December 4, 1999

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God's Workings, Job 23

I have found this chapter of Job particularly interesting in the past few weeks.

Job's friends have been trying to convince him that God's righteous rule means that the wicked receive swift payment for their evil, and the righteous prosper here in this life. Job says that their assumption is just not true -- facts prove otherwise, and he is an example.

Jobs' complaint throughout this whole book is that God has withdrawn from him, and he has no direct access to God. Job was sure that if he did have that direct access, God would hear his complaint, and would side with him. Job feels that God is out to destroy him.

However, despite all of his difficulties, he is assured of his own integrity, and of God's willingness to aid him, if he could only communicate with the Lord.

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Vv. 1-7

V. 2, Even today... Evidently, this exchange had gone on for several days.

My stroke means that the hand of God is against him, and that hand is so heavy that Job cannot find relief by complaining. Job admits that his complaint is bitter, but his complaint is not as loud as are the strokes of God against him.

V. 3 -- 22:21-30. Eliphaz said that if only Job would return to God, then everything would be OK, and all of his problems would be over.

Job says there is nothing he would like to do more, but it seems that God is not to be found. Job tells his friends, "Show me or tell me how to find God; lead me to the throne of God, and I will plead my own cause."

His friends have no answer for him at this point - how to find God.

Throughout this book, Job is confident in God's grace and mercy, even to save sinners. Job is also confident that if he can get through to the Lord and present his cause, that same grace and mercy will be his, though he is not a lost sinner.

V. 4, the reason he wants to come before God is so he can plead his cause. Job would like to be able to find answers for the reasons these things are happening to him. He knows he is not the sinner that his friends are making him out to be, so there must be another reason for what is taking place. And he would like to know that reason.

I might point out here that we might as well verbalize our grievances to God, because he knows them anyway. We present our arguments before God for our own benefit, not for his. When we lay them out before him, then he can start dealing with our hearts.

V. 5, Job does not care what others think of him, including his fiends. He is concerned about what God things of him. He sais that if only he could speak face to face with the Lord, then Job would know and understand what is taking place.

Job is confident that God is righteous and just in all things. If only he could plead his cause face to face, then God would hear and judge righteously. And Job would understand what is going on.

He will gladly let God settle the dispute between him and his friends. If the Lord sides with the friends, then Job will be quiet. If God sides with him, he expects them to be quiet.

This should settle all disagreements we have with others. Let the word of God be the final word, PERIOD.

V. 6, Job's friends keep telling him he surely is a wicked sinner, or these things would not be happing to him. Rather than using their power for his benefit, they are against him. Job sais that God would not be like that. If Job could only speak to the Lord and plead his cause, he is confident that God would strengthen him, rather than tare him down like his friends are doing.

Job is confident that God in his mercy would not overwhelm him with his glory and majesty; he is confident that God would not deal with him in strict justice. And this is our hope also -- that God will not deal with us in strict justice, but through his grace and mercy as found in Christ..

Psalms 103:14
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

God will deal with the lost in strict justice, but he deals with his people in loving mercy and tender compassion.

Job is also confident that God would strengthen him to plead his own cause before God.

Note that it is God who gives to us the power to persevere and prevail before him. Our prayer is a prayer for God power (grace) to sustain us in whatever he has ordained for us to go through.

V. 7, Job is not desiring to dispute with God; rather, he is confident in the righteousness of God, and if he could only plead his cause, the righteous Judge would judge righteously.

Job is fully convinced of his own innocence.

Let me say here that when "bad things" happen to us and there is a reason, God will readily show us the reason if we want to know the reasons. Job was perfectly willing for God to show him his errors. However, Job knew his friends were not being honest with him as they tried to point out his sins.

Vv. 8-13

Vv. 8, 9, these two verses tell us that Job has done everything he knows to do to find God's favor, or to understand his workings.

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Job left no means untried, and no place unexplored. These are the words of genuine penitence.

Job says he has looked in all four directions, yet he can not find the Lord, nor why these things were happening to him. Though he sought every means to "find the Lord," yet he could not fasten his mind upon the Lord:

1) Job could not fasten his mind on the Lord.2) Job could not find the cause of his troubles, nor what he had done to provoke the Lord.3) Job could not foresee the end of his situation. He could not see if God would deliver him or not. Job was totally at loose ends, not knowing what God's intentions with him were.

V. 10, despite all the trials Job was going through, he never lost sight of God's providence. Job was still confident that God knew where he was, and what was going on.

In v. 10, Job says, "Though I don't know the way the Lord takes, he knows the way that I take."

Though his friends were falsely accusing him, Job was confident the Lord would be just.

Job also knew that though he had taken the wrong path at times, the Lord knew that his desire was at all times to take the right path and do the right thing.

Vv. 11, 12, because Job's heart's desire was to walk in the way of the Lord, he was confident that when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

1) tried - not destroyed. What we go through as God's people is not for our hurt, but for our well-being:

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

2) tried -- trials do not last forever.

3) tried - as gold. Gold goes into the furnace, and it comes out as gold. Gold is precious to the refiner, and his desire is not to lose the gold, nor to decrease its value. The furnace is to increase the value of the gold for its owner.

God's word is the only rule to walk by. And without this necessary food, we will perish in the trials that come our way.

Vv. 13-17.

V. 13, But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

Job did not feel God's favor nor presence, yet he was assured that what was taking place was for his own good.

Job here confirms the sovereignty of God. God preforms his own good will in all things, and no one can question him -- What doest thou? (Dan. 4:35; Rom. 11:34.)

Which brings up a point I have no answer for. God's mind is made up, yet we are commanded to pray.

The Lord opened his parable about the "Unjust Judge" with:

Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

We are not to be concerned about the mind of God other than what is revealed in Scripture, but we are certainly to be concerned about prayer, or we sin by not praying.

Notice here that the mind of God is set for the good of his own name and for the good of his own people, not for their harm:

1 Thessalonians 3:1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

V. 14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

Whatever happens to us, it is God who does it. And only what is appointed for us happens to us. He has appointed us to eternal life, as well as to the afflictions and trials we may go through.

We will not know the perfection of what he is doing until all things are competed.

I might mention here that he appoints many things for us that hold no rime nor reason in our eyes, and can only be understood in the fact of God's divine sovereignty.

Are we sick, sore, dispute, or naked? Are our children or loved ones removed by death? This is what God has appointed for us.

and many such things are with him. We are not unique in the situations we face:

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

V. 15, Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.

When we consider God's infinite justice and purity compared with our own sinfulness, we have every reason to be troubled at his presence and fear him. However, because of the forgiveness of sin through our Redeemer, we have no reason to be afraid of God:

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

V. 16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: 17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

God made Job's heart soft, so that Job would fear the Lord. God made his heart soft, so that Job could not see the end of what was taking place in his life.

Then Job complains because he sees no end to his troubles; he complains that he did not die before his troubles overtook him.

Though we may go through trials and temptations, we have an assurance that Job did not have. We have the assurance that we have free access to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the assurance of sins forgiven, which gives us a clear conscience.

Through Christ, we have what Job could only dream about.

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