“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Truth and mercy for Job

“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.” (Prov. 3:3).

I was strict about people’s treatment of convicting truth, but I don’t want to sound mean. “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” (Prov. 16:6). Both by truth and mercy sin is removed from the heart, not by truth alone. It was truth and grace that Jesus used to awaken Israel to spirituality. So I want to offer some mercy, not to compensate or weaken the truth, but to strengthen it.

First of all, Job was under terrific physical agony when he said what he did. If I had been tormented like Job had been I may have justified myself also. But, in spite of it all, he did say some things of faith that came out of his sanctification.

“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.” (Job 23:1-10).

We hear the pathos of a heart searching for God and yearning to have Him. We gather that Job was going through a Gethsemane experience; he was following his Master in the shadow of his own cross. His faith was being tested. We will all go through our Gethsemane experiences. But, will we come through it victoriously? There will be smaller scale Gethsemanes that lead up to the worst one. (See Ps. 19:13). Are we preparing for that worst temptation by overcoming in the smaller ones? “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10). Any failures in the lesser tests jeopardizes the final Gethsemane; and certainly a failure in the last one would cause great distress and dishonor to God who uses Gethsemanes to prove Satan wrong, who said that God’s children are no better than any sinner when faced with temptation, that God doesn’t have what it takes to keep us from falling to temptation, and that His Law is impossibly sever and demanding.

Job had a heart for Jesus; but he still had something inhibiting that perfect relationship. That unChristlikeness would be the inevitable undoing of Job’s growing faith in God if it were not dealt with. Every sin that we don’t overcome will overcome us. Any fault, persistently cherished, will eventually completely neutralize the whole power of the grace of Christ. The only way for Jesus to deal with Job’s flaw was through trouble that would bring it to the fore. Thus, the furnace of affliction. But, Job was offended at the process. Job had the privilege to succeed in his Gethsemane like his Master did, and then to glorify God. He had the honor to go through a test similar to Abraham’s and see Christ’s day (See Jn. 8:56).

God is not above His own Law. He submits to it because His laws are best and result in a perfectly healthy and happy kingdom of peace. Neither could He deny Satan his claim on Job because of Job’s self-pitying character trait. To the extent that we are less than 100% connected to God, Satan can take his opportunity to reclaim us completely. And he does this work so subtly that the human eye, not anointed with Christ’s Spirit and ever soberly examining himself to know that he is in the faith, cannot discern Satan’s devices.

For our benefit and hope of salvation God intervenes to halt the insinuating destruction of His arch enemy and the enemy of His beloved children. He cannot bend the rules of lawful captivity by Satan, but He can be present and He oversees the deadly efforts of the devil to ensure that he doesn’t break the rules of free choice. God cannot prevent the lawful work of deception and torment by Satan for his prey, because the prey has chosen to insist on holding onto a flaw that separates him from God. But God can use the torment to teach him to let go of the character flaw and to choose to move closer and to trust deeper in his Lord and Friend.

The test by Satan, which God oversees, creates a time of wrestling in the soul. But, will that one move toward God or away from Him? Will he recognize that the work is of the enemy and not from God? Will he see God’s mercy in the tragedy of it all to soften the stubborn resistance against his Maker? Or will he be offended, and God lose another soul?

If Jesus had not come on strongly, the issue would have remained under Job’s radar. He wouldn’t have recognized that his character flaw caused all the strife, or perceived the work of Satan with whom he was cooperating. This leads directly to the issue of our own self-justifications against God’s laws. On those points of obedience we are being tested—especially in this last day Investigative Judgment. Satan is reigning supreme today because the church has neglected the straight testimony to keep the issues of the devil’s inroads in the public eye of God’s people, so that he remains exposed and above their radar.

In mercy to people their self-justifications need to be revealed to them and their eyes need to be opened. For the sake of their eternal reward they must hear the unvarnished truth in obvious love. Those who have an honest love for Jesus will come forth as gold. Those who have been pretending to love God will see their pretense and have opportunity to return to Him. And many will be converted and rejoice in their new found Friend. But sadly, most will be offended and become the fiercest enemies of God and His people. Satan will claim them 100% and then he will fill them with his venom.

But the Lord will look upon His disciples who serve Him with their whole heart in the closing scenes of Earth’s history when danger and tests surround them. He will not remove them from this terrible time of trouble, but will draw closer and closer to them through it all. And this is what Jesus did for Job.

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Lk. 18:7,8).

“With righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.” (Isa. 11:4,5).

“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.” (Isa. 43:1-3).

“Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?
But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” (Isa. 49:24,25). 


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