GAIN THROUGH PAIN
Gracious Father, I thank you for your grace that restores and forgives. Work your will in me today.
Read JOB 23
23 Then Job replied:
2 “Even today my complaint is bitter;
his hand[a] is heavy in spite of[b] my groaning.
3 If only I knew where to find him;
if only I could go to his dwelling!
4 I would state my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would find out what he would answer me,
and consider what he would say to me.
6 Would he vigorously oppose me?
No, he would not press charges against me.
7 There the upright can establish their innocence before him,
and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.
8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Oh God, the suffering I see is unbearable. God, come quickly, bring swift relief and sweet comfort.’1 In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I feel like using the phrase from old westerns, ‘There’s gold in them thar hills’,2 about this chapter. It is a high point in Job’s defense and reveals some of the secrets of his survival through so much pain and criticism. He longs to appear before God to state his case (v 4). Job believes that a mortal man can gain access to the throne of God. Well ahead of his time, he sees a day when God’s throne will touch earth, like John who saw ‘the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven’.3 What Job fails to grasp is that he is indeed taking part in a trial before God, not as a defendant but as a star witness.
The gold continues to be produced in verse 10, literally. I held on to Job’s words in this verse throughout two decades and more of intense pain and serious illness. Faith needs to be refined by fire, just like gold, and the end product will reflect the refiner’s face as he gazes upon it.4 God knows the way we are taking, even when we do not. Our calling is to walk in his footsteps, carefully placing our own puny feet in the marks left by his, nail-prints and all. God was testing Job: he may be testing you. You do not get a testimony without having a test. When Jesus was tested in the desert, by hunger, thirst, and raging temptations, he repeated the ancient maxim that man does not live by bread alone, but by God’s word.5 Job is an example of this great truth. God’s words can feed us spiritually in ways that cannot be gained by physical food. We need that sustenance today. Our souls are hungry. There certainly is gold in them thar hills!
Pray that God will strengthen your faith today by his Word. Give thanks that he knows the way you are taking and is refining you to be like gold.
All-powerful God, your ways are right, but they may not always be pleasant. I need your special grace to see them through.
1 Kate C Bowler, ‘A blessing …’, www.instagram.com/p/CEZbVrznHR4 2 Mark Twain, The American Claimant, 1892 3 Rev 21:2 4 1 Pet 1:7 5 Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4
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