The Book of Job-Chapter Ten:
"Confusion and Despair"
From the heights of his own vision of Christ in chapter nine, Job sinks again into confusion:
Verse 1: "My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul."
Worship is hardest, I've found, for the wounded. And Job's hurt is producing many serious doubts:
Verses 2-3: "I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?"
Should Job be praying his doubts and saying his doubts aloud? I think the answer remains yes. If you are really feeling it and thinking it, why not tell God, and perhaps others? I think God would rather be told. He knows anyway. Besides, I see hints of respect in Job's prayer. He is questioning God, but not wildly railing against Him. Don't we all doubt our earthly fathers and mothers? The good ones can find a way to love us through the times of doubt. That the wounded will eventually find God to be a good father in that sense is the major hope I find in the Book of Job.
Verses 4-6: "Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth? Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man's days, That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?"
The pain has lowered Job's view of the Lord. God's lofty identity has evaporated with Job's worldly processions and blessings. And, as often when we suffer today, Satan's role remains hidden. Job's negative energy is misplaced and misdirected, and after a time in this state of mind he falls into the sin of self-righteousness:
Verses 7-10: "Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand. Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?"
Is God a cheat? Are His judgments unstable or corrupted? No, this is the error of a world view that is ignorant of the wiles of Satan and the fallen state of each of us and our current world system. A "blessings only" relationship with God is, in the end, no relationship at all. Job seems to be leaning in that direction in this chapter. If you are hurting right now, you can learn from Job and also learn not to imitate him here.
C'mon, Lord, those blessings were so real and true, remember how great things were? That is what Job is saying:
Verses 11-13: "Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee."
For all of us the "skin and flesh" just cry out for physical blessings. And when they don't come or remain, there isn't one of us that isn't tempted to turn on the original Source of all those blessings. We can't look down on Job. We are forced to relate to him.
Now Brother Job tries to crawl up to a little higher level of holiness:
Verse 14: "If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity."
Alright, Lord, he says, let's make a deal. I'll PAY for my blessing with good behavior or whatever I think you are requiring of me. But PLEASE remember, as long as I do behave in this way, then You OWE me those good things! O how the issues raised in this book continue to plague all Christendom today. This sounds holy, but I think it's even worse than Job's previous errors. The Lord wants us for a loving bride, but will never accept us as a whore who sells Him our love in exchange for valuables. It is better never to have known Him at all than to relate to Him like that!
God isn't waiting with baited breathe and an armful of earthly rewards to see IF he can keep us from sinning with bribes. He knows us. He knows it's all about "when" not "if" we shall sin. No one can relate to Him on a performance basis. Yet we continue to think we can.
Well, at least old Job realizes that he is confused:
Verses 15-17: "If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction; For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me. Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me."
And so from his state of confusion, Job's war with God rages on. And in stark contrast from his revelation of the true nature of God in Christ in the last chapter, Job now sees a true glimpse of Hell:
Verses 18-22: "Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave. Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness."
Did you know that Prophets (see Isaiah 45:22-25) and Apostles (see Paul in Romans 13:11-12) affirm that ALL MEN will know for certain, upon seeing the realities of Heaven or Hell, that God is JUST. And that the rewards of this world were never His ultimate purpose for man. And that Hell was intended for Satan and his demons and not for men. At that time EVERYONE will bow down and worship the Lord. But the tragedy is that by then it will have become too late to express our Love for God through FAITH. And it is faith alone that saves our souls.
Many things in life, like eating, sex, self preservation, all seem to come to us quite naturally. But SUFFERING is not natural to anyone that I ever met. Beloved, Christ came down to this earth to SHOW (not just teach) us how to suffer. His sufferings were as unnatural for Him as ours are for us today (much more so, I think). That means He REALLY understands what suffering is. And what a Comforter that makes Him! Are you at all like Job today? Are you currently having your own war with God over the troubles of your life? You can reach out to the Man of Sorrows right now. He can make peace between you and the Lord. In this way, though it be too easy to say, troubles draw us closer to God by causing us to approach Him through his Son. Job imagined Christ (see chapter 9) in his period of torment, not when all was well with him and his family.
Job seems lost in confusion and despair at this time. But, in a way, he's hanging in there. He hasn't totally walked away from God as Satan had predicted. Now another one of Job's friends steps up with some more advice for him, but he isn't going to like it.
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