The Book of Job-Chapter Thirteen:
"Testimony of Suffering- Pt. 2"
Verses 1-2: "Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you."
As it is with all of us, Job's greatest battle is proving to be within himself. Before anyone can fight the battle without they have to win the one within. In chapter 12 Job had been answering those who have been confidently analyzing his life and suffering. Now he will turn the tables completely and begin to analyze them:
Verses 3-4: "Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value."
It can come as quite a shock to find that the suffering person still feels and thinks as much as any who consider themselves blessed. Hey, just shut up and listen for a minute (I think Job is saying), the horrors of my life don't mean I can't still think and talk for myself:
Verses 5-6: "O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom. Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips."
Now he will point out to them two shortcomings in their discourses so far. They have in arrogance substituted their own wisdom and "common sense" for the voice of God. And they have been closed minded about Job and his plight and so, prejudged him as guilty of something terrible:
Verses 7-10: "Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him? Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God? Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him? He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons."
It takes courage to fight hypocrisy and self serving in religion. Be it in your own heart or in those around you. Please note the explosion of this kind of courage in Job at this point:
Verses 11-18: "Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you? Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay. Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will. Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand? Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him. Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears. Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified."
Let this last speech sink in, Beloved. Isn't this the same white hot impulse of the Holy Spirit felt by Paul (see I Cor. 9:16) and other New Testament era preachers and evangelists? It's amazing to experience it here in this ancient book, isn't it? Listen:
Verse 19: "Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost."
Wow. Here Satan wanted to destroy this man, and all but did physically. But spiritually God has prospered Job, and us along with him if we'll heed what we read.
Job has tried to make deals with God in his past life. He would pray and pray repeatedly trying to stay "caught up" on his score card with God. Even praying for sins his children might be going to commit as was inferred back in chapter 1, verse 5! That was a deal God just couldn't accept and the Scriptures throughout tell us He can't and won't accept that from anyone today (see Christ's own Words in Matt. 6:5-8). But through all this pain and suffering as Job has been sinking down lower and lower in the view of this world and His friends, somehow his spirit has been rising. The shallowness is gone. The repetition is gone. He is now ready to speak to God on terms acceptable to the Lord:
Verses 20-23: "Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee. Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid. Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me. How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin."
Not just a show for maintaining the flow of earthly blessings, Job is ready for heartfelt confession now. I think Job is about to get closer to the Lord than was ever possible before all this occurred: And not for gain, he just wants God to show him how he can do better. Job is no longer a Cosmic Gambler trying to poke at Heaven and see what good might fall out into his lap. Job has been transformed into a TRUE servant of the Lord. More selfless, he seeks a better and a closer relationship with God, certainly not an exploitation of Him and His riches. Revisit verses 11-18 for a moment. Job is no longer afraid to be himself before the Lord, even in prayer. His possessions have all fled anyway, and in a strange way, it has liberated him.
But as we close Job poses some bitterly honest questions to the Lord. And so he seems, from our modern point of view, to be regressing a bit. We must overlook this and again remember that unlike Paul or even a Christian child today, Job seems to have no way of understanding Satan's role in Man's troubles and his own problems. I said Job may be a hero, but he is also very human. With great spiritual growth, setbacks and struggles are to be anticipated. Job seems to know this too, but he remains very confused about who the real enemy is and this brings some of his old doubts back:
Verses 24-27: "Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy? Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet."
And finally, as an introduction to his dark reflection on Mankind to follow in chapter 14, Job says of Man:
Verses 28: "And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten."
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