But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:10,12)
The Book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible. I assume that his reference to the words of God from God’s mouth took place before God spoke to Moses on the mountain and wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone. Job valued these words from the mouth of God to be of more worth than his necessary food. Job does not know God’s reason for allowing him to lose all his wealth, health, seven sons and three daughters. Barbara and I have read this book several times as it came up in our reading through the Bible. We are presently in the book of Job.
Job displays the centuries-old question of “Why do the righteous suffer?” The 42 chapters of Job’s book are a challenge to casual readers. One must have strong determination to plow through the strange banter between Job and his three friends. My first reaction to the book years ago was, “with friends like this, who needs enemies?” And then, there’s Job’s wife who summarized her feelings with: “Why don’t you curse God and die?”
Job lamented: My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body. (Job 19:17) Job entreated his wife to reach out to him for the sake of the ten children they had raised and lost. There’s no indication that he had another wife, although it was in the days when polygamy was common. A man as wealthy as Job could have afforded several wives and many children.
His sickness had made his breath so bad that his wife wouldn’t come near him. Apparently, it was from deep inside and not for lack of a tooth brush and Colgate. All his friends and kith and kin stayed away from him. He still had maids and a personal servant in his home but they wouldn’t come near him or do anything he asked them to do. He called to them and they avoided him. All his close-in circle avoided him.
He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth. (Job 19:13-16)
There he is, sitting on an ash heap, scraping his boils with a broken piece of pottery. But, he has not lost his grip on God. Even God is silent but Job has not lost sight of Him. Job says of Him: 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: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (Job 19:25-27)
It is interesting that though he is writing before Moses wrote, he has a clear knowledge and strong faith in being resurrected. Though the worms eat his body, he will see God. He dwells on seeing God for himself and no one will have to tell him what God looks like. Some doctors say that our eyes are the window to our bodies. They look at our eyes through a lighted magnifying glass and study our eyes. They are looking for indicators of our body’s well-being by looking into our eyes.
I believe Job’s eyes were failing him and perhaps he had been asking people around him about things he couldn’t see for himself. He may have been unable to identify some of the people who had come. He says of God: “…mine eyes shall behold, and not another.” That is, I will use my own eyes and will not need someone else to see for me.
Cataracts are one cause for our eyes to grow dim. Eli, the priest, was 98 years old: And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; (1Sa 3:2) It is said of Jacob: Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. (Gen 48:10) It is said of Moses: And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. (Deu 34:7)
But, Job was not dying of old age. He later recovered and sired ten more children and lived to be 140. Job had said: Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow. (Job 17:7) In the last chapter, Job said to the Lord: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (Job 42:5)
Job was a remarkable man of faith. In his worst days of loneliness, disease and despair, Job had said: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10) Job knew the process of refining gold. It was heated until it was liquid and the dross would rise to the top and be skimmed off so that nothing but pure gold was left. Job saw himself in that way.
We bring some sickness and hard times on ourselves and sometimes it just strolls by and camps out at our front door. God either causes or permits everything that happens. He has the power to cause and He has the wisdom and will to permit things to happen. He wouldn’t be God if it were not so. The psalmist said: Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (Psa 119:67) And, It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psa 119:71)
Paul said: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:28-29) Job said: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:….Job 13:15)
Through it all, Job said: "I shall come forth as gold." Are you in the valley or are you trying to figure out why you have been in the valley? Was it for correction? Or, was it for shaping you to a higher level? David couldn’t fight Goliath until he had killed a bear. Peter wrote: But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 1Pe 5:10) Ω
READ THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
MARCH 2, 2017 – THURSDAY
A.M. Numbers 28-29 P.M. Mark 9:1-29
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
MEMORY VERSE THIS MONTH:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psa 19:14)
SONG FOR TODAY:
Mixed Choir: His Way is Best (The Wilds – NC)
Health Tip: Colonoscopy – A recently released study publicized through the news media shows that younger people are now getting more colon cancer. Those 50 and above are showing a decline. While medical researchers are scratching their heads about this, the strongest idea put forth seems to be that the older people are finding irregularities through their colonoscopies and avoiding many colon cancers. Young people are not getting colonoscopies. I had some polyps removed during my last c-oscopy. (I’ve had three.) Most people complain about their having to drink a gallon of “stuff” the night before and cleaning out before the procedure. Honey, that’s a small price to pay to find and eliminate a gremlin in your gut. Just sayin…