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Lessons From the Book of Job
By David A. DePra
The story of Job is well-known. But so often we miss the entire point of the book. Job’s experience was not to show us that, "bad things happen to good people." Neither is the lesson that God never explains Himself to anyone – and that we have no business asking. No. The lesson in the book of Job is that God allows trials into our lives for a definite and specific purpose – to bring us to the place where we can be set free to SEE HIM.
Christianity is not merely, "getting saved." It is CHRIST IN US, and the impact of CHRIST IN US. Central to this impact is God’s desire to reveal to us Jesus Christ. To guide us into all Truth – which is exactly that – is fundamental to the work of the Holy Spirit. But there is the need for a process in all of this. Sometimes that process involves things that are not too dramatic. But other times there is a big crisis necessary. In the end, however, God wants to bring us to the place where we are conscious of Christ in us – to where we KNOW HIM.
And yet so often we do not know how to respond to God in a crisis. We don’t know what He is getting at. Well, certainly Job did not. But we do have the benefit of his experience, and that of many others in the Bible.
So let’s look, in a general way, at what the experience of Job teaches us. I am not going to go through the book, or even quote many verses. I will leave that to the reader.
Lesson #1: The Person Must Replace Our Principles
There is absolutely nothing about anything, or any question we could have in life, that isn’t covered in the Bible. Certainly this is the case with pain and suffering – especially for a child of God. The issue is covered again and again – the most profound place being in this book of Job.
Job was a good guy. God said so. Do we realize that God said about Job, both at the beginning of Job’s ordeal, and at the end, that Job was a righteous man who had spoken rightly of God? In other words, not once is it recorded that Job ever got out of the will of God. Not once is it said that Job disobeyed God, lost faith, or cursed God – this, despite Job’s questions to God, pleadings to God, and apparently emotional outbursts during his trial.
Thus, it is conclusive: Job didn’t deserve what happened to him. He had NOT sinned. Yet God allowed it for reasons that superceded justice, or fairness.
Now, here we begin to see a principle. It is one that tends to govern all of our thinking towards God. In fact, it governs us so much that we tend to put God Himself under our principle. That principle is this: Obedience to God must equal blessings from God. Disobedience must equal His displeasure, or curses.
All of us are prone to thinking that this is the way God operates. That is EXACTLY WHY we protest and think it is unfair when, despite no consciousness of sin, bad things happen to us. And it is EXACTLY WHY when those bad things DO happen, that most of us eventually conclude that we MUST have sinned – because this is the only way that God could be fair in allowing our trial. So then we get down under condemnation and guilt, because to us, the evidence is that we have sinned – although it is evidence we cannot see.
It was this principle that Job lived by – it is all through his words and attitude. It was also the principle by which his friends lived. But there was one big difference between Job and his friends. Job would not lie in order to make God look justified in allowing his trial. Job refused to say that he had sinned when he had no consciousness that he had sinned. To the contrary, Job’s friends insisted he had sinned – because to them, it was the ONLY WAY God was justified. And yet, in the end, God commended Job, and not his friends.
This tells us that, yes, we need to keep open before God at all times. But it also tells us the folly of confessing sins for which we have NO conviction – just to appease our guilt, or to justify God. Job knew that God WAS justified in his situation – in all things. But Job was also honest enough to realize that he was conscious of no sin that would have merited such a terrible trial at the hand of God.
So we see the dilemma. Sure, Job’s trial caused great suffering. But there was an even greater issue – it was Job’s relationship with God. Everything that happened to Job, in it’s own right, caused suffering. But the greatest suffering of all was Job’s inability to find God in it all.
Isn’t that ALWAYS the hardest part of any trial? – when we cannot seem to find God in it at all? But WHY can’t we find God in it? Usually for the same reason Job couldn’t find God in his trial. We have lived our lives governed by certain beliefs and religious principles ABOUT God – governed by the belief that God MUST work this or that way. And then God comes and doesn’t get with our program, in fact, dashes it to pieces. And we are left wondering where God has gone.
