Remaining Faithful Through Trials
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Job has been through Satan's sieve. He has become confused. In the last portion of Job's answer to Bildad, he does not blame God for not being merciful and kind; rather, he blames Him for being cruel. In essence, he says, “God, You delight in tormenting Your children even when they are not doing wrong.” He says, “Thou knowest that I am not wicked…” (Job 10:7). He continues to plead with God by saying, “I should have been carried from the womb to the grave” (Verse 19).

Zophar The Naamathite, Comforts Job

His friend, Zophar, speaks in Job, chapter 11, verses 2-5:

Job 11:

2Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?
3Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?
4For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.
5But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;

Zophar continues, “Job, you say that your doctrine is pure and that you are clean. You tell God that He knows there is no sin in your life.” Remember, the things that Job's comforters said did not necessarily apply correctly to Job, but they contained a lot of truth.

The Apostle Paul said in Romans, chapter 12, verse 3:

Romans 12:

3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

No matter how much a man may know, there is much that he does not know. When we declare our innocency and think that there can be nothing wrong with us, we need to remember what the Word of God says about man. Look at Jeremiah, chapter 17, verse 6:

Jeremiah 17:

9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Notice also Job, chapter 11, verse 6:

Job 11:

6And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.

Let us recognize that here that we are not condemning God when we agree with Zophar. If God demands “less than thine iniquity deserveth,” He is looking over sin and is not fair by so doing. No, God overlooks sin and exacteth less than is deserved only because Someone paid the penalty for us—the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave His life on Calvary to pay the penalty for sin because He loved us. He took our place and made atonement for our sin.

Man Demands Justice; God Gives Mercy

Often an individual will say, “I want my just desert; I want what's coming to me.” If God gave us our just deserts, He would demand that we make our own payment for our sins and would not accept the payment of Christ for us; but Christ died for all, and God does accept the payment that He made upon the Cross of Calvary. Turn to Psalm 76, verse 7:

Psalm 76:

7Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?

Not one of us could stand before God if He exacted the full penalty for all our sins from us. However, there is full forgiveness with God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who paid the full penalty for our sins when He gave His life on the Cross of Calvary.

Let us acknowledge that we are exceedingly sinful and then lift our hearts to God, secure in the fact that His Son bore our iniquities and thus God exacts less than our iniquities deserve as far as we are concerned, yet only through Jesus Christ. We cannot atone for our own sins. Notice Psalm 66, verse 18:

Psalms 66:

18If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Zophar said that Job was in reality getting less punishment for his sin than he deserved. Was this comfort to Job?

Job's comforters never did put their fingers on the real problem. Much of their advice was good in a general way, but it did not apply to Job. We, being on this side of the Cross, can see this without much difficulty.

Zophar Questions Job

Go back to Job, chapter 11, and notice verses 7-8:

Job 11:

7Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
8It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

Can man learn God and His ways by searching or by trying for perfection? No, he cannot. God's ways are as high as Heaven, and we cannot understand His ways. Look at verses 9-12:

Job 11:

9The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.
10If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?
11For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?
12For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

When a man becomes like a wild colt, he will learn God's way. Man is finite; God is infinite. We cannot understand the infinite. However, the Apostle Paul said that an excursion into Heaven was not necessary to understand God. We seek an answer in the distance—in mystery—and yet the answer lies close at home. Look at Romans, chapter 10, verse 8:

Romans 10:

8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Notice verses 9-10:

Romans 10:

9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

One must believe in the heart, and that is faith; but the faith must be such that you confess with the mouth. In effect, we say, “Job, there is no understanding outside of God just as you said, except for faith.” Make sure you are right before you make such statements. The New Testament makes this plain. All we need to do is to exercise our faith, and we will have knowledge that satisfies. Will we ever understand God's perfection or His dealings with the human heart? Note what Isaiah has to say in Isaiah, chapter 55, verses 8-11:

Isaiah 55:

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Notice that the way of God is not learned by ordinary searching out of facts. There is only one way that the way of God is understood. Look at Romans, chapter 10, verses 1-2:

Romans 10:

1Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

If we cannot understand God with our finite minds, will we be cast away? No! There is a way that we can understand God. Zophar said, “For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.” But the New Testament reveals that it is not impossible in verse 6:

Romans 10:

6But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise…

Righteousness by faith is the answer. We do not understand the way of God by searching but by faith. Now notice the next verse:

Romans 10:

7Or, Who shall descend into the deep…

Remember, we have already mentioned that Paul said that an excursion into Heaven was not necessary. Faith is what is necessary for understanding.

