Longing For Assurance
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

A second cycle of speeches now begins, each of Job's friends offering further arguments. Eliphaz begins his criticizing of Job again, and he is followed by Bildad and Zophar. Having witnessed Job's severe suffering, we would expect them to encourage Job this time, but no. They still say that God punishes sinners; and if Job is suffering, it is punishment because he has sinned. They are in the same old rut. However, they do make some suggestions that we should relate to our lives. Turn to Job, chapter 15:

Job 15:

1Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
2Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
3Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?

In plain words, Eliphaz is saying, “I don't know whether there is any point in talking to you, Job. You didn't listen to anything that I said. I don't think another talk will do any good.”

Job 15:

4Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.
5For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.
6Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.

Notice the depths of this accusation—“thou casteth off fear.” Fear in this Scripture, as in many Scriptures, refers to reverence for God. Eliphaz says, “I have heard you talk to God.” We can agree with Eliphaz in this statement because it is an honest statement, for we, too, heard Job speak to God. We were startled at his words. Let us notice some of the statements that Job made in chapter 14:

Job 14:

1Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.
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.
10But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the Ghost, and where is he?
17My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.

Job accuses God of sending this trouble upon him. In effect, he says, “God, You have Your finger on me, and You make me squirm as a worm.” So it is no wonder that Eliphaz said that Job had no reverence for God.

Do We Reverence God As We Should?

We note the irreverence of Job. We need to examine ourselves and see if we are guilty of “casting off fear” as Eliphaz expressed the act of being irreverent to God. I am concerned because of the lack of reverence in our churches and elsewhere today. Some of the songs that are sung are sacrilegious. Tapes are available that actually ridicule Christ and the power of God. Lack of reverence is common among Christians. Frequently, before the service begins in the church, people laugh, talk, and run about. This is irreverent. One can't suddenly be brought to reverence. You cannot push a button for reverence and one for revelry. That is why our services are not what they ought to be. If, instead of chattering, we would bow our heads in reverence and ask God to bless the speaker, prepare our hearts, and meet the needs of those who are present—especially those with special needs—we would see a big difference in our churches.

Job's friend, Eliphaz, spoke truly when he said it was sinful to “cast off fear.” We would see a great difference in the work of those who are serving God if we would learn to be reverent. Examine your life, learn to reverence God and you will be blessed.

What kind of an example are we to our children when we show a lack of reverence in our churches? What kind of an example are we to the young believers? What influence is our lack of reverence on the unsaved who may come to the services?

Eliphaz Accuses Job Of Inadequacy In Prayer

Let us discuss the last phrase of Job, chapter 15, verse 4: “and restrainest prayer before God.” We learned that the first phrase refers to a lack of reverence. Eliphaz is saying, “Job, you are not praying right. You are restraining prayer because of sin and pride.” May the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts as we consider whether or not we are guilty of irreverence and of restraining prayer.

The Hebrew word for restrain means “shaving down, making smaller or less effective.” Eliphaz says, “Job, you are whittling down your prayers and making them less effective.” How can this be done? Haven't you felt at times that one person's prayer was more effective than another's? And don't we feel that our own prayers are more effective at times?

Is it possible to restrain prayer? Yes, it is. How do we shave down our prayers? I might suggest that some prayers need to be shaved down, for some of us are known for our much speaking. We need to make our prayers direct and to the point—especially our public prayers. Too often, we pray to the audience and use our prayers to voice our opinions or to air our grievances.

However, regarding this text, how do we restrain our prayers? The reasons are too numerous for us to discuss all of them, but here are a few. First, let us look at the little word faith. Sometimes our faith is not effective. We do not ask for the things we need. Sometimes this is because of the wrong relationship that we have with God. Something has come between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).

Sometimes the relationship between a husband and wife is not right and that becomes a restrainer to prayer. Or it may be that the relationship between neighbors or friends, etc., stands in the way. We need to realize that wrong relationships can whittle down our prayers, and we should correct this matter. Don't let anything restrain your prayers. Be effective prayer warriors. There is nothing wrong with God or with prayer, so when our prayers are not effective, the fault must be with us.

