Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Job 23

Job 23:10 (ESV)
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.

Job is still contending that he is innocent. He desires to argue his case before God, yet he cannot find God. He searched for God. He called for God. He cried for God, but he cannot find him. He firmly believes that if only he could present his case before the throne of the Almighty he would be vindicated. On the other hand, Job fears God greatly.

Job 23:15-17 (ESV)
Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
when I consider, I am in dread of him.
God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me;
yet I am not silenced because of the darkness,
nor because thick darkness covers my face.

Job’s friends assume that because he is defending his innocence and desiring to present his case to God, he therefore has no fear of God. Yet that is hardly the case. Job does not understand why these things are happening to him. He feels that if only he could present his case he would be guiltless. Yet his fear of God has never diminished. Job desires to approach the unapproachable God. What motivates Job’s desire to present his case to a fearsome God is his faith in the character of God.

Job is absolutely convinced of two additional truths. First, Job is convinced that even though he cannot find God, God “knows the way that I take” (Job 23:10a). The omniscience of God is comforting to Job. He cannot find God, yet God knows right where Job is and what is happening to him. Not only does God know, but God is watching over him. That brings us to the second truth: Job is convinced that he will come out of this trial like purified gold. “When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10b). That sounds an awful lot like 1Peter.

1 Peter 1:6-8 (ESV)
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

This may not answer the why question that Job is wrestling with, but it gives hope. Whatever I am facing, whatever pain, or difficulty, or oppression, or opposition, or even persecution we face as believers, we know two things. God is watching. Nothing escapes his view. And, we will come through the trial like purified gold.

Trials aren’t fun. No one prays for more difficulty in life. Yet it is just that which God uses to burn off the dross in our lives and purify our faith. It reminds me of the old chorus:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace
Helen Howarth Lemmel

The challenge, of course, is to turn our eyes upon Jesus when we cannot see him. That was Job’s conundrum. Sometimes, with Job, we can only see him through eyes of faith. And so we hold firmly to this one truth: “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).

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