AN ANCIENT BOOK
A STUDY OF JOB 23:10-12
Although there are no specific
dates given in Job, this book is considered by most authorities to be
one of the oldest books in the Bible. This conclusion based on several
observations, including the fact that there is no mention of the
patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc) and no mention of God's
covenant nation Israel. Similarly, there is no mention of the Ten
Commandments or for that matter any of the Mosaic laws. Although there
are clearly discourses dealing with sin and judgment, reward and
punishment, these discussions are never in the context of the Old
Covenant laws. Clearly God had communicated His standards of
righteousness somehow with the pre-Mosaic world for in Genesis God
Abraham obeyed Me and kept My
charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws. (Genesis 26:5)
And so clearly long before Moses,
God had given (the exact manner is uncertain) commandments and laws,
and Abraham had obeyed them. Similarly we read in the passages we are
studying Job's testimony that...
I have not departed from the
command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than
my necessary food. (Job 23:12)
Job’s friends also were aware of
God's law, for Eliphaz urged Job...
Please receive instruction from His
mouth, And establish His words in your heart. (Job 22:22)
Another clue that Job is one of the
most ancient of books is the absence of any allusions to idolatry,
suggesting that Job antedated the drift that occurred in the early
nations toward idolatry after the dispersion at the tower of Babel in
Genesis 11. Clearly all of the major characters in Job believed in the
God of creation, which would support the early date of this book.
- Overview of the entire book of
Job by Dr John Piper - with special emphasis on the topic of
suffering - you will be challenged, edified and equipped by this
series which I was privileged to hear in person in October, 2008 -
Job - When the Righteous Suffer
Part 1, 2, and Q&A - consider watching the video if you have time
Henry Morris comments that...
quite a number of references in Job
refer to the early events recorded in Genesis (for example, the
creation, the fall, the flood, and the dispersion. A number of ancient
tribes and places mentioned in Job such as the Sabeans, the Chaldeans,
and Ophir tie into the Table of Nations (Genesis 10) or other early
sections of Genesis, but none that characterize later periods.
Job lived 140 years after the events described in the book (Job
42:16). By figuring in the approximate number of years he lived prior
to those events (the exact number is unknown, but at least enough to
have ten grown children), we can place him in the time of the early
patriarchs, perhaps around 2000 B.C. (Henry Morris. The Remarkable
Record of Job. 1988)
Morris goes on to add this
caveat on the "truths" in Job noting that...
many of the views expressed by Job
contradict those of his friends, so both cannot be true. All the
discourses are divinely inspired in the sense of being correctly
reported, but they often illumine the faulty reasonings and attitudes
of fallible human beings rather than the inerrant revelations of an
infallible God. (Ibid)
Nevertheless, within the pages of
one of the most ancient and fascinating books of the Bible, we find
timeless words of wisdom by which we as New Testament believers can
order our lives. In short, the purpose of these brief commentary notes
is to attempt to glean clues as to how Job was able to endure such
incredible trials. In short, we will look at Job 23:10, 11, 12 which
give us considerable insight into...
JOB'S SECRET OF
We've all heard the term "role
model" to describe an individual who serves as a an example to for others to emulate, imitate or follow,
and such role models are especially important in the realm of our
spiritual life. From a human perspective, Job is one of the best examples of
endurance recorded and it behooves
us to study his life with the aim of imitating his example of
endurance in trials. While all
believers will experience trials and affliction, fortunately few of us
will ever experience them to the degree that Job did. Nevertheless,
his response and specifically his "secret of success" can be applied in
all of our lives because suffering and trials are an expected "course"
in our matriculation to greater and degrees of Christlikeness. So let us take a moment and
ponder some of the principles that enabled this great man of God to
hold on when it would have been so easy to have given in and given up.
As someone said, it's always too soon to quit and Job helps us
understand how we can experience the victorious Christian life even
when circumstances might seem to dictate otherwise.
Listen to the advice of James...
example (see word study
brethren, of suffering and patience (see study
command to do this now! Don't delay! Do it effectively!) the prophets
who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we count those blessed (see
study of root word for blessed -
who endured. You have heard of the endurance (see study of
hupomone) of Job and have seen the
outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion
and is merciful. (James 5:10-11)
Henry comments on James 5:10-11: Observe here, The prophets, on whom God put the
greatest honour, and for whom he had the greatest favour, were most
afflicted: and, when we think that the best men have had the hardest
usage in this world, we should hereby be reconciled to affliction.
Observe further, Those who were the greatest examples of suffering
affliction were also the best and greatest examples of
patience: tribulation produces patience (Ro 5:3, 4-notes
James gives it to us as the common sense of the faithful (v11): We
count those happy who endure: we look upon righteous and patient
sufferers as the happiest people. (See related thought in James
Jas 1:3 4-note
Jas 1:5 6-note
Jas 1:7 8-note
Jas 1:9 10 11-note
is proposed as an example for the encouragement of the afflicted...In
the case of Job you have an instance of a variety of miseries,...
(which) were very grievous, but under all he could bless God, and, as
to the general bent of his spirit, he was patient and humble: and what
came to him in the end? Why, truly, God accomplished and brought about
those things for him which plainly prove that the Lord is very
filled with pity (sympathetic sorrow for one suffering) and tender mercy.
way to bear afflictions is to look to the end of them; and the pity of
God is such that He will not delay the bringing of them to an end when
His purposes are once answered; and the tender mercy of God is such
that He will make His people an abundant amends (to put right,
rectify, change for the better) for all their
sufferings and afflictions. His bowels (= he seat of pity or kindness;
hence, tenderness, compassion - see study of
splagchnon) are moved for them while
suffering, his bounty is manifested afterwards. Let us serve our God,
and endure our trials, as those who believe the end will crown all.
The writer of Hebrews
emphasizes the importance of role models writing that...
that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full
assurance of hope until the end, that you may not be sluggish, but
imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the
promises. (He 6:11, 12-see notes
From the truth about Job in James
and this exhortation in Hebrews, it follows that believers today
stimulated to study Job's life that we might imitate his example of
faith and patience. The question arises then
"How did Job come to such
How was he able to endure such incredible affliction?"
will look at Job's secret in the following discussion with the goal
being to imitate his faith and endurance, that we too might be more
than conquerors in this brief sojourn on earth. As we focus on the
truths in Job 23:10-12, I think we will begin to understand Job's
"secret inner strength". Study this section and see if you do not
Before we begin and especially
because we are "yanking" these passages out of
context (which is
always dangerous as it leaves one vulnerable to misinterpretation),
let's review some important background truths to help understand Job
A REAL MAN
NOT A MYTHICAL MAN
First, it is vital to understand
that contrary to the liberal misinterpretation that Job was a
"mythical" character and not a historical figure, Scripture clearly
states otherwise. We have already seen the single New Testament
reference to Job as a historical individual. In addition, Ezekiel has
two specific references to Job, both declarations by the Lord God
Himself (which should thoroughly convince even a liberal
interpreter that Job was a real, historical human being!) testifying
to Ezekiel that...
even though these three men, Noah,
Daniel, and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness
they could only deliver themselves," declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel
14:14, cp Ezek 14:20).
