Passage of the Day: Job 23 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: My friend, who might be reading Chapter 23 again along with me, don’t you just want to scream out to Job, “Hey, my suffering Brother, every thing’s going to be okay. I’ve read the end of your story; and God’s going to reward your faith in the end.”
Yes, if you’ve read on ahead or know the last chapter of Job’s book, God restores all that the suffering servant has lost; and Job’s body is refigured into normal health and wellness. But right now, in Chapter 23, Job can’t see that. He’s at a loss to explain why God seems so distant and why he [Job] is sitting out on a garbage heap, having lost all his children and his wealth, and why he’s covered in boils. But somehow, even with a bunch of friends who are giving him intolerably bad advice, Job remains faithful.
And Swindoll points out that our hero makes three declarations of faith in one verse (verse 10) of this chapter. He says, "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." And we need to catch the import of what Job is saying here.
First Job is saying that God is in control, saying, in essence, that God knows what is going on. And secondly Job denies that it is somehow Job’s fault that he suffers, saying that it is God Whom has chosen to test him. And finally, Job expresses the ultimate in hopefulness, declaring that one day God is going to reward his (Job’s) faithfulness, as he declaring that God will one day reward him in some unique way. Read verse 10, Chapter 23 again. All three of those faithful declarations are there. And don’t you just want to slap Job on the back as say, “Right on, brother!!”
And that’s why when you read Chapter 23, we empathetically want to be the fourth friend for Job, telling him that we know the end of the story; and we can assure our brother that God will ultimately do everything he’s declaring in verse 10. But when you think about it, we Christians who live today, can say that about any set of circumstances in our lives which makes God feel distant and where we suffer loss or physical deprivation.
I’m sure as I write this there have been times in your life where things have really gone bad for you and where God seemed like He was totally AWOL. But in moments like those are we not being tested as to our belief in all those truths we declare are absolutely true in God’s word. Think of verses I’ve already quoted in our study of Job. And if we believe in the truth of 2nd Tim. 3: 16, that all Scripture (all of the Bible) is God breathed, then we have to believe that Hebrews 11: 6 is true where it says that our faith is going to be rewarded. And we have to believe in the truth of 1st Cor. 15: 52 … that one day in glory we’ll have new, incorruptible bodies, and that all the physical challenges of our lives will not be for naught. And knowing what Christ did for us on the cross, we’re also tested in this life to believe what Paul declared in Romans 8: 28 that all of the tests and trials we experience are for God’s good purpose.
My devotional friend, we who have and believe in the “end of the Book,” are tested by our trials in life, just as was Job, to believe that God is never going to leave us; … that our Lord always has His grand scheme in what we’re suffering; … and that in the end we’ll be rewarded for our faith. Job is one of our models for this; and Jesus is our ultimate model. I pray that we can take the tests of life and pass with flying colors so that we can give God the glory for what we go through, holding on the hope we have in our Lord.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, when we’re tested, help us to pass and come out shining Your light of faith for all to see You in the darkness of our suffering. Amen