Through faith we realize that God makes no mistakes. Sometimes, it does seem to us that a mistake is made; but when we look at the situation with the eye of faith and trust God's way, we will see that it is His will. Faith is the answer even in a turbulent sea, for if we continue in faith, we eventually see the coast and are brought to safety. Turn to Hebrews, chapter 11, and notice verse 1:

Hebrews 11:

1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Job had bitterness of soul which came from his inability to understand God. He said he was full of confusion. He said it would have been better if he had not been born. He felt that a wall existed between himself and God. He felt that he was completely out of touch with his Maker.

There are many barriers that could come between God and man, but the one to consider first is sin. However, sin is not always the barrier, yet it may be the barrier. Let's notice Isaiah, chapter 59:

Isaiah 59:

1Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

Note what Zophar says back in Job, chapter 11, verses 13-14:

Job 11:

13If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
14If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.

The expression, “prepare thine heart and stretch out thine hand toward him,” is intriguing. We don't hear much today about “preparing our hearts” to talk with the Lord. Do you prepare your heart to talk to Him, or do you run right in and then wonder why God does not respond? Of course, there is not always time for preparation, so we'd better be sure there is nothing between us and the Lord at all times. Yet, we need to prepare our hearts for blessing—a special kind of preparation. How? Let the Word of God speak to our hearts, and our hearts will be prepared when we come to Him.

Zophar continued…“and stretch out thine hands toward him.” The emphasis is placed on this portion by some people. Some believe that we should pray with our hands stretched out, palm upward. Some early Christians did this. Why? The reason is twofold. The hands held thus indicate that there is a receptive heart. If you are asking God to give you something and you are not ready to receive it, that is hypocritical. Secondly, to hold hands thus is to indicate that there is nothing in the hands.

The Prophet, Isaiah, Speaks of God's Shaking His Hand

Turn to Isaiah, chapter 10, and notice verse 32:

Isaiah 10:

32 …he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.

Now look at chapter 13, verse 2:

Isaiah 13:

2Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.

We should shake our hands of any sin that might have come upon our hands. It is only with clean hands that a man can truly worship God. We cannot lay hold upon God or expect Him to answer our prayers if our hands are unclean. Turn, please, to Psalm 24, and notice verses 3-4:

Psalms 24:

3Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

Note, verse 3 asks a question and verse 4 answers that question. It is only with clean hands that a man can truly worship God. We cannot lay hold upon God or expect Him to answer our prayers if our hands are unclean

Job Answers All Three Of His Friends

Turn back to the book of Job and notice chapter 12:

Job 12:

2No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.
3But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?

Job is saying plainly, “You haven't told me anything new. I knew all that you had to say before you said it. You may be wise. You think your wisdom will die with you. But I know these things the same as you.” Job recognized their conceit and self-righteousness. Look at verses 4-6:

Job 12:

4I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.
5He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.
6The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.

Job answers again, plainly saying in other words, “I know that I am just and upright. I pray, but it does no good. I have faith, but I am not blessed. While those who do evil are blessed, I suffer. Even those who steal prosper while I suffer. It seems that those who disobey God and do not believe in Him are secure and live in abundance, yet God has taken everything from me.” Verses 7-8:

Job Still Has Faith In God

Job 12:

7But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
8Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

Job says, “Look at nature. God cares for all the creatures, but not in the same manner. He deals with the creatures of the earth differently than the fowls or the creatures of the sea.” Notice verses 9-11:

Job 12:

9Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?
10In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
11Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?

“Just as God deals differently with the creatures of the earth and sea, so He deals with each man on an individual basis. He does not deal with each one after the same principle. I am sure of that,” says Job.

Job 12:

12With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.
13With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
14Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.
15Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.

In effect, Job says, “God is wise. We can be mistaken, but God has counsel and understanding. He breaketh down and no man can rebuild. He can shut doors and no one can open them.”

Job truly believed that God was powerful and in control of nature and man. He continued, “God controls all nature and is back of whatever comes. God is in control and is the One Who permits floods. Yes, God controls all nature.”

Note how forceful Job states this: “He witholdeth the waters and they dry up: He sends them out and they overturn the earth.”

Job Trusts God To Work Out His Problems

Job 12:

16With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17He leadeth counsellers away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.
18He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.
19He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.
20He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.
21He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.

