Job 23: Even in the Midst of a Storm
December 1, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Once more, we are back to Job and his replies to the testing so-called “comforters” that surround him. When you listen to their words, you can all-too-often hear the fake piety of some cultural Christianity. They speak as if the answer was always simple, as if the righteous never suffer, as if when something bad happens to you, it can only be because you are a bad person. We know better—or we should. Let us be careful that our words of comfort to our friends in difficult times are words of true comfort. That is, they are filled with the love and compassion of the gospel and have the sweet aroma of Christ.
Job’s reply is “bitter” (23:2). That is how he starts. His heart is not sweet. He does not feel warm gooey feelings. He is “groaning” (23:2). The difficult truth is that this is sometimes how even godly disciples can feel. His “complaint” is that even in his suffering, he cannot “find” God to tell God really how he feels (23:2-3). If he could find God, he would “state his case before him” (23:4). But east and west, north and south, he cannot find God. Does it ever feel to you as if your prayers bounce off the ceiling? Here is a real follower of God who felt as if God was very distant from him.
But despite all those bad feelings, he has not lost his faith. He is sure that there is some purpose behind it all. “When he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (23:10). God is testing him, and he is sure that it is, in the end, to refine him as gold. Even when you cannot see the purpose of God, hang on to the truth that there is a purpose. Even in Job’s calamity, he has not “departed from the commands of God’s lips.” He is hanging on to God’s Word. Here is a great truth in times of trouble. Put your anchor into the commands of God. Rest on the rock of God’s word. Rely on the foundation, the immovable foundation, that you find in Scripture.
Yes, all that has happened to him has terrified him. But he is not “silenced” (23:17). He is still talking to God and about God. Even in the middle of great difficulties, then, cry out to God. Tell him what is going on in your heart and mind. Ask him for help to love, when you feel nothing but hate. To have peace, when you feel nothing but anxiety. To know the truth of God, when your mind is filled with the doubts that seem unanswerable.
Here is Job. In great difficulty. And yet he is finally to be refined as gold. Take courage, Christian, that God’s purpose for you is good even in the midst of a storm.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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