JOB 23

1 Then Job answered and said,

2 Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.

Job recognises the fallacy of the friends arguments, and declares that the incontrovertible fact is that the wicked are often immune from trouble (ch. 23:1 to 24:25).*

3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!

We do not learn of God's matters in the clouds.

There is nothing in the sky, or sea, or landscape, or town, or business, or home, or body, or blood, to tell us of them: quite the contrary. We know of them only through the word preached and read: and as faith cometh by hearing, so faith continueth by the same instrumentality.

Consequently, before the things of Christ can become a power in our minds at all able to compete with the things of the natural man, they must be diligently and constantly renewed by special culture, in reading the Word of God, and prayer, and meeting, and the various other ways in which the memory may be refreshed and the knowledge strengthened and increased. This is the more true, because the things of Christ, in many points, are distasteful to the natural man.

When we achieve the victory, in a constant application to the Word of Christ, our position is one of surpassing interest, even if of present pain. We realize where we are, what we are about, and what great things are ahead, by the power of which we can reconcile ourselves patiently to present disadvantages, and rightly look on the scene which is passing around us.

We stand on an elevation, so to speak, looking down on the busy world around.

Bro Roberts - Remembrance

4 I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.

Job... answers once more the cutting charges from Eliphaz. He commences in a most tender manner. He turns away from every human helper, his three friends, and looks to God. He had looked to earthly friends in vain; finding there no help, no comfort, he expresses the most earnest desire that he might be able to carry his cause at once before his Maker.

Could he come before Him, as he wished, he would plead his cause there, and there he would find The One who would hear him, and would know why it was that he was thus afflicted. He did not understand the reason for his troubles, yet God would reveal it, if he was permitted to carry his cause before Him.

Yet he could not find Him. He looked in every direction for some token of His appearing; but in vain. He went east (forward), and west (backward), and north (left), and south (right), in the quarters of the heavens where Yahweh usually manifested Himself, but Job could not find Him. Yet he had total faith and confidence in Yahweh, and felt assured that when he had been tried, he would come forth as gold. He asserts his consciousness of integrity, and says that it had been the great aim of his life to honour and obey God. *

GEM, Logos.

5 I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.

6 Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.

7 There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.

8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

The course of righteousness appears a course of fruitless sacrifice and unrequited labour; the righteous man appears a fool for his pains; and it would seem as if there were no intelligent God at work, with eyes beholding in every place, seeing the evil and the good, discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart, and arranging to cause every man at last to find according to his ways. But this is all a mere appearance.

Seasons 1: 42

9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

‭"‬We glory in tribulations‭" (‬Rom.‭ v‬: 3‭)‬.‭

"‬That is all very well for Paul,‭" ‬a brother may say,‭ "‬but I am not Paul,‭ ‬and his preaching is not applicable to my case‭; ‬my lot is too hard.‭" ‬Let us try and look at trouble from Paul's standpoint,‭ ‬and we shall quickly change our complaining tone.‭ ‬The apostle says that trouble is the path of immortal life,‭ ‬and that the amount that each man has is arranged by God,‭ ‬and is never allowed to reach the unbearable point‭ (‬Acts‭ xiv‬: 22‭; ‬1‭ ‬Cor.‭ x‬: 13‭)‬.‭

He says,‭ ‬moreover,‭ ‬that if we patiently endure it,‭ ‬it will work for us‭ "‬a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory‭" (‬2‭ ‬Cor.‭ iv‬: 17‭)‬.‭ ‬If all this sounds untrue to us,‭ ‬it is the result of unbelief,‭ ‬and a spiritual tonic to revive our confidence in the Scriptures is needful.‭

Let us get into the company of a truth-loving brother or sister for half-an-hour‭; ‬or,‭ ‬better still,‭ ‬drink into the spirit of the Psalms.‭ ‬If we would only realise that God is at work in our trouble,‭ ‬that it is only for a‭ "‬moment,‭" ‬and when rightly estimated,‭ ‬is

"‬not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,‭"

‬we should soon cease to complain and murmur.

Bro AT Jannaway

The Christadelphian, March 1899

No one has ever been put to the proof through a speaking reptile since Adam's fall; nor has any one been tried by an angel of light since Jesus successfully resisted his suggestions.—Paul's phrase "in the likeness of sinful flesh"—en homoiomati sarkos hamartias—I have rendered more literally "in a form of Sin's flesh." "Sinful" is an adjective expressive of the quality of the "flesh," and signifies flesh full of sin.

—This is a form of flesh common to all mankind, and indicated by Paul in the words, "in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." But Adam's flesh before his fall, and the Christ's flesh, were forms of flesh and blood to which the English word "sinful" is inapplicable.—They were not full of sin.

The first Adam's was a form in which there was no sin at all, but only a physical weakness inseparable from flesh and blood. Luke styles him "Son of God," because he was begotten by his Spirit from mother earth. Having transgressed, his weakness was defiled, and became sin, and his flesh "Sin's flesh"—sarx hamartias—a form afterwards inherited by Abraham in common with all mankind.

But Christ's was still another form of Sin's flesh than either Abraham's or Adam's before his fall. The homoiomal difference of his flesh from Adam's consisted in its maternity. Adam's came directly from the dust of the ground; Christ's from that form of Sin's flesh styled "the seed of Abraham." It differed from this, however, in its paternity.

