The other day I read Job Chapter 23 and it was an incredible encouragement. The Book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible and has been included in lists of the greatest books in world literature.
Job’s friends did not waver from their belief that Job must have sinned to incite God’s punishment. They increasingly berated him for refusing to confess his sins, although they themselves were at a loss as to which sin he had committed. They also assumed, in their view of theology, that God always rewards good and punishes evil, with no apparent exceptions allowed. There seemed to be no room in their understanding of God for divine discretion and mystery in allowing and arranging suffering for purposes other than retribution. When I think about Job and all that he suffered, it is hard to fathom that he could not pick up the Bible and read an account of another man or woman from which to gain strength or encouragement. Where did Job get his strength to stand? Where did his revelation come from?
We all suffer in one form or another. It is part of the Christian walk. The Lord God Almighty, however, walks in the midst of His people.
But does He hold back the persecution? Does He stem the tribulation? No, He does not. He simply says, “I KNOW your tribulation–I am not at all unmindful of your suffering.” What a stumbling block this is to so many people. Like Israel they wonder if God really loves them. How can God be just and loving if He stands by and watches His people suffer?
That is what they asked in Malachi 1:1-3,
“The burden of the Word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet we say, Wherein hast Thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob,
And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”
You see, they could not figure out God’s love. They thought that love meant no suffering. They thought that love meant a baby with parental care. But God said that His love was “elective” love. The proof of His love is ELECTION–that no matter what happened, His love was proven truly by the fact they were chosen unto salvation (because God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth). He may commit you to death as He did Paul. He may commit you to suffering as He did Job. That is His prerogative. He is sovereign. But it is all with a purpose. If He did not have a purpose, then He would be the author of frustration and not of peace. His purpose is that after we have suffered awhile we would be made perfect, be established, strengthened and settled. As Job said, “He puts strength in us.” (Job 23:6b) You see He, Himself, suffered. He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. He was actually made perfect by the things that He suffered. – William Branham 116-2 Smyrnaean Church Age – Church Age Book Chapter 4
In Chapter 38 God asks Job a number of questions too!
- Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? verse 4
- Who set its measurements? verse 5
- What is the way to the place where light is divided up? verse 24
- Can you bind Pleiades’ chains or loosen the reins of Orion? verse 31
- Can you guide the stars at their proper times? verse 32
Job, being a prophet, got in the Spirit. That’s the only way you’ll get get anything anyhow is when you get in the Spirit. He Got in the Spirit. The power of God came on him. He foresaw the coming of the Lord. He raised to his feet; he shook himself. The thunders roared, the lightnings flashed.
Job said, “I know my Redeemer liveth. And at the last days He will stand on the earth. Though the skin worms destroys this body. Yet in my flesh shall I see God, Whom I shall see for myself, mine eyes shall behold, and not another.” - William Branham, Fellowship Through The Reconciliation Of The Blood 06/05/55 E-43 Macon, GA
Another translation puts it this way:
23 “I wish someone would write down everything I say.
I wish my words were written on a scroll.
24 I wish they were carved with an iron tool into lead
or scratched on a rock so that they would last forever.
25 I know that there is someone to defend me and that he lives!
And in the end, he will stand here on earth and defend me.
26 After I leave my body and my skin has been destroyed,
I know I will still see God.
27 I will see him with my own eyes.
I myself, not someone else, will see God.
Sometimes we need to back up. Back way up. Look at the bigger picture. Don’t zoom in, zoom out. Imagine looking through a telescope, and then turning the lens until you back out over the trees, up above your town, your state, your country until you see the earth hanging in space. In the blog post titled “There Is A Time“, one blogger beautifully states it like this:
You and I live on this little blob. From this far back you don’t see the malice, hate, sin, divorce, adultery, abandonment, hurt, sorrow, or even the happiness, joy, family, nice homes, beautiful views. From this far back you only have the knowledge that down there are 7 billion lives, for some reason, they are all down there, living out their lives doing…something.
Understand that we are simply a vapor in time, compared to the vast majesty and power of God. There is a time for everything, but time belongs to Him, so let Him determine the time we have.
Take just 41 minutes of your time and watch this video, and marvel at the majesty, and glory of God as revealed in the Heavens.
It is a brief science lesson as told by Christian minister Louie Giglio.
It puts things into proper perspective!
Then Job answered and said,
Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.
Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.
Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.
There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
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:
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.
Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.
For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:
Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.
Job Chapter 23