5. The Fourth Beatitude

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.
Matt 5:6. (King James Version)

In all religious literature Job stands out as a person who would not give up his search for God. He was afflicted by disease and his body was marked by its scars. Members of his family were taken captive and others were killed in a storm. Fire destroyed his property. Marauding bands carried away his flocks and servants. The scripture tells us he was a dependable and upright man. Still his wife and friends gave him little comfort as he struggled with doubts about himself and the goodness of God. They expressed the traditional thinking of their day, saying that the sinful suffer and the righteous are rewarded. Job was being punished for his sins. He could not accept the belief that only the sinful suffered. He was convinced that the innocent suffered as well.

Neither could he accept the thought of an unjust and unloving God. With all the tragedies and misfortunes that had happened to him, and in spite of all his friends and the prevailing thought of the time, he would not accept this unworthy thought about God. Nor would he give up his integrity because of the pressures placed upon him.

In this painting he is a majestic figure as he steadfastly holds to his course. He raises his hand in confidence and plants his rod in the ground and begins to rise to his feet, saying, "Though he slay me yet will I trust him . . . I know that my redeemer liveth." (Job 13:15, 19:25)

This painting expresses two prevailing moods. First is the mood of misery, defeat, despair and death as signified by the skull at his feet. This is seen also in the scars of disease and in his face worn by fear and exhaustion. The second mood is a mood of faith. His face is earnest but composed. Confidence is beginning to show in his eyes. He has a strong, firm grip on his rod ready to rise. His right hand is uplifted, expressing triumph and hope.


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