Job and the Issue of Faith (pt 1)

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The test of Faith

Job admits that he doesn’t have a specific word from God in his deep trial. It seems that whichever way he moves—forward, backward, to the left or to the right, he can’t perceive a trace of His Presence or His workings.

This hiding of God causes the bitterest pain of all; but it’s useless laboring to find Him when He withdraws Himself. No agonizing in prayer or writhing in self-effort can compel Him to unveil His face when He hides Himself in thick darkness.

Whatever Eliphaz may think about it, even though he calls Job’s complaint rebellion, Job is determined to hold to his convictions. The Lord “has broken him down on every side,” and there is no possibility of “keeping up appearances” now. God has hidden Himself from him, and he does not know why!

Job’s Anchor

“But if I can’t see God, He can see me!” If I don’t know the path He is leading me in, He knows it and that is enough. He has placed me in the crucible of trial, and when the fire has done its work, He will bring me forth as gold.

In spite of all the suffering and the complaining, Job’s endurance, of what was almost unendurable to a human being, helps us to see again and again how Job was really made to understand his position by the inner teaching of the Spirit of God. All the way through this story, we see the division between the inner and the outer man through the language he uses.

As we listen to his outpourings of grief, it seems as if his spirit was lost in the bitter cries of his flesh. Yet again and again his spirit breaks out in a tenacity of faith, which assured him, in the face of outward circumstances, he is still in the hand of God.

It is said of Abraham that:

“When hope was dead within him, he went on hoping in faith . . . With undaunted faith he looked at the facts . . . yet he refused to allow any distrust of a definite pronouncement of God to make him waver. He drew strength from his faith, and, while giving the glory to God, remained absolutely convinced that God was able to implement his own promise. This was the ‘faith’ which was counted unto him for righteousness.”

Once again we see Job, at the moment of deepest despair—when he is driven to an agonized cry to his friends for pity—his spirit breaks free in triumphant faith in the Living God. His faith is again anchored on the Rock. Now, when Eliphaz boldly deals with him as a transgressor, (and he is dumb with the obvious impossibility of answering him), he is able to steadfastly rest in the faithfulness of God, and to understand what the Lord is doing with him.

Job remembers that gold is always purified by fire. He has already learned the need for sacrifice for the remission of sins, but now he realizes that there is also a trial by fire for the “gold” of God’s chosen, and true gold will stand the fire and only lose the dross.

Job had suffered a great deal of distress under the charges of evil doing, and bitterly cried to God to show him his transgressions. But as soon as he saw his Redeemer to be his heavenly Vindicator, his spirit began to rest in a calm assurance and dependence on God. He knew now that the Lord was only trying him; not punishing him as his friends had said.

If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.

Other Bible Studies and Commentary are available at Doulos Studies.

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