Job’s Verdict on his Past
It is fascinating how we can see right into the Lord’s heart as he is dealing with Job. It is so important to the Lord that His people walk with Him in integrity of heart and that they have a complete understanding of all His dealings with them.
Just before the Lord had sent His judgment on Israel, he told Ezekiel that when he saw the conduct and actions of the survivors, he would be comforted because he would see that He did nothing without cause (Ezekiel 14:22).
I think the Lord is trying to do the same thing with Job. He simply wants Job to acknowledge that the Lord was just in His dealings with him. The Lord opens His heart to Job, and then waits for Job to pass judgment on himself and the way he behaved during his trial.
“Job, answer Me now,” the Lord said, and Job looks up. “Lord, I thought I knew You, because You were with me before. Your Spirit was on me. I called on You and You answered me, I was blessed on every side, but now that my eyes see You, I realize that my past knowledge of You was nothing more than a ‘hearing of the ear.’ My inner ears were opened to Your instruction, but the eyes of my heart have never seen You until now.”
Let’s think about that a moment. It seems that the entire story of Job contains the first and primary revelation of God to His fallen creatures. Through each year and each generation, the Lord was gradually unveiling Himself as He drew closer and closer to His people until in the “fullness of time” He was manifested in His son, Christ Jesus. Through Christ, all those who were once alienated and banished from God could return and through a rebirth become the very sons of God.
Job saw the Lord as the great First Cause, the central spring or pivot of all creation, the One who directs and moves everything from His throne.
Elijah understood the same aspect of the Lord so that he was able, in unshaken faith, to ask that it wouldn’t rain for three years. He knew the God on the throne of the universe, the One who declared to Job that He had treasures of snow and hail reserved for the day of battle.
To us, who God has redeemed, this same God is revealed in His Son Jesus Christ. Paul said that Christ was the expressed image of the invisible God and that it was “in Him that all things were created . . . and it was in Him that all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). That makes Him equal with God, our Creator as well as our Redeemer.
Jesus’ greatest joy is to reveal the Father to His redeemed. As we stand in union with Him, and walk with Him, beholding with unveiled faces the glory of the Lord, we are led by the Holy Spirit from glory to glory, closer and closer to Him who sits on the throne, until we, too, know God as He was revealed to Job. From the inner sanctuary of His presence we can look out on the universe, and like the Psalmist, see how His voice moves the waters; breaks the cedars; hews out flames of fire; shakes the wilderness, and strips the forest bare (Psalm 29). In the sanctuary of His immediate presence the Seraphim cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3).
The story of Job teaches us that this innermost knowledge of God is only given when you have been stripped of everything that may, even without your knowing it, dim your vision and keep you preoccupied even with its blessings instead of with God; or with the work rather than the will of God.
Many times the very gifts that God has given us, as well as our present knowledge and understanding of the Lord, can keep us from receiving the deepest knowledge of God Himself.
Also in this story we can see the difference between the possession of gifts, which tend to build us up in ourselves and make us think we know more than others, and the stripping of everything we thought we possessed, so that when we are left with absolutely nothing we can truly “possess all things in Him” who is the source and possessor of everything.
“I had learned of you, but now my eyes have seen you,” cries Job as he looks back on the past that he thought was “the ripeness of his days!”
“I spoke of things I didn’t understand, things too wonderful for me to know” is his verdict on the knowledge that he thought was so great!
Job finally knows himself and his place in the economy of God. He is becoming the little child Elihu had described that is content to lay down on its Father’s heart, to know everything that the Father wishes to teach and content to be whatever the Father wants it to be while it rejoices with excitement in the gifts and graces given to others in his Father’s house.
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
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