Day #15 - This post is part of a year-long series where we are reading chronologically through the ESV Study Bible. Click here to learn more. You are most welcome to join along at any time.
Today's text from the ESV Study Bible: Job 40-42
Exactly a week ago, the 47 year old husband of my wife's friend, suddenly dropped dead while skiing.
Everyone was shocked, and immediately wondered why.
When suffering comes, particularly to the righteous, it is very difficult to understand.This is exactly why God gave us the Book of Job.
In reading the introduction to this book in my ESV Study Bible, it said:
"The most important key word in the book is the term “comfort”; the book shows where true comfort is to be found. In 2:11 Job's three friends come to comfort him; in 6:10 Job takes comfort in not having denied the words of the Holy One; in 7:13 Job claims that God will not allow his bed to comfort him. In 15:11 Eliphaz claims to be offering the comforts of God, while in 16:2 Job calls his friends miserable comforters, and in 21:34 he declares they are trying to comfort him with empty nothings. In 21:2 Job sarcastically offers to his friends the “comfort” of hearing him out. The key comes in 42:6 (if the reading of the esv footnote is followed; see note there): now that God has spoken, Job can say that he is “comforted in dust and ashes.” When Job's relatives and friends come to comfort him in 42:11, this is probably ironic: Job found the comfort he needed in the vision of God's unsearchable wisdom."
As I was reading through the book, I struggled to see anything that looked like comfort for poor Job. But then, as I was listening to God's stern challenge to Job, the light bulb went on in my head, right along with Job's.My Key Understanding - My comfort, during suffering, is found in the fact that the infinite, holy Creator of the universe has chosen me to be his son. He chose me. He adopted me. Furthermore, he sees and understands things that I have no capacity to see, or understand. Because he is my Father, I can rest, I can find comfort, and I can be completely assured that He has absolutely every molecule of this universe under His control, and will only bring about what is in my best interest, His pleasure, and what ultimately will bring glory to his Great Name.
This is what Job proclaimed when he said, "therefore I despise myself, and find comfort in dust and ashes."
What great mercy do we see on display here with Job! God could have taken him out, yet he challenges his thinking, Job immediately understands, and the story draws to a close.
God desires us to know that he is sovereign, has absolutely everything under his control, and even evil is used for his purposes.
Job said it all:
“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”