Eliphaz Accuses Job Of Self-Righteousness

Notice verses 7-16 of chapter 15:

Job 15:

7Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?
8Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?
9What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?
10With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.
11Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?
12Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,
13That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?
14What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
15Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.
16How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

In other words, Eliphaz says here, “Your mouth speaks iniquity; your tongue is crafty.” Your own mouth condemns you. You are a witness against yourself in respect to your sin. Do you think that you are the first man? Do you think you know everything? What do you know that we do not know? The aged agree with us. Do you think you know something that no one else knows? Why do you wink at your sin? Why do you talk so sinfully? And what is man that God should consider him clean or righteous? In man, there is nothing worthy of God's consideration.”

What Eliphaz says here is true. But man can have the righteousness of Christ if he puts his faith in Christ. In Old Testament times, God looked at man as righteous when he put his faith in the promise of the Redeemer to come. Man offered an animal sacrifice, which pointed to the future sacrifice for sin of God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This faith in God and His promise made man righteous in the sight of God though he was still sinful.

Notice that Eliphaz was not emphasizing how man could be looked upon as righteous. He was emphasizing the sinful condition of man. Look at verse 15:

Job 15:

15Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.

The word saints should have been translated “angels.” People often say when a child is good, “He is a little angel.” What a mistake. Here we are told that God does not trust even His angels. The verse continues, “…yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” Eliphaz is saying in plain words, “If God doesn't trust His angels in Heaven and if Heaven is not clean, what is man and what makes you think that a mortal man might be clean?”

Consider the truth of the statement that God does not even trust His angels. Why? God knows that angels can sin, for it happened. God, being God, knew that it would happen. God knows their hearts and thoughts as well as He knows the hearts and thoughts of man. Angels are the ministers of God, yet they once fell into sin, and it could happen again. Eliphaz is basing his argument on this premise. It is possible that angels could fall.

Lucifer was the anointed cherub, the leader. He decided that he was going to take over the throne of God (Isaiah 14). He asserted his will against the will of God. Five times he declared, “I will.” That is sin in angels as well as in man. Lucifer had a tremendous influence, so when God dealt with his sin and cast him out of Heaven, one-third of the angels followed him. They are the fallen angels, now known to man as demons. If the angels fell, then how can they be trusted now? Even the angels in Heaven cannot be trusted.

Some of us are so proud and so sure that we will not fall that we are filled with pride and self-confidence. But God does not trust us any more than He trusts the angels. God's Word says, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Psalm 118:8-9).

If we put our confidence in man or in ourselves, we may fall. Think on these Scriptures that warn us against this. Look at Philippians, chapter 3, verse 3:

Philippians 3:

3 …and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Now notice Proverbs, chapter 25, verse 19:

Proverbs 25:

19Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

Truly, there is no person who can be trusted.

There Is One In Whom We May Safely Have Confidence

Lest we become discouraged, notice something else that God's Word says concerning confidence in Proverbs, chapter 3, verse 26:

Proverbs 3:

26For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

Turn to I John, chapter 3, verse 21:

I John 3:

21…then have we confidence toward God.

Notice I John, chapter 5, verse 14:

I John 5:

14And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

Now look at Hebrews, chapter 3, verses 6 and 14:

Hebrews 3:

6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
14For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

We can truly trust our Lord and Savior with perfect confidence. As believers in Him, we can say with Paul: “…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Eliphaz continued along the same thought: “How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” It is true that neither angels nor man can be trusted, and both facts are seldom given proper consideration, but Eliphaz was correct in his statements. However, regardless of how unclean man is, he can be made clean in the sight of God through Jesus Christ.

The statement, “the heavens are not clean in His sight,” is not referring here to the third Heaven, the abode of God. He refers to the atmospheric heaven. True, it is not clean. We have learned more and more about the pollution of space. The third chapter of Genesis, which records the fall of man and the curse put upon man because of his sin and the curse put upon the earth because of this sin, describes why the heavens are unclean. Sin brought all this upon God's creation.

