During my daily Bible reading the other day I came to EZEKIEL 14. Verses 12 to 23 peaked my interest: The word of YHWH came again to me, saying, Son of man, when the land sinneth against Me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out Mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith YHWH Almighty (v.12-14).
These three giants of Scripture, whom almost everyone knows, even those who don’t read the Bible, are honoured to be named not once but FOUR times in the passage. It says the three shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but only themselves. And it goes on to list four sore judgments: the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to come upon the people of a nation when YHWH becomes REALLY UPSET with them for their sins.
It prompted me to ask: Why, out of all the righteous characters in the Bible, these three particular men? Why not righteous Abraham who had to wait till he was 100 years old to have a son, then was expected to sacrifice that son? Why not Joseph who spent 12 years in slavery and prison? What about Moses who led a mob of whingers through the wilderness for 40 years? Or David? Not even the two who went to Heaven alive, Eliyahu and Enoch, are featured. Then, I further wondered, why name any men in the passage at all when it is overall about judgment?
The answer, I believe, was revealed pretty quickly. All three men–Noah, Daniel, and Job–were involved in extreme trials of faith. Now imagine. Not a single drop of rain has ever fallen on the earth. Instead the whole planet has a lovely cloud cover, but there goes up a mist from the earth, and waters the whole face of the ground (GEN. 2:6). Because we don’t have the sun’s ultraviolet rays blasting our skin into the wrinkles of old age, we live for hundreds of years. We are highly technologically advanced (unlike the lies told about cave men by the evolutionists).
One fine misty day our next door neighbour, an intensely annoying man–because he and his family refuse to participate in all the fun activities the rest of us do–named Noah starts building this monstrous wooden boat in his back yard. Because the world population was less then than now, backyards were considerably bigger. He builds, and builds, and builds the wretched thing for 120 years! Hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer. A bit of sawing too. All the while telling us it’s going to flood! Flood? What on earth is a flood? And we should all repent and come on the ark with him. What a nut case!
As if that’s not weird enough, he dries grass, fruit, meat, and even insects for decades to load onto this ‘ark’ as he calls it. Then one day all these animals show up at his house like he’s some sort of Dr Doolittle, and go into that thing. With a last wave of the hand and earnest plea to the rest of us, Noah and his family follow the menagerie into the ark. The strangest thing happens after they disappear into its dark recesses: the big door slams shut. We all stand there shaking with the most insane laughter, calling out insults and mocking the fool.
Then, plonk! A huge drop of water lands right on your nose.
Now imagine again. IF YOU were Noah, could you do it? WOULD you do it? Think about it. For 120 years. Being laughed at, having fingers pointed at you, being mocked, ridiculed, scorned. He must have been the butt of jokes from one end of the earth to the other. Been kicked by a few children, featured on the news. Had graffiti sprayed all over his big boat.
Now Daniel. MAYBE Daniel thought they wouldn’t really go through with it, throwing someone to the lions for PRAYING!? Who knows. Or maybe he knew how much the presidents and princes (DAN. 6:4) hated him and desired his position in the kingdom. He was a prophet so he probably knew. What he DIDN’T know was whether the lions would eat him or not. But it didn’t matter.
If you were Daniel, would YOU have kept praying? After all, it was just PRAYING. He could have closed the window and done it more discreetly. Or even STOPPED. It was only for a month.
As for Job, unlike Noah and Daniel, he didn’t have ANY choice in the matter of submitting to his trial. But then, when circumstances could not have been worse, Job’s wife–after all they were her children too–spits out at him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? CURSE YHWH AND DIE!
No, the humble Job answers: Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of YHWH, and shall we not receive evil? (JOB 2:9-10). Mind you, Job does come pretty close to cursing YHWH with his later grief-stricken cries. He calls Father his enemy, and laments how cruel He is. I’ve come exceeding close to cursing Him myself during my own trials. And yes, I have called Him cruel. But would you have stuck with YHWH if He took ALL of your children, almost ALL your possessions, AND your health in one foul hit?
I can imagine Job going to his bereft wife when all was said and done and comforting her. It was interesting that YHWH left Job his house, his bed, and his wife so they could have those ten other children.
We learn from all this that these three heroes of faith underwent severe trials, crueller and more merciless than most. AND only their righteousness that precludes them from turning back brought them through. I realized that all who truly follow YHWH, the hundred percenters, the Elect Bride with neither spot nor wrinkle, will likewise undergo severe and seemingly cruel trials. So if you desire to be in that number, prepare for those trials today. Commit to not giving in, jumping the fence, or cursing YHWH. Yahshua was the curse for us when He hung on the tree. If we truly desire to follow Him, should we do anything less? And should we consider it less than a honour to be treated as was Noah, Daniel, and Job?