A Head Above the Rest …. ?

(Today's post by Adam Cooper)

Job 9:25 – 10:22

When it comes to the book of Job I always feel less than capable of making an accurate assessment of what is truly meant by the misery that Job is enduring. Like Marc said yesterday the tension in this book is palpable and terribly uncomfortable. Job is a righteous man in the eyes of the Lord and now he is faced with a trial that is so tough and challenging that it would bring many men to their end.

In this portion of the book Job is answering Bildad a “friend” of his who has basically just said to Job that his failure to admit sin is why he is still being tormented by God. Job gets to today’s portion of his answer and begins to mire himself in self-pity. His statement in Chapter 10, verse 1 stands as one of the most meaningful statements in this portion of Job’s answer, “I loathe my very life.” He begins to address God indirectly accusing Him of bringing this upon him saying, “do not condemn me, but tell me the charges you have against me.” Job knows that he has led a righteous life but he is allowing the misery of his affliction and the influence of his friends to cause him to speak out to God in a way that borders on self-righteousness as he states his case to God and begins to question Him for his very existence. In Job’s rant though are some vital nuggets that can teach us a great deal as Christians.

Verses 13-17 are very telling and educational to believers, “13 “But this is what you concealed in your heart, and I know that this was in your mind: 14 If I sinned, you would be watching me and would not let my offense go unpunished. 15 If I am guilty–woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in my affliction. 16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me. 17 You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger toward me; your forces come against me wave upon wave.” These verses remind us that everything we do is under God’s watchful eye and that if we are guilty, if we have sinned then we can expect to reap the misery of that sin; not at God’s hand but at our own. But Job is also saying here that even if you believe you are sinless or as he puts it “innocent” you must not be proud about it. He says, “even if I am innocent I cannot lift my head.”

We all know that we are not sinless. We all know, or at least should know, that Christ’s actions on the cross are enough for us all. We should keep these truths close to our hearts and we should always strive to be like Christ. What can destroy us is when we begin to act righteously indignant. When we lift our head above the heads of others and try to make it appear as if we are “holier than thou”; like we are better than others because of our salvation or life in Christ. When we begin to judge those around us making ourselves look better or more eligible to receive God’s blessing we fall into the trap that Job is cautioning about here. Humility is something that we must all embrace. We all have been lifted up out of some sort of sin to embrace the redemption that we have in Christ and pretending that we are now above others, that we do not still struggle with the flesh, will destroy not only us but our witness to others as well. Matthew 7:5, “5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”

Our trials make us stronger disciples for Christ. We learn from them. We grow from them. We lean more on Him because of them. Job, a man who God already saw as righteous, is growing in faith through these trials and as the book continues we will see this growth.

For a while now, even though it may seem counter-intuitive to some, I have always made it a point to thank God for the trials that I face because I know that I become stronger from them. As we wrap up today’s study make it a point to go to God in thanksgiving for all things because His grace and mercy make all things glorious whether they seem like it at the moment or not.

Do you thank God for the trials in your life?

Do you face trials in your life as learning moments?

Do you encourage others to not lose faith during the trials in their lives?

 

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  • Brandon

    It is so very difficult to think of the good that can come from the tragedy and trials we face. Indeed, when we don’t think we “deserve” bad things to happen we begin to speak in language that Job is alluding to. Or, even worse, we become like the friends who are right to call Job out for his indignant language at time but cannot help but think this is Job’s fault for some sin. But the beauty and power of God is that He has the ability to turn tragedy into triumph. We go through pain, but the pain is never wasted. He is always working for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). We, as followers of Christ, are not immune to the trouble of this world, but we don’t get hung up on whether or not we “deserve” it because we have great hope anchored in the beautiful grace of Jesus. Thanks for these thoughts Adam!

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