Christ died for mankind to redeem us from the curse and the penalty of sin. When one accepts Christ as Savior, he is redeemed and no longer under the curse. But he is not totally redeemed, for he still lives in the same body which suffers illnesses and pain and which deteriorates and dies. But there will be a redemption of the body and then there will be no sickness or death and the entire creation will be redeemed from the curse. The heavens, which are not clean now, will also be cleansed.

Turn to the book of Romans, chapter 8, and notice verses 18-23:

Romans 8:

18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

We who are saved are waiting for our bodies to be redeemed. Then our bodies will be changed to glorified bodies like our Savior now has. When will this happen? At the Rapture.

Illness Is Not Always A Result Of Sin

This portion of Scripture totally disavows the tale that Christians should never be ill and that when they are ill, it is always because they have sinned. We have bodies now that are not redeemed, so we suffer.

The Scripture says that we groan in this body, waiting for our new body. Creation also groans, waiting for the curse to be lifted from it. Creation will also be redeemed. There will be no more thorns and thistles. Man must now work to bring forth good crops, but someday this earth will be as God intended that it should be.

Sin entered the world and God pronounced a curse upon mankind, upon the animal kingdom, and upon the earth. Animals will no longer have animosity toward man and toward each other. They, too, will be redeemed from the curse that was put upon them. Until then, we groan “waiting for the adoption to wit, the redemption of our body.”

It is important to remember that Eliphaz spoke without being led of the Lord. We need to be sure of His leading before we speak. Too often, we do as Eliphaz did.

Job Answers The Second Discourse Of Eliphaz

Turn back to Job, and notice chapter 16:

Job 16:

1Then Job answered and said,
2I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.
3Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?
4I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
5But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.
6Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?

Job begins his answer to Eliphaz, talking about his trial. As he continues, he considers his situation once more. Look at verses 7-10:

Job 16:

7But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.
8And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.
9He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.
10They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.

What a sad situation! Job speaks with great intensity. As he speaks, a ray of understanding of his trial comes to him. This paragraph represents the cry of Job's heart. He is rent asunder as he tells of God's treatment of him. “…he hath made me weary…made desolate my company…filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness beareth witness against me to my face. He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnashes upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.” As he says this, he realizes that it must be someone who hates him that has brought all this upon him. He knew that God loved him and did not hate him. So at last the light appears.

Job Has Found The Answer

Notice Job, chapter 16, verse 11:

Job 16:

11God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.

We already knew this, for we learned it as we began the study of the book of Job. The Scriptures tell us how God turned him over to Satan to be tested by him. Finally, Job realizes the reason for his troubles. God has not forsaken him because of something in his life that was displeasing. So he says, in effect, “God has turned me over to the wicked one for a purpose.” He was right. See Job, chapter 16, verse 12:

Job 16:

12I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.

This is Job's description of what he is passing through. Actually, verses 12-22 tell us of the effect all this had upon him: “My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death. My friends scorn me.”

Job 16:

17Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.
18O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.
19Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.
20My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.
21O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!

Notice the change in Job. He tells his friends that this has come to him through no fault of his, and as he did previously, he again shows his innocence and longs for his friends to pray for him, not to condemn him.

When Job recognized the source of his trouble, he did not know why God was dealing thus with him, but he knew that he was not forsaken of God. God knew the reason. When he came to this conclusion, he was on his way to recovery. Whatever your trouble or trial may be, and it may be of Satan, trust God. Realize that your life is entirely in God's hands.

God will not suffer you to be tried to a greater extent than you can bear. We have this promise concerning this subject: “There hath no trial taken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Whatever your trouble may be, trust God. There is a cure. Turn it over to Him.

Job had discovered the real source of his trouble. Previously, he had blamed God, but now He sees that God permitted Satan to try him. God did so because Job lived a righteous life and God said he would not turn from Him because of trials. So Satan entered an immediate attack upon Job.

