April 29, 2020
Just last night I read a sermon by the great evangelist George Whitefield. Whitefield was blessed immensely by the Matthew Henry commentaries on the Scriptures. In the sermon on “Enoch’s walk with God,” he quoted Matthew Henry’s last words:
“You have heard many men’s dying words, and these are mine:
A life spent in communion with God is the pleasantest life in the world.”
This truth reminds me of Paul’s desire to know the Lord in the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10). Job would agree with this perspective. He was committed to a relationship with God based on grace. His friends lack understanding of grace and seek only to explain the reason for all the troubles Job faced. Job’s focus is on Who is in control. He has seasons of doubt about God’s justice and methods. But his eyes are fixed on God which is so very inspiring. How many times when we face trials do, we seek to know “Why” without remembering “Who?”
The backdrop for the story is Satan’s activity under the rule and reign of the Lord. Satan is required to get permission from the Lord to even touch Job. Job and his friends do not see the hand of the enemy. How often are we blind to his insidious activities?
Job’s remarks demonstrate his sincere faith in the tests he is facing. At the very outset of his troubles he says:
NIV Job 1:21 "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
He is committed to worship God forever! In his season of horrific struggle, he worships the God he knows. Even when His wife’s grief spills over into a harsh rebuke, Job remains faithful:
NIV Job 2:9-10 His wife said to him, "Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job is careful in his response to his wife. He does not call her a fool but her in her behavior she is acting like a foolish woman. A fool in Scripture is someone who denies faith in God and may be in rebellion against Him. He remains faithful to the existence and goodness of God despite the lack of support from his dear wife.
What an example of true persevering faith! Job is honest as he faces his trials. He clearly expresses his grief and despair. Here are just three examples.
NIV Job 6:4 The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God's terrors are marshaled against me.
NIV Job 19:8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness.
NIV Job 16:12 All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target; 13 his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground
It is healthy to be honest in our faith tests! We will not grow if we deny our sorrows and grief. It is also imperative that we keep our eyes and ears open to God in the tests of life. He is the Compassionate Father who will comfort us even in our doubts! (see 2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Let us learn today to express our fears and doubts before God. May we affirm Who is in control as we try to understand why we feel so out of control!
In his book “Looking Up when Life gets you Down” Warren Wiersbe observes: “Calamity is often the voice of God shouting to us to turn around and come back to Him.”
I look forward to exploring more of Job with you tomorrow.