Sunday, November 26, 2023

Seeking God (Job 23-24)

“Look, I go forward, but He is not there …” (Job 23:8).

Job’s friends counseled him to do something that he could not do. They advised him to seek God and get acquainted with His divine purposes, but Job found that he could not understand what God was doing in his life (23:8–9).

He could not “find” God because of three things. First, his mind was so overwhelmed with his troubles, he could not fix his thoughts on God. “It is the common complaint of those who are sick or melancholy that, when they would think of that which is good, they can make nothing of it,” Henry wrote. When we are overcome with sickness and grief, we often find it more difficult to understand God. That is why it is so important to build a strong spiritual and theological foundation while we are healthy and in our right minds.

Second, Job had examined himself and could not discover which sin had brought about his suffering. He rejected the counselors’ accusations that he was a hypocrite, yet he remained perplexed as to why God was afflicting him. He could not discern any other purpose behind his trials. Still, he knew that no matter what he had to endure, he would be purified and sustained in his trial. His conscience was clear because he knew that he had sought to keep God’s commandments and had been obedient to His revealed will. Sometimes, when we do not understand God’s purposes in the trials we undergo, all we can do is trust Him that He will vindicate us, and find comfort that our consciences are clear and that we have sought to serve Him faithfully.

Finally, Job could not peer into the mind of his Creator. As a finite creature, he could not discern God’s ultimate plan for his life, Job did not know God’s purposes, but he took great comfort that God knew everything about him. “He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” God’s ways are infinitely higher than our ways. If we try to traverse the labyrinth of His hidden purposes, especially when we are suffering, we will become perplexed and frustrated. All we can do is find comfort in the fact that God knows us, even if we do not understand Him, stand firm against Satan’s accusations by the testimony of a clear conscience, and continue to obey and serve God in faith.

Do you become easily discouraged because God’s ways seem a mystery to you? If so, learn to distinguish between what you can know about God and what you cannot know. Stop trying to discover God’s hidden purposes. Leave those to Him and obey His commandments and trust in Him.