Our Attitude Toward Trouble
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to Job, chapter 5. Job has been through Satan's sieve. He has lost his family, his property and his health. He learned a very precious lesson through all his troubles. He could not have learned this in any other way. God brought him great happiness and prosperity and gave him another family. Notice verse 17:

Job 5:

17Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

When times of chastening come, don't let them make you bitter and defeated. “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). God is able to use that chastening to make us happy as it makes our lives profitable. Happy indeed! “Therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.” Look at verses 18-19:

Job 5:

18For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.
19He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.

God deals with us as He knows best. Then God restores. If we are willing to turn our lives over completely to God, He can and will work in wondrous ways.

The numbers mentioned here are idiomatic. The number is not actually limited. God is able to take the chastening, no matter how severe, and make it a happy experience in our lives and a profitable one to us. Happy is the man who rests in the Lord and realizes that his deliverances come from God. God is able to make all things work for our good. Notice verses 23-24:

Job 5:

23For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.
24And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin.

When we are yielded to Him, God even makes the elements of nature work for our good—even famine and destruction. However, we must be willing to let Him take over completely. If you are struggling with something, take heart. If your problem is too difficult for you, remember, it is not too difficult for your God. Turn it over completely to Him and let Him have His way. God will bring complete victory. He will never let you struggle alone if you will let Him take over.

Job appeals to Eliphaz for mercy. Turn to Job, chapter 6, and notice verses 2-3:

Job 6:

2Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!
3For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.

Eliphaz had, in effect, asked, “Job, why are you just sitting here doing nothing?” Job answered in verse 4:

Job 6:

4For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.

Here Job is saying that God has filled him with poison arrows. Therefore, he asks a question in verse 5:

Job 6:

5Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?

His question is very simple and to the point. In plain words, he says, “When animals have food, do they make a noise?” Then verses 6-7:

Job 6:

6Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?
7The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.

Job is saying here that his food is tasteless. He is so very ill; nothing tastes good. Look at verses 8-9:

Job 6:

8Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
9Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!

What was Job's request? He was asking that he might die. In fact, he longed to die. Many of us have gone through a time of trouble or a terrible sickness, and we, too, have longed to die. So we can understand this desire of Job. As he continues, he emphasizes that dying would be more bearable than living.

Job 6:

11What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?
12Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass?

Again, in other words, Job says, “What is the point of going on? It is impossible for me to go on.”

Then Job continues his speech to Eliphaz. He continues also to appeal to Eliphaz for pity in verses 13-15:

Job 6:

13Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?
14To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.
15My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away;

Think of a beautiful brook, a stream flowing peacefully along in its course. This is ordinarily a source of water for man, and it is a help and a comfort to him; but when the brook dries up, it is no help.

Job 6:

16Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:
17What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.
18The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.
19The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.

In the winter, the brook becomes blackish, and in the summer, the brook dries up. He compares his friends to this condition which is found in brooks. Instead of offering comfort, they blame him for disobedience. Job is, in reality, describing the brooks as a channel of blessing, and this is their purpose. Then this channel of blessing suddenly dwindles and rots. His friends were no longer a blessing to him. Their accusations were like the dried-up brook of the summer or the contaminated brook of the winter.

Job 6:

19The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.
20They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.

Even the troops of Sheba and Tema waited for the brooks to be refreshed and pure. They hoped, but they became confounded.

Job 6:

21For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.
22Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance?
23Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?

Job Gives In To Bitterness

Notice poor Job's reaction to these speeches of his friends. He says, so to speak, “You have let me down. If you were considerate and said the right things, it would be bearable, but you overwhelm me.”

Job 6:

24Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
25How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?
26Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?

All the arguments of Job's friends did no good. They but served to further disturb Job and to distress him. Truly, they overwhelmed him.

Job 6:

27Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.
28Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie.
29Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it.
30Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?

Job is saying, “Quit telling me that I lie. Yes, look back at my life and see my righteousness. Have you found anything but righteousness toward my God, and is there iniquity in my tongue? Can't you find anything in me that is right? When one is ill, it is so easy to be down-hearted. Can't you find words that comfort?” It is not right to try to comfort anyone as Job's friends did.

