Front Page
Meditations Contents
Series Theme: The Anguish of Job
Series Contents:

1 to 10

11 to 20

21 to 30


31. An Unfair World

32. Sovereign God

33. Who speaks for God?

34. Security in God

35. Futile Prayers

36. The Frailty of Mankind

37. A Redeemed Relationship

38. Working towards Reality

39. Condemn ourselves?

40. Sinful Human Race

61 to 68



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. 38


Meditation Title: Working towards Reality


Job 14:19 as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy man's hope.


Job, we saw in the previous meditation, has been pondering on the possible wonder of there being something more after death, of the possibility of being reconciled to God through resurrection. But there is something in the back of his mind that is worrying away at him. It is like he had these thoughts of hope and yet they seem to contradict what he sees before him in this present world. It is rather like Gideon responding to the angel when the angel has said, The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." (Jud 6:12). Gideon has two problems with this. First he doesn't feel like a ‘mighty warrior' and second, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (v.13). He heard the assertion but then looked at the present facts of their submission to an enemy and couldn't see how the two go together. Thus, similarly, Job has these feelings about a future hope, but they don't seem to correspond to present reality. Very often, for Christians, the big issue is about bringing understanding to receive the full picture so that we can see how apparent opposites harmonise.

So, let's see how he expresses this. He uses examples of what he sees in nature to explain what he feels about man and his life. But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place, as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil,” (v.18,19). He observes in nature a tendency for rocks and stones to be eroded and worn away. This, he says, is what he observes in the way God deals with mankind: “so you destroy man's hope.” (v.19b). Look, he says, as I look around the world, all is see is that God seems to be working at bringing us down. I mean, look at what has been happening to me; all this has done is to bring me down. Then he looks forwards and contemplates the end of all this, as he sees it – death! “You overpower him once for all, and he is gone; you change his countenance and send him away.” (v.20) God has the power to bring death when He wants to – and He does exercise it! All God seems to do is ease us towards death – and that is a very negative thing: “If his sons are honored, he does not know it; if they are brought low, he does not see it. He feels but the pain of his own body and mourns only for himself.” (v.21,22). Whatever happens to those left behind, he doesn't see it. He misses their success and (implied) cannot rejoice with them, or he misses their difficulties and (implied) cannot be there for them. In other words, death doesn't seem to be a vey helpful end! So if God works like this in life, why do I have a sense that it will be different after death?

This, of course, is another one of those occasions where only half the picture is being expressed. So what is the full picture? Why does it seem like this? Well the truth is that God does work to bring men to the end of themselves because only then will they turn to Him and receive His blessing. Our pride and self-centredness means that we struggle on in life without turning to the Lord and without receiving all of His resources to live out our lives in this fallen world. So, yes He does work to destroy man's hope. The reason for this is that man ‘hopes' in his own achievements. We each have hopes and dreams but so often they are self-centred and God knows they are not the best for us. He alone knows what is best for us. When He sees that we are aiming for something else, something less than the best that He knows we could be with His help, He works to undermine our false or inadequate ‘hopes' so that we will come to our senses and realize our helplessness or our low self worth, and turn to Him for Him to remake us in the image of the one He knows we could be.

A second point to observe here is Job's wrong assessment of death. Yes, death does mean that we are cut off from sharing in our children's future, but the reality is that the next world will be so much more glorious than this one that we will not be concerned with hanging on to the things of this one; we will be content to allow the Lord to look after our children. This perhaps bring us full circle to something we said right at the beginning of these meditations: we need to remember that God is love and therefore all of Scripture should be viewed with that in mind. Where we come across things in life, therefore, that seem to contradict that, we need to look afresh and ask the Lord to show us the full picture.

To go back to the example of Gideon, the answer is twofold, when he says, how can God be with us when life is like this. The first answer, is that things are like they are because the Lord has made them like that, as discipline for Israel to draw them back to Himself, so He IS with them – but to discipline them. Second, when He brings discipline, it is to bring change and bring us into a place of blessing and so He IS with Gideon to guide and equip him to become Israel's latest savior. So, yes, the Lord IS with you Gideon, but not in the way you expect.

Very often Christians want God to be with them to just bless them and make them comfortable, but He wants to work in their lives to mature them, and the path towards maturity may involve a number of things, some of which may not appear comfortable at the present: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (Jas 1:2-4)

Peter also gives us a list of things to work through: “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” (2 Pet 1:5-7) Remember, when ‘stuff' is happening, the Lord is working to work these things out in us. Painful? Sometimes!  For our good? Always!