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. *
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
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.
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.