Bildad Offers Comfort

We have discussed the accusations and advice of Eliphaz. Now let us look at the discourse of Job's friend, Bildad the Shuhite. Three of his friends had come to comfort him. Eeliphaz had insisted that all his trouble, suffering and problems came as a result of sin. He was a sinner they said. In this discourse, it becomes clear that Bildad regards Job as a hypocrite, and they had come to comfort him.

Job had answered the arguments of Eliphaz and now, Bildad enters into the conversation and says in chapter 8, verses 2-3:

Job 8:

2How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?
3Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?

What Bildad is saying is, “Job, you are not reasoning right; you are not talking right. Face the facts.” Then he states his conclusion: “God cannot pervert judgment or justice. Therefore, the answer to his question is, “No.” Look at verses 4-7:

Job 8:

4If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;
5If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;
6If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.
7Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.

Bildad is saying, “Your children sinned, and God destroyed them. You sinned, and if you will confess your sin, then God will restore you. He will then make your latter days better than the former.” But Bildad was wrong about Job. How do we know? We know this because God gave the facts in the first chapter of Job.

Satan had come before God, making accusations against God's children. He said, “There is no one who loves You and who would stay faithful to You through severe trial.” God reminded him of the righteousness and faithfulness of His servant, Job. Satan said, “Sure, Job is faithful, but only because You are so good to him.” Therefore, God permitted him to try Job, but put a limitation on the testing. He forbad Satan to take the life of Job. So Job was tried and tested because of his perfection, not because of his sin. He was an example of righteousness and faithfulness.

Bildad Comments On The Course Of Life From Antiquity

Suffering does not always come for correction. It may come because of sin in the life of the believer, but sometimes suffering comes to those who are God's choice servants. The suffering comes to strengthen them, and it draws them even closer to Him. Remember, sometimes the suffering ones are God's choice servants.

Note especially these comments on the course of life that Bildad expresses in chapter 8, verses 8-13:

Job 8:

8For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:
9(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)
10Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?
11Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?
12Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.
13So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish:

Bildad looked back over the past and then asked Job to consider and see if he had not told the truth at any time. He commented, “Even though one may live a long time, it would be a short time in relation to antiquity.” This is true.

“Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart? Can the rush grow up without mire? Can the fig grow without water? Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb. So are the paths of all that forget God: and the hypocrite's hope shall perish.” Notice that Bildad says here that God operates in cycles and whatever happens follows. But this is not always true. God can and does interrupt the orderly course of events to help His children from time to time.

By way of illustration, God changed the course of events in the life of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was dying, and he asked God for more time. God answered his prayer and gave him fifteen additional years. There are many other illustrations in the Word of God telling how God changed the course of events. In fact, up to a certain point, all die. Even though we have wonderful drugs and wonderful doctors now, death still comes. Men will continue to die until the coming of our Lord. However, God will interrupt the ordinary cycle of events and some will go to Heaven without dying.

When God permits suffering to come, take it patiently. Place yourself in God's hands. Love and praise Him through it all.

Now notice verses 14-19:

Job 8:

14Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web.
15He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.
16He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden.
17His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones.
18If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.
19Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.

These verses describe how God deals with the hypocrite. They will die. The wicked will not live out their days. Disobedience to God does cut the life off and does shorten the days. So Bildad was right in this principle, but he was wrong in applying it to Job, for Job had stood steadfast in his love and obedience to God. Job was not suffering because of sin or disobedience. He was suffering to be tested as to his faithfulness, and he remained faithful.

Job 8:

20Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:
21Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.
22They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.

Bildad was actually saying, “Job, just the fact that you continue to suffer is proof that you have sinned.” He then advised Job to confess his sin. Then he would find that God would deal with those who act wickedly. God would then fill Job with laughing and rejoicing.

Job Asks Bildad An Important Question

Job 9:

1Then Job answered and said,
2I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?
3If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.

