“Job,” by Leon Bonnat, 1880
Job 23 (NLT)
Job’s Eighth Speech: A Response to Eliphaz
1Then Job spoke again:
Job’s bitter complaint and his inability to connect with God:
2 “My complaint today is still a bitter one,
and I try hard not to groan aloud.
3 If only I knew where to find God,
I would go to his court.
4 I would lay out my case
and present my arguments.
5 Then I would listen to his reply
and understand what he says to me.
6 Would he use his great power to argue with me?
No, he would give me a fair hearing.
7 Honest people can reason with him,
so I would be forever acquitted by my judge.
Job confesses his lack of understanding and need of divine revelation:
8 I go east, but he is not there.
I go west, but I cannot find him.
9 I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden.
I look to the south, but he is concealed.
An old Puritan writer quaintly observed, in commenting on this, “Job, you have gone forward and backward, and you have looked to the left and you have looked to the right. Why don’t you try looking up?”
Job’s confidence in God and in his own integrity:
10 “But he knows where I am going.
And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
from Streams in the Desert,
by L. B. Cowman
Faith grows during storms. These are just four little words, but what significance they have to someone who has endured life-threatening storms!
Faith is that God given ability that, when exercised, brings the unseen into plain view. It deals with the supernatural and makes impossible things possible. And yes, it grows during storms–that is, it grows through disturbances in the spiritual atmosphere. Storms are caused by conflicts between physical elements, and the storms of the spiritual world are conflicts with supernatural, hostile elements. And it is in this atmosphere of conflict that faith finds its most fertile soil and grows most rapidly to maturity.
The strongest trees are found not in the thick shelter of the forest but out in the open, where winds from every direction bear down upon them. The fierce winds bend and twist them until they become giant in stature. These are the trees that tool-makers seek for handles for their tools, because of the wood’s great strength.
It is the same in the spiritual world. Remember, when you see a person of great spiritual stature, the road you must travel to walk with him is not one where the sun always shines and wildflowers always bloom. Instead, the way is a steep, rocky, and narrow path, where the winds of hell will try to knock you off your feet, and where sharp rocks will cut you, prickly thorns will scratch your face, and poisonous snakes will slither and hiss all around you.
The path of faith is one of sorrow and joy, suffering and healing comfort, tears and smiles, trials and victories, conflicts and triumphs, and also hardships, dangers, beatings, persecutions, misunderstanding, trouble, and distress. Yet “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
11 For I have stayed on God’s paths;
I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from his commands,
but have treasured his words more than daily food.
In the previous chapter, Eliphaz tried to condemn Job by listing some secret sins that Job may have committed. Job insists here that the Lord understands his heart and his ways. Can we ever be sure that we are entirely free from sin? God’s standard of holiness is far beyond our reach. But — glorious “but” — Christ on the cross did all that was was required to forgive all our sins!
Romans 5:1 (New International Version)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:1-2 (New International Version)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
And when our thoughts and emotions cause us to doubt the truth of this, we have God’s kind assurance that we can be confident in his promises and in his goodness towards us.
1 John 3:19-20 (New International Version)
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
Job wonders at God’s power and sovereignty:
13 But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind?
Whatever he wants to do, he does.
14 So he will do to me whatever he has planned.
He controls my destiny.
15 No wonder I am so terrified in his presence.
When I think of it, terror grips me.
16 God has made me sick at heart;
the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Darkness is all around me;
thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.
John 1:4-5 (New International Version)
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
This song HERE, “Refiner’s Fire,” by Brian Doerksen, invites the Lord to do whatever it takes so that we, like Job, shall come forth like gold.
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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