What we do not know, and what Job did not know, is that God has deliberately orchestrated our trial to dash our religious pattern to pieces. And once He does, the fact that we cannot seem to find Him is PROOF that our God was our principles and pattern, and not really GOD HIMSELF. In short, we have been walking according to principles ABOUT God. We have been TOLD how God is, and have fashioned a life around those teachings. And all of them might even be good and moral teachings! But we have not seen GOD HIMSELF. We don’t know HIM.
This was exactly Job’s shortcoming. He had lived according to teachings about God, but had not seen God Himself. He said that at the end of the trial, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
By the time God was done with Job, all of his teachings seemed shallow. It wasn’t that they were wrong teachings – no, for God said that Job had always spoken rightly of Him. But the principles by which Job lived and to become swallowed up by the PERSON. The shadow had to give way to the substance.
As long as we are comfortable in our principles, rules, laws, and religious life, we will never EVEN KNOW that there is more. It is possible to live your entire life in a religion ABOUT God, and never so much as suspect there you are NOT SEEING GOD HIMSELF. Trials are often geared to getting us OUT of this comfort zone, and to the place where Christ can be enlarged in us. If you want to be conscious of Christ in you, this is very often what is necessary.
Lesson #2: This Isn’t About Justice
When all those terrible things happened to Job, he was right in saying that he had not sinned. And yet, in Job’s thinking, God could not allow what had happened to him UNLESS he had sinned. Much of Job’s perplexity is on this point. What could NOT happen DID happen.
What we see here is a desperate attempt to justify God. Job wasn’t really trying to justify himself – he was just being honest about himself: He had not sinned. But once Job was honest about himself, this left God looking unjust. And that was impossible.
Once I set up the principle that demands that God must always reward obedience, and punish disobedience – I will have no explanation if a bad thing happens to me when I have not sinned. I will probably hunt and scrap for an explanation that will allow God to remain just and fair in my eyes. It may never occur to me that the problem is really the principle I have established to begin with – I have actually put God under MY principle, and when He violated it, I had no way of dealing with it.
I’m not saying that there is no correlation at all between whether I obey God and what God does in my life. But I am saying that God is not bound to bless my life because I obey Him. Why? Because God has greater purposes in mind than to simply bless my life in the here and now. Furthermore, if God blessed me for obedience and cursed me for disobedience – if things were set up that way as an unbending principle -- it would not be long before we would obey God JUST TO GET BLESSED. It would be our way of controlling God – and you can bank on this becoming our attitude! For Pete’s sake, it usually is anyways until we learn better!
Anyone will obey God if it always means a blessing – even trained animals do that! But how about if God did NOT bless our obedience? Would we obey Him THEN?
This is the exact question that Satan posed to God about Job. Satan said, "Job obeys You because it pays him to obey you." There was some truth to this, simply because Job was one of us – and we all tend to obey God when it pays to obey, and to keep away from sin only because we don’t want the consequences. But if God one day begins to withhold blessing, or even seems to curse us with trials – despite our faith and obedience to Him – then what?
Well, then it’s trial time. But notice what is going on in such a case: God is giving us the chance to break free of our impure motives for obeying Him. We now have a chance to obey Him even if it does NOT pay us to obey. In fact, we might we faced with the challenge of believing God and obey Him even if He does NOTHING to help us in the present trial.
Always notice what happens when God doesn’t help you – or seem to be helping you. Do we begin to say, "Well, then don’t ask me for anything, Lord!!" Our motives for walking with Christ are so often selfish. We want blessing and all that is beneficial to us. And when the blessing are there, or at least we are in a comfort zone, it is so easy to thank God, and praise Him – all the while under our breath muttering about how it is because WE deserve it. But then God allows a trial, and nothing you do helps. Will we obey God and believe Him THEN?
Well, if we won’t do it then, our faith is exposed as built on a foundation of sand. The storm came and our house fell. Yet even then, we can get up and allow God to establish us on The Rock. And we ought to thank God for exposing us for the frauds that were, so that we can be set free by the Truth!
