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TRUSTING GOD IN THE TESTING

Saturday, 24 February, 2018

Job 4 : 1-21

"Is not your fear of God your confidence, And the integrity of your ways your hope?" -Job 4:6 [NASB]

The Book of Job is an account of the testing of faith of a “blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8) and the sovereignty of God.  Job was an affluent man, who lost everything including his children, possessions and even his health. Although his friends wanted to comfort him, in their finite understanding they condemned his suffering as a consequence of sin and Job’s lack of turning to God. While God does punish sin, the Book of Job reveals that not all suffering is a consequence of sin.  The suffering of Job teaches us some valuable lessons:

A Testing of Faith: For the one who professes that his faith is in Christ alone, there comes a time when his faith will be tested. Great men and women of the Bible have all gone through a test of faith – there was a testing of faith for Abraham, Joseph, Job, Esther, for Daniel and his friends and so on. James 1:2-4 encourages us, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Established on the Firm Foundation: Irrespective of the surrounding circumstances, Job’s hope was placed in God alone. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.’ (Job 13:15) In the midst of suffering and trials, is our faith firmly rooted in Christ? In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus reminds us from the parable of ‘The Wise and Foolish Builders’ that for the wise one who is established and rooted in God’s word, no matter the winds, storm or rain, his faith will remain firm and unaffected. Let us build our foundation on Christ, mediating on and obeying His word and we will weather the storms of life in His strength and joy.

Trusting God in Suffering: The rhetorical question Eliphaz asks Job in Vs 6 suggests that ‘although you have encouraged and counseled the weak, aren’t you now proved a hypocrite in your piety soon as adversity strikes you?’ However, in the midst of trials, let this question be the assurance for the child of God “Is not your fear of God your confidence, And the integrity of your ways your hope?” When all is stripped away and the only thing that remains is our faith in God, may we like Habakkuk say, ‘Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.’ (Habk 3:17-18)

Focus on the Eternal: During times of trials, do not be overwhelmed by the immediate earthly need but let our spiritual eyes remain focused on the eternal. “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) Jesus assures us that though we will face tribulations and suffering in this world, we have victory in Christ. (John 16:33).

In every testing God has a perfect plan for us. May He alone be glorified through our lives – “…that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”(Philippians 1:20)

Word of Encouragement: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing……… keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.(1 Peter 4:12-13)

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