“In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. …” (Isaiah 30:15).
Think of Job. Ultimately, his story is about how he knew God and came to know Him better. Here’s someone who suffered tremendous loss and pain in spite of doing everything he was supposed to do. He lived in the fear of the Lord and was careful to avoid evil. He prayed fervently for his family.
The idea of knowing what to do and when to do it can trap us. Make yourself acceptable and God will be duty bound to make good come to you.
This was Satan’s challenge to the Lord regarding Job. The devil sneered, “Job does what he does because of what’s been done for him. He does his good because he’s in a good place.” It was a business arrangement – something the master merchandiser Satan quite understood. Job’s friends also betrayed this kind of understanding of a man’s relationship with God.
All things were stripped from Job – family, finances, and possessions were gone. Then, he was subjected to physical afflictions. In the midst of it all, he sat on the ash heap and lamented when these counselors showed up and had nothing to say at first.
Job was written to show us that the real point of life is about the One we know and how we know Him. The man’s friends pleaded with him to do the “right” thing as they saw it. Just tell God that you’re sorry and all will be well. To these men, this was the fast track to getting back into the win column of life.
Job heard his friends, but he could not agree with them. Their suggestions were religious ones. Do something to make yourself good with God. This, in their minds, was the way to “rightness.” Being right, however, is the not the same as having righteousness, and Job knew this. Job refused to abandon his integrity. He clung to his threads of hope and cast his situation upon his relationship with God.
Rest and Restlessness
As far as Job knew, he was whole in mind and heart before the Lord. His Redeemer lived; Job rested in this understanding. He fully expected to see his Redeemer face to face.
Rather than contrive a phony exercise of confession, Job chose to wait for God, the One he knew. Eventually, he came to the point of demanding an audience with the Lord. Think of Jesus’ parable about the friend at midnight (see Luke 11:5-13). Job was in the dark and needed bread. He just started to bang on the door.
God did show up, and He came at Job with a string of unanswerable questions. The curious thing is that Job took in all of them. The exchange came and it served to draw Job into a better and deeper knowledge of the One who made him.Good, real, honest, pure friendships are things that involve conflicts. Closeness and proximity and intimacy are remarkably fragile things. Disputes and disturbances are regularly a part of the flow of life. Click To Tweet
Good, real, honest, pure friendships are things that involve conflicts. Closeness and proximity and intimacy are remarkably fragile things. Disputes and disturbances are regularly a part of the flow of life. Just ask any healthy married couple, a husband and wife who’ve been together for some decades. Their stories are usually not ones about sailing across a smooth lake. No, their stories generally involve weathered storms and battered boats.
Why and how did they stay together? How did they keep their ship from sinking? They came to know each other, marvelously, fearfully, wonderfully, that’s how. The strains strengthened their muscles and they developed a strong grip on their relationship.
The Lord did come to Job and the encounter left Job with little to say. “I lay my hand over my mouth,” (see Job 40:4). He did not run from God, however.
A New and Living Way
Between Job and the Lord, there was quietness and confidence, such confidence that God could continue to address His servant in direct and honest ways.
When all was said, Job had been brought into a new and living way. The Lord invited Job deeper into His purposes. He was established in a type of priesthood as he prayed for his friends (see Job 42:7-10). He went before the Lord on behalf of the men whose knowledge of God was so small and so narrow.
“And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. …” (Job 42:12).