The motives for our obedience find their root in what we ARE. And unless God deals with what we ARE, we will never get free. So often we operate in the realm of what we DO. God operates in the realm of what we ARE. This is why we misunderstand Him.
What we see in all of this is that trials are not necessarily because we have sinned. Indeed, for a child of God, trials are not a PUNISHMENT for anything. Trials are chastisements – they are training. Even more than that, trials are to deal – not so much with what we DO – but with what we ARE. Job’s trial was that of a just man who spoke rightly of God. It was not a trial that was a punishment. Rather, it was a trail intended by God to set Job free from the blindness of religion into a personal knowledge of Himself.
The trial of faith is not to destroy your faith. It is to build your faith. But in order to build your faith, there are things in you that MUST be torn down. The emergence of the life of Christ in us is always the product of the death of what hinders it. But while this death is taking place, it will seem to us as if something BAD is happening. No. It is something GOOD. God is setting us free.
God is totally just. That is why Jesus had to die. But it is precisely because Jesus died that you must die in Him – you did at salvation, but now you must be set free from that, "body of death."
Lesson #3: God Does Show Us WHY
When the tragedy struck, Job didn’t know what hit him. He never expected THIS! And he did not have answers. Where had he sinned? Where had he gotten out of God’s will? Remember – Job was like us – he thought that one of those two things MUST be the case, because God always blesses obedience. So obviously, Job thought, he must have sinned. And yet, Job had to be honest: He knew of no place he had sinned.
So Job had big questions – questions about GOD. What had happened could NOT happen. But it DID happen. Now what? Well, now SEEK GOD. That is exactly what Job did – although it sure seemed to take a long time to find God. Of course, we know the end of the story – we know what happened because Job sought God: Job found God. Or rather, we might say, God found Job.
Job knew that the question was not whether God is faithful. Rather, the question was whether Job was faithful, or just as importantly, had missed the boat somewhere?
This question comes into play especially when we are doing everything we know to be faithful to God, and the results in our trial seem to indicate that God is indifferent, or even against me. Or the question comes into play when I truly believe I took steps in the will of God, and everything that has happened since seems to indicate the opposite – disaster has struck and remained. Where have I gone wrong?
The natural conclusion, at that point, is to say, "God cannot fail. Therefore if things are not going well with me, the problem must be ME." Well, the problem with that conclusion is that it gives us no options. If I believe I am out of God’s will, and have no clue how I got out, let alone how to get back in, and if God is presently saying NOTHING to me – and He probably IS saying nothing – then where do I go from there?
Job was human, and in his trial we find THE fundamental question that human beings ask in such a time as that: If God is good, and I have not sinned, then WHY can these bad things be happening to me? This question is predicated on the false assumption that God always blesses good people, and does not bless, or even curses, bad people. It is predicated on a sense of justice that is born in US and then pasted on God. But nevertheless, it is the way we think. We want to know WHY.
If the book of Job teaches us nothing else, it teaches us that it is possible to be completely in the will of God – and suffering greatly. It teaches us that it is possible for it to be God’s sovereign will for me to be in a trial that is NOT the result of disobedience, unbelief, or self-will, and yet to be in it because GOD WANTS ME IN IT. In other words, my trial is not a JUST one! -- as natural thinking would define it. But it is nevertheless God’s will that I be in it.
The book of Job teaches us that it is possible that I could be suffering in perplexity, confusion, and the silence of God – and for EVEN THAT to be the will of God. God may have deliberately created a trial wherein it is impossible to find the answers we want. Have we yet come to terms with the possibility that God may want us to be unable to see or know what to do in our situation?
If only we could grasp this. So often when you find yourself in a trial of faith, it is easy to feel guilty and condemned because you think that you have done something bad – but you don’t know of anything you have done. So you think and pray and think and pray, asking God for an answer – because we tend to think that an answer to WHY is what we need. And boy, if we just know WHY, it would help, wouldn’t it? But I can almost promise you that no matter how hard you pray, study, and seek God, that He isn’t going to tell you WHY – in fact, He will more than likely not say anything to you. And yet as frustrating as this is at the time, there is a purpose behind it all.