When Job realized the cause of his trial, he knew that Satan was to blame, not God. Let's take a second look at verse 12: In Job's words, he said, “I was at ease and everything was going all right.” Beloved, that is when Satan is most liable to attack and when the attack will be most likely to be successful. When we are at ease, we are unsuspecting. Then he says that Satan took him and broke him: “…he hath taken me by my neck and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.”

Job 16:

13His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.

In effect, Job says, “They shoot arrows at me.” That is a good description of Satan's attacks upon believers. When we recognize that Satan is attacking us, we must reckon with him, for his attacks are forceful even as was his attack upon Job.

How can we combat such a foe? God has given us the answer to this question in Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 10-18:

Ephesians 6:

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

This Scripture tells us that God provides us with armor to withstand the devil. However, we must put on the armor He has provided. We must put on the whole armor. It won't do much good if we don't wear it. The whole purpose of the armor is to defeat Satan, so we must put it on to withstand him.

Satan's attacks are vicious. He attacks us mentally, physically, and morally. Today, many of the mental cases are brought on by attacks of the wicked one. He can rule the mind if we permit it. He is a clever attacker when it comes to morals. Perhaps you haven't had this experience and you don't understand how a believer can fall. However, if Satan attacks you, you will understand, but you do not have to fall.

When Jesus healed the demoniac, the Pharisees blasphemed, stating that He had cast out devils by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. If you are a child of God, you can have power to keep you from falling when Satan attacks. This Scripture gives us this assurance: “…greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Jesus answered the Pharisees thus in Matthew, chapter 12, verses 26 and 29:

Matthew 12:

26And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
29Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

Before His crucifixion, the Lord said to Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” Jesus was warning Peter to be on his guard against Satan. Then he continued, “But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted [brought back again], strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

Peter did fail by denying the Lord three times, but he wept bitterly and repented. He also failed “to strengthen his brethren.” God wants to use each trial to strengthen us and expects us then to strengthen others.

After the Resurrection of Christ, He had appeared to His disciples and had fellowshipped with them. Yet, we find Peter turning back to his former work. “Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing” (John 21:3). Peter encouraged the others to go back to their secular work.

Jesus, in His great mercy, met them where they fished and fed them, fellowshipped with them, and strengthened them. After the coming of the Holy Spirit, Peter became bold in his testimony and was a fearless leader. It makes a difference when we let the Holy Spirit take over and lead us. Remember, especially in times of trial: “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Job's Utter Despondency

Go back to Job, chapter 16:

Job 16:

16My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death;
17Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.
18O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.

Job recognized whom he should fear and whom he should trust. Let the horror of Job's position enter your mind. Have you ever been in this position? Notice, Job is suffering and he can't get to the bottom of his problem, so he hopes to die. Have you faced this same situation? Then, realizing his prayer was pure, Job said, “O earth, cover not my blood…”

The Holy Spirit Takes Control

Notice particularly the next stage of Job's speech. It shows that the Holy Spirit has taken control and is therefore an utterance of victory, in verse 19:

Job 16:

19Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.

This a not a happy translation. What Job is actually saying by the words, “My witness is in heaven,” is as we read in Romans, chapter 1, verse 9: “For God is my witness…” In other words, Job is saying, “He Who vouches for me is in Heaven, and He knows the beginning from the end.”

Why did Job make this statement? His friends found no good in him. He had been filled with remorse and discouragement. Therefore, Job speaks plainly to them, reminding them that they did not know his thoughts or his heart; but God in Heaven did know this because He knows the beginning and the end, and He knows each one of us very well.

The Bible says, “…the heart is deceitful…,” yet Job was content to know that God knew his heart. He says, “There is One in Heaven Who knows all about me. He knows all my good and all my bad thoughts and actions, yet He is willing to vouch for me.” Job really needed friends. Earthly friends may stand by us when we are in trouble, and they may not do so. But in Heaven, there is One Who knows all about us—every secret thought and sin—yet He is willing to stand by His children.

