The Humbled and Overwhelmed Sufferer
Job 23:14-17
For he performes the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.…

The position of Job is one of confusion and unexplained mystery. He is in the hands of the Almighty. His punishment, as some affirm it to be, is very heavy. It at times seems to be greater than he can bear. Yet he is uncondemned within. He holds fast to his integrity. Like his friends, he interprets sufferings into punishments for sin. Yet he is not conscious of sin, certainly not of sin to such a degree as to merit such heavy judgment. He is confounded. He can but yield. He believes in the Divine justice, although his faith in it is tried by the conflicting convictions of his mind and his inability to interpret the Divine ways. That his own righteousness will shine out ultimately he is persuaded. "When he hath tried me, "shall come forth as gold." In the mean while he is overpowered. The struggle is severe; the strain upon his faith is very great. It is the uninterpreted mystery, the apparent confliction of the Divine dealings, that bows Job to the earth. He is troubled at the Divine presence; when he thinks of God he is afraid, and his heart is dejected. This picture of the humbled, overwhelmed servant of God holding fast his faith in the consciousness of integrity, declares the true causes of the support which Job experienced in his overwhelming afflictions to be

(1) a consciousness of integrity;

(2) faith in the Divine Name;

(3) patient anticipation of final vindication.

I. Without THE ASSURANCE OF PERSONAL INTEGRITY Job could not be free from the sorrows which come of condemnation. The testimony of conscience to the wrongness and disobedience of life is the keenest and most penetrative of afflictions. It reaches to the very core of the spirit. The utmost sensibility of the soul is aroused. No outward calm can allay this inner agitation. But if there is peace within; if the soul is not at war with itself; if there is the inestimable consciousness of personal freedom from condemnation, the soul may writhe in its pain, but it is upheld by the assurance that the affliction comes not weighted with the burden of retribution.

II. It is through this freedom from self-reproach and self-condemnation alone that TRUE FAITH IN GOD can be sustained. Job may be overwhelmed at the thought of God, but he lacks not faith in him; and them is no sense of buried wrong weakening his trust, or impairing the comfort that comes from a belief in the deep, if hidden, Divine approval.

III. And it is this which supports him in THE HOPE OF A FINAL VINDICATION The unjustly condemned may wait. Trouble may overshadow him, he may be heavily burdened, his heart may quake and fear, but he knows he shall at last rise superior to all aspersions of evil-doing. Herein lies the secret of a sustaining peace in the midst of the severest of earth's trials; this is the true ground of hope, this the encouragement to sustaining faith. - R.G.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

WEB: For he performs that which is appointed for me. Many such things are with him.

The Inflexibility of God
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