A RIGHTEOUS MAN
Second, notice that Job although
clearly living before the Cross of Christ and His death, burial and
resurrection, was nevertheless declared by the Lord God to be a
righteous man. How is this possible in such an ancient book? Was Job
righteous because he offered sacrifices or because he had not departed
from the command of God's lips (cp Job 23:12-note)? Clearly the answer is
he was not righteous because of his works, for no man is saved by works
(eg, cp Ro 4:6-note) but only by grace through faith in
the Messiah, the Way, the Truth and the Life, for no one comes to the
Father but through the Door of the Messiah! (cp Ep 2:8, 9, 10 notes
John 10:9, 14:6) We do not know exactly what Job knew about the
Messiah but we do know that he was saved by faith in Him, as were all
the Old Testament saints, Moses recording the supreme example of
Abraham in Genesis writing that...
Then he (still called Abram at this
time) believed (not a blind leap but a confident commitment to
One about Whom abundant evidence bore ample testimony to Abram! Hebrew
pisteuo - word study)
in the LORD (Jehovah = Jesus - see study of
and He (God) reckoned (imputed, placed on his account; Hebrew =
logizomai - word study) it to
him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)
Beloved, if you have not memorized
this passage, then you should not go another day without doing so. The
truths in this passage are so foundational that it is quoted three
times in New Testament (Ro 4:3-note, Galatians 3:6
and Jas 2:23-note). It is fascinating that there are only five words in
the Hebrew original of Genesis15:6, but what a wealth of meaning they
contain especially the three key words believe, reckoned,
and righteousness. It takes three NT chapters to unpack this
As an aside note what Paul adds
the Scripture, foreseeing that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand
to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU."
THE CONTEXT OF
THE BOOK OF JOB
Now let's briefly establish the
context of the book of Job one of the books normally classified
as poetic literature.
J. Sidlow Baxter has a
general statement about the poetic books noting that...
These books portray real human
experience, and grapple with profound problems, and express big
realities. Especially do they concern themselves with the experiences
of the godly, in the varying vicissitudes of this changeful life which
is ours under the sun. Moreover, experiences which are here dealt with
were permitted to come to men in order that they might be as guides
for the godly ever afterward. These experiences are here recorded and
interpreted for us by the Spirit of inspiration through “holy men of
old” who spoke and wrote “as they were moved” by Him. Thus, in these
poetical books we have a most precious treasury of spiritual truth.
(Explore the Book)
Irving Jensen has an
excellent summation of the poetic books...
Here is the chapter and verse outline...
Job 1:1-2:13 gives the prologue
-- the trials allowed by God but wrought by Satan and the
trust of Job (Job 1:21).
Job 3:1-26 describes Job's
Job 4:1-38:41 record the
dialogue between Job and
his four counselors
3 Cycles = Job 4:1-14:22,
Job 15:1-21:34, Job 22:1-31:40 and one set of 4 speeches by Elihu in
Job 32:1-37:24, followed by God's challenge to Job - Job 38:1-41:34.
Job 42:1-17 is the epilogue
in which Job receives a new revelation from God (Job 42:5),
repents (Job 42:6) and is rewarded by God (Job 42:12-16).
"And Job died,
an old man and full of days"
Irving Jensen feels (and I
agree) that the key verse of the book of Job is...
But He knows the way I take;
When He has tried me,
I shall come forth as gold.
For a well done, simple
summary/overview of the book of Job see the free Discovery
House Pdf booklet entitled
Knowing God Through Job
- addressing questions like "How
could God do this to me?"
JOB: KNOWING GOD
Hardback = Jensen's
Survey of the Old Testament -
Judgment extends thru Job 37. God's Assessment begins Job
The book of Job begins with one of
the most glowing descriptions of a human being in all of Scripture...
There was a man in the land of Uz,
whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright,
fearing God, and turning away from evil... and
that man was the greatest of all the men of the east. (Job
This glowing character resume is
repeated two more times, these declarations coming directly from God
Himself (see Job 1:8, 2:3). So don't miss the profound truth that
Job’s life was pleasing to God before he went into the fiery furnace
The subsequent events in the
prologue provide some of the most fascinating insights into the
supernatural world in all of Scripture and you are strongly encouraged
to read (and meditate on this rich epilogue). In short, Satan obtains
permission from God to afflict Job with the loss of personal
possessions and children to a degree that is difficult to comprehend.
And yet James says Job endured, bearing up under the load of
unspeakable personal losses.
Then Job arose and tore his robe
and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped (Hebrew =
shachah = bow down, prostrate oneself;
proskuneo - see word study).
And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall
return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be
the name of the LORD." Through all this Job did not sin nor did he
blame God. (Job 1:20-22)
The New Testament counterpart to
Job's declaration is found in
1 Timothy 6:7
For we brought nothing into the
world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and
clothing, we will be content with that.
Our goal should be to be content as we serve the Lord,
when we have good days choosing to trust Him when days seem not so
good, learning to say like Job "Blessed be the Name of the LORD."
WHY DID JOB BLESS
THE NAME OF JEHOVAH?
Why did Job bless the Name of
Jehovah? Or one might ask how was it even possible for Job to worship and bless the
name of Jehovah, not to mention not sinning nor blaming God? The only
reasonable answer is that He knew and was convinced of the truth about
the character and attributes of
Proverbs gives us some insight into
the why Job would bless the name of Jehovah in the midst of
overwhelming personal loss. Solomon writes that...
The name of
the LORD is a strong tower. The righteous runs into it and is safe
(Margin note - safe = "set on high") Proverbs 18:10 (NASB)-note
Here are some other translations of
"The name of the Lord is a strong
tower; the [consistently] righteous man [upright and in right standing
with God] runs into it and is safe, high [above evil] and strong."
"The name of the Lord is of great
strength; and the righteous running to it are exalted." Septuagint
(Greek translation of Hebrew OT)
"The name of the Lord is like a
strong tower; the righteous person runs to it and is set safely on
"The name of the LORD is a strong
fortress; the godly run to him and are safe." (New Living Translation)
What is in a
name, especially the Name of
Jehovah? The Lord's name
His person, since it reflects His
attributes, character and qualities. Here the name of God is
Name by which He made Himself known to Israel. To know God in covenant
is a strong tower.
records his conversation
with God where
"God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I
AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has
sent me to you." (Exodus 3:14) (Click
for more on the Name Jehovah)
and safely take refuge in God's
Name which conveys an
of security to those who are in
with Him by grace through faith.
The Name of Jehovah is
pictured as if it were a strong tower (see discussion of
the reader can more easily understand the value of a strong tower. The
metaphor “strong tower” indicates that God is a secure refuge. This
picture helps us understand the value of knowing and living in the
light of the truth of God's Names of which there are many in
Scripture. The Septuagint drops the metaphor of a tower and simply
states God's Name is "of great strength" which is not quite as easy to
understand as is a "strong tower" (a tower is easier to "run into"
than a Name) In either case one can readily discern the great value of
on the glorious Names of
What does a tower picture?
The Bible Illustrator note
on ancient towers informs us that...
Strong towers were a greater
security in a bygone age than they are now. Castles were
upon as being very difficult places for attack; and ancient troops
would rather fight a hundred battles than endure a single siege. He
who owned a strong tower felt, however potent might be his adversary,
his walls and bulwarks would be his sure salvation.
