning: “Tsedeq, Tsidqah and Tsedaqah.” They all imply “righteousness.” Take a look at some of their definitions and see if a pattern emerges:
- Tsedeq—right thing, equity, prosperity, straightness, rectitude, justice, honesty, integrity[ii]
- Tsidqah—righteousness or doing right; it has the flavor of liberality and beneficence[iii]
- Tsedaquah—rightness, rectitude, justice, righteousness, justice, faithfulness, virtue, piety, mercy, mildness, moderation, prosperity[iv]
Don’t you find it intriguing that righteousness not only involves doing right, but also prosperity? That with one comes the other? That righteousness also includes giving liberally to benefit someone else? Apparently prosperity is part and parcel of righteousness—as though they are somehow connected. So when we follow God’s instructions, we will not only have peace like a river flowing over our lives in a continual stream, but our righteousness and prosperity will be like the waves of the sea, crashing one after another with beauty and majesty upon our lives and the lives of others.
Job was by no means perfect, but he was a man after God’s own heart. He wanted to please God. And, due to his wisdom, he may also have known that there are certain natural laws God has put in place that, when followed, have specific results. They do not vary from person to person; they are as constant and reliable as the waves of the sea.
In the next chapter, we’ll explore some of those natural laws beginning with the one that Job practiced with absolute tenacity: the fear of God.