Job. A man not to be envied. He was singled out by the Lord for intense examination by Satan. Satan gave Job the once over and then went over him again. As far as Job was concerned it was a blind study. He didn’t know what was going on and as far as we can see he never really found out. God never told him.
Job’s friends, comforters – had theories, but they were wrong. They accused Job of all sorts of malfeasance. He suffered because he sinned. He suffered because he never cared for the poor. He suffered because he had inadequate faith. But they were wrong. Read that at the end of the book.
We know because God told us that Job was a man of patience. That’s a good thing. We also know that in some ways he was perfect because God said he was. We can learn some good lessons from Job.
In 1973 I learned I had cancer. I tried to find God but found Job’s lesson instead. “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him” (Job 23:8-9). It seemed in that darkest of times that I was abandoned. That was not true. God does not leave us nor does He forsake us. We have Jesus’ words on it. He is doing all things well and working all things for our good.
Job knew that he couldn’t find God, but God knew right where he was. “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:8).
I was three thousand miles from home, recovering from surgery, and learned my father was in the hospital. My mother flew to be with him leaving me alone. It was Sunday morning, I was missing church, and felt depressed. “Lord, I’ve been telling young people around the country that You are there to help. Where are you now?” My gloom deepened. The minutes dragged by. Then, unexpectedly I had visitors. Two Russian ladies had driven hundreds of miles to cheer me up!
But I was in the Job mindset. Plus the painkillers messed with my ability to smell. Their particular perfume was odious to me. And I told them! In moments they left my room. Now I felt like I’d really offended them. An hour or so later they returned, having showered, without reapplying perfume. We had a pleasant time, mostly due to their gracious spirits.When they left, I looked up with gratitude. “You are here, Lord.” I sensed that He really knew where I was and brought me through that depression.
One lesson is good, but Job provides others. Some more painful. This week, now many years later, finds me again dealing with cancer. My transfer from one hospital to another left me for six hours with no meds, no fluids, and angry caregivers. I told my wife I wanted to go home and die. That brought an instant rebuke. At least my wife encourages me. She never tells me to curse God. And she pleads with me not to die. I count her among the wise and virtuous women.
Why do we have negative thoughts flash through our minds? Why might we like Job curse the day of our birth? Perhaps we have a day like his. “Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning” (Job 23:2). But that, too, was the day that he knew God would bring him through.
Job was operating with a faith in great days ahead; days beyond his present, beyond his dispensation, days likely beyond his full understanding. In the midst of the ash heap on which he was sitting, he had a revelation of his living redeemer.
His redeemer would be alive in the latter day. Job knew that in the best of scenarios his time on earth was short. Yet he was not without a long hope.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25,26).
Job’s redeemer was alive and would be alive in the latter day. We have more information now than Job did. The redeemer came to earth as Jesus of Nazareth. He went to the cross and died for our sins and was buried. On the third day he arose from the dead. Now He is seated at the right hand of the Father waiting to return for His own.
Job had his weak moments. But he also had flashes of insight that bring us blessings thousands of years later. There will be a resurrection and we shall see our Redeemer.
I know I shall see in His beauty
The King in whose law I delight
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps
And giveth me songs in the night.
Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb,
Redeemed, redeemed, His child and forever I am.