If you have ever read the Book of Job, you know that by the time you get to Chapter 42, Job had been suffering through forty long chapters. He had lost all his possessions: flocks, herds, property, sons and daughters, and health. To top it off, His wife had told him to curse God and die.
Job was sitting outside the city gate in the ash heap, scraping his boils with a piece of broken pottery, and suffering when three “friends” arrived to “comfort” him. However, instead of lifting Job’s spirits, they only bloviated about Job’s circumstances and were sure it was all caused by some unconfessed sin in his life. A fourth and younger man who listened to the entire conversation between Job and his “so called” friends also gave his not so humble opinion. Job had no idea why he was suffering in this way, but he was sure it was not due to unconfessed sin in his life. Even God (though unbeknownst to Job and the friends) had testified to Job’s character, “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8).
Job’s questions and confusion were compounded by those who seemed so confident of their opinions but were so short on compassion. Job was at his wits end. Finally, in Chapter 38, God revealed Himself and answered Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1). For three chapters God, the Creator of all things, graciously revealed His supreme knowledge of and invincible power over all things. Did not God lay the foundations of the earth and all things that comprise it: the land, sea, morning, night, the sea, death, light, snow, thunder, rain, and dew on the grass? Did not God form all things in the heavens - the stars into constellations, lightning, and clouds? Was not every animal on earth and in the sky made by God and did He not have intimate knowledge of each one - both small and large, wild and tame, weak and strong, wise and foolish?
God’s patient revelation of Himself, His knowledge, and His power had a profound impact upon Job. When God had finished, Job responded, "I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You….I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me….please listen and let me speak: I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor [despise] myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:1-6).
Before God spoke with Job face to face, Job’s understanding of Him was incomplete and even slightly warped (although not as warped as that of his friends). He had heard about God from others (by the hearing of the ear), perhaps his parents, priests, and surely from his pious friends. But seeing God face to face and hearing God’s words in his ear changed his life. From a man who may have been a bit self-satisfied with great wealth, prestige, and a large family, Job felt revulsion at the man he had been. He repented in dust and ashes. He had known God only second hand, but now he knew God face to face. He now had the proper perspective on everything and despised his former “opinions”.
I am just wondering, have you, like Job and his friends, been speaking things you do not understand? Do you know God only second hand (by the hearing of the ear), or do you know Him face to face? Do you know “about” Him by listening to parents, pastors, Bible teachers, friends, family, radio, television, internet, or authors of “Christian” books? Or do you know God face to face through careful, daily reading and study of His Word, the Bible? God has revealed Himself to us in the Scriptures and that is the only place you will find the complete and unbiased truth about Him. The Bible is the only place you will come to know God absolutely untainted by opinion. And if you have faithfully sought God through His Word, then surely you have responded just as Job did, by despising your “self” and repenting in dust and ashes. For the more you know of God, the more you come to realize your own depravity and your helplessness in overcoming it.
Don’t you want to know God “face to face”? Don’t you want to know all the truth there is to know about Him that He has revealed in His Word? Don’t you want to know the pure unadulterated and unopinionated truth?
It is really so simple - just open your Bible, pray and ask God to open your eyes, mind, and heart to receive His truth. Then begin to read. To help you, studies are available on our website to encourage you in your quest for God’s truth. Best of all, find (or start) a study group that encourages individual study and group discussion. This will help hold you accountable as you go forward. Above all, please do not put off your adventure into the Word of God. God, our Savior desires all.... to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4) and this includes you.
May God draw you to His Word and open its truth to you. And may you respond in all humility and sincerity of heart as you meet Him face to face. Amen.
From my heart to yours,
I don’t think there are any of us who do not struggle with our faith from time to time. It is part of being human and living in a fallen world. Do you ever feel like you’re continually taking one step forward and then two steps back in your Christian walk? Do you sometimes feel that your mind and your heart are pulling you in two different directions? If you have ever felt like this, you will be encouraged by this post written by Angela Stanley, a dear friend, fellow handmaid of the Lord, grandmother, and Bible teacher with Shepherd’s Heart Prison Ministry. Angela shares her experience of talking and praying about faith with her young grandson, Colin. Thank you, Angela, for allowing us to share!
“Each time Colin comes to stay with us I pray that God will give us time to read and discuss the Bible and the Christian faith, and that God would use our time together to grow Colin's faith in Jesus. And I pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal to me how to be praying specifically for Colin. On this last visit, as Colin and I sat by ourselves on the end of the dock, Colin shared the following: ‘I believe in Jesus, but sometimes my mind tells me I don't.’
I smiled at him and said, ‘Wow, Colin, that's a very mature observation of your faith!’ I then shared how many people in the Bible had made the same observation of their own faith, and how they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to ask God to expound on their belief and increase their faith in Jesus. I told him that God promised if we would seek Him then we would find Him. So if we seek God to grow our faith, then surely God will help us do just that. Then Colin just blessed my heart! He asked if we could pray for God to help him grow his belief in Jesus.
So out there on that dock, we bowed our heads and prayed! We prayed that Jesus would make Himself known so personally and powerfully to Colin that Colin's faith would be bold and boundless!
For the rest of our visit together, whenever we prayed, if I forgot to ask God to increase Colin's faith he'd quickly remind me!
So, I'd say God answered my prayer, wouldn't you? God did indeed use my time with Colin to grow his faith and to show me how to pray! THANKS BE TO GOD!!! May we all have that childlike honesty and admit to Jesus that we believe, but sometimes we don't believe. May we, too, ask our Lord to help us in our unbelief!
For what unbelief do you need to seek God?
And the apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith' (Luke 17:5).
Lord Jesus, increase our faith, help us in our unbelief, and show us how we can help less mature Christians with their unbelief, faithfully sending them to You, the only One who can increase their faith. Be Glorified By Increasing Our Faith, Jesus--AMEN"
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.