Now notice Job's question: “How can a man be just with God?” This question was unanswerable to Job in his day, but today we have the answer in God's Wword in Romans, chapter 5:1-2:

Romans 5:

1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

How can a man be just with God? There is only one way that man can be just with God, and that is by faith—faith in the promise of God to send a Savior in Job's day and faith in that Savior whom He sent in this day. In verse 2, Paul is looking back to the sacrifice of God's gift which made possible our redemption—Christ's death upon the Cross. Through faith, we become God's children—righteous through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul give further advice on this explanation in a passage which discusses Abraham in Romans, chapter 4, beginning with verses 19:

Romans 4:

19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:
20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Job, in the blackness and darkness of his own unrighteousness, asked, “How can a man be justified?” Paul answered this important question and added that “we also have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.” We can also by faith, “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

Job Directs Attention To Some Of The Great Works Of God

Go back to Job, chapter 9, verse 4:

Job 9:

4He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?

There are many illustrations throughout the Scriptures of people who have gone against the will of God and have failed. Personally, we can testify to the truth of this. Man can never pit his will against the will of God and win.

Job 9:

5Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.
6Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.

It may be that Job is referring here to a very specific happening. He may be referring to the record of the creation of the earth, in Genesis, chapter 1:

Genesis 1:

1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Note, although God had created the earth perfect, it had become “without form and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Perhaps in verses 5-6, Job was referring to what happened here between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

Job 9:

7Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
8Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.

In the explanation of the restoration of the earth which Job gives here, he says that God commanded the sun not to rise and sealed up the stars. In Genesis, chapter 1, we do not read that God created the sun, but that He said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night: and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days, and for years,” (Genesis 1:14). They were already in existence, and, as Job said, God brings them back into use by His command—His Word.

Job 9:

9Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
10Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.

Job is saying here that he realizes the wonder of all that God has done—the great things ”past finding out” and the ”wonders without number.” Look at verses 11 and 12:

Job 9:

11Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
12Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?

Let us today believe God's Word. Let us trust a God whom we know can do these great things, even as Job trusted Him. We have a great God. Don't forget that; fully trust Him in good times and in adversity. Realize what a great God we have. “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Job In Deep Distress

The following verses of this chapter show Job's great, deep emotional distress. Too often we think of Job's suffering physical affliction, and he did. But he suffered great emotional distress also. He thought one thing and looked for another. He would think something and then give up on that as he reasoned within himself. Read verses 12-35 at one reading and this will be very plain.

Job 9:

13If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.
14How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?
15Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.

Note what Job is saying here. In effect, he says, “I can't even say the right words to God.” Job was so distressed that he was not in close fellowship with God. He continues to tell how hard it was for him to talk to God, and it seemed to him that there was no way in which he could have the fellowship with God that he had enjoyed so greatly. Verse 16:

Job 9:

16If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.

These words indicate his real distressed condition. He says that even if he had asked and God had answered, he wouldn't believe. Sometimes we also get into this condition. We say that God does not hear us and does not answer. Job says, “Things are so bad that even if God did answer, I could not believe.”

Job 9:

17For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.
18He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.
19If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?

Note the deep suffering of Job as he claims that his wounds are multiplied without cause. By this verse, we see how Job feels about God at this moment. How human.

Job 9:

20If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
21Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.

Job says here, “Even if I were perfect and did believe, I would doubt.” We, too, come to this place at times. We often have talked to those out of fellowship with God, and all that was needed was an acknowledgment of sin and fellowship would be restored. But they say, “There may be something I can't see, something I have done that I don't realize.” And they do not get right with the Lord.

Job 9:

24The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?

In other words, Job is saying, “What's the use? The wicked are in control.” Too often we feel that way. Individuals who do not accept God's will when it is not favorable to them reach this place. They even come to the place where they can no longer trust God. Job was near this place in his emotional distress. Don't let yourself fall into the place where Job fell.

Job Complains To God

Job had been answering Bildad. Now he turns to God and talks with Him. Job, the one whom we honor as patient, is complaining to God about his situation. In fact, here Job is fussing with God. This is Job, the one whom God said was perfect and of the quality that could stand the test of Satan.

Job says a few things here as facts that are not actually facts. For instance, he says there was no answer to some of his problems. There is always an answer through God. God has the answer to all our problems. Have you ever gone through a similar situation? How did you react? Look at chapter 10, verse 1:

Job 10:

1My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

How could Job talk to God like that? Could you talk to God like that? We need to confess to Him that such words are spoken in the bitterness of soul. We need to tell God that we really didn't mean them. Many times suffering saints say things they do not mean, but say them in the bitterness of soul. We should be more understanding when we hear these suffering ones say something that startles us.