This is Job's picturesque way of saying that God is able to interfere in the affairs of men and to change things. He changes things that they might be to His glory. God wants His people to yield themselves to Him. He is able to work all things out for their good. Yield yourself to Him.

Job 12:

22He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.

Men pat one another on the back when they show brilliance. It is said that this generation is the wisest ever. But Job says, “God permits people to have the knowledge that they have.” He knew all these things from the beginning. Man knows nothing that God does not already know or permit man to learn.

Job 12:

23He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.
24He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.
25They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.

It is true, God gives the nations the power that they have. We have the United Nations in charge of the world, but God is still in control. They can do nothing that He does not permit. Though much that they do may not be His will, He permits it. We make our own plans, but their completion is not inevitable.

We need to pray for God's intervention in the things planned that are not in accordance with His Word. We can pray, for He is able to intervene; at times, He does so. However, He always stays in control. Sometimes things seem to be wrong, and they are wrong; but they are used as the very thing that brings God's plan to pass later. We may not see or understand this at the present. We need to realize that regardless of what comes, God does stay in control.

Job Continues To Answer His Friends' Remarks

As Job continues to discuss his situation with his three friends, his words are full of satire and anger. He declares, “You do not realize my problem. I am not being punished for sin in my life.” Look at chapter 13:

Job 13:

1Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.
2What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.
3Surely I would speak to the almighty, and I desire to reason with God.
4But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.
5O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom.

Job explains that he truly wants to get back in touch with God. He is very explicit as he states his evaluation of the advice of his friends. He says, “Keeping quiet would be wise for you.”

Job 13:

6Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.
7Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?
8Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?
9Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?
10He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.
11Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?

Job begs them to listen to him that they might not “speak wickedly and deceitfully for God.” He warns, “He will surely reprove you.” Then he adds, “You mock when you give advice when you don't even know the problem. Are you not afraid that He will deal with you?”

Job 13:

12Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.
13Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.

Job is tired of their misguided advice. He says, “Let me alone.” The Bible says, “…in the multitude of counsellors, there is safety” (Proverbs 24:6). The Bible also says, “Woe unto the world because of offences, for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh” (Matthew 16:7). This should be a warning to us. We should never give advice unless we are sure that we are speaking according to the will of God. Turn to Galatians, chapter 6, verse 1:

Galatians 6:

1Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Note “considering thyself” and “restore such a one,” but the important phrase here is, “ye which are spiritual.” No one but a spiritual person should attempt to counsel others. Job recognizes that His friends are concerned about him, but they are misguided. He has told them over and over again that they are giving the wrong advice, for it does not apply to his situation for he has not sinned against God. Look at Romans, chapter 14, verse 12:

Romans 14:

12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

In reality, Job is asking his friends a question that we might well ask ourselves, “What will I say when I am called upon to give an account to God?” There is no degree of spirituality. God says that only those who are spiritual should attempt to restore the offending brother. That means that they must be “conformed to the Spirit, controlled by the Spirit, and filled with the Spirit.” Just as there is no degree of spirituality, no one is more righteous than another.

If you are controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, your advice will come from God, and He will direct the outcomes. If you give advice on your own, God will hold you responsible.

Remember, Job told his friends in no uncertain words, “You are physicians of no value.” By way of illustration, today people sue their physicians for malpractice because they feel the doctor has diagnosed the case wrong and prescribed the wrong treatment. In today's world, we can interpret Job as saying, “As physicians, you are of no value. I should sue you.” We could then be sued by others for the wrong advice which we give. We should be very careful and very prayerful when we give advice. We should be sure that our advice is Spirit-directed.

Go back to the book of Job, and notice chapter 13, verses 14-15:

Job 13:

14Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?
15Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Job is saying here, “You, my friends, say that I should not presume to talk to God because of sin in my life. You say that if I do, God will kill me. Keep quiet. I shall put my life in my own hands, and speak to Him, come what may. Regardless of the outcome, even though He slay me, I am going to talk to Him.”

Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” This is a great confession of faith, for he is declaring that he will still trust God, regardless of circumstances. It is easy to trust God when He answers our prayers; but when the Heavens seem as brass, it is difficult. When things are going well, you, too, find it easy to trust God; but when all goes wrong, can you still trust Him? Job did.

Job 13:

16He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.

Job is challenging his friends here. He says that God will vindicate him if He listens to his prayer, for He will not listen to the prayers of hypocrites.

Job 13:

17Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.
18Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.
19Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.

