Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Job 23:13-17 comments: cut off before the darkness

13 ¶  But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. 14  For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. 15  Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him. 16  For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: 17  Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

In the context of God providing giving the believer righteousness as opposed to the believer’s own sin James said;

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

In the context of guarding sound doctrine Paul said;

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

God spoke through Isaiah in expressing the very words that Job has put forward as He spoke against worshipping man-made gods.

Isaiah 46:9  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11  Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

There are many other verses in the Bible that speak of God’s steadfastness of purpose and of His unchangeable will in regard to eternal decrees, things set in stone. We have to remember always that Satan can do nothing to us without God’s permission.

Job acknowledges that there is a level of determinism in his fate, that God has appointed him to certain things. Something being appointed by God is mentioned elsewhere. In a comparison with Christ’s one sacrifice for all sins Paul made this statement;

Hebrews 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

In reference to the appointment of those who disobey God to stumble at His word Peter said;

1Peter 2:7  Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

And those who believe and trust in Christ are appointed not to experience the Great Tribulation;

1Thessalonians 5:9  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10  Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

In reading verse 15 it is easy to be reminded of this verse in a psalm of Asaph.

Psalm 77:3  I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

Job is in awe of God and in fear of Him. God did not take Job from the living before giving him a vision of the darkness in the misery he suffered.

Verse 16 made me think of this verse in a psalm.

Psalm 88:16  Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

As for verse 17 there were others in the Bible who were spared the darkness that awaited those who came after. In the following verse, Huldah the prophetess, the wife of a man named Shallum, who (Huldah) resided at the college of prophets in Jerusalem, preached this as part of a message to representatives sent to her from King Josiah. In this passage she is speaking for God to the king.

2Kings 22:19  Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. 20  Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.

Also in Isaiah, speaking on God’s behalf, he says;

Isaiah 57:1 ¶  The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.

Those of us who have seen their own children die before them would wish that they themselves had died before that happened. Job was not spared the misery of losing all his children, all his wealth, and his health. He was not given that blessing, up to this point, of going to the grave before experiencing his nightmares in the flesh.

Some of you have been spared his grief by God’s singular mercy. You have even seen your children snatched from the jaws of death. Rejoice and be glad that you have been spared the agony of seeing your child buried in the ground in front of your eyes, of seeing them lying dead on a hospital gurney, of knowing you will not hear them laugh again in this life, have children, or call your name again here on earth. To have a huge rip in your soul that brings tears to your eyes whenever you are reminded of what could have been or even what was is a vision of darkness.

Job was not spared and yet he, unlike most of us who have lost children, livelihood, and health had done nothing wrong, had left nothing he knew to do out, and sacrificed and, it is assumed, prayed often for his children.

And yet, all of this came on him. Some of you will think you’ve been spared because you are so good, so righteous, so faithful and obedient. But think about Job. Would you not have everything in common with him except the grief and agony?

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