Job 19:5-6 “If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach: Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.”
So many of us have asked that question of Him, and as many that have asked have received the same answer – silence. The answer lies in our faith applied – do we trust God to do for us even when we don’t see our way clearly?
Job struggled with the ‘why’ of his circumstances. He searched his heart and could find no plausible reason why God would do such a thing or allow such calamity to come. His first answer was in faith.
Job 1:20-22 “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
But as time went on, his friends falsely accused him of harboring some secret sin; of possessing some guilt of that which wasn’t seen by man. Ten times his friends accused him and even though Job could not find any reason to explain it rightly. His faith still held fast.
Job 19:25-26 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:”
Even after further rebukes by Zophar and Eliphaz, Job’s frustration and despair begin to show. Yet, even in all this, his faith rises when doubt knocks.
Job 23:3 “Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!”
The exclamation point to each sentence expresses the emotion. It was a cry from Job’s heart. He sought God with no answer. But we read further and find:
Job 23:8-10 “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Faith once again takes the place of doubt and worry.
We hear of the patience of Job. But, what of us?
Could it be said of the church today that we are a patient people? A kinder people? Loving, merciful, peace-seeking and calm? We are often scrutinized with a magnifying glass and a fine-toothed comb. Yet, even when our humanity is found, may it be said that the love, the gratitude, the thankfulness and mercy with which we live out this life overshadow the sins we commit.
People aren’t looking for perfection. They are looking for something and someone that is real; someone they can relate to; with which to identify. How we handle adversity and trouble grants us the opportunity to show Christ to those watching.
Amidst the accusations and pointed fingers, Job clung to God.
At the end of the book, we find God shows up. By this time, Job’s integrity has taken a prideful turn. God rebukes Job for it and never really answers the ‘why.’ Job’s response was:
Job 42:2-6 “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
He rebukes the friends for their lack of faith and support of Job and allows them a space of repentance.
Job 42:7-8 “And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.”
Then, God blesses Job:
Job 42:10 “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
Is it just me, or do we want to know how it will all end? The conclusion of the matter allows me some comfort knowing that it will all turn out; that there is a happy ending. But, what part would faith play then?
Job clung to his faith through his ordeal. It never brought back the servants and children that died. God restored the wealth and influence that Job had twice over. But even that wasn’t guaranteed.
We must, by faith, cling to the promises given:
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
My life may be devoid of peace here, but I serve the One who has overcome the world, which is far better!