The Book of Job Message 10 Introduction
As the New Year begins, it should be a time of reflection on the past year and a time of setting goals for the new year. I believe the message for today is perfectly timed as we read of Job’s conclusions of his examination of his own life. This morning we will look at three things in particular for self examination – The encouragement, The example, and the expected result. We should begin by reviewing some reasons for self examination –
Unexplained losses or complications in life
Or just a self scheduled personal evaluation, reflecting on and measuring one’s self by the Word of God as people have the habit of doing at the beginning of a year.
I. The Encouragement for self evaluation.
Throughout the Scriptures, God commands and commends us to examine our lives –
1 John 3:20-21 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Psalm 119:59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
Haggai 1:5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
II. The Example of self examination
The circumstances of Job’s self-examination included those daily reviews of his life and that of his family, the tragic incidents that took place in one day, the sudden affliction of boils covering his body, followed by that which intensified Job’s self examination: the false accusations and arguments. – which should never have taken place –
Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Job examined his –
A. Relationships Job 31:1-12
I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity? Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?
If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.
If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.
If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door; Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.
He remembered how he –
B. Rendered justice and aid to others Job 31:13-23
If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother’s womb;)
If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.
C. Regarded wealth as from God.
If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;
If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;
He had been faithful to God –
D. Religion Job 31:24-28
Exodus 20:1-6 And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.
He had complete –
E. Reliance on God. Job 31:29-34
1. He did not seek revenge.
If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.
If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied. The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.
2. He did not seek to hide – he was not ashamed of his life.
If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?
Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.
If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;
If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.
We have learned that Job sought for the answers – and must have been asking himself “Have I and coming to the conclusion “If I have… then I deserve all that I am going through, but I have not done anything”!
As Job sought answers, seeking an audience with the Lord, not finding any solution, he could not discover –
III. The Expected result of self-examination
To see the Lord in His glory, which Job would see, but not yet. Keep the Lord before us. When the issue is not resolved, do not quit and surrender to the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Do not say “What is the use” – keep our hearts and minds on God and seek His answers, even if they may be long in coming – He is faithful and true!
Saul of Tarsus was an unusual man. I say this because I believe he wanted to be an honest man and he wanted to please God. According to his own words, he claimed that he was “…an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee…” as written in the letter to the Philippians. His problem was that the more he learned of the Word of God, the more wretched he became in his own eyes. When he was finally faced, not only with the written Word, but the Living Word, he became furious and struck out at all those that caused such conviction in his soul. He could satisfy his conscience yearly with the offerings and service unto as a Hebrew of the Hebrews and a Pharisee, but when faced with the truth of the Gospel, he could never be satisfied in himself again.
Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
He could not rest, being constantly convicted by the Truth of God!
Do not become angry, denying the truth –
He must, as we must, humble himself and submit to the Lord through the grace of God by faith, or live with the fact that he would remain in a state of condemnation for ever no matter what he did.
This is the point, the more we learn of the Lord and spend time in His presence, the less we become in our own eyes. He becomes high and lifted up and we become thankful and glorify Him in all things.
Will we, as Job did, examine ourselves in the Light of God’s Word, spending time, not just a moment, but all that is needed to come to God in repentance and confession – being cleansed by Him of all unrighteousness. Do not QUIT!
In late October, 2013, I became very ill and went to the doctor to see if the cause could be discovered. Their first thought was that Bonnie and I may both have the flu so we went to the hospital for the test, which came back negative. I continued to get worse. We were scheduled to go to the Philippines for 8 days of missions meetings and the doctor cleared me to go, only recommending that we get our own hotel room so we could get rest between the meetings. I preached 8 times that week. Each night my bed would be soaked with sweat, I mean it was soaked. We returned and more test were run, I was being examined carefully – three chest x-rays, CATs, MRIs, numerous blood test and even some procedures to send off for biopsies. I continued to get worse, losing 30 pounds and became very weak physically.
I wanted the doctors to keep searching for the cause, even though some of the examinations were very painful. Finally on 14 February, Bonnie and I were called to the doctor’s office for the results of a new test that they were going to try – the doctor looked at us very seriously, handed us the result card, and said “It is positive, you have tuberculosis”. Bonnie and I looked at each other, smiled and both said “Praise the Lord”! The doctor was confused by this response. We said “Now we finally know, after all of the months of examination, what the problem is and we can begin working on the solution”. I began on the course of medicines and eight months later was declared free of the disease.
I am glad that I have an amazing wife, Bonnie, who helped me through all of this. She prayed with me, she worked hard at making sure I was getting nourishing food into me, she led me by the hand when I had no strength, she guided me when I lost my vision, she was patient with me when I could not remember things – and always her smile cheered me.
When one we love is examining their life, they need the one they love and who loves them to pray with them, read God’s Word with them, to help them, to care for them, to encourage them to remain faithful and not to be as Job’s wife, telling him to just curse God and get it over with.
I am very glad that the examinations continued until the cause was discovered.
If we are so willing to go through all of this, which effects our physical well being, how much more should we be willing to examine ourselves for that which effects our whole person, spirit, soul, and body!
And the most wonderful thing is that when we discover the source, the sin, we do not have to wait months to be declared free, we only wait moments for the Lord has promised us –
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Will we examine our lives?
Are you saved?
Are you serving?
We have a new year before us, will we be vessels unto honour, glorifying God in our lives this year?