(from Brokenness, a book by Mickey Bonner – ISBN 1-878578-12-X)
Brokenness is one of the evidences that God is conforming you to His image. When you are being broken many think that you have “lost your mind” or “gone off the deep end”, especially in the religious circle. We must take an aggressive position of praise in the midst of all tribulation. It is only through brokenness however, that God brings the anointing.
Poem (author unknown)
One by one, He took them from me
All the things I valued most
Until I was empty handed,
Every glittering toy was lost.
And I walked earth’s highways grieving
In my ranks of poverty Until I heard His voice inviting
“Lift those empty hands to Me”
Then I turned my hands toward heaven
And He filled them with a store
Of all His own transcended riches
Until they could contain no more
At last I comprehended
With my mind and heart
That God cannot pour out His riches
Into hands already full.
The purpose of Job’s breaking was to conform him to the image of God. In Job 1:1 we read, “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 shunned evil.” Job even offered burnt offerings on his children’s behalf, that he might sanctify them in case they sinned and cursed God in their hearts. We may wonder what would be the fatal flaw in Job? In Job 1:7, the Lord asked Satan, “Where have you been?” Satan responded that he had been roaming the earth. Then God said, “Have you considered My servant Job?” And God proceeded to list Job’s qualities. Then Satan answered, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” We read on to find that Satan was not allowed to touch Job, which is God’s promise to every obedient Christian. Then Satan said, “You have made a hedge around him and everything that he has and about all that he does, but if you put forth your hand now and touch all that he has, he will curse you to your face.” Then God allowed the devil to move from that place into the presence of Job, under the condition that all he had was in Satan’s power, but he could not touch Job’s flesh.
Satan came into the midst of all that Job owned and destroyed it completely. Satan’s work included a great wind that demolished the four corners of the house in which his Job’s children were killed. Satan, with God’s permission, had begun to sift the life of Job. As it was the custom to show deep brokenness, Job tore his clothes off of his body and shaved his head, and then fell down on the ground before God and worshiped. How many of us today would be able to do what Job did. We would say, “What a man of God!”
In Job 2, Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” With permission to touch his flesh, Satan went from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with boils, from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Satan afflicted Job with a spirit of infirmity.
In response, Job in the midst of his brokenness and diminished health began moving toward the ashpit of repentance and picked up a broken piece of pottery and began to scrape the boils on his body to make his penance even more significant. Satan thought he had Job in a defeated position. Then Satan brought Job’s wife to him, and his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity. Curse God and die.” But Job said to her, “You speak as the foolish women speak. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this, Job did not sin with his lips. Would we not say at this point, “What a man of God.” But we will see that Job had a fatal flaw.
God allowed the destruction of Job’s material possessions, and the loss of his children to bring Job to a true repentance. Job’s fatal flaw was not corrected at this point. God allowed Satan to move upon Job with scourging. Scourging is the Greek word for “disease or plague”. God allowed the scourging to rebuke and discipline Job and to bring him to repentance.
Hebrews 12:5-8 “You have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate.”
This chastening develops within you the character of Christ. God becomes sufficient to us when we are in desperation. From that place, we learn to depend on Him and fall in love with Him. We need to understand that no man will truly seek God with all his heart until he is emptied of opportunities to work out his life in the flesh. From that emptied position he will move in abandon toward God through prayer, realizing that God is his only hope. Then God can supply not only the need, but His life.
In Job 7:20-21 we read, “Have I sinned? What have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you set me as your target, so that I am a burden to myself? Why then do you not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust, and you will seek me diligently, but I will no longer be.” In other words, “Lord, end all this misery and let me die.” You may say, At last he is broken. By Job’s standard, yes, but this was not a true repentance. True repentance only comes through the door of true brokenness. We all have said at some point, “I just want to die, get me out of this mess!” That is not a true repentance. That is not truly facing the chastisement. It is trying to escape, instead of seeing what the Lord is trying to bring to the surface in our life to bring us to brokenness.
In Job 19, when the scourging first occurred in Job’s life, his friends came and sat for 7 days mourning with him without speaking a word. Then conversation broke out. Reasoning crept in through the door of accusation, as Job’s friends tried to find out why he was going through these crises. “Surely he has done something wrong!” Job was the target of strong disapproval as his friends lamented a man who at one time was perhaps the wealthiest in the world. But Job sat poverty stricken and in broken health. Then they asked themselves, “Why?”. Then the condemnation began to fly.