Job Asks Why

Job 10:

2I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.

Note what Job says here: “Show me where you condemn me. Why am I going through this trial and suffering? Show me why You are trying me, why You are causing me to suffer.”

Job 10:

3Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?

So often, it seems that we, God's servants, trying faithfully to please Him and to do His will, suffer trials and hardships while those who do wickedly or just leave God out of their lives prosper as though God were smiling upon them and helping them. This seems very unfair to us. Those who are serving Satan seem to be actually blessed of God. We conclude, “What's the use of living a good life or of trying to please God? Why must I suffer when I try to do right?”

Job Asks Another Question

Job 10:

4Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?

Job asks this question because in his physical and emotional condition, he is so discouraged that he as much as says, “You don't understand!”

This question, as was the other, is answered in the New Testament; but of course Job did not have the New Testament to study and to base his faith upon. However, he could have looked forward to God's promise as did Abraham in Galatians, chapter 3, verse 6:

Galatians 3:

6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Notice also in Romans, chapter 4, verses 20-22:

Romans 4:

20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Also in Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 17:

Hebrews 11:

17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Yes, Job could have looked forward in faith to God even as Abraham did. What good would that have done him? What good would it have been to see Christ dying on the Cross? Job said, “You don't have the eyes of flesh. You can't see as man sees. You don't understand.”

God Does Understand And Care

If we could have answered Job, we would have said, “Job, God does understand. We know that He understands because we have the New Testament that reveals this truth.” Look at Hebrews, chapter 4:13-16:

Hebrews 4:

14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

What is the encouragement to come bodly to the Throne of Grace, to come boldly, walking into the very chamber of Heaven? It takes courage to do that. but we can come boldly because our Savior was tempted in all points like we are, apart from sin.

Yes, Job, God does understand. He has been touched with the feeling of your infirmities. You speak in the bitterness of your soul. But take heart, suffering believer of today, take heart, for God is touched with the feeling of your infirmities. God understands and cares.

Remember, Job began this phase of his discourse: “My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself: I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Poor Job was bitter in soul.

I do not want to discourage you in witnessing or in dealing with individual, but be sure you know what you are talking about and be sure that what you say is grounded in the Word of God. Job's three friends were so very wrong in their conclusions.

Job said in essence, “My friends talked to me about getting in touch with God, but God does not understand man's suffering.” Look at verses 9-15:

Job 10:

9Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?
10Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
11Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.
12Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
13And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.
14If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.
15If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;

Practically all that Job says in these verses concerning his life is, “I am full of confusion.” Many today want to do what is right, want to please the Lord, but they, too, are full of confusion, maybe not just like Job, but they still do not know what to do. They are confused. God says in His Word, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God” (John 7:17). The Christian need not be confused. If he yields everything to God, he will not be confused.

What was Job's confusion? It was sin—not that he was a great sinner and wanted to sin. He just did not know what to do. Notice verse 13 again:

Job 10:

13And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.

The Answer is Faith

Old Testament saints, unlike New Testament saints, were saved by faith in God and His promises—the promise of a Redeemer. New Testament saints are saved by faith in the finished work of Christ on Calvary. Job lived in Old Testament times and Christ had not yet come, nor died, nor risen again. But let's refer to him as a Christian, for he was a man of God.

As a Christian, Job says, “I still have a sin problem. If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.” In verse 14, Job says that God will not acquit him of his sin. He is wrong. God tells us in the Word that when we accept Christ, the penalty for sin is provided for through Him. Job did not know what to do with the problem of sin, but we have the answer in I John, chapter 2, verse 1:

I John 2:

1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

In terms that Job would understand, we can say this, “Job, you do have a daysman who will stand between God and your sin.” Job had said that he did not have a daysman. Go back to Job, chapter 9, verse 33:

Job 9:

33Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.

Again, Job was wrong. A daysman is a mediator. We have a daysman, for God's Word says in I John, chapter 1, verse 9:

I John 1:

9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Conclusion

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God forgave then as He forgives now. Do you have a problem with sin? There is an answer. The Lord Jesus Christ died for your sins.


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