For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. — Job 23:14
Driving along the highway one late November day, Jack, an experienced truck driver, suddenly felt his tractor-trailer begin to slide uncontrollably across the lanes. He gripped the steering wheel tightly and attempted to straighten out the huge vehicle, but it continued sliding and began to jackknife.
As Jack fought frantically for control, he cried out to God. Suddenly his hands were flung off the steering wheel. Slowly the semi began to straighten out. When Jack took the steering wheel again, the giant truck was in its own lane, moving down the highway in a straight line. He said it was as if God’s unseen hands had brushed his hands away so that God himself could steer the truck.
As humans, we tend to feel confident and secure as long as things happen according to plan. However, when unexpected events occur — especially negative ones — uncertainty can quickly escalate into fear and even panic. In our world today, many people feel anxiety when they consider the potential of terrorist attacks. Some are alarmed at the possibility of “rogue” nations gaining nuclear capability. As a result, anxiety and stress are increasing, and depression is a significant public-health concern across all regions of the world.
Even as Christians, we will face times in our lives when our personal circumstances seem overwhelming or when everything is going wrong, and we cannot seem to reach God in prayer. How helpless we feel at such times!
Job must have felt that way in our text today. He certainly had experienced a series of unexpected and negative events. He could not seem to reach God, and he was powerless to help himself. Yet Job trusted God with his life and completely believed his circumstances were in God’s hands. For this reason, he asserted in the focus verse that whatever happened to him was according to God’s will.
That thought can be our anchor when life seems uncertain. Even during the deep trials when God is obscured by our suffering, we can know that He is allowing it so that we can become like pure gold (Job 23:10). What a wonderful thought!
It can be a comfort to know we do not need to be in charge. The great God in Heaven who loves us has complete control of our lives, just as God was in control of Jack’s truck. We can each learn to rest in the Lord and know that He makes all things work together for our good. As we seek that place of rest in the Lord, the ray of hope that has been so elusive will begin to shine through the darkness. We can be assured that the Lord will bring us out and ultimately give us victory just as He did for Job.
Today’s text begins the third cycle of discourses between Job and his friends, in their ongoing debate about why Job was experiencing such hardship.
Chapter 22 gives the third speech of Eliphaz, who was again the first to speak. Still not accepting Job’s denial of sin, in this speech Eliphaz moved from assessing Job’s supposed wrongdoing in general terms, to a lengthy list of specific but imagined sins. His preconceived theology — that severe trials would only occur in the life of an ungodly individual — remained intact, so he resorted to false accusations.
In chapters 23 and 24, Job responded. He did not dignify Eliphaz’ false attacks with a direct rebuttal, but once again expressed his desire to find God and present his case before Him. He felt that his suffering would be much more bearable if he could only understand why it was occurring. Though he was confused and troubled, he asserted his confidence that God had allowed his present state, and that the vindication and reward of those who served God faithfully would occur beyond the grave. He was confident that when his trial was over, he would come forth as gold (Job 23:8-12).
Bildad was the next to speak (chapter 25). He voiced a few words about God’s awesomeness and man’s wickedness and ignored Job’s examples of the prosperity of the wicked, instead accusing Job of pride for claiming his suffering was not the result of sin.
In chapter 26, Job began his final response to his first three visitors (Elihu, the fourth one, had not yet spoken). Job repudiated their attempts to help him, saying that no help had been given to ease his suffering. He acknowledged that God is sovereign, and accurately stated that man could not possibly know everything about God.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The solution of Job’s three friends
D. The third cycle of speeches (22:1 — 26:14)
1. Eliphaz’s advice (22:1-30)
a. The sinfulness of Job (22:1-11)
(1) Stated (22:1-5)
(2) Sustained (22:6-11)
b. The false security of the wicked (22:12-20)
c. The invitation to repent (22:21-30)
2. Job’s answer (23:1 — 24:25)
a. Job’s desire to find God (23:1-9)
b. Job’s dismay of God (23:10-17)
c. Job allows that God permits wickedness (24:1-12)
d. Job knows the wicked prosper (24:13-25)
3. Bildad’s advice (25:1-6)
a. God’s greatness described (25:1-3)
b. Man’s sinfulness asserted (25:4-6)
4. Job’s answer (26:1-14)
a. His repudiation of his friends (26:1-4)
b. His description of God’s greatness (26:5-14)
Take heart when going through the hard times in life! We can have the same confidence as Job. God knows how much we can endure and He will not forsake His children.