If you read the book of Job, God never told him WHY – at least it isn’t recorded that He did. But God SHOWED HIM WHY. Yep. He really did. Job cried and suffered and argued back and forth, not understanding WHY he was suffering, for a LONG time – it may have been a few years – we don’t know. But he wanted to know WHY. He wanted ANSWERS. And yet God didn’t give him the reason WHY, and didn’t give him ANSWERS. But at the end of the book of Job something happened – and I truly believe that it is given to us because God is in this book telling us the WHY and the ANSWER. But what is that answer?
First, let’s read a passage from the end of the book of Job:
Then Job answered the Lord and said, "I know that You can do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from You…therefore have I uttered what I understood not -- things too wonderful for me -- which I knew not…I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:1-6)
This isn’t Job cowering in fear and telling God that, "he gives in." No. This is Job REPENTING. He says that. But repenting of WHAT? Well, Job tells us. He says, "I have uttered what I understood not. Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." In other words, Job was saying, "I had no clue what I was talking about. A big part of my problem was that I thought I did know. But I didn’t."
This is remarkable, given the fact of the very next verse – which records God’s response to Job’s confession.
My wrath is kindled against you, (Job’s friends) and against thy two friends: for you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has. (Job 42:7)
What is curious about God’s response is that He plainly states that Job has SPOKEN RIGHTLY of Him – in fact He says it twice. And yet this is God’s response to Job confessing that he, "spoke of things that he understood not." How do we reconcile Job’s confession and God’s response? Was Job confessing something he had really not done?
No. Job told the Truth. In fact, Job reconciles his confession to God’s response, right in the confession itself. He says, "I heard ABOUT YOU. But now I SEE YOU." Put that together with God’s commendation of Job, as having spoken rightly of Him, and it becomes plain what was going on here. Job had spoken right words ABOUT GOD. He had taught others the Truth about God before his trial, and he had spoken rightly ABOUT GOD during his trial. Yep. Job knew all the right teachings and doctrines of the Bible – if there had been a Bible at that time. But Job did not know GOD HIMSELF. In short, Job was confessing this very lack on his part. He is saying, "All this time, I thought I knew. But all I knew were facts about God. Now I see God and repent – because I have spoken of things too wonderful for me."
Job wanted answers FROM God. Instead, He got a revelation of God Himself. Job wanted information. He got a revelation. Job wanted to know WHY. Instead, He got to SEE WHY – He got to see God. Once Job saw God he understood that everything that was happening to him was intended to bring him to the place where he could see God.
We are being told in this book the reason why God may allow us to suffer – even though we are not at fault. It is why we may be in a trial where we cannot understand, and cannot seem to find God – no matter what we do. NONE of it is necessarily because we are out of God’s will. ALL of it may be fully within God’s will. God has us in a place where NOTHING is going to save us other than a REVELATION OF HIMSELF TO US.
Of course, we might say, "Well, if that’s what this is all about, then God, please bring it. Let’s cut corners and get to the issue." Sorry. It just doesn’t work that way. This isn’t a matter of us figuring out what God wants and agreeing to comply – sort of like us agreeing to take the position in a trial that God wants us to take so that we can bribe Him to let us OUT. Nope. You can surrender all you want – and certainly your attitude must be that of continual unconditional surrender. But surrender to God isn’t going to get you out of a trial. No. It will, however, insure the purpose for which God wants you IN. God wants you in a process where you will come to the end of all of your schemes, devices, presentations of your own righteousness, and religious flesh. But if you really do come to the end of these things in yourself – which is another way of saying that your SELF is crucified – then the WHY – WHY – WHY of the trial isn’t going to be what you thought. In fact, the end of it might not even be as important as a thing unto itself as it once was. You will find that the end of the trial is a revelation of God Himself – not necessarily all at once – but a revelation that you could not receive otherwise.
