Neville Goddard Lecture, The Book of Job

The Book of Job

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Tonight we will speak on the Book of Job, possibly the most misquoted book in the world. I dare say all day long you use passages, and you aren’t aware you are misquoting this Book of Job. For no one knows who wrote the book. It bears the title of its hero, as so many books of the Bible: the Book of Joshua, Nehemiah, Ezra, Daniel, Ruth – so many, where the name of the hero is named. That is the Book of Job. The word “Job” from famous scholars by analysis, means: “Where is my father?” You and I have heard it as “the persecuted one,” but the central point of the narrative is that Job was completely innocent – not guilty of any offense, but simply the victim of the most cruel experiment by God. The very last chapter reveals that it was all by God. Some scholars along the way or some scribe inserted some little story in the first chapter which is suspect, because they couldn’t believe that God could do that to man. So they claim that a pact was made between Satan and God allowing Satan to do it – Satan the accuser, Satan the devil; but Satan disappears in the very first chapter and never reappears. He does just for a moment, but he doesn’t in the forty-two chapters, not even in the epilogue. And so we know that this cruel experiment was by God. Now, you are Job, I am Job, the world is Job – the world of humanity. And to approach it as if it were an object lesson in patience – patience under stress, under trial – is to go astray at the very start. That is not the purpose of the story. I hope I can get it over tonight as I see it. If I were to place it in the Bible, I would place it at the very end of the Old Testament, for it seems to lead right into the revelation of the New Testament.

But I am not rewriting the Bible or rearranging it – but were I to place it, that is where I would put it. It leads right into the unfolding of the vision as we find it in the gospels and the epistles. If you are not familiar with it, let me attempt to lead you through the highlights of Job. The scene is laid in Edom and all the characters are Edomites, renowned for their wisdom. Job, the story tells us, was an upright and very rich Arab Sheikh, owning thousands of sheep, thousands of cattle, hundreds of she-asses and oxen, numberless servants and ten children – seven boys and three beautiful girls. So we are told in the story. In the prologue we are introduced to this much of the great hero, which is Job. Then comes the four woes, based upon the pact between Satan and Jehovah. The first one comes in and announces in this fashion, that the Sabeans came suddenly and slaughtered all the servants who were taking care of the sheep and took away all the sheep. And while he was yet speaking, the second woe appeared and he said that death took away all the cattle and slaughtered all the servants. Then comes the third woe, and took away all the oxen, the she-asses and slaughtered all the servants. Then comes the fourth woe, that his children -all of them -were dining in the house of the oldest son, and there came this mighty wind and crushed the four corners and the house collapsed and they were all killed and he was the only one who escaped to come and bring the news to Job. And Job rent his robe, shaved his head, threw himself upon the floor, and then said: “Naked I came into the world, naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return.” Then he blamed himself, not for the act, but having said: “naked I came into the world and naked I shall return.” He saw nothing to condemn in God, and so he did not see anything wrong which God had done. Then after the four woes, and everything is taken from him – all of his children, all his possessions, everything – then starts the physical, the substance of the man called Job, and it started with the boils. That is when Satan disappears from the scene and all these things follow one after the other – the sores from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head. Then his wife said to him: “Are you still going to be honest about it, your integrity unshaken? Curse God and die.”

And he said to her: “You have spoken like a foolish woman, shall God who gave us the good not give us the evil?” So nothing came from his lips that could in any way be condemnation of God. Then came his comforters, spoken of as “Job’s comforters.” There were three friends and they came to comfort Job. They heard of his plight: he lost everything, being the richest sheikh in all Edom, and they couldn’t recognize him, he was such a horrible-looking creature. When they saw him, they too rent their robes and sat with him for five days, five nights, without speaking, in mourning for their friend. Job breaks the silence and he breaks it with the claim that the very day should disappear from the calendar year. “Let the day perish wherein I was born and the night which said a male boy is conceived.” And then he has this tirade against being brought into this world. He didn’t have to be brought, he was brought: he was brought and he finds himself now without any guilt that all these things happened to him. Now he makes the terrific defense of himself. Then comes the first comforter, who doesn’t comfort at all, for he is trained – as Job was trained and as you and I are trained – to believe in divine justice. We all believe in divine justice, in retribution. So we look upon a person like a Hitler, who lived to the very last moment in his fifteen gloating years, or a Stalin, for his thirty odd years, having slaughtered millions – and what happened to Stalin? He died as you and I will die – a little brain hemorrhage and in no time he was unconscious, after having slaughtered millions. Where is the retribution? Where is Stalin’s retribution, where is Hitler’s retribution, where is any tyrant’s? They live just as we live. They live on the fat of the land, murdering unnumbered millions, and then simply die as we die. Priesthoods will tell us they will have their day. God will punish them beyond the grave, or in some future embodiment if you believe in reincarnation. How could you live and how long would you have to live to repay the debt of thirteen million, when you burned them alive and slaughtered, too? So they bring argument after argument to persuade Job he has in some way violated this code. Maybe in his youth, maybe in the past – and he can’t remember what he has done. Maybe as a child, says he, some little infraction; but this is far beyond the proportion of anything he has done. The judgment of God, what has he done to me now? This far transcends what any just judge could put upon me for anything I might have done in my youth. They still tried to persuade him, and so, as the father said: “Even- handed is the justice of God.”

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Neville Goddard, Summa Theologica, Manly P Hall, A Course In Miracles

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