How glad I am that I have One in Heaven Who loves me so. In spite of all He knows about me, He stands by me. He is closer than a brother. He loves me and never forsakes me. Trust Him as you, too, can say, “Also now, behold, my witness is in Heaven, and my record is on high.”

Job Desires An Advocate

Look at verses 20-22:

Job 16:

20My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.
21O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour.
22When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.

We are now looking into a period of Job's life when he was afraid that he was going to die. He was suffering tremendously at the hands of Satan. As yet, Job is not certain who has brought this trouble upon him. There were times when he thought it was the devil, and there were times when he thought it was God, and there were times when he simply did not know.

We find here that Job had reached the place that he thought surely he was going to die. He was greatly concerned. He didn't know exactly how he was going to stand in Heaven, but as he gave this testimony—“My witness is in Heaven,”—a ray of hope shone across his life and brought a bit of joy. I wish this could have been a continuous experience, but it was not. Job was so very human, like most of us, and therefore was an up-and-down individual. In his relationship to God, he had great hope one day, and the next day he was distressed.

The joy that came to his heart when he realized there was Someone in Heaven Who cared for him did not last very long. He said, “My friends scorn me; but mine eye poureth out tears unto God. O that one might plead for a man with God as man pleadeth for his neighbor. When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.” In other words, he says, “I haven't got much longer to live. I will soon be going the way that folk go and never return from the journey. I wish that there was somebody who could plead with God for me, even as a man pleadeth for his neighbor.”

Job was a patriarch, a leader in his community. He sat in the gates of the city and many times people had come to him and asked him to go to So-and-So. Perhaps they had said, “We have had a disagreement and things look bad. We want to get it straightened out. I don't know how to talk with him. I don't know what to say. I'm afraid to go talk with him. Will you go and plead with him for me? Will you plead my case with him?” How many times Job had done that for his friends. If he had pled for others, why wasn't there someone to plead for him? Time and time again, he had pled the case of another neighbor. He was an experienced pleader.

As Job thinks upon the possibility of death coming to him in the near future, he exclaims, “Oh, if there were only one to plead with God for me.” He had pled for others when a dispute had arisen, and he had pled with God for others. God had answered, and problems were solved all because Job had pled for others.

Remembering these experiences, Job wanted someone to explain his situation to God. He wanted someone to explain why he was as he was. He wanted someone to plead to God for him as He had pled with one peeved neighbor for another. Job wanted someone to plead with God and then come back to him and say, “Job, I've pled with God and everything is all right now. You don't need to be afraid; go right into His presence, for God will be glad to restore your fellowship with Him.” That was exactly what Job wanted.

If we were to stop our message right here, our hearts would be filled with grief. We would be as distressed as Job. There have doubtless been times in many lives when we have felt the same way. We have felt that we could not stand in the very presence of God. We have felt that we could not go immediately to God, for there was too much standing between us. There were too many things that needed to be straightened out, so we became discouraged.

Christ Is Our Advocate

However, we do not have to stop here. There is One Who pleads for us. There is One Who states our case. There is One Who presents all the facts. There is One Who is able to stand in the very presence of God and say, “God, I have come to plead the case of my friend. Everything You have said about him is true. He is sinful, unfaithful and unlovely, but I have come to explain a few things about him.” All is explained and then that One pleads the case and says, “But more than that, I remind You, God, that I shed My blood on Calvary over two thousand years ago, and My shed blood covers all the sin, pays all the debts, clears the record for every believer. Therefore, You don't have anything against this man, and there is nothing for which You can reproach him. My blood has taken care of his debt.”

Beloved, when we are willing to believe the Word of God, we can hear the Savior come to us and say, “Everything is all right now. You can go into the presence of God, and He will see you. There is nothing against you. I have pled with God for you.”

