Job 23:10-11 (NIV)
But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside.
Our Verse of the Day comes from the Book of Job. As you know, this book is the oldest one in the compilation of the Holy Scriptures as some biblical scholars believe Job to be a contemporary of Abraham. The story of Job provides us with some amazing insights into the relationship between God and man; and he delves into many questions each of us have probably already asked of God along the way of our own faith journeys. We often wonder why “bad things happen to good people,” and here Job probes the purposes and will of God in afflictions and sufferings. I like this excerpt from Chapter 23 because it does raise some personal questions for us to examine our walk with God:
But He knows the way that I take.
Job asserts that God knows him … knows him intimately. Ask yourself: “Does God know the way that I take?” The obvious answer is, “Yes.” But what are the implications of His omniscience? Does it impact the way we conduct ourselves – knowing that God sees us … that we are continually before Him even though we cannot see Him? Does it mean that God already determined the course that Job or we would take in life? How does “free will” interact in this process? Fascinating to ponder … but we should take a serious look at this issue. Are we consciously desiring to please God with the decisions we make each day?
When He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
Job asserts that when God evaluates him (tests his faith) that he will pass the test! How do you feel about that kind of boldness? Would you consider it arrogant? Yet Job appears to have complete confidence in his faith toward God. Do you ever question the steadfastness of your own faith? Why? Note that Job is forward looking in his statement: “WHEN God has tested him.” Job sees testing as a given. He expects it! So, I believe we should, too. And the “coming forth as gold” does not necessarily mean that he passed every test that he endured. We most likely have not and will not either. However, I believe it does mean that Job expected God to refine him in the processes of testing such that the final outcome of his life would be purity or holiness toward God.
My feet have closely followed His steps.
Job asserts that He has stayed in step with God and His will as revealed to him. Remember, Job lived long before Moses gave the Ten Commandments, so the basis on which Job made this assertion is unclear. However, we do know there would have been an oral tradition at a minimum from the time of Adam until Moses. There were customs and traditions of worship shaped by the faithful remnant of each generation. And there are non-canonized written documents and narratives from the period which were “morally instructive” and incorporated into the wisdom of holy men of God. The Apostle Paul even wrote about the “natural” knowledge of God all people should possess in his Letter to the Romans:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
If you think about it … there is a natural, innate knowing that God exists; that He created us; that He wants relationship with us; that He communicates and reveals He purposes and wills to man through His Spirit and His Word; and in these last days, God has spoken through His Son – our Lord Jesus (Cf. Hebrews 1:1-2) I think, bottom line, we just need to listen!
I have kept to His way without turning aside.
Job asserts that He has not wavered in his faith or in his conduct based upon that faith in God. Again, I find Job to be quite bold in his claim because I’d say few of us have been that “perfect” in our walk with God. Maybe you have … but I have stumbled along the way and turned aside from time to time. Yet, God in His grace has brought me to repentance and disciplined me as needed. The writer of the Book of Hebrews gives us some insight (and comfort) along these lines:
Hebrews 12:4-11 (NIV)
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his child? It says, “My child, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines everyone He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His child.” (Citing. Proverbs 3:11-12) Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Nevertheless; righteous Job … patient Job … remained obedient to the way of the Lord. He turned neither to the right or the left but made his path straight. He was steadfast. And God was pleased with Job … and found delight in him. So, I’m not sure the question is whether or not we have turned aside at any point in our walk with God (whether presumptuously or not); but rather, “Is your relationship with God like one would have with their father?” Do you receive the chastisement or discipline from God with the same respect or reverence you would from your earthly father? Though imperfect, our earthly fathers did what they thought best to guide us in godly or acceptable behavior. But our Heavenly Father is perfect in His manner with us. He is the most trustworthy person we can have in our lives. And you can expect that He is going to discipline you out of His great love for you….
Job is an interesting case study of faith under the microscope. We are able to witness his perspective on the circumstances of life far beyond our control. And it prompts the question: “Would we be able to process a similar situation of assault on our faith in God with the level of confidence and courage that Job exhibited? In the midst of great loss and feelings of injustice, would you or I keep our faith in God with such resilience?” I think of the vast number of believers who suffered great anguish, persecution, torture, and death over the millennia; and I admire their great faith under incomprehensible human distress. Indeed, I think on occasion we should as ourselves: “Is my faith courageous enough … unwavering enough … deep and abiding enough to withstand its testing?
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. ~ James 1:2-3, 12