God’s lesson to Job was that if Job could not understand the providence of God as revealed in the natural world around him, how then could he understand the higher spiritual realm of providence in God’s ways and care for humanity?
Job had wondered where God was, amid all the sufferings of the world. Now he was led to see that God was all about him if only he would take time to look. He had been so preoccupied with himself that he was missing God’s revelation in every corner of the universe. Now God had illustrated that in the economy of His universe, nothing happens apart from His knowledge and power. Job was constrained to confess his ignorance before God. “I am unworthy—how can I reply to You? I put my hand over my mouth . . . I will say no more” (Job 40:4-5).
When we consider the providence God has endowed in the animate world about us, we can learn a powerful lesson of God’s care for us. Jesus used one of God’s creatures to teach such a lesson! “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26)
Stanley E Ditmer sings
I shall not fear though dark clouds may gather around me;
The God I serve is one who cares and understands. Although the storms I face would threaten to confound me,
Of this I am assured; I am in His hands.
Whatever the future holds
I am in His hands.
The days I cannot see
Have all been planned for me;
His way is best, you see;
I am in His hands.
What though I cannot know the way that lies before me?
I still can trust and freely follow His commands; My faith is firm since it is He that watches over me.
Of this I’m confident; I am in His hands (Portraits of Perseverance).
THE ULTIMATE ANSWER (HEBREWS 12:2-3)
Job himself can be considered a prototype of Christ. As we experience Job’s journey of faith, we see the pages rusting with radiant parallels of our Lord. Parallels of riches, blameless life, temptations, impoverishment, affliction, rejection, faithfulness, restoration, intercession for reconciliation.
It is when we, who live in the New Testament era, come to the One who has suffered above all others that we find in the Wounded Healer the grace for our trials and tragedies. Christ is the ultimate answer of God. He is God’s supreme articulation for the otherwise meaningless riddle of suffering. Our Lord leads us beyond the shadows and the darkness of Calvary to the glorious dawn of the Resurrection and the life eternal with Him.
The counsel from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress beautifully summarizes much of the message from the Book of Job. “And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown; and he replied, Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than the known way” (Portraits of Perseverance).
Prosperity theology is a religious phenomenon of our day. We hear that Christians are to enjoy substantial wealth and continued health and are told in a variety of ways how to attain prosperity and success through our faith.
Modern culture has negated the punch line of the old story of the pulpit committee that prayed, “Lord, just send us a poor, humble preacher to lead us. That’s all we ask. In fact, we’ll help—You keep him humble, and we’ll keep him poor” (Portraits of Perseverance)!
THE CONFESSION OF A YOUNG PREACHER
When the time came for a young preacher to get his degree in theology, a church called him to be their pastor. This young minister went to a friend who was studying for his doctor’s degree in teaching and said these amazing words to him. I am in a great dilemma. I have been called to be a pastor of a church in the Midwest, but it is one of those old-time, old-fashioned churches that believe the Bible is the Word of God and I don’t know what to do. The friend said to him, “Well, I can tell you what to do.”
The young theologian eagerly replied, “What?” And the friend said I think you ought to quit the ministry!” That is exactly what I also think. If a man does not believe that the Bible is the Word of God, he has no place in any pulpit in the land (W. A. Criswell, Unbelievers in the Ministry).
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