Abraham's daughter, Mary, was "begotten of blood, of the will of the flesh, or of man;" but her son Jesus, of the will of God by his creative power, which constituted him a peculiar form of Sin's flesh; and hence the propriety of my more literal rendering of en homoiomati sarkos hamartias—a form of Sin's flesh—even the third form under which flesh and blood [third form of flesh and blood - second form of sin's flesh] has been manifested since the creation-week.

In Heb. 4:15, the phrase "form of Sin's flesh" is expressed by the single word homoiotes, "likeness, resemblance, or similitude;" as, kata panta kath, homoioteta, "in all things according to the likeness." One thing may resemble another without being identical in every particular. This was the case with Christ's flesh. It was Sin's flesh so far as its maternity was concerned, but not as to its fatherhood.

In this he differed from the Jews, who had Sin's flesh for their parentage on both sides, which they illustrated in their persecution of their maternal brother, who was "born after the Spirit;" thereby proving that they were the children and slaves of father, Sin, or diabolos.

Still Christ's paternity did not destroy the physical likeness of his flesh to Abraham's seed; it only removed from it the reigning principle hereditarily transmitted by the will of man, called diabolos, or "devil."

His flesh, however, was still reduced in strength below that of Adam's original nature, because of its maternal defilement. Hence, to place it on a par with the first Adam's, that there might be equality of strength, Jesus was anointed, or Christened, by which he became "full of the Holy Spirit."

This filling did not destroy the homoiotes or likeness to Sin's flesh. It was still possible for Christ to feel the force and influence of sophistical appeals to the lusts of Sin's flesh with which he was burdened as with "a loathsome disease." Hence, says the apostle,

"he was put to the proof in all things or according to the likeness, "

or resemblance of his flesh to his brethren's in its susceptibilities, "without offence."

There being no reigning diabolos, "devil," or Sin, transmitted by the will of man in Adam or Christ, as in the flesh of all mankind, that causing not to stand in the truth, or diabolos, is in their cases, and in their's alone, to be referred to the Serpent and the Angle of light.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Sept 1852

Though gold is unaffected by fire, and is one of the most unchanging and uncorruptible substances we know, still "it perisheth," as compared to the spiritual things of eternity. Gold like all the worldly things it stands for, is perishing and corruptible, though it seems so lasting and dependable.

The tried character of faith is of infinitely more value and durability. Gold is the treasure on earth - all the things men desire and strive for - better houses, better positions and possessions - all the tangible, perishing things.

But faith is the treasure in heaven. The Scripture always presents earthly treasures and heavenly treasures as opposites - incompatibles - God and Mammon. It always presents the faithful as pilgrims and strangers - the simple, humble, suffering Lazarus class. To the rich man it was said-

"Remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented" (Lk. 16:25).

Naturally, we desire to have the good things of both lives, but that is not the way the children of God are being prepared for their eternal glory. Who are we, that we should selfishly seek the luxuries of this life, when most of the world is underfed, and Christ our Master whom we profess to love and follow, in devoting his life to mankind, had not where to lay his head? Who are we to say to the great suffering multitude-

"Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled?" (Jam. 2:16)

Let us remember that Jesus said-

"The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord . . . He that taketh not his cross, and FOLLOWETH AFTER ME, is not worthy of me" (Matt. 10:24. 38).

"IF we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him."

Paul, given by Christ as an example of the life and character and labor he expects, said that for Christ he had-

". . . suffered the loss of ALL THINGS, and counted them but dung, that he might win Christ, and might BY ANY MEANS attain unto the resurrection of the dead" (Phil. 3:8, 11).

To him the attaining of the resurrection of life was no easy matter, no foregone conclusion by just "being in the Truth." He recognized the greatness and the fulness and the all-embracing nature of the call to

"Come out, take up the cross, and follow the Master."

Bro Growcott - Grow in Grace

11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

A man may be "perfect and upright," and as God-fearing and evil-eschewing as Job; and yet need his views of wisdom enlarging, by the only kind of experience that can yield this result. Faith is a golden thing, but like that metal fresh dug from the earth, it requires melting in the furnace, in order to separate it from all the less valuable material, with which at first it is mixed.

As the effect of this, the value of the precious metal is much enhanced, with nothing henceforth to detract from the lustre and glory peculiar to the fire-purified article. Now Job was a golden bit of earth, and therefore, figuratively speaking, he was put through the washing of water, and then the purifying effects of fire. The intensity of his trouble is illustrated to us in the words,

"My sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like water,"

language like that by which the sufferings of the Son of God were described in advance (Ps. 22:13, 14). Further on, in his opening address, Job classes himself with such as are "in misery," and such as are "bitter in soul," and "long for death," and

"rejoice exceedingly when they find the grave."

These words, added to what is said of Job's former estate in the narrator's introduction, plainly tell us that he had suddenly sunk from the height of prosperity to the lowest depths of human misery to which it is possible for a man to descend. Moreover, this position of humiliation was one reached on the principle of the proverb which says "misfortunes never come alone."

Altogether, the present result was reached by a series of misfortunes, that each in turn exercised the mind of the patriarch in a way that could not have been secured to such perfection by any single event.

The Christadelphian, Nov 1888

12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

15 Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.

16 For El maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:

17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.