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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Facing Trials: Job [17]

God has finished speaking. And now...Job realizes he has been foolish to question God's wisdom and justice:

I know that you can do all things;

no plan of yours can be thwarted.

You asked, ''Who is this that obscures my counsel

without knowledge?''

Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,

things too wonderful for me to know. (Job 42:2-3)

Job finally understands that God's ways are different than ours. The Lord's wisdom is greater than ours, His mercy infinite and His power without bounds.

This realization that God uses everything, including suffering, for his own purposes is really the climax of the book of Job. What can we do but trust in him? He has given us our life; he has preserved us. And if he should send us pain and suffering, do we not trust that he will use those circumstances and situations in a way that is consistent with his mercy?

This is the message of the book of Job.

The last recorded words of Job are words of repentance:

"My ears had heard of you [God]

But how my eyes have seen you.

Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:5- 6)

Job has seen the Lord's goodness. He recognizes his own evil for questioning that goodness. Job confesses his sin and confidently places himself in the hands of his loving God.

Much earlier in his trials Job could easily say (without really understanding), “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised'' (Job 1:21). But, now that concept is rooted far more deeply within Job's heart. He is no longer haunted by doubts and bitterness.

Job is at peace with God.

Job's present state of mind echoes what the Apostle Paul says much later in the Bible, "be content whatever the circumstances" (Philippians 4:11).

After all, if God has given his only Son into death to save us, won't he use all things--even suffering--for our eternal good?


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