SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
Integrity in Seeking to Know God
Job 9:21-35; 13:1-27; 19:2-29; 23:2-17
Key Verse: Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. – Job 13:3
Suffering drives Job to know God. But how does a man get in touch with almighty God? Job has more questions than he has answers. However, from the depth of his being there comes the overwhelming desire to communicate with God.
He wants God to tell him what his sins are. He wants to know why God seems to hide his face from him. Job recognizes that he fears God; he knows he cannot speak to God as long as God’s rod is upon his back. He is willing for God to speak first to him, or to speak to God if he will answer.
We who are Christians have a great advantage over the author of the Book of Job. We live on the Resurrection side of the biblical revelation of the character of God. We have the benefit of the teachings of Jesus. We know, because Jesus came, that God desires to know us even more than we want to know him. Here is a glorious truth: almighty God desires to have fellowship with us! He wants to be known and he wants to know us in the same way that a loving father wants to know and love his children.
Job’s friends do not know the way to God. They offer him counsel in which Job finds little comfort. Evidently they wanted to help Job, but not knowing God themselves, they only deepened Job’s despair.
Job longs for a mediator since there appears no way for him to communicate with God personally. Here again, we know the Mediator is now available. In the fullness of time, Jesus came so that we might have someone to represent us to the Father.
We know too that before God no person is without sin. All have sinned, and all need a Savior who can give them forgiveness. In the Old Testament story, Job calls for justice before God. None of us can do that. Our cry must be for mercy. Our Mediator Jesus agrees with our confession of sin, but declares us righteous before God because his blood covers our sins.
Job is filled with fear and dread. Our lives are perplexed by fear also until we trust in Jesus. Unlike Job we can experience by faith deliverance from fear, claiming one of God’s beautiful promises, “Perfect love casts our fear.” Our God and Father, who wants to enjoy intimate fellowship with each of us, does not want us to live in fear. He can and will set us free when we ask for his help.
Life is sometimes cruel. Pain and trouble plaque us. We want to hide, from God and from life itself. Job knew those feelings. He felt that God had deserted him. Despair come over him like a dark cloud.
Then the sun came up. The morning came, like thunder. Job casts his fear and dread aside like an old cloak, and proclaims his faith with a shout of victory:
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” ().
No amount of misfortune can shake Job’s faith in God. Whatever his friends may believe, Job chooses to trust in God. Trust is a beautiful biblical word. It means that no matter what happens, we will put our whole weight down on the character of God. The questions we cannot answer, God can and will answer in due time.
What is remarkable is that Job believed this before the Resurrection. We have the benefit not only of the Resurrection but also of the precious promises of God. When fear grips our hearts, we may overcome it by remembering the words of our Lord, “I will be with you to the end.”
The poet William Blake describes in a magnificent way the God Job thirsted to know and the God whose character Jesus made known:
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh
And thy Maker is not by;
Think not thou canst weep a tear
And thy Maker is not near.
O! He gives to us His joy
That our griefs He may destroy;
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.
Think about it. Job, who lived before the Resurrection, was filled with heart wrenching questions. Blake, living on this side of the Resurrection, was filled with glorious affirmations about the God who loves us! What a difference Jesus made!
Job believed in a great God, an awesome God. We do too, with far more evidence of his transforming power. Job hungered to know God personally, but he did not know “the way” to God. We know the way. Jesus is the way. What Job longed for, we may find by trusting Jesus, the Mediator, and the One who can take us to the Father because he is “the Way.” + + + + (Walter may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)