Lesson #4: Becoming The Will of God
Today you often hear, "God has a will for your life. He has a wonderful plan for your life." Ok. That is not untrue. But then we are often told what that plan is: "God wants to bring out the champion in you." That is what Joel Osteen teaches. It is a direct quote. Or we are told, "Jesus was crucified to release our greatness." I heard that recently on TBN. And if you listen to what most preachers say today about, "God’s will for your life," so much of it centers on HOW TO GET GOD TO GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT, AND HOW TO GET GOD TO DO WHAT YOU THINK WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY. This principle and that principle is taught as to how to sort of, "get with God’s program, so that He can bless you." Often, part of that program has to do with MONEY.
Well, what about it? Does God have a will for your life? The problem here is the question itself. God obviously has a WILL for you. But so often, we make, "the will of God for our life," a THING. To us, it consists of circumstances, relationships, and a certain sphere of going and coming. We picture God as holding a blueprint of these THINGS, and if we would only do certain THINGS, all of this THING called, "God’s will," would come to pass. But despite the fact that God surely does care about THINGS in our lives – the Bible says so – the will of God is NOT a THING. Rather, the will of God is a PERSON.
Christ is God’s will for your life. And I will promise you that if God sees fit to do so, that He will sacrifice every other THING necessary to achieve that goal. Sure. He already tells US to sacrifice all other things. He says that if we are willing to do so, that, "all these things will be added to us," as they serve the purpose of the PERSON. God wants to form CHRIST IN US. He wants each person presented in the FULLNESS OF CHRIST. That is His will.
Look at Job. Every THING that belonged to Job had to go. But in the end, Job received a restoration of all those THINGS, far beyond the originals. And yet what came in between loss and restoration? Obeying principles? No. Sending someone money? No. Praying and studying? No. What came in between loss and restoration was God’s dealing with Job himself, and the result of the whole trial: Job receiving a revelation of God Himself.
There is a big principle here that you hardly ever hear taught at all. The omission of this principles is the reason for so much error, especially in the Word of Faith heresy, and the heresies of the gospel of self-esteem. That principle is this: Despite the fact that we possess all things in Jesus Christ, we cannot truly embrace them and experience them, until God deals with US personally. In short, faith isn’t enough. We have to BE FAITHFUL.
Do you and I seriously believe that we are fit to reign and rule WITH Christ over anything, either now, or in the eternal ages, unless Christ is first reigning IN us and THROUGH us? The idea that we have POWER from God to use, even in His name, simply because we are Christians, is utter nonsense. You want the power of God? Come under His power. This is more than obedience. It means to be GOVERNED by the Holy Spirit.
Do you and I want to be those whom God can bless in this world? Then renounce all you have. Repent of serving mammon and start serving God – I am talking about money. CASH. Stop trying to control. Open to God. God is NOT going to bless you with money or possessions unless He knows those things will NOT corrupt you in any way. And they WILL corrupt you unless you come under the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Cross. They just will.
Job lost everything and was brought to nothing before God was able to bless with twice as much. Why? Did the suffering, in and of itself, make this possible? No. Lots of people suffer and are worse for it – because they stand against what God is doing. What made it possible for God to bless Job was, yes, he was brought to nothing. But this was only UNTO the real purpose: Job saw God. Once Job saw God, God was able to bless him.
You cannot see God – cannot truly receive a revelation of Him – unless it is the product of death and resurrection. This is not maybe. You can study and learn information about God, and facts about God, and become well-versed in Biblical doctrine. But Job did all of that – he said so – he said he heard all ABOUT God. And God Himself said, "Job got the facts right about Me." And yet all of that was not the same as seeing God – not the same as receiving a revelation of God Himself. Job said that too – He said, "I never knew how shallow and hollow all of my true words were. Now that I see You, I repent of my pride and my ignorance."
