Chapter 23 (ESV) - Then Job answered and said:
“Today also my complaint is bitter;
my hand is heavy on account of my groaning.
Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
that I might come even to his seat!
I would lay my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know what he would answer me
and understand what he would say to me.
Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
No; he would pay attention to me.
There an upright man could argue with him,
and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
My foot has held fast to his steps;
I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.
But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
What he desires, that he does.
For he will complete what he appoints for me,
and many such things are in his mind.
Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
when I consider, I am in dread of him.
God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me;
yet I am not silenced because of the darkness,
nor because thick darkness covers my face.
Question to consider: How do we experience the presence of God?
As we go through today’s chapter, it is important to remember that Job at one time had an abundant prayer life to go along with his abundant estate. He came before the Lord daily to intercede for his family and was blameless when compared with those around him. As difficult as it was to lose his earthly estate and personal health, the thing that he lamented the most is that he could no longer see the Lord working in his life. Job longed to be able to find the Lord, and he was convinced that if he was able to present his case before God, God would treat him with much more honor than his supposed friends.
Along with this desire to be able to be vindicated by God, Job had a sense of dread and terror at the thought of facing God. He recognized that God is unchanging and does what He pleases. God shows mercy on whom He will show mercy. No matter how Job stacked up against his fellow man, he fell short of the glory of God, and God had every right to destroy him if He chose to do so. Job, who treasured the word of God more than food, had been deprived of it, and the thought of never receiving it again terrified him.
In Job, we can see a type and shadow for the suffering of Christ before He would face judgment for all of mankind. Because Christ has suffered and died for us, we have the assurance that He will never leave us nor forsake us. This is why it is important to understand that our faith is more than just an experience or feeling. We don’t look for a “new” word from God because it has been given to us in scripture and is available to us whenever we need it. Not only did Christ give us His word, but He gives us His flesh and blood in communion, and we are fellow members of the body of Christ.
I think this is one danger in the modern church. We’ve diminished the idea of Christ coming to us by His means of grace (baptism, communion and the scripture) and pinned it to a personal worship “experience” delivered by a popular song. If people don’t feel the presence of God in their worship experience, they quickly become discouraged or weakened in their faith. Our feelings come and go. The challenge is to become so rooted in the word of God that we will come out like gold when we have been tried.
Dear heavenly father, Your word is more valuable than precious gems or gold. Help us to see it as such and continually be filled with it so that we may know You are with us always. Amen.