The image of a tower or
citadel reminds us that as believers, righteous men and women, we
like Job are aliens and strangers in this world and are in a very real
struggle every day
for the rest of our life until we see Jesus face to face. In the
meantime, we need to remember that when the battle wages fierce
against us, we have an ever present towering citadel, our Jehovah -
Jesus, in Whom we can run and be safe, though the battle continues all
around us! God’s almighty providence is the surest and strongest
defense against all enemies of whatever kind.
does the righteous man or woman
need to carry out? Or stated another way how did Job and how do we
"run into" the strong tower?
There is no safety in looking at the "strong tower". It is necessary
to flee to God in order to be protected by Him. Proverbs 18:10-note
says they must "run". It does not say they are to amble or to
stroll or to walk in a leisurely or idle manner but that they are to
run. Job hears the horrible news and in almost as a reflex falls in
worship, blessing the name of the LORD.
can we "run" into the Name of
Jehovah? Clearly this is
not literal running (although that may be what we feel like
doing when trouble knocks - next time trouble knocks at the door don't
send feelings [or fear] to answer the door. Instead send
faith, a faith founded on the truth about God). The
metaphor of “running” into the strong
tower refers to a whole-hearted and unwavering trust in God’s
Name and His willingness and ability to provide protection. It is only
by faith that we can go to an invisible God.
I think Lane
is correct adding that...
running describes faith and prayer, which give direct
access to God Who responds by warding off the danger. Safe is
literally ‘lifted high’, as if one who trusts God is not only behind
thick walls, but above the range of the enemy’s weapons." (Lane, E.
Focus on the Bible: Proverbs) (Bolding added)
adds the following thought on how we run into the Name of
The righteous “runneth into the
name” by the exercise of fervent prayer. Praying is the immediate and
direct means of imploring the Divine assistance and protection. Faith
is the habitual principle, and prayer is the actual application of it.
Though God knows all our wants perfectly, He requires that we implore
His assistance by prayer. And prayer is the natural remedy to which
all are ready to fly in extremity.
In Paul's last
known communication, he explained to Timothy that because he was a
preacher, an apostle and a teacher of the gospel, he had experienced
suffering (he was in a Roman prison as he wrote the letter and knew he
would soon die!). But he quickly added that he was not ashamed for
(and I loosely paraphrase) he had "run" into the strong tower of the
for I know Whom I have believed and
I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him
until that day. (2Ti 1:12-note)
an unshaken confidence in the LORD's ability to do what he trusted Him
to do. He not only knew the truth about the LORD (the Strong
Tower) but he had become firmly convinced of this truth. There
is practical difference between knowing the truth about God
which is inherent in His Names and being convinced of
difference is that we hold the former...
While the latter holds us!
Until the Word
of Truth (the Name of God), becomes not just something we hold, but
rather something which holds us, then we will likely not fully
experience all that is available in the strong tower when the winds of
adversity begin to blow. Job knew truth about God and this truth was
the anchor of his soul in his hour of great trial. He knew the name
Jehovah, I Am... I Am ___________. Fill in the blank, not with your
greeds, but with your needs. Job who lost everything, but he ran into
the "Strong Tower" of Jehovah, the great I Am, I Am everything you
will ever need! And remember as far as we can discern Job did not even
have this truth in writing but was truth he had heard and had
treasured in his heart more than his necessary food! (see Job 23:12-note). Job had learned the secret of surviving the fire of
affliction, even if he did not fully understand the reasons for the
"fire". (For more discussion of Proverbs 18:10 see -
notes on a simple
on What it Means to be Safe in Jehovah's Name? and also see
C H Spurgeon's sermon on
And how did he respond to a second
volley of afflictions, this time directed at his body, Satan smiting
"Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his
head." (Job 2:7)?
(Job) took a potsherd to scrape
himself while he was sitting among the ashes. Then his wife said to
him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" But
he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall
we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this
Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:8 9 10
And we see repeated testimonies
that speak of his endurance and ultimately speak of his great faith in
a good God.
Wind And Worship - Job arose,
tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and
worshiped. --Job 1:20
Job's calamities were enormous. His
oxen and donkeys were stolen. Fire consumed his sheep. Raiders took his
camels. But that was just the beginning. A great wind destroyed the house
where his sons and daughters were feasting, and they all perished. His
loss seemed unbearable! But notice Job's response. He humbled himself and
worshiped God (Job
On April 2, 1977, the sky north of Olivet, Michigan, grew black and
ominous. Just another severe thunderstorm, thought Norm Heddon. But when
pressure began building in his ears, he instinctively rushed down the
basement stairs—which took about 5 seconds. Then it happened—his house
exploded into thousands of pieces from a killer tornado. Minutes later
when Norm emerged, he couldn't believe his eyes. All his earthly goods had
been swept away, but miraculously his family was unhurt. Bowing in prayer,
they thanked God for His goodness. Heddon said, "He has a hand in
everything that happens to us."
How can anyone worship while caught up in the fierce winds of adversity?
The answer is clear: By anchoring our faith in the love and wisdom of God,
we can say through our tears, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). — Dennis J. De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Thinking It Over - Do you feel abandoned by God, as Job did? Tell Him how
you feel. Then ask Him to help you believe the truth about His love for
When you are swept off your feet,
on your knees.
In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew ravaged South Florida, destroying homes,
businesses, and lives. The cost of that terrible disaster cannot be
estimated only in terms of millions upon millions of dollars. What about
the incalculable human suffering - physical, emotional, and spiritual? If
people lost faith in God and prayer, they sustained the worst loss of all.
In the spring of 1993, some pastors who had churches in that area gathered
to share their experiences and reactions. They all agreed that everyone
who had encountered the terrifying power of that hurricane had come to
realize how helpless and vulnerable we human beings really are. Proud as
may be of our technological achievements, there are times when we are
compelled to confess humbly, "We are not in charge." Some of the people
whose trust was tested were able to say in the words of Job, "The Lord
gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job
Is your trust in God so complete that no matter what takes place you will
humbly rely on His wisdom, goodness, and mercy? Trusting in God will
enable you to endure trials without despair. -V C Grounds (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
My times are in Thy hand;
Why should I doubt or fear?
My Father's hand will never cause
His child a needless tear.
God doesn't promise security
from life's storms
BUT HE KNOWS THE WAY I TAKE:
(Ge 18:19 2Ki 20:3 Ps 1:6 139:1-3 Jn 21:17 2Ti 2:19)
Context: Job 23 and Job 24
represent Job's third reply to Eliphaz.
- God Will Make A Way)
But He knows
- This verse begins with a
so we need to note the preceding
context. In verse 3 of chapter 23 Job
Oh that I knew where I might find
Him, that I might come to His seat! (Job 23:3)
In the immediately preceding
Behold (a marker
to emphasize the following), I go forward but He is not
there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him. When He acts on the
left, I cannot behold Him. He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.
So in the context of Job not being
able to "find" God in front, behind, on his left or on his right, Job
knows enough about God to testify that God knows the way I take, which speaks
omniscience. God knows
Job is in the furnace of affliction and that is enough for Job to know
and it is enough for us to know beloved.
to p6 for beginning of exposition on Job 23) affirms the
importance of Job's (and our) awareness that God knows what Job
was (we are) going through writing...
If I do not know His way, He knows
If I cannot find Him, He can find me.
Here is my comfort.
Henry Morris observes
affirmation that even though he cannot see God, he knows that God can
Job's faith is still strong and, by
this time, he is beginning to sense that his sufferings somehow are
being used by God as a test of his faith.
