Hard testing

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-third in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 22:1-3 NIV In Chapter 21 Job argued that wicked people are not punished in a timely fashion, but rather enjoy life as though they are under no scrutiny nor law. Eliphaz could have said to Job, Point well taken. But in Chapter 22, Eliphaz concedes nothing. It is more important to him to flatten Job.

Let’s say your insight about the wicked is right. So what? Do you think God benefits from your tidbit? If you were really wise, it could be a big help to you— but it would profit God nothing. And furthermore, God does not gain anything from your righteous deeds.

There is a sense in which this line of reasoning has validity. All Christians would agree that God did not create man out of any personal deficiency or compulsion, and therefore man cannot give anything to God. This is standard orthodox doctrine. (David Guzik commentary)

From the standpoint of God’s all-sufficiency, man can give him nothing, yet in that God created man in his own image, and showed wonderful love for us by giving us his Son, and has an amazing plan of redemption, resurrection and eternal life, YES, man’s behavior makes a difference to God. We can glorify the Lord by our faith and our deeds that are performed in obedience and the help of the Holy Spirit.

If Job had no relation to God and God had no pleasure or interest in him, why did Satan desire to ruin him and force him to curse God? (Job 1-2) It does matter to God if you shrink from your faith, and whether you grow in it. (Heb 10:38; 1 Pet 1:7 et al) And will we grow in grace and faith if we are not tested? We will be tested! Abraham was tested. All God’s children will be tested (Isa 48:10) to prove and to refine our faith. (1 Pe 1:7; Prov 17:3)

Job was being tested. In this phase the devil is tempting him to feel despairing and angry by reason of heartbrokenness and defamation. It is heart crushing and insulting when friends falsely accuse us. Jesus endured the same, yet “answered nothing” (Mat 27:12 et al).

Job 22:4-11 NIV Job will refute these accusations in time.

Job 22:12-14 NIV Job actually had said in Chapter 9:
Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
(Job 9:8-11 KJV)
Yet, in a long dialog, who will recall all the statements? There is only One who will.

Job 22:15-20 NIV Eliphaz makes reference to Noah’s flood and other types of catastrophes in these verses. Job likewise has come under severe judgment.

But he can escape! Embrace God's words and ways; prize him not gold; seek his face and favor — Good advice, but aimed at the wrong heart.

Job 22:21-25 NIV These verses predict that Job will be delivered, though not innocent, when he humbles himself.

Job 22:26-30 NIV Commentators point out that Eliphaz is here unconsciously prophesying that Job will deliver his friends from God’s wrath when he prays for them, in the end.

How did Job define himself?

Job Sees The Light - Fourth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 3:1-3 Although we do not know how long it took his friends to hear of his plight and travel to his home, an adequate time has passed for despair to take up residence in Job’s heart. A crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Prov 17:22) Spiritual desiccation affects ones entire outlook and health.

Job 3:4-10 A time of testing is marked by two distinct phases: Phase one initiates the test, and is usually brief. It encompasses the event of the disaster, sudden death, or news of an illness or other setback. Phase two is a lengthier time of adjustment to the news or event and living through the time that follows. During this phase one may tumble downward into bitterness and illness or grope upward to seek God's help and to discover why he has caused or allowed the trial. Most Christians probably go in both directions.

Job 3:11-12 Why was I born? What is the point of my life? Everything seems a waste. It’s meaningless, pointless!

Is Job searching for answers or only bemoaning his lack of control over events. Both?

Job 3:13-16 The prospect of resting among others who lived pointless lives seems good to Job.

Job 3:17-19 No man can trouble another in that place.

Job had previously seen black and white—white being himself with material blessings, and black, the have-nots for whom he cared we later will learn, but now he sees gray. The lines of demarcation between the well off and the poor have blurred.

He formerly had a clear understanding of his identity, but now he is confused. Without his possessions, he feels vanquished and empty. He had felt defined by and in them, and now he struggles to evaluate the meaning of his life.

Intellectually, we know that what we own, oversee or are responsible for does not amount to who we are. Yet, it is a common experience of unemployed people to feel hollow— as though others can see straight through them— and for poor people to feel unimportant or disconnected. Likewise, those with seemingly secure rank and wealth often identify with them and feel buttressed.

There is great temptation and tendency to define ourselves by a career, job or bank account. But we are not the sum total of our achievements, much less our possessions or wealth. No, whatever self esteem we have must be based on our oneness with the Lord: Our core identity is that we are his sons and daughters, made in his image, made to love and be loved by him.

Had Job not been stripped of all in which he defined himself— his wealth and servants, his children, his position— could he have had his spiritual eyes opened? Could he have seen God through so many layers of human identity?

Job 3:20-23 Job was a man of God who showed wonderful character and reserve in the first phase of his tremendous test. But in the second, the greatest man of the east (Job 1:3) is revealed to be a saint in need of learning greater perseverance.

Job 3:24-26 Perhaps Satan had been attacking Job’s mind long before he attacked his belongings. Though Job appeared to be completely blessed, underneath —in his heart— the greatest man of the east was troubled with fear and dread. Intellectually he understood he owed everything to God, but he lived as though it all rested on him. The Lord saw he was unhappy under the crushing weight.

The Consolation of Certainty

The consolations of God - Fourth in a series

God has designed that we should have certainty in our faith. He has given us "many infallible proofs," (Acts 1:3) the testimony of the entire Word, His Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of the saints, to name some ways by which we are upheld in belief.

Nevertheless in the course of our lives we will have many occasions to cry out, "Help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

No matter how hard we study to be approved (2 Tim 2:15), pray, serve, or do any of the things that uphold our belief, we will experience people, incidents and attacks by the Rulers of Darkness (Eph 6:12) that disturb our peace and faith.

Then, confusion, doubt and fear clamor for first place in the race to conquer our minds. Feelings of emptiness, anxiety and various sinful reactions and emotions sabotage us — We are shrinking back — the very thing we don't want to do. (Heb 10:38)

So, repent and return. Begin the journey home to Life. Thoughts and emotions must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit, or one cannot function as a Christian.

Being a Christian means having FAITH—thinking and knowing, that

  • God is good
  • God is love and He loves us
  • God is in control, and He is working his purposes out
  • He is with us, helping us
  • We belong to Him; He is a careful owner
  • He is worthy of our love and praise
  • He has never made a mistake of any sort!

Therefore we set aside private hurts, refuse any long-term discouragement, and maintain an outlook that proves we DO trust in God; we WILL RESIST the devil (James 4:6), pray, think and act in ways that express we are under His providential, loving care, no matter how we feel or what the appearances are.

In time, assurance returns. And no pastime, vacation, sport or spree of any sort can bring the renewal of joy as will the peace of assurance. There is no true rest nor relaxation but in the peace of Christ that comes from certainty in our faith.

My peace I give you. (John 14:27)

Be still and know that I am God. (Ps 46:10)

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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