I’ve written this before, but it bears repeating: You cannot have true LIGHT as a, "thing," that is independent from the LIFE – from Christ Himself. No. How could you? Neither LIGHT nor LIFE are THINGS. They are both CHRIST. So the LIGHT is always contained in the LIFE – they are both of Christ.
So as the LIFE of Christ is enlarged in you, you get LIGHT – revelation of Him. But you cannot have the LIFE until you DIE. Thus, we have the formula: MY DEATH = CHRIST’S LIFE = LIGHT. In short, if you want to know Christ – to truly get a revelation of Him – you have to die. The resurrection life that emerges will carry that revelation. All else until we pass through death and resurrection is not revelation. It is information – as true as it might be.
How do we die? Don’t bother trying to find a cross to carry. God will bring it. You will know when it happens. This is not a terrible thing. It is a good thing.
In the final analysis, God isn’t going to merely give you a THING called, "His will." No. He wants to MAKE you into His will – He wants you to BECOME His will. And if you grasp that, you will see that unless God first MAKES US His will, then it would be quite a dangerous thing for Him to give us a THING called His will. That is why Jesus said, "Seek you first His kingdom – which is the fullness of Christ in us – and all else will be given." God is in the process of making you into His will – tearing down your kingdom and building up His. Then He can progressively bring all that is part of His plan for you into your life.
Have you ever surrendered to God? – over and over again – only to have it seem as if He hasn’t heard a word you have said? Or perhaps things just got WORSE. Perhaps you obeyed God in some matter, and it all turned to disaster – the very thing you thought you could avoid BY obeying. None of this is evidence that God has forsaken you, or that you are out of His will. It is business as usual for those who God is calling on in Jesus Christ.
If you are afraid that you are out of God’s will, and have no clue as to how you are out, or how you got out, or how to get back in, you probably are NOT out of God’s will. Especially since God’s will is first the fullness of Christ in us – and not THINGS. But that being said, if you wonder whether you are out of God’s will, simply surrender EVEN THAT to God. Surrender yourself to God and say, "God, do whatever is necessary to keep me in Your will, or get me back into your will."
We get this idea that God is sitting in heaven with a THING called, "His will," in His hand, and that He expects us to figure it out before He will give it to us. But that is nonsense. First of all, we cannot know anything about God, or His will, unless God Himself reveals it. Secondly, God already knows what we are believing, and why – right or wrong. He already knows if we have misinterpreted Him. He knows what we need to know and when. As stated earlier, God is out to MAKE US INTO HIS WILL – and that includes knowing what we need to know. Can we trust Him to do that?
I used to be quite afraid that I would be deceived and get out of God’s will without realizing it. But I finally had to see that I needed to trust God even over that. What else can I do? Trust that I am able to know what I don’t know? Trust that I am able to know when I am deceived? – it wouldn’t be deception then, would it? Real faith means that I trust God to know what I cannot know, and that I trust God to reveal to me what He wants me to know, and when. Anything else, and I end up trusting in my own ability to understand.
Surrender to God means exactly that – surrender to God Himself. I am not surrendering to a situation or a circumstance. I am surrendering to God IN it, and despite it. And I am doing so, without a clue as to what is going to happen to me once I do surrender.
Always beware of insisting that IF you surrender, God MUST do this or that. No. Surrender isn’t a bargain with God – such that IF you surrender, things get better, etc.. No. When you surrender you aren’t guaranteed an escape. What you are guaranteed is GOD HIMSELF.
God always hears our surrender – it’s our own unbelief that makes us feel as if He hasn’t. So we just keep surrendering over and over again because we don’t believe He has heard. Then we say to God, "Lord how often I have surrender to You, but you haven’t heard!" He probably says back, "I heard you the first time. But you didn’t believe I heard you. It was your unbelief that was the problem." It is amazing how all of our problems can be traced back to US – our unbelief, etc. But this is exactly why God must put us through trials before we are able to actually SEE HIM like Job did. God is seeking to set us free.
