February 22, 2019
The Bible clearly shows that a life that has no knowledge or understanding of the Gospel is a hopeless life. How can there be the expectation of something legitimately good if there is no knowledge of how to gain access to the source what produces all that is good? If there is no access to God and the goodness He provides, how can anyone have true confidence and expectation in the revelation of good in a world filled with so much darkness? This goes to show that the communication of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is paramount in life. The only real way to bring hope into a dying world is to speak of the means by which the Creator of all things provided access into His glory. The only real way to have joy and peace is to hear the good news that God provides concerning the access He grants to those who will trust in the supremacy of His goodness and the exclusive means by which it is available. Those who reject this testimony can’t possibly have any real hope, joy, or peace.
The testimony of Job proves this as true. The testimony of Job shows that, even someone who was considered blameless and upright before God could be without hope when circumstances overwhelm the soul and the mind. This shows that it is not only important to hear the Gospel once, but to be continually reminded of it, always developing understanding of the hope God provides so that we can be properly prepared to deal with the adversity that life frequently brings. Job was not so well prepared. In his defense, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not made known to him in the manner that it is to us today. Still, his forgetfulness of who God really is caused him to fall into a dark abyss of intense depression. Seeing Job’s response to his suffering, we should be warned. Job was sad, but composed when he sat in silence for a week. It was when he began to speak complaints that his heart gushed out things that were irreverent to God and damaging to his own mind. When we open the door to complaining, the Bible shows that it is easy to quickly let a flood of complaints come that cannot be easily reversed, thereby taking the mind into some dark places. Unless our minds are filled with the truth of the Gospel and the value of it, this dark place is too easy to go to, even for the best of people such as Job.
In Job 9:25-35 the Bible shows that Job felt that his good days had expired. Job didn’t feel like he was going to see good and prosperous days ever again. This is how it can feel when we allow our poor attitudes to vomit complaints. One complaint can cause a flood of others so that we become bitter and pessimistic about all things as if the whole world is against us. This is how Job felt, and it simply wasn’t true. It was not long after this that God fully restored Job and increased his prosperity even more than before. Though God is not obligated to guarantee good days every day (from a human perspective), it does not mean that God is focused on ensuring suffering for His people all of the time. The presence of one trial, even if its extended, does not mean that God will not bring prosperity ever again. No one knows what God is doing, so we are unqualified to make the sort of assessment that Job did – that all good days are gone for good.
There is one true thing to note in Job’s depression. He mentioned that his good days were swifter than a runner, were swift like ships, and swooped in and out like eagles attacking prey. This goes to show that, when we do experience prosperity, it is not for long. When we have good days, they tend to come and go quickly. The presence of trials makes it seem as if we never had good days at all. No matter how extensive our prosperity used to be, it comes and goes quicker than the time it took to gain our prosperity, making it seem as if it wasn’t ever worth it. King Solomon complained that everything is vanity, and chasing prosperity is like chasing the wind. Even if you feel like you’ve grasped it for a moment, something in life is bound to happen to change things so that our grip seems like it was never as tight as we first thought. Therefore, it is wise to refrain from indulging in the pursuit of prosperity and “good days,” and simply appreciate the ones God provides with fear and trembling: knowing that circumstances could change at any moment, so as to enjoy what we have in the moment, and hopeful for the lasting goodness that awaits us in eternity so as to not get stuck on circumstantial increase.
This caused Job to think that it was useless to pursue any change of his situation. He thought it would be useless to smile for God would bring more pain to cause him to frown. He thought it was useless to wash himself for God would just throw him in the pit of the sewer so that he would despise himself even more. These things were untrue and were an offense to God. God is not in the business of burying people that are already in the pit. God desires to raise people up out of the pit and the miry clay. God is not in the habit of stripping people of peace. God has a quality of peace that transcends what the world offers and desires to give it freely and abundantly. Job was wrong about God and his attitude was irreverent towards God’s true character, nature, and purpose. When our attitudes start out bad, these are the types of things that happen, and why it is so important to keep the Gospel fresh in our minds at all times.
There was the problem for Job. He confessed the essence of his problem. He knew God was not a man. God is not like man. God is highly exalted above all creation. He dwells in unapproachable light. No one can look at God and live. How then could Job speak to God and reason with Him about his circumstances? How could Job gain access to God to plead his case about the intensity of his suffering? The truth is, God is going to do what He pleases at all times. Additionally, God knows the hearts and minds of all people. He doesn’t need to have personal conversations to know the desires of His people. Still, Job knew there was disconnect and distance between him and God. He desired to have a mediator that could stand between him and the Lord God Almighty to which he could express his grief, and that communication be translated in an honorable and righteous manner to the ears of the Father. Job did not know of such a mediator and so continued to feel as if God were his enemy and feared his future as a result.
The truth is, God has indeed provided a Mediator – Jesus Christ. He is our Great High Priest that sits at the right hand of the Father, continually making intercession for us. Without knowledge of this truth and faith in it, we are like Job – hopeless and afraid. Jesus came into this world to fulfill the righteousness of the Father’s Law on our behalf so as to break down the wall of sin that separated us from the Father, keeping our pleas to Him distant. When Jesus died, He paid for the consequences of our sin and offered forgiveness. When Jesus rose from the dead, He validated the supremacy of His work and the promise of eternal life. When He ascended, He took proper position to show that He indeed is our Mediator that can connect us with the Most High God. When He gave the Holy Spirit after His ascension, He provided access to that mediation so that we don’t have to wallow in fear and complaining attitudes. Instead, we can know that we have an advocate that pleads our case to the Father; not that the Father is against us if we don’t, but to make our communication to Him effective and fruitful. By the mediation of Jesus, we are able to boldly approach the throne of grace and find both mercy and grace in our time of need. Had Job known the Gospel as it has been made known today, he likely wouldn’t have complained as he did, and could have maneuvered through his trials with a better testimony in hope.