And why would Job's faith be
strong? The answer is found in
Job 23:12-note where we see that he
Words of God more than his necessary food. This truth coupled with his
obedience to God's Word help understand the "secret of Job's
Paul links the hearing of God's
Word with the growth of faith writing
faith comes from hearing,
and hearing by the word of Christ. (Ro 10:17-note)
Of course hearing must be
followed by doing (Jas 1:22-note)
and in Job 23:11-note
Job affirms that he has been a doer of the Word and not merely a
hearer only. In other words he has not just heard but he has obeyed,
which is important for there to be growth of one's faith. To hear
God's Word and not to do it is to delude one's self. James says it is
like looking in a mirror (God's Word) and walking away but immediately
forgetting or disregarding what the mirror showed you about
For if anyone is a hearer of
the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his
natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and
gone away, he has immediately forgotten (verb = completely forgotten!)
what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the
perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a
forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in
what he does. (Jas 1:23 24-note).
Job was not a forgetful hearer
but an effectual doer and was blessed in the
end, as affirmed by James...
Behold, we count those blessed
who endured (hupomeno).
You have heard of the endurance (hupomone)
of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that
the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (Jas 5:11)
To summarize, Job had heard God's
Word, believed God's Word, obeyed God's Word and as a result knew God
and His character and was confident he could trust Him, even though he
could not see Him (cp He 11:1, 2Co 5:7).
Job's faith and endurance and
ability to see God with eyes of faith not sight remind me of Moses...
By faith Moses, when he had
grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25
choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God
than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 considering the
reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he
was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not
fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him
Who is unseen. (He 11:24 25 26-note
Evangelist D. L. Moody
emphasizes the importance of trusting in God...
Trust in yourself and you are
doomed to disappointment; trust in your friends, and they will die and
leave you; but trust in God, and you will never be confounded in time
He knows (yada)
- Job is saying "God is intimately acquainted (see discussion
of "yada" below) with what I am going through." The Septuagint
translates yada with the verb
fullness of knowledge or
absolute knowledge and thus indicates God's
knowledge of Job's circumstances
and his subsequent journey is beyond a shadow of a doubt.
(yada) is used 873v in the OT and in general means to have knowledge of something and can
be used of knowledge which is intimate and experiential. Yada
in some context even describes a man "knowing" a woman intimately.
Indeed the Scriptures emphasize
omniscient God is intimate with the righteous man or woman as indicated by
the following passages...
Ps 1:6 (notes) For the LORD knows
(yada; Lxx = ginosko = experiential knowledge) the way
of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Ps 139:1-3 (notes) O Lord, Thou hast
searched me and known (yada; Lxx = ginosko) me. 2 Thou dost know
(yada; Lxx = ginosko) when I sit down and when I
rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. 3 Thou dost
scrutinize my path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted
with all my ways.
2Ti 2:19 (notes) Nevertheless, the firm
foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows
(ginosko) those who
are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord
(command to withdraw or depart)
Sustaining consciousness of the
soul in sorrow
I. That the great God was fully
cognisant of His individual trial. “He knoweth the way that I take.”
Wherever I am, at home or abroad, in solitude or society, “He knoweth,”
etc. He knows the way I take--the way my thoughts take, my feelings
take, my purposes take. But what support is there in the knowledge of
1. God’s knowledge of the individual sufferer is associated with the
profoundest love. “As a father pitieth his children,” etc.
2. His knowledge is associated with an almighty capacity to help. The
other sustaining fact of which he was conscious was--
II. That the great God was mercifully using his trials as discipline.
“When He hath tried me.” Why does He try by affliction?
1. Not that He has any pleasure in our suffering. “He doth not afflict
willingly,” etc. Nor--
2. That He may discover what is in our hearts. He knows all about us.
But He does it--
1. In order to humble us on account of our sins.
2. In order that we may feel our dependence on Him.
3. In order that we may commit ourselves entirely into His keeping.
III. That the great God would turn his painful discipline to his
advantage. “I shall come forth as gold,” etc. “Tribulation worketh
patience,” etc. But how does affliction benefit?
1. It serves to raise our appreciation of the Bible.
2. It serves to develop the powers of the mind. David’s afflictions
brought out some of the most brilliant of his psalms.
3. It serves to develop the spiritual life.
4. It serves to detach us from the world. It gradually breaks down the
materialism in which the soul is caged, and lets it flee into the open
air and light of spiritual realms. (Homilist.)
WHEN NOT IF
When He has tried me - Two
truths come forth from the word "when". First, he does not say
"if" but "when". Trials are guaranteed
(cp 2Ti 3:12-note,
Acts 14:22)! Trials came to Job and will
come into the life of every believer. Surely if Job, who by God's Own
assessment was a blameless and upright man (Job 1:1 cp
"the greatest of all the men of the east" Job 1:3), was in need
of testing, then none of God's children will escape the
Refiner's fire! Secondly, notice that when is a time
phrase which is
defined as "during the time that" and so in this verse refers to
during the time of the trial. This indicates that the trial has a
finite "lifespan" which will come to a blessed end.
See in depth discussion of
trials - 1Pe 1:6-note;1Peter
Trials are the soil in which
faith can flourish.
God is the Refiner and His fires of
testing are never meant to destroy us but to purify us and remove the
"dross" from our life. The great old hymn How Firm A
beautifully expresses this eternal truth about our loving
When through fiery trials thy
pathway shall lie,
My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
How Firm A Foundation)
also discussion at Malachi 3:10) is a primary (or root) word which depicts
examination to determine (and bring out) the essential qualities of
something, and in the moral realm speaks particularly of a person's
integrity (think of integer = indivisible - undivided ~ think
undivided heart or single minded focus/purpose). In Scripture
bachan is used almost exclusively in this moral/spiritual sense
meaning to try, search out, examine or prove one's spiritual heart or
To assay (English
dictionary) - To try the
goodness, purity, weight, value, etc. of metals or metallic
substances. Any operation or experiment for ascertaining the quantity
of a precious metal in an ore or mineral.
To probe (English
dictionary) - To search into
and explore with great thoroughness. To subject to a penetrating
investigation. In Medicine to probe is to examine the depth of a
wound, ulcer or some cavity of the body, by the use of an instrument
thrust into the part.
To try (English dictionary) -
To prove by a test; as, to try weights and measures by a standard.
To melt (fat, lard, etc.) in order to separate out impurities. To
extract a material from an ore, mixture, etc., usually by heat;
Bachan/bahan - 27v in NAS
- Ge 42:15 16; 1Chr 29:17; Job 7:18; 12:11; 23:10; 34:3, 36; Ps 7:9-note;
Ps 139:23-note; Pr 17:3; Jer 6:27; 9:7;
11:20; 12:3; 17:10; 20:12; Zech 13:9; Mal 3:10, 15. For all of
also discussion of bachan at Malachi 3:10.
assay(2), examine(2), proved(1), test(7), tested(3), tests(3),
tried(5), tries(2), try(3).
Below are several of the uses of
1Chronicles 29:17 "Since I know, O
my God, that You try (bachan) the heart and delight in
uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered
all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are
present here, make their offerings willingly to You.
Psalm 11:4 The LORD is in His holy
temple; the LORD'S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids
= exetazo = intently,
carefully examine, scrutinize) the sons of men.