Job cried out of the distress of his soul, “Oh that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor.” This desire of Job became a reality when the Lord Jesus Christ came in fashion as a man and was obedient unto death. The third day came His resurrection. Later, He ascended into Heaven and is now at the right hand of God where “He ever liveth to make intercession for us,” as the Word tells us in Hebrews, chapter 7, verse 25:

Hebrews 7:

25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

This is the reason we have so many wonderful promises in the Word of God—because Christ is able to save “to the uttermost.”

“He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” This promise gives us reason to be encouraged today. The Word of God invites us in Hebrews, chapter 4:

Hebrews 4:

16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

There at the Throne of Grace, there is One Who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities and is pleading our case. He knows all about our weaknesses. He has already settled the issue before God, so we need not tremble as we approach God nor fear that we may not be received. We approach God boldly because Someone has already appeared in our behalf and all we need to do is to follow through.

Do you have that assurance in your heart? You may have it. The Lord is ready to plead your case today. No lawyer takes the case of a man unless he is engaged by the man to do so. The Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ is our advocate or our lawyer. Why don't you engage His services? Ask Him to plead your case at the Throne of God. He will, and He will bring you victory, for He has never lost a case. The One Who will do this for you is the Savior Who died for you. He took your sins upon Himself and paid your debt.

Job wanted more assurance, and we understand that. We read God's promises in His Word and we know that they are there, yet we need some definite personal assurance in the time of trial. We are not sufficiently satisfied to know that when we stand in the presence of God at some future date, all will be well. We want the assurance now.

There are many of God's dear children who do not have this assurance. They go through life hoping, trying and desiring, but they do not have assurance. Beloved, every child of God may have this assurance, for we are taught this in His Word.

Job Lacked The Assurance Of God's Forgiveness

Turn back to Job and notice chapter 17:

Job 17:

1My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.
2Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation?
3Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?
4For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.

Remember, these words of Job are the result of the words of comfort that his friends had spoken. Their speeches had left him without any hope at all. Then Job turned to God. In these words, Job addresses himself to God. Note verse 3, the meaning of which is not very clear in our King James version. The Amplified version states: “Give me a pledge with yourself. Who is there that will give security for me?” In other words, Job says, “God, there is no person who will sign my bond. There is no person who is willing to take a stand with me, so God, will You be my surety? Will You be my bondsman? Will You be the One Who declares beyond all doubt that all is well?”

Moffatt translates this, “Give me a pledge that thou thyself will act. Who else would undertake my cause in relation to thee?” The phrase, “strike hands,” is an Old Testament phrase that indicated a pledge by the shaking of hands of the individuals involved. This act indicated that one was willing to be the bondsman, the surety for the other individual.

This Side Of The Cross

We who live on this side of the Cross have so much for which to be thankful. Job longed for that present assurance, but he did not have it as is indicated by his words in verses 5-14:

Job 17:

5He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.
6He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret.
7Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow.
8Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.
9The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.
10But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.
11My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.
12They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.
13If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.
14I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.

What a low ebb Job had reached. Notice, he even said to the worm, “Thou art my father…” Why was Job so desolate? It was because he lacked the assurance which he desired and which God could give. By the grace of God, we experience this assurance now. In fact, this surety for which Job yearned and which we enjoy is emphasized in many places in the New Testament.

The New Testament Believer's Assurance Through Grace

Turn to Ephesians, chapter 1, and notice verses 13-14:

Ephesians 1:

13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Notice the progress in this Scripture. “Ye heard the Word of truth.” What portion of the Word of truth did you hear? You heard the Gospel of salvation, for after you heard it, you believed and trusted. You put your faith and trust in that Gospel, the record which God gave of His Son. Then what happened? You were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. How did that occur? The Holy Spirit came to dwell in your heart. What was the significance of this? The Holy Spirit is the guarantee for which Job longed and for which many people today long also. This guarantee is available only if people accept what the Word of God says. Look at Romans, chapter 8, in verses 9, 14 and 16:

Romans 8:

9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Conclusion

Thank God that we do have the surety for which Job longed, and we can rest assured in His Word for we are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise.”


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