The Silent Friends
Those “words” went over like the proverbial lead balloon. “The three men gave up trying to answer Job because he was righteous in his own eyes.” They were silenced, but not convinced. His attempt to clear his own character, in their minds, proved they were right.
There is no doubt that Job walked with a conscience void of offense toward God and man. Everything he said was a true and accurate description of his life, but his self-defense was the opposite of the spirit of true humility. Proverbs 28:27 says, “For men to search out their own glory, is not glory.” If there is to be any boasting to be done, let the Lord voice the praise of His creation.
You will never get away with trying to vindicate your own integrity. God alone will be your judge and vindicator if you will just leave your character in His hands. Job’s words prove that he really did need the “refining fire.”
Each stage of our spiritual growth has its own temptations. It is only after an experience of power and fruitful service that the very subtle characteristics of our nature can be revealed.
When we first come to the Lord there is a beautiful zeal and fervor, a freshness of love, but it also has its crudities, its impulsiveness, its partiality, its assumption of knowledge and one-sided vision. There is beauty in fervor, devotion, zeal, energy, and life, but as one writer says, it is a “beauty of possibility, not fulfillment.” I have heard some say that new believers need to be locked up for a year or two, just to calm them down. (Then again, some of the folks that have been around for awhile need to have a fire put under their butts to get them going).
However, there is an even greater beauty in the matured faith that walks with God in calm and quiet trust. There is strength in the quality of the chastened Spirit that rests in the confidence that everything is being worked out by the Lord.
That only comes by testing and trials, much “fire.” During his trial, Job had shown a deep submission to the will of God, and a tenacious faith in his character and faithfulness. He had also shown that he was unknowingly allowing the gifts of God to become more important to him than the will of God. He was in danger of claiming for himself the very power that God had given him, and as a result, it appeared to everybody else that he was righteous in his own eyes.
The apostle Paul walked with God as closely as Job, yet his language is so different from Job’s. “My conscience is clear, but even that isn’t final proof, that doesn’t make me innocent. It’s the Lord Himself who must examine me and decide” (I Corinthians 4:4).
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
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