Spurgeon: He narrowly
inspects their actions, words, and thoughts. As men, when intently and
narrowly inspecting some very minute object, almost close their
eyelids to exclude every other object, so will the Lord look all men
through and through. God sees each man as much and as perfectly as if
there were no other creature in the universe. He sees us always; He
never removes His eye from us; He sees us entirely, reading the
recesses of the soul as readily as the glancings of the eye. Is not
this a sufficient ground of confidence, and an abundant answer to the
solicitations of despondency? My danger is not hid from Him; He knows
my extremity, and I may rest assured that He will not suffer me to
perish while I rely alone on Him. Wherefore, then, should I take wings
of a timid bird, and flee from the dangers which beset me?
Psalm 11:5 The LORD examines
= exetazo = intently,
carefully examine, scrutinize) the righteous, but the wicked and those
who love violence his soul hates.
Spurgeon on Ps 11:5: The
Lord tries the righteous: He doth not hate them, but only tries them.
They are precious to Him, and therefore He refines them with
afflictions. None of the Lord's children may hope to escape from
trial, nor, indeed, in our right minds, would any of us desire to do
so, for trial is the channel of many blessings.
It is my happiness below
Not to live without the cross;
But the Saviour's power to know,
Sanctifying every loss.
"Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to his feet
Lay me low, and keep me there."
"Did I meet no trials here --
No chastisement by the way --
Might I not, with reason, fear
I should prove a cast away?"
Unbelievers may escape the rod,
Sunk in earthly vain delight;
But the true born child of God
Must not -- would not, if he
Is not this a very cogent reason
why we should not distrustfully endeavour to shun a trial? -- for in
so doing we are seeking to avoid a blessing.
Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and
try me; Test my mind and my heart.
= commands) me, O God, and
know my heart;
(Bachan) me and
know my anxious
Spurgeon: Exercise any and
every test upon me. By fire and by water let me be examined. Read not
alone the desires of my heart, but the fugitive thoughts of my head.
Know with all penetrating knowledge all that is or has been in the
chambers of my mind. What a mercy that there is one being who can know
us to perfection! He is intimately at home with us. He is graciously
inclined towards us, and is willing to bend his omniscience to serve
the end of our sanctification. Let us pray as David did, and let us be
as honest as he. We cannot hide our sin: salvation lies the other way,
in a plain discovery of evil, and an effectual severance from it.
Proverbs 17:3 The refining pot is
for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests (bachan)
Jeremiah 6:27 "I have made you an
assayer and a tester among My people, That you may know and assay
dokimazo) their way."
Jeremiah 17:10 "I, the LORD, search
the heart, I test (bachan;
dokimazo) the mind, Even to give to
each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.
Jeremiah 20:12 Yet, O LORD of
hosts, You Who test (bachan;
dokimazo) the righteous, Who see the
mind and the heart; Let me see Your vengeance on them; For to You I
have set forth my cause.
Zechariah 13:9 (Context =
Terminus of 3.5 years of
Great Tribulation) "And
I will bring the third part (of Jews =
the believing remnant)
through the fire, Refine (tsaraph) them as silver is refined, And
dokimazo) them as gold is tested
(bachan). They will call on My name (Because of His outpouring
of the Spirit of grace - Zech 12:10), And I will answer them; I will
say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God
(fulfillment of His New Covenant promise in Je 31:31 32 33 esp v33)'"
Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe
into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and
(bachan = command) Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if
I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a
blessing until it overflows.
The Theological Wordbook of the
Old Testament notes that...
In only five of the occurrences is
bachan used without explicit theological reference. These are found in
Ge 42:15-16; Ezek 21:13; Job 12:11; 34:3. All of the remaining
occurrences (twenty-two times), except three, refer to God’s
examination of his people. In the exceptions, it is God Who is
tested. It is evident that this is abnormal procedure. In Ps 95:9 the
people are reminded of the folly of testing God at Meribah. In
Malachi, it is only because of the people’s apathy that God calls them
to test him (Mal 3:10, 15).
As is indicated in Hebrews (see notes
12:8), part of
the privilege of being God’s people is that of being tested (Jer
20:12; Ps 11:5; Ps 139:23). Unlike the Egyptian doctrine where the
heart is weighed after death, Yahweh continually assays the hearts of
his people that in the end they may come forth as gold (Zech 13:9;
Job 23:10). (Harris,
R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old
Testament. Moody Press)
When metals are refined and
purified they are heated to extremely high temperatures to remove the
impurities or dross.
Warren Wiersbe comments that
Job was not just in any furnace...
But it was a furnace of God’s
appointment, not because of Job’s sin; and God would use Job’s
affliction to purify him and make him a better man. This is not the
only answer to the question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” but it is
one of the best, and it can bring the sufferer great encouragement.
Scripture often uses the image of a
furnace to describe God’s purifying ministry through suffering.
“See, I have refined you, though
not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” (Isa
Israel’s suffering in Egypt was
like that of iron in a smelting furnace (Dt. 4:20), and her later
disciplines were also a “furnace experience.”
“For You, O God, tested us; You
refined us like silver” (Ps. 66:10NIV) (Spurgeon's
This image is used by Peter (1Pe
of believers going through persecution.
When God puts His own people
into the furnace,
He keeps His eye on the clock
and His hand on the thermostat.
He knows how long and how much. We
may question why He does it to begin with, or why He doesn’t turn down
the heat or even turn it off; but our questions are only evidences of
unbelief. Job 23:10 is the answer:
“But He knows the way that I take;
when He has tested me, I shall come come forth as gold” (NKJV).
Gold does not fear the fire. The
furnace can only make the gold purer and brighter.
W: Bible Exposition Commentary - Old Testament = "Be Patient". Victor) (Bolding
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible
describes dross as ...
the residue left at the end of the
smelting process after metal has been separated from the impurities.
Dross was a symbol for the imperfection of sinful Israel. In
the smelting process, heat is applied to ore that contains precious
metal. This causes the imperfections to separate, leaving only the
pure metal. The prophet Isaiah warned the nation of Israel that it had
become impure and would require purging in this way (Isaiah 1:22-25).
R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
Unger adds that dross
(Hebrew =sig = refuse) represents...
The impurities separated from
silver, etc., by the process of melting (Prov. 25:4; 26:23); also the
base metal itself prior to smelting (Isa. 1:22, 25; Ezek. 22:18-19).
Figurative. Dross is used to represent the wicked (Ps. 119:119;
Prov. 26:23), sin (Isa. 1:25), and Israel (Ezek. 22:18-29).
M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. The
New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press)
Spurgeon in his comments on
writes of the tests...
Searching and repeated, severe and
thorough, has been the test; the same result has followed us as in the
case of precious metal, for the dross and tin have been consumed, and
the pure ore has been discovered. Since trial is sanctified to so
desirable an end, ought we not to submit to it with abounding
(Spurgeon has this additional note)
Convinced from the frequent use of this illustration (of the
refining of precious metals), that there was something more than
usually instructive in the process of assaying and purifying silver, I
have collected some few facts upon the subject. The hackneyed story of
the refiner seeing his image in the molten silver while in the fire,
has so charmed most of us, that we have not looked further; yet, with
more careful study, much could be brought out. To assay silver
requires great personal care in the operator.
