This week I am in Breckenridge for a Colorado Municipal League conference, so my schedule is thrown off. Last night I traveled to Lakewood to the home of my niece Kate and her husband David for a family gathering. My brother and his wife from California were in town.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10 ESV
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” Job 19:25
The discourses of the Book of Job can seem to never end. Certainly Job felt that way as his “friends” tried to give him the reasons why he was suffering as he was. They were confident of their understanding of life, God and Job.
We see that Job struggles as well, understandably so. So often life doesn’t make sense. As a result we believe the best approach is to “make sense out of the senseless.” If we can only understand and have an answer to the “Why?” question then we believe we can accept and deal with what life brings.
In times of great suffering human words and perspective fail. When then Vice President Al Gore, addressed the thousands gathered for the community memorial service following the Columbine tragedy, his opening words set the tone. He said, “Nothing I can say can bring comfort. Nothing anyone can say can bring comfort. But in a times like these there is a voice that speaks to our troubled souls, ‘peace be still.'”
In the midst of all the attempts to justify and bring sense to Job’s suffering, there are a few “classic” statements that we remember and rightly so. I think of his words, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
Two others statements are found in our verses for today. One reveals Job’s confidence in the Lord, “I know that my redeemer lives….” What is of interest is the context in which Job speaks these words. It is one of great despair and feeling the heavy hand of God against him and the words of his “comforters” adding insult to injury.
Just before Job’s well-known words he speaks to his friends, “My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth. Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! Why do you, like God, pursue me?” (Job 19:20-22)
Yet in all that he faced and felt, Job had a bedrock confidence in the God he did not and could not understand.
The next statement reveals Job’s confidence about himself. “….When he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Once again the context stands in contrast to this strong statement of confidence. Job’s friends have just gave a laundry list of how they believe Job has sinned and what in reality a terrible person he is. In the face of all the accusations Job attempts to defend himself, but in the end, makes an appeal to God.
“He knows that way I take…” We have our view of our life, others may have their view of our life, but it is God who really knows. Job not only recognizes that, but expresses confidence that God in the end will vindicate him. And when we come to the end of the story that is exactly what happens.
Prayer for today…. Lord there is so much about life that we don’t understand, that we can’t make sense of, but we can have confidence and trust in a God who knows the beginning from the end. We do “know” and have confidence in a Redeemer who lives and is at work. We can have confidence that You, O Lord are working for us and not against us.