The Book of Job-Chapter Twenty-Nine:
"Who Needs the Gospel?"
That title is a good question. A question that Job is intimating, at least to me anyway, in this chapter. This is a huge question for us today and worth exploring. Especially here in the context of the Word of God.
Verses 1-2: "Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;"
That last word "me" is a loaded one. By it Job means not just his physical person, but also all his former possessions, loved ones, and his inner being. That is to say everything that he was before. Before he was unknowingly attacked by Satan. And yes, he still holds God totally responsible for the mess that was made of that old life. Listen (if you can bear it) as he mourns for his past:
Verses 3-10: "When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil; When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up. The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth."
Wow! He had status, power, and strength. And he wanted it to last forever. And he had the Lord's blessing. A constant blessing on everything, as he seems to recall. Do you ever long for better days in your past? Well, be careful, for sometimes when we think we are strong God sees a great weakness in us.
Much later than this in the New Testament the Apostle Paul, who once took pride in his forceful personality, confessed that he had learned, little by little, from the Lord that only when he realized how weak he was did he ACTUALLY become strong (see II Corinthians chapter 12, verse 10). Does that sound like double-talk to you? It sometimes does. It must have been hard for Job to see just yet. He continues:
Verse 11: "When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me."
Job, in his physical prime, had apparently been handsome and witty!
And a "good man" according to his own standards:
Verses 12-16: "Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out."
Did you know that our own personal standards can actually create quite a stench in God's nostrils? It is painful to admit, but that has been proven true in my life many times. Job hasn't fully seen this yet--that we really aren't qualified to judge our own lives, or to declare ourselves righteous based on something we've done or said or imagined about ourselves. He is yet in great pain. Post traumatic pains, we could say. Regret and loss still haunt him. "Ah, for those former days of glory," he seems to be saying:
Verses 17-18: "And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth. Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand."
Sometimes when God is allowing dire circumstances in OUR lives, WE too may pine for the past. Seeking to escape the pain of the present we may be blind to lessons that come attached to our problems and to some strength they may be giving us.
Like most of us who brag about our past, Job starts to repeat himself:
Verses 19-24: "My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand. Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel. After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them. And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain. If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down."
He has lost a lot of that influence and sway. But was that power really a blessing? We have already concluded that it was built on a false foundation (as stated in the closing of our 3rd study in this series.)
Verse 25: "I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners."
Do you sit as a queen or king today, beloved? Is there some empire where you rule or desire to rule at ALL costs? Have you declared YOURSELF righteous in your pursuits? Well, if you have--if I may be blunt--then YOU are the one who needs the Gospel. Like Job, you are bypassing God's righteousness and the strength that can only come to one who is willing to admit and embrace their weakness before Him.
Even though I've believed in Christ for years (since September of 1980) I, sadly and too often, still want to rely on physical prosperity, power, talent, attributes, accomplishments, accolades--real or imagined--as my strength and righteousness. So I'm not putting you down, for I need the Gospel too! And as much today as I did prior to 1980. Job lived before Christ and even before the Old Testament Laws and Rituals were given to Moses. But whether it's Job or us today we all have to abandon OUR strength and seek the righteousness that comes from heeding, and seeking and, yes, WAITING ON the Lord. Now if you do that, eventually you WILL be labeled as WEAK by this world. And you may even have to, and I say this respectfully, suffer many things not completely unlike Job. For Job's enemy is Your enemy to this day.
Job is just beginning to find out that Eternal strength and True righteousness are God's alone to give, and only as He prescribes, and on His schedule. Not on ours. That IS the Gospel.
For us God's way to righteousness and strength is to accept His Son, so let's close with something Jesus once said to his disciples as their times were growing incredibly troubled:
Matthew 11, Verses 27-30:
"All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
And, unlike Job, Jesus understood Satan perfectly:
John 10, Verse 10:
"The thief cometh not, but to kill and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Click Here before printing