Notice that Job speaks boldly to his friends: “Listen to me while I talk with God. He does not hear hypocrites, so listen carefully while I pray and note that God answers me.” Job's faith is again evidenced and he continues: “I have ordered my cause and I know that I will be justified.” In spite of all that had come to him, he believed that God would justify him. Note his last statement: “I will die if I don't pray to God.”

Job 13:

20Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee.
21Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.
22Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me.
23How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.

Listen to Job as he talks to God. He prays, “God, I want You to do two things.” He designates these two requests in verse 21. He pleads thus, in today's language, “Don't let these trials continue. Lift Your hand of judgment, and don't let me be afraid. Take my fear from me.”

Then he promised God that he would answer should God call him; or if God would listen, he would speak and then listen to God's answer. Then he brings up the problem of sin. He asks, in effect, “How many sins have I committed? My sins must be great, but I don't even know what my sins are. Search me, God.”

All chastening is not because of sin, but when chastening comes, we should ask God to search our hearts. At a time like this, we need to pray as Job prayed. Then, if it is sin that has caused the trials to come to us, ask God for forgiveness. When you have done that, leave it with Him. “He is faithful and just to forgive,” (I John 1:9). Don't continue to fret and worry over sin that you have confessed. God promises to forgive and He does forgive. Acknowledge your sin and leave it with Him.

Job Continues To Answer His Three Friends

Look at chapter 14:

Job 14:

1Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

As Job continues, he talks to God. He had asked his friends to listen while he prayed. Remember, too, Job had reached bottom. All that he had was gone—even all his children. He was afflicted physically. His wife was no help. His friends criticized him. Now he had come to the place where he had lost the sense of the very presence of God. He began to think that God was enjoying making him suffer—making him squirm as a little boy teases a worm. Doubts came, and his faith failed. This is the spirit in which Job says these things to God.

Note that Job, the perfect man, lost his assurance and began to doubt. Many believers suffer greatly and when the pain and suffering become too great, they begin to doubt the things they have always believed. “Are these things really true?” they question. “Can we trust the Bible? Is it really God's Word?” And we who are not suffering so criticize them even as did Job's friends. We are no encouragement to them at a time when they fail, and we should be. True, Job at this time was deep in the valley of despondency. Yet he came out of it. You haven't slipped as far as Job did.

Therefore, Job said in this verse, “Man doesn't live very long and life is all trouble.” Most of us can identify with this conclusion. Then Job continued in verses 2:

Job 14:

2He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

Job makes two comparisons here: He says that man is like a flower that is cut down early; and life, though beautiful, is finished. He also says that man is like a shadow that is not constant, but disappears.

Job 14:

3And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?

In other words, Job is saying here, “God, knowing my life is so short, why do You bring this judgment upon me?”

Job 14:

4Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

“Man is unclean and never will be clean by his own efforts. What do you expect of me? No one can clean himself.” Job can't do what he thinks God expects of him, so he sulks and talks entirely out of place to God.

Job 14:

5Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;

Here, Job says, so to speak, “I know that I cannot die before my time because You have appointed my days, and neither can I live longer.” Job said this in anger. Nevertheless, it is a true statement.

The Bible teaches that God allots our number of days before we are born. Some say, “That is fatalism.” No, for there are other verses that make the meaning of this verse more plain. This is but a stepping stone. I will list some of these verses for you: I Chronicles 23:1; II Chronicles 24:15; I Kings 20:1-11; Job 14:6; Psalm 79:11; 55:23; 89:45; 90:10.

God does, as Job says in this verse, “appoint the bounds over which we cannot pass.” However, in particular cases, God makes exceptions. Some wicked people have their days cut short. As expressed in Psalm 55:23, “…bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days…” God only knows how much longer each one of us has to live. Sometimes the disobedient believer is taken from life because of his disobedience (I John 5:16).

In special cases, God also extends the number of days for purposes that are known only to Himself. Sometimes, through intercession, God extends a person's time—even to years. but He does appoint the number of days that a person can live.

Thus Job concluded that man's life was full of trouble from the beginning to the end, and that our days are appointed. Then in anguish, he suggested that God let him alone to die when his time came rather than to permit him to continue in much suffering and trouble. We read this in verse 6:

Job 14:

6Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.

Job Believed In Life After Death

We are told how Job felt concerning life after death in verses 7-15. But first let us notice verse 14:

Job 14:

14If a man die, shall he live again?…

Notice the word again is in Italics, which means it is not in the original text. Job is asking, “If a man die, shall he live?” Job believed in life after death. He had no doubt about that. He believed in the Resurrection.