"The principle of assaying gold and
silver is very simple theoretically, but in practice great experience
is necessary to insure accuracy; and there is no branch of business
which demands more personal and undivided attention. The result is
liable to the influence of so many contingencies, that no assayer who
regards his reputation will delegate the principal process to one not
equally skilled with himself. Besides the result ascertainable by
weight, there are allowances and compensations to be made, which are
known only to an experienced assayer, and if these were disregarded,
as might be the case with the mere novice, the report would be wide
from the truth." (Encyclopaedia Britannica.)
Pagnini's version reads: "Thou hast
melted us by blowing upon us," and in the monuments of Egypt,
artificers are seen with the blowpipe operating with small fire
places, with cheeks to confine and reflect the heat; the worker
evidently paying personal attention, which is evident also in Malachi
"He shall sit as a refiner and
purifier of silver."
To assay silver requires a
skillfully constructed furnace. The description of this furnace would
only weary the reader, but it is evidently a work of art in itself.
Even the trial of our faith is much more precious than that of gold
which perisheth (1Pe 1:7-note).
He has refined us, but not with silver. He would not trust us there,
the furnace of affliction is far more skillfully arranged than that.
To assay silver the heat must be nicely regulated.
"During the operation, the
assayer's attention should be directed to the heat of the furnace,
which must be neither too hot nor too cold: if too hot, minute
portions of silver will be carried off with the lead, and so vitiate
the assay; moreover, the pores of the cupel being more open, greater
absorption will ensue, and there is liability to loss from that cause.
One indication of an excess of heat in the furnace, is the rapid and
perpendicular rising of the fumes to the ceiling of the muffle, the
mode of checking and controlling which has been pointed out in the
description of the improved furnace. When the fumes are observed to
fall to the bottom of the muffle, the furnace is then too cold; and if
left unaltered, it will be found that the cupellation has been
imperfectly performed, and the silver will not have entirely freed
itself from the base metals. (Encyclopaedia Britannica.)
The assayer repeats his trying
process. Usually two or more trials of the same piece are made, so
that great accuracy may be secured. Seven times silver is said to
be purified, and the saints through varied trials reach the promised
rest." C. H. S.
GOLD FROM THE
I shall come forth as gold -
How could Job have made such an incredible declaration? To be sure Job's assurance on the one hand
undoubtedly reflects his certainty that he is innocent of accusations
made by his "friends". More important however is the fact he
knew His God and He trusted (had faith) in His God, even though he
could not see Him at the time he was going through the
trial. He had a steadfast trust in
Jehovah Who tests hearts, Solomon writing that...
The refining pot is for silver and
the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests (same verb as in Job
23:10 = bachan) hearts. (Job 17:3)
In the excerpt from Spurgeon's
sermon (which I recommend that you read
Job 23:10 Whither
Goest Thou), you will notice the Prince
of Preachers asks and answers the question...
Hath He not promised that we shall
never perish? Shall we not, therefore, come forth as gold?
What is Spurgeon's answer?
This confidence is grounded on
the Lord's knowledge of us.
I would be presumptuous to disagree
with this master expositor of Holy Writ, but his answer does beg
another question --
How is it that Job knows about "the Lord's
knowledge of us" to use Spurgeon's words? I would suggest that the secret to Job's endurance
lies in Job 23:12 (notes)
- Job knew His God because he had treasured His Word and
obeyed His Word. Therefore Job was confident that God would
not destroy him but bring him forth as gold (cp Paul's confidence in
God's "keeping ability" because he knew Whom he had believed - 2Ti
H A Ironside agrees noting
that Job declares...
"I have esteemed the words of His
mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12), and this at a time
when the ways of God with His dear servant seemed quite inexplicable,
and he floundered in the vain effort to find Him out. Still "the words
of His mouth" he loved to dwell upon, and, relying on them, dared to
say, "When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).
If that which is reputed to be gold
is exposed to the action of a strong fire, if it be genuine, it will
lose nothing of its quality, nor of its weight. If it went into the
fire gold, it will come out gold; the strongest fire will neither
alter nor destroy it. So Job: he went into this furnace of affliction
an innocent, righteous man; he came out the same. His character lost
nothing of its value, nothing of its luster. (Job 23 Commentary)
H G Bosch compares God's
care for us in trials to the pattern of vines clinging to trees
The vines that sometimes grow up the side of oak trees cling to them
during the fiercest storms. Although the wind beats upon them, the
tendrils hold tightly to the tree's bark. If the vine is on the side
opposite the wind, the great oak is its protection; if it's on the exposed
side, the wind presses the vine more closely to it.
As Christians, we are sometimes sheltered by God, while other times He
allows us to be exposed so we will be pressed more closely to Him. After
years of faithfulness, some Christians suddenly find themselves greatly
tested and in deep distress--seemingly without reason. They are subjected
to terrific battles with doubts, fears, and unbelief. Doesn't God care how
much they suffer? Of course He does. But He has a special purpose in
withholding immediate relief... Our afflictions are designed not to break us but to bend us toward God.
Close to God
23) notes that Job's attestation that he will come forth as
is another bright flash of faith
upon a generally black background. Job admitted that he could not get
through to God, yet clung to the confidence that God was still over
this crisis. With wonderful faith, Job seemed at this fleeting instant
to understand what he could and should in his present crisis. He
· God still observed Job carefully
and had not forgotten him (He knows the way that I take).
· God had a purpose in the crisis, and the purpose was not to punish
Job (when He has tested me)
· God would one day bring the trial to an end (I shall come forth)
· God would bring something good would from it all (I shall come
forth as gold)
· God still valued Job; only precious metal is put through the fire (as
Paul has a similar
affirmation of faith in the midst of the furnace writing...
Therefore we do not lose heart, but
though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed
day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is
producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all
comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but
at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are
temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Co
Spurgeon writes that...
Here the true Job comes to the
front. You get the gracious man once more on his feet. He staggered a
little; but he stands firm now: “When he bath tried me, I shall come
forth as gold.” So will you, my tried sister, my afflicted brother.
The trial of your faith is but for a time; there will come an end to
this furnace-work; and when God has tried you, tested you, and
away your dross, (Ed: Dross = impurities separated from
silver, etc., by the process of melting -- the scum that forms on the
surface of metal subjected to smelting) he will bring you forth, and you will be pure gold,
meet for the Master’s use.
“In the furnace God may prove thee,
Thence to bring thee forth more bright;
But can never cease to love thee:
Thou art precious in his sight:
God is with thee,
God thine everlasting light.”
It is grand to be able to say that
while you are in the fire. It is very easy to say it about another man
who is in the furnace; but when you are in there yourself, then to
say, “I shall come forth as gold,” is the sublimity of faith! It is
a very simple matter to say, “If I were again put into the fire, I
know I should come forth as gold;” but it is when the burning heat is
melting you, when you seem yourself to be shriveled up in the
crucible, and so little of you is left, then is the time still to say,
“When the Lord hath finished his work upon me, when he hath
thoroughly assayed me, I shall come forth as gold.”
beautiful faith on the part of Job. It is very easy for us to read
these lines, and to say, "No doubt, tried men do come out of the
furnace purified like gold;" but it is quite another thing to be
ourselves in the crucible, and to read such a passage as this by the
light of the fire, and then to be able to say, "We know it is true,
for we are proving its truth even now."
