The Boldness of Faith
The apostle John told us that if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence (or as one translation renders it: boldness) before God. Job knew that he never swerved from his fixed purpose to walk in the ways of God. He declared his foot had held fast to His steps; that is, his foot of faith had been planted firmly on every fresh step forward, because the Lord had been his strength, making his feet like hind’s feet to walk on the high places of His truth.
Not only that, Job could say with a clear conscience that he had not “turned aside” or “gone back” from anything that he knew to be the will of God; he had “treasured up the words of His mouth” and esteemed them more than his “necessary food.”
Right here is where we have the secret of Job’s fear of the Lord, and dread of sin. He knew what it was to receive “words from His mouth.” Those words remain in your heart like letters of fire, they can’t be erased or forgotten, and are of greater value to spirit, soul, and body than even “necessary food.”
Jesus told Satan that “man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
Does that include the written word, too? Yes, the Holy Spirit of God speaks through the Scriptures and makes every word as alive as if it was from the very mouth of God. Without that, we are plainly told that the letter kills; it is the Spirit alone, speaking through the letter, that gives life.
Job’s Knowledge of Faith
Job’s knowledge of the character of God becomes very clearly understood again and again. Here he shows that he knows Him as the One with Whom there “can be no variation, nor a shadow that is cast by turning.”
This is a God that never changes, could not be hindered, or turned aside from fulfilling His purposes. Job could rest assured that the Lord would perform every desire of His heart for him. “And many such plans He still has in store” Job adds—many blessed purposes are in His heart for me, and He will take His own way to fulfill them. I only know that “whatever His heart desires, that is what He does,” no one can turn Him aside.
Job’s fear of faith
“That’s why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear Him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty terrifies me.”
Those seem like strange words to follow the bold language that Job just used, but in experience, they are very easy to understand. Job’s flesh has been broken down on every side, and during this breaking, all his natural powers of endurance and self-restraint are gone. The once dignified Job has not been able to hide his suffering behind any façade. He also was not able to protect himself from the humiliation of begging for mercy from his misjudging friends, and even weeping like a child. He knew God was refining him as gold, but as he remembered the pain and suffering of the past few days, and he said that He had even more in store, he couldn’t help trembling as to what those “more” might mean.
Job says “when I think of that, I’m terrified of Him”—and he explains this by adding, “God has made my heart soft,” although “I am not dismayed by the darkness, nor by the thick darkness that covers my face.”
Job realizes his heart has been softened by all the struggling and suffering, that it even melts at the presence of God. But he also knows that it is not fear—fear of the darkness that God is leading him through. He does not know what it is, but his heart is faint.
The Marvel of Faith
“If my friends know God so well,” Job begins to ponder, “why don’t they understand His different times, or “days,” for dealing with individuals?”
For instance, there are some so selfish and grasping that they provide for their own needs regardless of the suffering of others; they take advantage of the fatherless; rob the widow; trample the poor, so that all are afraid of them. Then there are the poor who are oppressed, they work hard for daily food; they reap the corn and glean the vintage, yet they are without shelter at night, and have no covering from the cold.
Then again there is the murderer, the thief, and the adulterer, all who sin in the dark, and hide themselves in the daytime. “Phaz you say their portion is cursed in the earth.” You claim “the grave” violently takes away all who like that. The fact is “God lets them rest in a feeling of security,” because it is not the “day” for dealing with them.
It is true His eyes are on their ways. For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone, and when they are brought low they are gathered in and cut off like ears of corn.
“Eliphaz, aren’t I talking about the truth?” God has a time for everything, and those who know Him should see and understand His “days.”
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