|Series Theme: The Anguish of Job|
1-10 roughly cover Ch.1-4
11-20 roughly cover Ch.4-7
21-30 roughly cover Ch.8-11
31-40 roughly cover Ch.12-15
41-50 roughly cover Ch.16-21
51-60 cover Ch.22-33
61-68 cover Ch.34-42
Meditation No. 37
Meditation Title: A Redeemed Relationship
Job 14:15b-17 you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.
I have a feeling that in reality the measure of where we are boils down to two things: the revelation we have received and what we did with it. There was once a fascinating dialogue between Jesus and his disciples: “The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.” (Mt 13:10-12). Jesus spoke in parables so that only those with hearts that yearned to know and understand would receive what he was saying. As they received it and lived it out, so he gave them more revelation.
Jesus spoke another simple principle of spiritual life: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Lk 12:48). When we get revelation, the Lord expects us to respond to it. The Lord also measures accountability on the basis of revelation received. The Israelites at Sinai (Ex 19-) received an incredible revelation and so after Sinai the Lord held them to a stricter accounting than before. Job had very real revelation and, as we've noted before, if his book is one of the oldest in the Bible, he would not have had any of the revelation of God's dealings with Israel and he certainly didn't have the revelation of His Son that we have. That's what makes some of the words in the next passage before us, so amazing.
“If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me!” (v.13). These two ‘if only' desires are quite amazing. Job believes that he is experiencing the anger of the Lord, for surely, as his friends have been saying, suffering is a sign of God's judgment, or God's anger against sin. Yet he believes God's anger will pass and then there will be a renewing of their relationship – then remember me. Until that anger abates, Job is quite happy to rest in death but what this clearly suggests is that Job believed in a life after death where it was possible to experience and know the Lord! Job is wiser than many people today!
Listen how he continues: “If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.” (v.14). The big question is all about whether there is something more beyond this life. This is Job in the midst of his pain and anguish, in the face of the negatives from his friends, who catches something in his spirit of the wonderful truth that we now know so surely through Scripture. Life may be tough on this earth, he feels, but there is going to come a time when he will be renewed by God; there is going to come a time of resurrection! This is incredible! Later he will refer to one who he considers will be his defender or redeemer before God ( 19:25 ). He, in the midst of his anguish, is catching something of reality that many people, even today, struggle with: God's desire is to redeem or restore and reconcile people. Death is not the end.
He imagines this time of life after death, when God's anger has passed and their relationship has been restored: “You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made.” (v.15) There will be a future interaction when the Lord desires to communicate with the one He has made, after the trial of earth has finished. In all this there is a clear and distinct and gradually emerging future hope. Listen: “Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.” (v.16,17). That is incredible! He believes there will come a time when the Lord will look over his whole life (count my steps) but will not be concerned with Job's sin. What revelation is this? Job's friends have been going on about the God of Judgment but Job is speaking about a God who puts away sin and takes no more notice of it. How can this be? Is it because of the redeemer we referred to just now? Whatever it is, it is an act of God who will seal up his sins so they can't be seen or referred to again, an act of God whereby He will cover or deal with those sins by some act of divine justice perhaps. God will deal with Job's sin so that it will not hinder their relationship. THAT is the wonderful revelation Job is teetering towards.
There is a major lesson here. It is that we don't have to wait until everything is right and the sun seems to be shining on our life until we receive revelation. This incredible truth that Job is receiving and speaking out, is coming in the midst of his anguish, in the midst of a time when he feels that God is against him. That is amazing. He is sensing truth in the most adverse of circumstances!
What do we fill our minds with? Paul said, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” (Phil 4:8) If we do this we find our minds harmonizing with God. As Paul exhorted us, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” ( Col 3:1). When we do this, we find the Father sharing His heart with us. If you never think on these things, don't be surprised that you have so little understanding of these things – but be sad about that! Job didn't have the Bible, but he sensed amazing truths. He was receiving revelation. We have a whole book of revelation. What do we do with it? Remember, as we said earlier, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Lk 12:48).