This is the kind of chapter that many a broken heart has to read by
itself alone. Many a weeping eye has scanned these words of Job, and
truly blessed has that troubled one been who has been able to chime in
with the sweet music of this verse:
"He knoweth the way that I take:
when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
Dt 8:2 — "And you shall remember
all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness
these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to
know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His
commandments or not.
Ps 17:3 — Thou hast tried my heart; Thou hast visited me
by night; Thou hast tested me and dost find nothing; I have
purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
Pr 17:3 — The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But
the LORD tests hearts.
1Pe 1:7 — that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold
which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to
result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ
C H Spurgeon addresses the
purpose of trials in the believer's life in his message on Job 23:10
entitled Whither Goest Thou?...
Trials are no evidence of being
without God, since trials come from God. Job says, "When he hath tried
me." He sees God in his afflictions. The devil actually wrought the
trouble; but the Lord not only permitted it, but he had a design in
it. Without the divine concurrence, none of his afflictions could have
It was God that tried Job, and it
is God that tried us.
No trouble comes to us without
All the "dogs of affliction" are
muzzled until God sets them free.
Nay, against none of the seed of
Abraham can a dog move its tongue unless God permits. Troubles do not
spring out of the ground like weeds that grow randomly, but they grow
orderly as plants set in the garden. God appoints the weight and
number of all our adversities. If He declares the number ten they
cannot be eleven. If He wills that we bear a certain weight, no one
can add half an ounce more.
Since Every trial comes from God,
afflictions are no evidence that you are out of God's way.
Besides, according to the text,
these trials are tests:
"When he hath tried me."
The trials that came to Job were
made to be proofs that the patriarch was real and sincere. Did not the
"Hast not Thou made an hedge about
him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?
Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is
increased in the land. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all
that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face" [Job 1:10].
The devil will have it that as dogs
follow men for bones, so do we follow God for what we can get out of
Him. The Lord lets the devil see that our love is not bought by
temporal goods; that we are not mercenary followers, but loving
children of the Lord, so that under dire suffering we exclaim,
"Though He slay me, yet will I
trust in Him" [Job 13:15].
By the endurance of grief our
sincerity is made manifest, and it is proven that we are not mere
pretenders, but true heirs of God.
Once more upon this point: if you
have met with troubles, remember they will come to an end. The holy
man in our text says,
"When he hath tried me."
As much as to say, He
will not always be doing it; there will come a time when He will have
done trying me. Beloved, put a stout heart to a steep hill and you
will climb it before long. Put the ship in good trim for a storm; and
though the winds may howl for a while, they will at length sob
There is a sea of glass for us after the
sea of storms.
Only have patience and the end will come. Many a man of God
has lived through a hundred troubles when he thought one would kill
him; and so will it be with you.
You young beginners, you that are
bound for the kingdom, but have only lately started for it, be not
amazed if you meet with conflicts. If you very soon meet with
difficulties, be not surprised. Let your trials be evidence to you
rather that you are in the right, than that you are in the wrong way;
for what son is there whom his
father does not chasten? (He 12:7-note)
He that will go to hell will find many to help him thither; but he
that will go to heaven may have to cut his way through a host of
adversaries (cp Acts 14:22 where Paul and Barnabas were "strengthening
the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith,
and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of
Pluck up courage (cp Jn 16:33 Jesus
encouraged His fearful small band of disciples declaring "These
things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the
world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the
The rod is
one of the tokens of the child of God. If thou were not God's child
you might be left unchastened; but inasmuch as you are dear to Him, He
will whip you when you disobey (He 12:5,6-note).
If thou were only a bit of common
clay God would not put you into the furnace; but as you are gold and
He knows it, you must be refined; and to be refined it is needful that
the fire should exercise its power upon you (cp 1Pe 1:6-note;1Peter
Because you are bound for heaven you will meet with storms on your
voyage to glory (cp 1Th 3:2, 3-
1Th 3:4 -
- "and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the
gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, so
that no man may be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves
know that we have been destined for this. For indeed when we were with
you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer
affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. ).
HAVE YOU CONFIDENCE IN GOD AS TO
THESE STORMS? Can you say, in the language of the text,
"When he hath tried me, I shall
come forth as gold"?
If you are really trusting in
Jesus, if He is everything to you, you may say this confidently; for
you will find it true to the letter. If you have really given yourself
up to be saved by grace, do not hesitate to believe that you will be
found safe at the last. I do not like people to come and trust Christ
with a temporary faith as though He could keep them for a day or two,
but could not preserve them all their lives. (cp Ro 5:9, 10-notes
"saved from the wrath…saved by His life")
Trust Christ for everlasting
salvation: mark the word "everlasting." I thank God, that when
I believed in His Son Jesus Christ, I laid hold upon final
perseverance: I believed that where He had begun a good work He would
carry it on and perfect it in the day of Christ (Php 1:6-note
"For I am confident of this very
thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the
day of Christ Jesus."). I believed in the Lord Jesus, not for a
year or two, but for all the days of my life, and to eternity. I want
your faith to have a hand of that kind, so that you grasp the Lord as
your Savior to the uttermost. I cannot tell what troubles may come,
nor what temptations may arise; but I know in Whose hands I am, and I
am persuaded that He is able to preserve me (2Ti 1:12-note),
so that when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. I go into
the fire, but I shall not be burned up in it;
"I shall come forth."
Like the three holy children,
though the furnace be heated seven times hotter, yet the Son of man
will be with me in the furnace (Da 3:25), and "I shall come forth"
with not even the smell of fire upon me (Da 3:27).
Yes, "I shall come forth," and none
can hinder me. It is good to begin with this holy confidence, and to
let that confidence increase as you get nearer to the recompense of
the reward (cp Jas 1:12-note
Hath He not promised that we shall never perish? Shall we not,
therefore, come forth as gold? This confidence is grounded on
the Lord's knowledge of us.
"He knows the way that I take" [Job
23:10]: therefore, "when he hath tried me, shall come forth as gold."
If something happened to us which
the Lord had not foreseen and provided for, we might be in great
peril; but He knows our way even to the end, and is prepared for its
rough places. If some amazing calamity could come upon us which the
Lord had not reckoned upon, we might well be afraid of being wrecked;
but our Lord's foreseeing eye hath swept the horizon and prepared us
for all weathers. He knows where storms do lurk and cyclones hide
away; and He is at home in managing tempests and tornadoes. If His
far-seeing eye has spied out for us a long sickness and a gradual and
painful death, then He has prepared the means to bear us through. If
He has looked into the mysterious unknown of the apocalyptic
revelation, and seen unimaginable horrors and heart melting terrors,
yet He has forestalled the necessity which He knows is coming on. It
is enough for us that our Father knows what things we have need of and
"when he hath tried us, we shall come forth as gold." Amen.
1. The best saints have in them a
mixture of dross.
2. Trials, and sometimes fiery trials, are necessary to separate the
dross from the gold. God has various methods of trying mankind.
3. The prospect of being benefited and brightened by affliction,
reconciles believers to the severest of trials. “Tribulation worketh
patience.” “Patience worketh experience.” “Experience worketh hope.”
It may be that we are so often afflicted, because we have so much
dross, that requires the fire, and many times a fierce fire, to
separate it from the metal. (S. Lavington.)
