A Vision Of Faith
A daily devotion for December 13th
1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 "When will you end these speeches?
Be sensible, and then we can talk.
3 Why are we regarded as cattle
and considered stupid in your sight?
4 You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,
is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?
Or must the rocks be moved from their place?
5 "The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out;
the flame of his fire stops burning.
6 The light in his tent becomes dark;
the lamp beside him goes out.
7 The vigor of his step is weakened;
his own schemes throw him down.
8 His feet thrust him into a net
and he wanders into its mesh.
9 A trap seizes him by the heel;
a snare holds him fast.
10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground;
a trap lies in his path.
11 Terrors startle him on every side
and dog his every step.
12 Calamity is hungry for him;
disaster is ready for him when he falls.
13 It eats away parts of his skin;
death's firstborn devours his limbs.
14 He is torn from the security of his tent
and marched off to the king of terrors.
15 Fire resides in his tent;
burning sulfur is scattered over his dwelling.
16 His roots dry up below
and his branches wither above.
17 The memory of him perishes from the earth;
he has no name in the land.
18 He is driven from light into darkness
and is banished from the world.
19 He has no offspring or descendants among his people,
no survivor where once he lived.
20 Men of the west are appalled at his fate;
men of the east are seized with horror.
21 Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;
such is the place of one who knows not God."
1 Then Job replied:
2 "How long will you torment me
and crush me with words?
3 Ten times now you have reproached me;
shamelessly you attack me.
4 If it is true that I have gone astray,
my error remains my concern alone.
5 If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me
and use my humiliation against me,
6 then know that God has wronged me
and drawn his net around me.
7 "Though I cry, 'I've been wronged!' I get no response;
though I call for help, there is no justice.
8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass;
he has shrouded my paths in darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone;
he uproots my hope like a tree.
11 His anger burns against me;
he counts me among his enemies.
12 His troops advance in force;
they build a siege ramp against me
and encamp around my tent.
13 "He has alienated my brothers from me;
my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
14 My kinsmen have gone away;
my friends have forgotten me.
15 My guests and my maidservants count me a stranger;
they look upon me as an alien.
16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer,
though I beg him with my own mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife;
I am loathsome to my own brothers.
18 Even the little boys scorn me;
when I appear, they ridicule me.
19 All my intimate friends detest me;
those I love have turned against me.
20 I am nothing but skin and bones;
I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth.
21 "Have pity on me, my friends, have pity,
for the hand of God has struck me.
22 Why do you pursue me as God does?
Will you never get enough of my flesh?
23 "Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
25 I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
28 "If you say, 'How we will hound him,
since the root of the trouble lies in him, '
29 you should fear the sword yourselves;
for wrath will bring punishment by the sword,
and then you will know that there is judgment. "
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another (Job 19:25-27a).
This is one of the great words of faith in the Old Testament, one of the earliest intimations of the resurrection of the body found in the Word of God. Slowly, through the anguish and gloom of this man's heart, born out of the passion and the pathos that he feels, comes the dawning realization that God is working out a great and mighty purpose, and that one of these days God Himself (Job has never failed to see God's great majesty and power) shall be visibly present before people. God will come Himself and vindicate all that He does. This is a marvelous glance ahead by faith to the incarnation of the Lord. Job calls him
my Redeemer and my Vindicator, the one who will defend me and vindicate all that has happened to me.
I think there is nothing that the study of this book of Job does for us more than to understand that life is basically a mystery. We are surrounded by mystery. We cannot comprehend it all; it is painted on too large a canvas. It is too great and involved for us to grasp it all. The ways of God are beyond us many times, and yet Job is gradually learning in the midst of his pain to trust the God who is there, to trust that He will come up with answers and that He is working out a purpose in line with His love. That is what life gradually teaches us.
Elisabeth Elliot described briefly her first widowhood. Her husband was slain along with four companions in the jungles of Ecuador by members of the Auca tribe. She spent thirteen years as a widow, and then she married a gracious and wonderful man with whom she was very happy for just a few more years. Then he died, taken by cancer. She said,
I have spent six-sevenths of my life single, though I have been married twice. I did not choose the gift of widowhood, but I accepted it as the sphere in which I am to live to the glory of God.
This is what Job is gradually learning. God is working out a purpose. It is not related to specific sin, although, as we will see before the book is over, Job learns much more about the depravity of his own nature.
Thank You, Lord, that You have sent Jesus to be my Redeemer, and I can trust that You are working out Your purposes. Help me to accept what You have in store for me as the sphere in which I am to live to the glory of God
Life Application: When life tumbles in, leaving us mystified, are we allowing God to plant hope and faith in our minds and hearts? Do we humbly recognize his inscrutable wisdom?
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