We are now coming face to face with Job’s dark area, for the real character of a person always surfaces in tribulation. For instance, he looked to his friends in Job 19, “Have pity on me, have pity on me, oh you my friends. For the hand of God has struck me, why do you persecute me as God does and are not satisfied with my flesh?”
Many of the accusations about Job’s life were correct, but they were handled in the wrong spirit. Men who have held Job in fear, esteem, and great honour because of his great wealth are now persecuting him. Jealousy is one of Satan’s strongest allies to the soul or flesh of man. This was hidden in their hearts all of the time. God was exposing the hearts of Job’s friends also, but God knew all along that He was dealing with Job.
As we continue through the book of Job we now come to his character flaw. (Read Job 29). Here we see what was really inside of Job. Under the pressure of pride, Job continued to explain who and where he was in life before his tragedy. In these verses we find he used the words “my”, “I”, and “me” to defend himself 39 times. In these defensive declarations of his self-worth lies the true description of his spirituality. Wonderful blessing given to Job in his younger life before his judgment were given because of his complete love, commitment and obedience to God. Soon he became famous for the blessings of God upon his life. This is one of the most dangerous aspects of God’s prosperity: taking the credit.
If an individual is not strong in memory, he will soon begin to take the credit. The first seeds of pride are always planted in the field of rebellion in wanting to take authority. In Job’s case, somewhere along the line, Satan told him how good he was and he began to assume responsibility for all of the blessings. Pride is the greatest enemy of the soul. When pride is sown in the soul of egotism it begins to germinate. Then the enemy starts whispering, “Look at what you are doing. You are better than anybody here. …” The individual like Job forgets his origin and finally adopts an improper co-identity with God. Soon he attempts to assume some of God’s glory. Satan knowing our weaknesses, whispers to our mind, “Without you, God could not have done this. If it were not for your abilities, your ministry would not go anywhere.” We must remember that the Christian life should be less of us and more of God. Before the Christian is broken, he explains his ministry as “me” or “mine”. Then as breaking begins, and revelation into his life is illuminated his statement becomes, “me and God”.
Continuing in Job 29, we read that Job began to talk about how the seats of honour were prepared for him and how the young men hid themselves and the aged stood up in his presence. Even princes would refrain from speaking when he came on the scene. With all this attention, it is evident that he began to lose sight of the fact that God had been his source. Finally, Job did succumb to the applause of men. It is a lonely road trying to draw attention to yourself as the presence of God backs away from your spirit. In Job’s life the position of “I and self” began to surface as he spoke further about his abilities and what he had accomplished. He explained how he had helped the poor and how the fatherless were given things by him.
In Job 38, the wind’s sound became the voice of God. Here the Lord asks Job, “Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge?” In other words, God told Job that he had no concept of what was really happening to him. Then God demanded Job to gird up his loins like a man. In other words, “Listen up Job, I am about to tell you of your real problem.” Then God asked, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. In other words, God declared to Job, “I don’t remember seeing you when I made the world. You are trying to become co-equal with Me.” God does not need our ability, but our availability. Then God came into Job’s presence in a whirlwind. Always from the position of tribulation do we see, in the light of His glory, the darkness of sin in our own lives. As the light of God’s glory shone on the darkness of Job’s sin, he saw himself as he truly was. He was devastated, broken and contrite.
In chapter 40, Job acquired a new language. Job answered the Lord and said, “Behold, I am vile. What shall I answer you. I lay my hand over my mouth. Once I have spoken, you will not answer. Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.” This was different language from the man who was held in such high esteem for so long. To ever be used by God, brokenness is imperative.
How many of us would suddenly lose our victory walk with God going through what Job went through? We would ask God, “What did I do?” In reality, it was not what you did, but it is what you said. Satan for the most part enters the life of a Christian through his mouth. Matthew 15:11 says, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Satan’s ministry is to divide. He accomplishes division when you react negatively or angrily to a situation. Then the enemy, because of lack of prayer and praise comes in like a flood.
