THE GOD OF ALL GRACE IN THE LIFE OF JOB
Part 3 – I Shall Come Forth As Gold; Job’s Trust in a Sovereign God
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10)
This third key text highlights another of Job’s famous, and comforting utterances. We must remember that all of these statements were made in a terrible time of personal calamity and as such they console and inspire us during these difficult times.
Blessed Be the Name of the Lord; Job’s Confession of Faith
“ And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:2).
My Redeemer Liveth; Job’s Hope in Christ. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth”(Job 19:25)
Where the last study focused upon Job’s eternal ambitions for resurrection and glory, this text will examine Job’s optimism for the life that he was currently living.
It seemed that with a broken heart, a ruined business, a loveless marriage and surrounded by friends who misjudged and misrepresented him Job didn’t have much to live for.
There were times when Job emotionally and spiritually saw nothing but the darkness of the night, to the extent that he even wished he never had been born:
“Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived” (Job 3:3)
“Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?” (Job 3:11)
“For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” (Job 3:25)
As he medicated upon God and His providential dealings, Job became increasingly convinced that God was going to bring good out the tragedies and catastrophies that had befallen him.
Every Christian will identify with the roller coaster of emotion that Job was hurtling along, even though our experience may not be as severe. There are the lows and the highs. Naturally we look around and we cannot see good but yet we know our Father has planned all things and that they will work out for His glory and our good.
On this account Job’s words are such a blessing – we shall come out of the fire shining and glittering as gold.
I Shall Come Forth As Gold; Job’s Trust in a Sovereign God
1: Gold Exposed to the Fire
The substance that is exposed to the fire is the most precious of all metals. Indeed, the very reason why the refiner will spend time and effort exposing the gold to the flames, is because of its high worth.
Gold, therefore, is a picture of the Christian. This may not be the perception that society has of the church and we often fail to view ourselves in this way; BUT from from the standpoint of eternity God sees His people as gold.
The breastplate of the Hebrew High Priest was dominated by 12 precious stones, each of which represented the twelve tribes of Israel. Each of these stones were set in gold (Exodus 28:20).
Gold represents wealth and royalty. The rich travellers from the east brought a gift of gold to the child Jesus, because he was a King. For God to view His people as gold, emphasises our unity with Jesus Christ, in His resurrection and righteousness. It also teaches us that as His people we will always be precious in His sight.
While the Church is in the world, however, we are the raw material. The refiner invests time exposing the gold to the furnace because it is not the finished product, impurities must be burnt off that the gold will be valued according to its full potential.
Therefore, God has a purpose in taking His people through the fire. We possess the impurities of sin which must be erased. God is the refiner, controlling the heat of the furnace, carefully watching over His precious people as he purifies us through affliction.
As his life spiralled out of his control Job logically found it difficult to see the hand of God:
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:” (Job 23:9-10).
While he didn’t feel that the Lord was there, spiritually he knew that the Lord was there. Therefore, in the darkness of sorrow and confusion he cried out:
“But he knoweth the way that I take, and when he hath tried me…”
The one who knew his path, had planned his path. Whatever had been happening as the bandits stole his livestock and murdered his servants, as nature collapsed his eldest son’s home and as his health deteriorated – Job knew that God had never lost control of the situation. Indeed – positively God was working out a spiritual purpose in his life through the trials.
While we may not always, understand our trials, we know that God is using them to bring rich blessings into our lives. However, we feel, we know that He is in control. This reminds me so much of a Christian song which was very popular a number of years ago:
2: Gold Purified through the Fire
The refiner does not expose the gold to the flames to destroy it. The gold cannot be destroyed by the flames. There is only one prospect for the gold in the furnace – IMPROVEMENT.
Afflictions, therefore, play a part in God’s sanctifying influences.
Writing to Jewish Christians, who had been ostricised by family members and were now facing persecution by Roman authorities, Paul comforted them with this very truth, that they grow spiritually in adversity.
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb 12:1).
Paul, himself, testified to receiving blessing from the rod of God. He even admitted that the thorn in the flesh, which caused him such misery, was used to burn off the dross of pride. Therefore the thorn, which must have been so debilitating, made him stronger spiritually and certainly gave him a remarkable experience of sustaining grace.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2nd Corinthians 12:7-9).
The prophet Malachi, is given a vision of the Lord as a refiner:
“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness” (Malachi 3:3).
The refiner would sit with the molten silver or gold and carefully remove all the dross, until he could see his own reflection in the shimmering liquid. In a similar way, God was working on Israel, through many trials, purging them, so that they would bring their offerings to Him. Then His glory would be revealed through them.
In Romans 8, Paul defines the “good” that God works out through every situation in the lives of his people as being conformity to Christ:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Romans 8:28-29).
In our selfish and materialistic way, we want to define good according to our terms. But God’s definition of good is different – He is in the business of strengthening the spirit, improving the inward man, in glorifying Christ through us. He wants us to see the reflection of His Son in our characters. This is the goal and what an incredible and majestic end this is!
In these days of isolation and uncertainty let us learn these lessons from providence.
That God is in control, not just as a Creator but as our gracious Heavenly Father.
That the trial will never be greater than the sustaining power of His grace.
That we are not passive instruments in His work of purifying.
Where there is grace, there is a response. Grace helps us to pray more fervently, study more intensely and above all to yield with greater meekness as we pursue the reflection of Christ in our characters.
Oh that we would come forth like gold!