Lesson #5: Evidence to Live By
Job did not understand how all those terrible things could happen to him if God were faithful. But once the trial started, Job had an even more difficult question: How could God turn a deaf ear to Job, despite all of his surrendering and crying out to God? Sure. Maybe God did allow the trial for a reason. But now Job was surrendering to God. What more could God want? This is always a big question. And it gets back to WHY.
Notice what was going on with Job: Job had EVIDENCE all around him to the effect that God was indifferent to him. His suffering was not getting better. It was getting worse. All the prayers had been said. All the arguments had been presented. All of the angles had been covered. Job had made every surrender he could think of, and had appealed to God on every basis. And NOTHING. God was silent. Even more than this, Job himself was coming apart at the seams. Not only was there EVIDENCE all around him to the effect that God was unfaithful, but there was evidence in his own person – his emotions and wavering faith -- that he, Job, was unworthy. Job would have given anything for just a scrap of evidence that God was faithful. But there was none to be found.
What an ordeal. In Job’s physical body there was NO evidence of God. He was terribly sick. In Job’s friends, indeed in his own wife, there was NO evidence of God. They had all spoken WRONGLY of God in this matter. In Job’s children – NO evidence. They had died. In Job’s possessions there was NO evidence. He had lost all of his possessions and money. In Job’s faith – well, there was some evidence there, or at least Job thought there was. But you know, once something like this happens to a person, all the teachings and doctrines that are so easy to chant and parrot seem hollow. So there wasn’t much evidence there either. In fact, everything Job ever taught about the faithfulness of God seemed to now be false. I mean, it really wasn’t working for him, personally. How COULD it be true?
So there was NO evidence that Job could see. But wait. Despite those facts – and they were real facts. There was nothing imaginary about this. But despite those facts – there was ONE EVIDENCE that was bigger than all else: God Himself. When Job actually saw GOD HIMSELF, he had evidence, didn’t he? And it is at that point that all the arguments and questions as to WHY ended.
This is exactly what God is trying to do in us. He is trying to establish IN US an evidence of Himself that will be greater than all other contrary evidence. He wants to establish WITHIN US an evidence that cannot be moved by supposed evidence OUTSIDE of us. If God can do this, it means that nothing will move us.
Faith – obvious, in God – IS THE EVIDENCE of things hoped for, and the SUBSTANCE of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1) Can we see that this is evidence and substance WITHIN US that governs our lives – even when there is NO evidence otherwise? And can we see that often the ONLY WAY God can build such an evidence in us is precisely by using contradiction all around us? – contradiction to that inner evidence? Absolutely. It is only when our faith is contradicted and questioned and attacked that we are motivated to seek Truth on levels we knew nothing about. Job could have spent the rest of his life living in the things he had heard about God. But it was only when that was exposed as shallow and inadequate through the fire of his trial that he was able to go on and be made able to SEE GOD.
When everything you believe finds NO EVIDENCE in your life, look not to your circumstances in life. Look to HIS LIFE in you – look to Him. That is the evidence. And God may use contradiction to get you to do this. Do you want a real consciousness of Christ in you? Then you must be detached from all other evidence. You must die to that. Then you will SEE CHRIST.
So we see that when everything is said and done, the choice before us is going to be: What am I going to choose to believe? The evidence that denies the faithfulness of God? Or the evidence that is IN ME – the fact that I REALLY DO KNOW THAT GOD IS FAITHFUL? If you believe God, you will, in time, find out that you were right – God was revealing to you the Truth.
The evidence that God wants to give us of Himself is Christ in us through the Holy Spirit. Unless we have that evidence within – all of the outward blessings in the world aren’t going to hold us. When the crisis comes, they will seem as shallow as they really are. "But he that trusts in the Lord shall be like Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abides forever."
The lessons of the book of Job are that God wants to reveal Himself to us. And to do it, He must sometimes remove all other evidence of Himself – which is really NOT evidence at all – but nothing more than our principles, and religious concepts. The evidence is God Himself is Christ in us.
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