“Then Job answered the Lord and said, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” – Job 42:1-2 (NASB)
In all the books of the Bible, there is none that matches the Book of Job. It is a story of God giving permission to Satan to test one of His own. Job was an extremely wealthy man. Some say the most wealthy of his time – sometime after Babel and before Abram. With permission from God Satan laid on Job the most serious trials in an effort to get Job to curse God and turn from his faith in God. Job lost everything except his wife and his own life. It was a stiff trial and very difficult to understand for a man who loved and followed God all his life. At the end and after hearing many recriminations from his so-called friends, Job confessed the words in today’s verses. He acknowledged God’s sovereignty over his life and all life. Nothing that God purposed to do can be thwarted is the promise we have. Have you a promise from God? Believe it friend and know that God will never renege on any promise he makes. His love for us is perfect and his grace has saved us if we have believed in Him.
“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God.” – Job 19:25-26 (NASB)
Yes, we are focusing a bit on suffering these past three days. But we should not be surprised to know that suffering for Christ’s sake is promised each believer. Our portion will be according to the will of God. Job suffered for God to a degree none of us could imagine. In Job 2:7 we read that Satan “smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” Yet in the circumstance of his skin peeling off and turning black from decay, Job held on fast that he would see God in his flesh – that means after his death he believed in his resurrection by God. He believed that God who was allowing him to suffer so severely was also his Redeemer God. Eventually He will rule all taking His stand on the earth. The scripture we have received from God is His inspired word and is perfect. Nothing that ever happens to God’s family of faith believers will last even if it brings death. When hope for life is no more, we have confidence that God will resurrect our bodies and conform them to perfection as His body is perfect.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.” – Job 23:10-12 (NASB)
Again we look to garner from the Book of Job a promise of God’s. Having been severely tested by Satan, who had God’s permission with limits, Job has become convinced that the trials which took everything he owned and his family – except his wife – were a test and not a punishment for evil or wickedness on his part. Job sensed that God was evading him. But Job believed that were God to show up He would, knowing the way of godliness Job followed, have to declare him not guilty. Yet the Job perceived that when God finished testing him he would come forth “shining like gold. Even though Job could not sense the presence of God, he believed God was present and Job affirmed his commitment to God’s purpose in this test and his continued obedience to what God has commanded – which were the most important issues in his life. From this real-life example Job gives us, we too can be assured that when our trials become more than we think we can bear, if God is our hope and salvation, we will emerge through His graces and for His glory.
“Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive instruction from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart.” Job 22:21-22 (ESV)
The story of Job in the Bible is not one many really know very well. We might know of Job’s trials, losses and why. We might even have a clue about three friends who fail to understand and so missed the mark when trying to offer help. Instead of comfort counselors they were accusers. But in all that is said to Job, there are many interesting and valuable bits of advice. Eliphaz, the third and at first silent friend, is at first courteous, but in chapter 22 his frustration rises. Again, the fate of the wicked is expressed in the simplistic idea that all suffering comes from sin. Eliphaz did not believe Job was innocent and so painted a picture of the life of blessing in store for Job if only he would return to God and repent of his sin (v. 23). Out of this bit of acidic advice from his “friend” there is a truth. In order to properly “agree with God, and be at peace,” we must know Him as He has revealed Himself. In order to know God, God must know us as His own. That is how we truly know peace from Him.
“Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.” – Job 14:1 (NASB)
Perhaps at times like these, with uncertainty in every headline and trending on social media, we need to remember who it is that eternally controls of all things. Job affirms this fact. Confronted with intense testing and suffering Job asks for meaning since life is short, all are sinners (v. 4), and days are limited (v. 5), then comes death (vv. 7–12). We are reminded of the fact that the life we have and the things that we accumulate should be held lightly. We do not delight in this stark reality as we recognize we may be just a hair-breadth away from the “arrows of adversity.” The psalmist in Psalm 30:6-7, boasted how his mountain stands firm and that he will never be moved. We live in tremulous times as we observe what is happening to the people and especially our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. C. H. Spurgeon said of this truth, “We should love, but we should love with the love which expects death, and which reckons upon separations.”* Let’s keep our perspective: our loved ones are simply on loan to us and one day, maybe sooner than we wish, they will be returned to His hand.
*C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).
“Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” – James 5:11 (ESV)
In our passage today our promise is mercy if we remain steadfast in suffering. It is those who suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ that are promised this mercy. Not only receive mercy but show mercy when we face tribulation, persecution ⸺ any undeserved action because of our confession of faith in God. As faith believers we recognize that suffering is a part of the life that comes with proclaiming the Gospel of salvation which comes only from believing in Jesus. His half-brother James, had not always believed in Jesus during His earthly ministry on earth. But James came to believe and was the leader of the early church in Jerusalem. James had seen the suffering firsthand. This included decapitation, stoning, imprisonment, whippings, beatings, and attempts to eliminate or squelch the believers of Jesus. So James reminds us to consider two things in this verse. First, that we remember how Job remained steadfast through the worst trials and suffering we can imagine. Second, that the Lord is full of both compassion and mercy – that means Jesus delights to show mercy to those who are suffering. That is why He willingly went to the cross to die.
“Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable.” – Job 36:26 (ESV)
God is the source of all good things in our lives. Any strength or skill, intelligence or beauty that we may have comes to us from God. When measured on a scale of excellence, God is greater beyond the very most excellent. God is the most important person who exists and as creator, all things were made by Him. We who believe in Him have a personal knowledge of God in salvation, the fullness of His glory is beyond human comprehension; He is beyond our ability to even fathom what He looks like. God’s years are countless and unending while we have the few years God gives to us. Job’s friend Elihu spoke these words to Job. Job’s friends failed badly trying to reason God’s intentions for the suffering He had allowed. Our promise is that God is so very high and exalted that He is beyond us. Trying to reason God out is useless. Trying to outthink God’s ways and purposes is a fool’s errand. It is nonsense to come to conclusions about God apart from His Word by using our puny reasoning ability. What can we do? We can by faith, believe in God’s Word.
“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you;” – Job 42:5 (ESV)
It is one of the key lessons about Job and about us that we find in this book. It’s deep and takes time to study. Some use the book of Job as evidence that God just gives us questions and no answers. But to believe that, we need to cut out the rest of the book of Job, for that’s not how Job heard it. All his life Job had been a good man. All his life he had believed in God, but in the storm Job saw God. If any passage in the book of Job, needs to be underlined, it is this verse: “I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you” (Job 42:5). Job sees God—and that is enough. But it isn’t enough for God. The years to come find Job with his health, family, and wealth restored. His lap is once again full of children and grandchildren. A new beginning indeed. After it was all over, it is conceivable Job would do it all again if that’s what it would take to hear God’s voice and stand in his presence. For God gave Job more than Job ever dreamed. God gave Job himself.
The book of Job is not easy to read or to understand. When trying to grasp its truth as a whole, it seems nearly unreachable. Thanks to the daily devotional “All Up Words” by Max Lucado. Acknowledgement and thanks for some of these ideas is given to his words https://maxlucado.com/listen/more-than-job-ever-dreamed/
“Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:5 (ESV)
Job admitted to flunking God’s biology geology, astronomy, meteorology, zoology, and all examinations. Now he asked questions only to learn about God’s deeds. Job had only heard of God’s doings. The complainer was not an eyewitness of the act of Creation, a fact God called to his attention near the beginning of His first speech. Nor could Job even view firsthand many aspects of natural Creation. His perspective of God’s total workings was therefore limited and secondhand. But now Job has seen some awesome things about God. Max Lucado writes in his book “Begin again:” “He saw hope, lover, destroyer, giver, taker, dreamer, deliverer. Job saw the tender anger of a God whose unending love is often received with a peculiar mistrust. Job stood as a blade of grass against the consuming fire of God’s splendor. Job’s demands melted like wax as God pulled back the curtain and heaven’s light fell uneclipsed across the earth.” For Job it’s a thrilling view of God; a first-time experience. So Job confesses, “now my eyes have seen You”. It is a spiritual insight not physical vision and when this happens, our appreciation of God and his majesty is deepened.
The book of Job is not easy to read or to understand. When trying to grasp its truth as a whole, it seems nearly unreachable. Thanks to the daily devotional “All Up Words” by Max Lucado. Acknowledgement and thanks for some of these ideas is given to his words https://maxlucado.com/listen/now-i-have-seen-you/
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” – Job 38:4 (ESV)
God answered Job’s “Why?” questions with a great deal of pointed interrogations. God asked: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.” One such question would have been enough for Job, but it isn’t enough for God. God pours out the questions to Job and holds him accountable for his presumption of knowing and understanding God’s ways. Like a furious waterfall, or huge breakers, questions burst forth. Questions dash against the walls in the chambers of Job’s heart. God’s questions to Job aren’t intended to teach; they are intended to shock. They aren’t intended to stir the mind; they are intended to bring him to his knees. “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” God pins Job’s ears to the wall. “Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine” (Job 41:11). Job has no argument, no snappy comeback. Our Sovereign God owes no one anything. No explanations, no excuses. It’s this astounding fact that flattens our feeble human reasoning in wonder and awe that God has given us anything at all⸺including his only begotten Son Jesus to die in our place for our sin.
The book of Job is not easy to read or to understand. When trying to grasp its truth as a whole, it seems nearly unreachable. Thanks to the daily devotional “All Up Words” by Max Lucado. Acknowledgement and thanks for some of these ideas is given to his words. https://maxlucado.com/listen/gods-questions/