Job 14:

7For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
8Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;
9Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

Job had observed how trees that had been cut down often sprouted and began to grow again, but what about man?

Job 14:

10But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the Ghost, and where is he?
11As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:
12So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.

It is true that Job had no doubt about the Resurrection, but he was concerned about the time from death until the Resurrection. That was what Job did not understand.

Job 14:

13O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
14If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Job's hope was that God would hide him in the grave when his suffering would cease. Death would be an escape from his severe suffering, and he did not realize that he would be with God. But as he thought on this, it was not satisfying to his soul. So he asked, “If a man die, shall he live? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” He knew that his body would be changed—resurrected from the dead.

Job 14:

15Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

Here it is indicated that Job has a hope that life should continue immediately. He felt that this life had nothing to offer but heartache and if, at death, there came a great period of sleep, something was lacking. “If a man die, shall he live?” Then Job's hope for immediate life after death faded into oblivion and the rest of his talk to God has nothing to do with this question.

Christ Assures Us That, After Death, We Shall Live With Him

Although the book of Job does not give the answer to Job's question, we do have the answer in God's Word. Thank God.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself answered this question. He said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).

Death does not cause life to cease. Death just brings a move from one place of living to another. The soul and the spirit go immediately to be in the presence of the Lord.

Paul also answered this question: “I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ which is far better: Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you:” (Philippians 1:22-23). Before Paul made this statement, he first said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Verse 21).

When the time came for Paul to die, he said, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (II Timothy 4:6-8).

If a man die, shall he live? The answer is yes, he shall live. Death is just a stepping stone across one form of life to another. It is separation from loved ones, but it is also separation from corruption and from wickedness of this present world. It is passing to incorruption and to a place of perfection. Yes, if a man die, he shall live.

Job, Though Despondent, Remains Faithful

Job was despondent. He thought it was the hand of God in judgment that brought his trouble and trials. His friends tried to convince him of this. Yet he knew that he had not sinned thus, though he was a sinner. He had argued with his friends. But now, he could no longer think clearly because he was so troubled. But he did not give up entirely, for we read in the beginning of the book that God considered him a worthy subject for the trials of Satan. They were not sent by God, but they were permitted by God. Satan could not go further than God permitted. In hope, he asked, “If a man die, shall he live?”

Job 14:

15Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

This verse shows us that Job is still trusting God. He never lost hope entirely. His faith became weak, but he remained faithful through it all.

God Said, “I Will Remember Their Sin No More”

Notice verses 16-17:

Job 14:

16For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?
17My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.

This is Job's way of saying that God watches us and just waits for us to commit sin. Then he puts these sins in a bag and never forgets even one sin. No wonder Job was discouraged. He shrinks at the thought of facing every sin before a holy God.

All the statements that Job makes in verses 16-20 show his discouragement. However, this is a charge that Job makes against God that is false. It is a lie. We must remember that the Bible is the Word of God, and it records what Job said; but the Bible does not teach that what he said was true.

Psalm 56, verse 8, says:

Psalm 56:

8Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

God has a bottle for our tears. Whether literally or not, we will not argue; but when we weep, God is moved. This teaches us that God has regard for our tears. The Lord Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus because He saw the heartbreak of the people. He understands when we weep.

God also has books. He writes our name in a book and our service to Him is recorded in a book. Bottles of tears, books of God with our names and a record of our service—these are pleasant thoughts. But a bag of sins—this is a frightening thought. It is not true that God puts all our sins into a bag, for we are told in His Word in Isaiah, chapter 43, verse 25:

Isaiah 43:

25I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Then in Psalm 103, verse 12:

Psalm 103:

12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Then in Jeremiah, chapter 31, verse 34:

Jeremiah 31:

34 …for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

In Micah, chapter 7, verse 19:

Micah 7:

19He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

A bag of sins? That is terrifying! Job did not have the knowledge that is revealed to us through the New Testament. Even so, when we are troubled and when afflictions become so great that we are overly burdened, when people are suffering greatly, even the light we have is obscured. So in the midst of Job's sorrow, he accused God of keeping our sins in a bag. In effect, he said, “God, You remember all my sins by putting them into a bag. I don't know what I will do when I come before this evidence.”

God does not say that He keeps a bag of sins for each of us. God says that He remembers our sins no more. He buries them in the deepest sea. He removes them as far as the east is from the west. He forgives forever. We will not have to face God and answer for every sin we have committed. His forgiveness is complete. Thank God, for “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Psalm 130:3).


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