When He has Tried Me

Summary Book of Job Chapters 1 to 22

Job was a man of God, a righteous man who feared God and who turned away from evil. He was blameless and upright before God. And he was also a wealthy man with many material goods and animals and servants, as well as he had a wife and seven sons and three daughters. But one day Satan came before God and God said to him, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Then Satan gave his response to God, and the Lord gave Satan permission to inflict Job by touching all that he had, but to not touch him.

So, in one day all Job’s animals, and all his servants (but a few who escaped to tell him) and all his sons and daughters were struck down, and they all died. Then Job grieved his loss, he fell on the ground, and he worshiped God. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

But Satan came back a second time, and he and the Lord had a similar conversation as they had before, and Satan was given permission this time to touch Job’s body. And so Satan struck Job’s body with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job responded, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Then Job’s three friends came to show him sympathy and they sat with him on the ground in silence for seven days and seven nights. Then Job broke the silence by cursing the day of his birth. He lamented that he had even come into the world, for his suffering was so great. And then his friends began to respond, and they had a back and forth conversation with Job, but they assumed that Job’s suffering was because of some sin in his life, but Job tried to assure his friends it was not, but they would not accept that.

Job 23:8-9 ESV

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.”

Have you ever felt like that when you were going through a trial or a time of sickness? I have. I can remember numerous times crying out to God, asking him to say something to me, anything, even to rebuke me, just so I would know he was there because I could not feel his presence. He did not leave me. He did not forsake me. But the trial was dark or I was very sick and so there was like there was this cloud about me and I didn’t feel like I could connect with the Lord. But I kept praying until there was a breakthrough.

It is very disconcerting when we have those times when we feel like we just can’t hear God’s voice or we can’t feel him near us. And I believe Satan is attacking us during these times to try to make us afraid. But it is in these times that we must continue to reach out to the Lord and to trust him fully with our lives and with our circumstances even if we can’t feel his presence or if he appears silent. For our faith can never be based on our feelings. We have to walk by faith even when the feelings are not there.

Job 23:10-14 ESV

“But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
My foot has held fast to his steps;
I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.
But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
What he desires, that he does.
For he will complete what he appoints for me,
and many such things are in his mind.”

Job was confident in his relationship with the Lord. This was not pride. This was a man of God, a righteous man, and he knew his relationship with the Lord. But Satan was coming against him fiercely, and he was in pain, and his friends were accusing him falsely of some sin in his life, and so I believe he was just affirming his relationship with the Lord here, which we must do sometimes when Satan comes against us with his false accusations. We must speak the truth back to the enemy of our souls and refute his lies.

When we go through trials, which we will, it is good if we can take this time to do a self-examination before the Lord to make certain we have not gotten off track, and so that we can get back on track. And if he assures us that we have not gotten off track, then we can move forward with confidence that we are in a right relationship with the Lord and that we are hearing him correctly, and that we are following him in the way that he would have us to go. And then we can trust him to lead us forward.

And I believe that we can use Job’s words here as part of our self-examination. Can we say with confidence that the Lord knows the way that we take and when he has tried us and tested our faith that we will come out shining like gold? Have our feet held fast to his steps? Can we say with confidence that we have kept his way and that we have not turned aside? Can we say assuredly that we have not departed from his commandments (New Covenant)? And that we have treasured His words more than food?

Now this is not a claim to sinless perfection (1 John 2:1-2). For the Scriptures teach that we are to walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and that if sin is our practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God. So this is about our character, who we are in practice and in conduct. Can we affirm with Job the same things about us? If not, then why not? And if not, then something needs to change.

And then when we are going through our own trials, what perspective do we have of God during those times? Do we see that our God is fully sovereign over all that he created and he is absolutely in control over all things? And that what we go through can only happen to us because God allows it, like he did with Job? Do we understand that what God desires, that he will do, and he does not need our permission first? For he is not arbitrary in these things. He has a plan and a purpose for all that he brings into our lives.

And do we understand that if God is in it, and that he has a plan and a purpose for it, that he will complete what he appoints for us? And we may try to stop it, thinking that we have control, but if this is what he has planned for us, it is going to happen, and we will just be fighting against the Lord. So, it is best to cooperate with the Lord and with his working in our lives, and to inquire of him as to where he wants to take us. And then we must follow him wherever he leads us, for he truly knows what is best for us.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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