Have you ever walked into a trophy room? If your childhood sports hero or talented artist invited you into their vault of memorabilia, then you would find that behind each medallion and every trophy there was a story. Maybe some of those awards would have photos and newspaper clippings partnered with them revealing the complete story. Job 38-41 is God’s display room for Job to stand in awe of the Almighty. Job goes on a virtual tour of all God’s work and God is rightly proud of his magnificent display of wisdom and power.
Job learns that God set boundaries for the ocean waves to go no further. God has established the depths and set the stars in space. He has been to the doors of the shadow of death and has visited light in its house. God glories in the hidden treasures of precipitation. He is aware of the lion’s habit and the raven’s hunt. He knows the goat’s conception and the donkey’s contempt. The horse is his poem of power, and the hawk is the graceful hunter. It is all done by the wisdom which God alone is privileged to have.
With such a trophy room, is there any reason God should not be our confidence? Should we doubt his ability to keep our feet from slipping?
When David describes the Lord as our shepherd, he is picturing us as dumb sheep that have no inkling of the world’s events. Their only concern is to fill their belly. The Shepherd is our provider, but He is so much more. His guidance leads us in the peaceful and pure path. In the embrace of His wisdom, you know He cares. The same God who lassos Orion and Pleiades directs my next step. The God who can knock on the door of the shadow of death will lead me as a little child through its valley. I will feel no evil. Why? For thou art with me. You are chased by God’s goodness and mercy. Like a sheepdog corralling the herd, His goodness and mercy pursue you and draw you closer to the eternal warmth of His wisdom.
“Gold is the best and most wonderful thing in the world,” was Midas’ opinion. In order to challenge his conclusion, he was given the gift of the golden touch. He was not able to wield such a gift. It was beyond Midas’ discretion to possess such power. When his daughter ran to embrace him, she immediately was frozen in gold.
God’s touch is not unwieldy, though. His work with you is careful and compassionate. He has plotted and planned every detail to produce something far greater than gold. The process is the trial. The very thing you fear most is the passageway that proves our complete trust in Him. Job knew he was tried, but he sought court proceedings with God. He believed he would come forth as gold.
Is that all? Gold is such a trivial thing compared to God’s grace. Gold is used as the pavement in heaven. There is something grander than gold. David’s prayer recognized the process of God in his life also (Psalm 17:3), but the end result was much different. Would David be satisfied to come forth as gold? Not nearly enough. His vision was much more enlightened. He would not settle for precious pavement. “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psalm 17:15).
What a profound purpose God has for you, believer! You are not simply a desired trinket in his possession. You are to be graced with the dignity of His divine character and perfection. “We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Before we are caught up in the divine imagination, pause and consider how great a transformation is necessary for God to do this. What skill and detail, what pain and purpose He must exercise in order to fashion you as such. We are all fascinated with the product of becoming God’s masterpiece, but the value is attained only by the process.
What comfort can be our companion then? “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Hide under the shadow of the wing of the Almighty (Psalm 17:8). Even though everything may appear to be in ruin, understand His way is perfect. Rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of your salvation (Habakkuk 3:18). Come boldly to the throne of grace to help you in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16), for we know His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
who through all changes faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Today, I am sitting in New York City and I will spend my day the same way I spent yesterday. People will hear my voice as I invite them to pause for just a moment and pray. “Do you have a moment to pray? Have you talked to God today?”
Handfuls of people pass me every second. You feel the thud of a shoulder as people flurry past you. I feel it would take Moses’ staff raised in the air to part the river of people and hold them at bay to heed God for just a moment.
They are in too much of a hurry to pray. Anything which causes us to hasten often indicates our subjection to a god in our life. David knows the results of those who hasten after other god’s—their sorrows are multiplied. The sorrows are evident on the sullen, drawn faces. There is no joy. The windows of their soul are frosted with a dull and lifeless expression. Their lives scream, “Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?” (Job 21:17). It’s a good question. How would you answer?
Psalm 16:11 gives the refreshing answer, “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” The people that flood past me in a great city ignoring the invitation without any indication of pleasure upon their faces of the divine joy in their lives are not an anomaly. What about you? Do you hasten to something other than God? Did your hastening take you away from church Sunday? Did your hurry leave you no time to pray? Whatever your pace in life, it indicates your pursuit. Do you rush to the Lord’s bidding like you do for that sporting event? Do you respond as quickly to His leading as you do to that sale?
There are forever pleasures with God. Don’t settle for temporary pleasures which only leave you wanting more. Find your satisfaction in the Lord.
The pain of being an outcast would probably be the worst pain in the list of sufferings Job endured. Job describes how his brethren have stayed away from him. We might joke about standing back from someone because God will strike them down with lightning, but for Job this was no laughing matter. He says it was so bad that his friends had forgotten him. His own servants did not recognize him. He had lost respect in their eyes. His wife also had grown unfamiliar and as Job works to a climax even the little children who so often are the most accepting. Even they refuse to embrace Job.
Physical pain is unpleasant, but to be rejected by your family is a pain which penetrates to your core like the biting cold cutting into you until your body shudders. Nothing seemed hopeful in Job’s present circumstances, so he looked to the future. “For I know my Redeemer liveth…in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26).
Job’s Redeemer would be the one who paid his debts, something Job certainly had done for others before his suffering. Job’s Redeemer would be the avenger of blood who would demand justice on Job’s behalf. Job’s Redeemer would accept him when all others rejected him. Although Job should die and return to dust he would look upon his Redeemer.
How can such an audience with God be possible? David tells us in Psalm 15 what is necessary according to the law to stand before God and see Him with our eyes. All 613 commandments are reduced to a handful of pithy statements. God honors them that fear Him, but our confidence is not in creed or commandment. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I know my Redeemer lives and I shall see Him one day. My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock, Jesus the only One!
Any time you encounter new information, the neurons work efficiently in your mind remapping all the bridges and connectors and highways so you will assimilate the new information. Your mind reprograms itself. The wisdom of Job should reprogram your soul. The world’s system has solicited all of us to believe we can have security. If you have this job, if you save this money, if you marry this type, if you retire this way—they say, you can rest in security. Many swallow the lie hook, line, and sinker and spend their life pursuing this fable.
It happens at different points of life for different people, but eventually the reality of Job 14:1 smashes the illusion. “Man that is born of a woman Is of few days, and full of trouble.” The swing of the ax of trouble thuds against the tree of your life and you are jarred into reality—security is a lie. Spurgeon beautifully said, “Remember that all trees of earth are marked for the woodman’s axe, we should not be so ready to build our nests in them.”
The tall tale of security disappoints, but what is more startling is the response. Most blame God as if he was the one to tell us to get comfortable with the world’s system. He never counseled us to be rooted in this life. His Word never advises security in the shifting sands of this existence. Instead, we are instructed: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on thee: Because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). Paul gave his testimony: “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). Our security is in the faithfulness of God. Although Job did wrestle with this truth, his confidence in God did blink through the darkness of his circumstances like the starry diamonds in the heavens: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15).
You are a lump of carbon in the Maker’s hands, and he has studied your life. He knows that a chisel here, a blast there, intense heat and the prick and point of His tools will define you into a brilliant diamond fit for his admiration. As one author suggested, you and I are often “quarreling with the process.” The switch that flips your soul’s reprogramming is this:
Is God only a part of your life, or are you a part of God’s plan?