“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). The author of the book of Job begins by describing the character and actions of the one that came to suffer so greatly because of his faith and service to God, and also because that is what God had said about Job. “Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil’” (Job 1:8)? The word “shun” means “to persistently avoid, ignore, or reject” according to the Oxford Dictionary. The King James Version uses the word “eschewed” and the New American Standard Version translates it as “turned away from”. The fact was that even though Job lived in a world of people, most of whom would not have been blameless or feared God, he did and shunned or turned away from evil.
Followers of the Lord will always find themselves living among the people of the world that are not interested in seeking or doing the will of God. It was for that reason Paul wrote to the brethren in Corinth; “I wrote to you in my epistle to not keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world…then you would need to go out of the world” (1 Corinthians 5:9-10). Paul’s teaching in this verse is that it is impossible to live in the world and not be in some way associated with people that do not want to do the will of God and in reality even make a great effort to violate it. The passage also teaches that there is a way for a Christian to live among people of the world that want to violate God’s will and at the same time to live in such a way as to “shun evil” as Job did.
Job evidently shunned evil by not participating in the world’s evil even though his neighbors and even some members of his own family might have been doing so. That is the challenge that every Christian in Corinth faced just as Christians do in the twentieth century. The challenge is how to shun evil while at the same time function in the world of evil. Job must have been letting the light of the will of God shine through his life as he went to the market, interacted socially with his neighbors, and as he sold, traded, and bought his livestock. “Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred male donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East” (Job 1:3). Taking into account the fact that Job had more than ten thousand animals that needed to be cared for and were used for supporting the family financially Job would have had much interaction with many people in many places that were in and of the world. Yet God said that Job “was a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). Job did not just shun evil by not participating in it, but he also filled his life with giving to God. Quite probably his neighbors would have seen the smoke rising from the sacrifices that Job made unto God. They no doubt knew that there were certain days when Job was not going to go to the market, he was not going to be selling and buying camels and sheep, he was not going to be working the livestock, but it was a time of dedication to prayer and sacrifice. “And he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all (people in the family)…Thus Job did regularly” (Job 1:5). Job did what Jesus said that Christians must do and that is; “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).