The purification of the mind by
troubles and trials
The afflictions of life, though
often grievous enough in themselves, become much more so by that state
of doubt and perplexity into which the mind of the sufferer is brought
by them. He is tempted to despair, as thinking God has forsaken him;
or to impiety, as imagining there can be no God who governs the world
in wisdom and righteousness. In such a case, a wrong notion of human
life is at the bottom of those desponding and murmuring thoughts,
which arise in our hearts, on finding ourselves encompassed and
oppressed by a larger share than ordinary of its cares and troubles.
We look not forward as we ought to do. This life is no more than a
preparation for another. There is no need to prove that this life is a
state of trial. In general, we sink under temptation, because we do
not sufficiently accustom ourselves to expect, and are therefore
unprepared to encounter it. With this idea--that the present life is a
state of trial--firmly impressed upon our minds, we should then stand
armed for the fight, and by Divine assistance be enabled to overcome.
Of the temptations or trials to which we are subject, some proceed
from without, and others from within. The world endeavours at one time
to seduce, at another to terrify us from the performance of our duty.
Another source of trouble and uneasiness is that produced by the cross
tempers, untoward dispositions, and other failings of those about us.
Other trials have their origin from within, from the frame, or
constitution either of body or mind. Either sickness or melancholy.
Time would fail to enumerate all the different temptations that arise
in our minds. They are as many and as various as our different
passions and propensities, each of which will, at times, strive for
the mastery, and all of which are to be kept, with a strong and steady
hand, in due subordination and obedience. (J. Horne.)
Saints compared to gold
I. Gold is generally found buried
in the earth, mixed with sand or other material, and therefore
requires to be dug out and separated from those materials. So
Christians have been taken out from the elements of this world. They
have been hewn from nature’s quarry by the hammer of God’s Word and
made separate (Ephesians 2:1, etc.).
II. Gold, though regarded as a pure metal, has yet some dross in it.
At the same time, there is not any metal more free from dross and rust
than gold. Christians, though holy and precious to God, are not
without sin; there is some dross of corruption in the best of them.
III. Gold is refined in the fire, by which it is rendered pure, solid,
and strong. Christians are put into the fire, or furnace of
affliction, to purge and to refine them from their dross (Zechariah
13:9; 1 Peter 4:12-13; 1 Peter 1:7).
IV. Gold is precious. It is esteemed the most valuable on earth. Hence
things of very great value are in the Scriptures represented by gold.
Christians are a precious people, the excellent ones in all the earth.
God esteems them as His portion.
V. Gold is very pliant. You may bend and work it as you please. So are
Christians. God having infused His grace into their hearts, they have
hearts of flesh; and God, by putting them into the fire, makes them
more resigned and teachable, while others rebel and repine.
VI. Gold, though it be frequently put in the furnace, loses nothing
but the dross. The fire purifies it and cannot destroy its precious
nature. However fierce and raging the flames, gold retains its
excellency. So the people of God endure the trial. They are not burned
up or consumed in the furnace of affliction, though heated sevenfold.
VII. Gold is often formed into vessels for the pleasure, honour, and
use of princes. So God forms His people for most excellent
service--vessels of honour to hold the treasure of the Gospel, to
communicate it to others (2 Corinthians 4:7), and are stewards of the
VIII. To obtain gold, men endure much fatigue, losses, sacrifices,
etc. So Jesus Christ endured great pain and loss for His people. He
laid down His life for them.
IX. Gold is useful. It is that by which we obtain what is essential
for life, etc. So Christians are useful--in their families,
neighbourhood, to the world at large. They seek the salvation of
sinners and the glory of God. The purposes of God, in reference to the
diffusion of His glory in the world, will not be affected without
So what is the value of perseverance in the context of trials? James
imperative = Do
it without hesitation! Make certain to to this!) it all
joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that
the testing of your faith produces endurance (see study of
hupomone) . 4 And let endurance (see
hupomone) have its perfect
result, that you may be perfect (see study of
teleios) and complete (see
lacking in nothing.
James uses the verb form
of perseverance (hupomeno) a few verses later writing...
Blessed is a man who perseveres
tense = as their
lifestyle, not perfectly - Job was not perfect - but as the general
tenor of their life) under trial (see study of
peirasmos); for once he has been
approved (see study
he will receive the crown (stephanos)
of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love (see study
tense = not
perfectly for we are sinners but as one's general Spirit enabled
practice lifestyle) Him.
Secret of Endurance in Her
Fanny Crosby was not born
blind but like the blind man in John 9, her blindness would
also turn out to be for the glory of God (John 9:24), "in order
that the works of God might be displayed in" her (cp Jesus' words
in John 9:3)! In May of 1820, when she was six weeks old, Fanny caught
a cold, and her eyes became slightly inflamed. The regular physician
in Putnam County, New York, was out of town, and a man posing as a
doctor gave her the wrong treatment. Within days, her eyesight was
destroyed, and the man fled town in a panic. Fanny was never bitter
about the stranger's intervention.
I have not for a moment in more
than eighty-five years felt a spark of resentment against him, because
I have always believed...that the good Lord...by this means
consecrated me to the work that I am still permitted to do.
And so this precious saint lived
for almost a century a testimony of God's amazing grace, living into
her nineties, composing over 9,000 beloved hymns of praise and
worship, as well as over 1,000 secular poems. On her 92nd birthday
(she died at the age of 95 in 1915) she cheerfully said
If in all the world you can find a
happier person than I am...
What enabled Fanny Crosby to
experience such joy in the face of what the natural man terms a
"tragedy"? At an early age made the choice to "rejoice in the Lord
always" (Philippians 4:4). In fact, Fanny carried out a resolution she
made when she was only 8 years old...
How many blessings I enjoy that
other people don't.
To weep and sigh because I'm blind, I cannot and I won't.
And yet what "secret" lay
behind Fanny's ability to consider it all joy? What was Fanny
Crosby's "secret of success"? Dear reader, I submit that it was
the same secret that Job had come to understand and to which he
testified in Job 23:12! Like Job, from a young age, Fanny Crosby had
dedicated herself to imbibing the Word of God and before she was ten
years old, she had memorized most of the New Testament and more than
five books of the Old Testament! By some accounts she eventually
came to know the entire Bible BY HEART! (see
Fanny Crosby: Her Early Education Experience).
These words from one of her
final hymns express the foremost hope of her life
And I shall see
Him face to face
And tell the story - saved by grace.
G Campbell Morgan observes that...
Suddenly, in the midst of this bitter complaining, there flamed out a
most remarkable evidence of the tenacity of his faith. He declared
with conviction that God knew the way he was taking. He even affirmed
his confidence that it was God Who was trying him, and that presently
he would come forth from the process as gold.
Spurgeon adds that...
It looks very hard to believe that a child of God should be tried by
the loss of his Father’s presence, and yet should come forth uninjured
by the trial. Yet no gold is ever injured in the fire. Stoke the
furnace as much as you may, let the blast be as strong as you will,
thrust the ingot into the very center of the white heat, let it lie in
the very heart of the flame; pile on more fuel, let another blast
torment the coals till they become most vehement with heat, yet the
gold is losing nothing, it may even be gaining.
I shall ask four questions of every man within reach of my voice. God
knoweth the way that you take. I will ask you first: Do you know your
own way? Secondly: Is it a comfort to you that God knows your way?
Thirdly: Are you tried in the way? And, if so, fourthly: Have you
confidence in God as to the result of that trial? Can you say with
Job, ‘When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold’?