The Book of Job-Chapter Twelve:
"Testimony of Suffering- Pt. 1"
As Zophar had been rattling on in chapter 11, Job has been listening and waiting. Now he speaks:
Verses 1-2: "And Job answered and said, No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you."
He doesn't sound defeated at all, does he? This Book of Job and our little study are at a turning point. Beloved, I think it is time for all of us to start admiring Job. Frankly, as I have mentioned, I have been mainly fearing him up to now (isn't there always a fear of the unfortunate and the suffering?). Satan has gotten to Job, there is no doubt. But by God's grace Job has survived, and though his faith has been unable to avoid or cancel all his pain, it is still alive and, amazingly, seems to be strengthening.
Verse 3: "But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? "
Job sees now that a person's value, his value, is not based upon the ease or apparent blessedness of his life.
Verses 4-5: "I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease."
When you are down and out, the world may well abandon or scorn you, but God is still willing to listen and be with you--yes, even if you've insulted Him along the way in your pain and confusion. Job's eyes are really being opened now.
Verse 6: "The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly."
This life is not all it should be. Our world is broken and fallen so you can't just nib into a person's life, possessions, or health and pass judgment on their Spiritual worth. O, Job has been learning all the while he has been suffering. I doubt Satan was counting on that back when he first got Job's troubles started:
Verses 7-11: "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat? "
Job and his "spiritual" friends have been living in a bubble of sorts. Nature and common sense both testify against their simplistic religion of good works and earthly rewards. But now old Job has been pushed through that bubble into the real world. He's getting a new view of life and, I think, a sharper and much more mature image of the Lord:
Verses 12-23: "With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding. Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening. Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his. He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty. He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death. He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again."
The real testimony of Job's suffering is that God is Greater than his old "religious" life ever taught. No one should seek suffering or welcome it, that is insanity. But we can see that it may bear fruit in your life and bring some wisdom. It is doing that for Job.
And his old ambitions for security at all costs, control, and ease of life must seem very small and far away from within his new visions of God. Job is growing up from that old fear which was racked with the frustration of not being able to manipulate the Lord for gain. In his current condition he clearly sees the futility of all man's effort to control this life:
Verses 24-25: "He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way. They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man."
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