Tuesday, November 21, 2023

A Troubled Conscience (Job 20)

“… he knows no quietness in his heart” (Job 20:20).

It is ironic that Zophar should respond with such scathing accusations after Job has just declared his glorious hope in a kinsman-Redeemer. Zophar thought Job to be a hypocrite, one who “knows no quietness in his heart,” yet Job’s conscience is clear. Still, Zophar refuses to listen and, like Bildad, is more concerned about making his own case than hearing the truth.

As Zophar rightly says, the hypocrite sins, but then tries to hide his evil actions. He, in essence, “keeps it in his mouth, yet his food in his stomach turns sour; it becomes cobra venom within him. He swallows down riches and vomits them up again.” No matter how much the hypocrite tries to hide his evil ways, he cannot escape the consequences of his sin. It will come back to haunt him, if in no other way than through a troubled and disquieted conscience.

“He has not that ease in his own mind that people think he has, but is in continual agitation,” Henry writes. “The ill-gotten wealth which he has swallowed down makes him sick, and, like undigested meat, is always unbraiding him. Let none expect to enjoy that comfortably which they have gotten unjustly. The unquietness of his mind arises (1) From his conscience looking back, and filling him with the fear of the wrath of God against him for his wickedness. Even that wickedness which was sweet in the commission, and was rolled under the tongue as a delicate morsel, becomes bitter in the reflection, and, when it is reviewed, fills him with horror and vexation.… (2) From his cares, looking forward. In the fullness of his sufficiency, when he thinks himself most happy, and most sure of the continuance of his happiness, he shall be in straits, that is, he shall think himself so, through the anxieties and perplexities of his own mind.”

If peace eludes you, if you struggle with an agitated conscience, could it be because of unconfessed sin? Have you engaged in hidden away sinful behavior in your heart, thinking it forgotten, and refusing to confess it to God? The only way to peace is through sincere repentance. Go to God today; He knows your hidden sins anyway, you cannot hide from His judgment. Flee to Christ, declare your guilt, ask for forgiveness, and find everlasting peace.

God has given us a conscience to restrain our sin and to help us see our need of salvation. Consider what your own conscience is telling you. Do you feel guilty? Do you become agitated whenever anyone talks about holiness, conformity to God’s law, your need of Christ? If so, find peace through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.