Today I have been considering the plight of Job as recorded in Job 40. I do not think that any man other than the Messiah Himself has a record of more suffering than Job. I can identify with his attempts to justify himself before his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. I can also identify with Job's desire to present His case before God Himself. He said as much in his pleas to his friends.
In his suffering he said that his desire was to appear before the Almighty to justify himself. He said that he would "wear his righteousness as a crown" and "appear as a prince before Him." In Chapter 23 he boldly proclaims "Oh that I knew where I might find Him! That I might come even to His seat."
I remember dozens of times when I was ready, and I felt able to present my argument for something I wanted, a prayer I wanted answered, not soon, but immediately from God. I wanted the answer right now, and a lot of it. I have been absolutely convinced that I was in the right and deserved my answer. I was even telling God how I wanted Him to answer my request! After reading just one chapter of Job I repent of my stupidity. Where did I get the idea that I could make demands of God? Was it something I read, something I was taught in church, or did it come from my imaturity? I feel it was a lot of all of these things.
God suddenly appears before Job! He instructs Job to stand up like a man so He can demand of him answers in the same manner in which Job had demanded answers from Him. This is not exactly what Job had in mind! Imagine, Job was eaten up with boils, he had to be covered with dry blood from scratching with sores over his entire body. He used broken pottery shards from the ash heap on which he was living to scratch the boils.
I feel that the encounter from my present perspective comes down to this; Should God receive instruction from me? God ask Job just as much-should God receive instruction from man? I tend to forget, He is the Potter, I am the clay! Can the ax contend with He who wields it?
Job had no problem justifying himself before his friends in argument. Perhaps he knew, and perhaps he was more righteous than they; evidently he was because Satan picked out Job in particular to set himself against. But, when God appears, Job is dumbfounded. He immediately covered his mouth and said he was no more than a vain,vile creature before God. He said he was nothing, less than nothing, worse than nothing in His Presence. What a change of heart after meeting the Almighty.
I have demanded and desired an audience with God in times of stress for seemingly unanswered or delayed prayer requests or circumstances. I sense what Job was thinking; just to see God briefly, at least then, " I would fill my mouth with arguements and know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say to me." Like Job, if God were to answer this demand I would be awestruck, silent and realize my foolishness in thinking I was justified in any way before Him. I am ashamed at such thoughts.
I can adequately contend with friends and usually do not yeild if I feel I am just in a matter. I usually argue my thoughts successfully and like Job, stress my opinion violently. I stand my ground. But, when God appears! What a change of attitude. Job grew immediately silent, submissive, and humble before the Almighty.
God asks Job, "do you have an arm like I do, can you thunder with a voice like Me?" can you do the things that I do? Go ahead, Job, deck yourself with majesty and excellency, array yourself with glory and beauty. Cast abroad, through out the entire earth, or universe for that matter, your wrath against everything that is proud and then abase these things. In other words, who do you think you are to question My ways, My motives, My will? God asks him "if you can disannul My judgment, or reverse My decisions, will this make you righteous if I am condemned? Job, who are you to condemn Me?
This is what I do when I question God. If I do not agree with His timing, I am worse than Job. Consider, Job did not have the New Testament. When taken in context with Job's trials, I have the promises of Jesus Himself and the witness of the Holy Spirit that His words are true. I have heard countless, hundreds of sermons expounding on the promises of God to me as a Believer. Job had none of this. And I still pray and try to justify myself before God?
Job did not have God Himself come down, born of a little Jewish virgin, making Himself manifest for all to see. I have the precious promises of Christ that He would be with me always, even to the end of the world; and yet I doubt God and question His ways? How brazen of me.
How thoughtless and selfish of me.
God has promised me that "lo, He is with me always." I interpret this this way, LOW, He is with me always. If I set myself out of the equasion, if I stay low and humble, He will hear my requests. I am to enter into His presence with praise and thanksgiving; not demands. He alone is the Potter, I am the clay. From dust I came and to dust I will return. The love and humility of our Father is beyond comprehension. He has tolerated my demands and patiently awaits for me to find the correct path to praying His way.
God is in the process of shattering our demand for instant gratification and immediate answers to our questions of Him and demands. He does not manage a universal spiritual fast food drive through window for His children. He says those who WAIT UPON the LORD shall renew their strength. Lord teach me to wait! He promises He will be found if we search for Him with all of our heart. He is a life giving Sprit, a quickening Spirit. We will need every bit of this that we can get in the coming days.
He has promised to make His abode with us. As we yeild more and more of ourselves, He increases in proportion to our yielding. By myself, like Job, I am vile and vain. I cannot justify myself or my actions in the Presence of the Almighty. I lay my hands upon my mouth and repent of proud, rash statements I have made in the past.
Precious promises He has given. If we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, He will exalt us in due time. We are to walk humbly before God; after reading of Job's ordeal in a new light, I repent of all demanding prayers I have bombarded heaven with. We can approach the throne with boldness, with assurance that He hears, he knows and that He will answer our prayers. This boldness is not in an arrogance, as some do, but an assurance of who He is and who we are through Messiah.
I am thankful that He has chosen us as His children. I praise Him for who He is. Thus, I enter into His courts with thanksgiving and praise.