Job realized that his problem was his confession. He stated, “I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once I have spoken, yea twice. I will not proceed any further.” He declares, ” I will proceed no further.” The Christian will experience no greater event than that of coming to the end of himself. This will begin the ministry of Christ through you. Dead men take no credit! The will of God is birthed in an individual’s life at the moment of complete contriteness. As for Job, the reward of brokenness finally arrived. While in the presence of God, Job was shattered and in his sorrowful state, he was transformed. He realized that trying to convince his friends of his own righteousness was vain.
In Job 40 & 41, God told Job of an animal that is king over all. He spoke of its size and dominion and declared that it cannot be controlled. Leviathan was the literal king of all the animals. Satan was and is king over the proud, able to manipulate and control lives. This was Job until God came on the scene.
Psalm 73:6 Therefore, pride serves as their necklace. Violence covers them like a garment.
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. Pride, arrogance and the evil ways, and the perverse mouth I hate.
Job had traded places with God allowing Satan to set him up. Satan knew that he had created in Job’s life an attitude that said, “Look what I have done for God.” But God knew the real heart of Job, that in the tribulation and breaking Job would choose against his personal will and be birthed again into truth and righteousness. The same is true for every person who desperately wants to go on with God. We must with all of our hearts come to the cross, and from there allow God to begin His ministry through us. Job’s perspective had become distorted and God permitted Satan to sift him as wheat in order to restore Job to God’s ministry and will.
In chapter 42, we see the results of Job’s breaking and the message of the book of Job. Keep in mind that in Arabic, Job means “repentance”. Job admitted the total sovereignty of God. Even the thoughts of his mind were registered in the knowledge of God. Please remember that all along, Job was being convicted as he continued to say over and over that it was God that had brought this discipline to him. Job declared, “The thing I greatly feared has come upon me.” Job knew about God but did not know God. Job’s fatal flaw was the same as Satan’s, the one who sought to overcome Job. That flaw is pride. Job was actually begging, “Please, oh God, give yourself to me. I want you more than anything in this world. You must take over my life!” Even in this brokenness, Job still had the boils, I believe that this was Job’s last test. Then God spoke to Job’s friends from the whirlwind and said to them, “You have not spoken of Me what is right as my servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves 7 bowls and 7 rams. Go to my servant Job and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering, and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly, because you have not spoke of Me what is right as My servant Job has.” This was a test in righteousness for Job because these men needed to be forgiven. Job had just committed all of his life back to God. He had replaced his heart with the heart of God and desired with all passion to hold tight upon the Father’s will and to walk in His ways.
Now here they come, Job’s friends leading these animals over to Job. These friends, don’t forget, came against Job. As he sat in the ashes, I am sure that they stood there with their heads hung in embarrassment. We can imagine this when his friends were explaining to Job what God had said to them. I believe they desperately feared rejection from Job in their hearts. Having just experienced the presence of God and after hearing His commandments, they probably stood terrified. Then one by one, these animals were slain in the presence of Job. Now the test. Upon completion of the sacrifice they asked Job to pray for them as God had commanded. If any pride remained in the heart of Job, he would have looked upon those men and would have said, “No! You accused me, you rejected me, you could not accept me and my righteousness. You blamed me and I will not pray for you, for you deserve exactly what God is going to do to you. How dare you not stand with me and how dare you not pity me.” But when a person has been touched by God and has permitted God to consume his life, he is so changed by God’s invading presence. Job was so desperately in love with the Father that he was overwhelmed with love for these who had come into His presence. At the beginning they accused him, but now they are coming and asking for prayer. When we love God to the point of self-abandonment, the unlovely become lovely, and His love flows through us to them. Job was already so full of God’s presence. As his friends had finished the sacrifice before God, Job prayed for them and God heard. It was the prayer of the Spirit of God through the mouth of Job.
Because of God’s glorious presence, Job had completely renounced all bitterness in his heart. Then, when he was finished crying out to God for these friends, the Lord moved upon Job’s diseased body and completely healed him. The final result of Job’s transformation was that God gave Job twice as much as he had before. Into his life came children again: 7 sons and 3 daughters. Job live 140 years and saw his sons and his sons’ sons, even 4 generations. When he died, he was old and full of days. To be used of God we must be of a contrite heart. If we desire to accelerate the process to walk in what God is doing, then we must pray to be broken. Brokenness is a gift of the holy God. We must allow Him to break us.
C 2003 Apostle Jonas Clark