TRIED BY FIRE
From "Comfort for Christians" By Arthur W. Pink
Scripture: Job 23:10 "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me I shall come forth
Though Job had felt that his lot was unbearable, he recovers himself here and revises his outlook.
1. Despite his afflictions, Job was able to be optimistic.
a. He did not allow the afflictions to make a skeptic of him.
b. He did not permit his trials and troubles through which he was passing to overwhelm him.
2. He looked at the bright side of the dark cloud--God's side, hidden from sense and reason.
For us, this side is only seen by faith.
Remember Daniel when he prayed for 21 days? Daniel 10:13 Read
On the other side, the bright side the answer was already issued. It just had not
yet arrived due to Satanic forces, the Prince of Persia.
3. He took the long view of life.
a. Jesus took the long view.
Hebrews 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
b. Don't be short-sighted. Take the long view of life.
Here's how Job was able to be optimistic.
I. THE DIVINE KNOWLEDGE OF MY LIFE
1. Did not know the way he took
a. Yes he was consciously making free-will decisions and he choose to
Job 23:11 "My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined."
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him [Thomas], I am the way, the truth,
and the life:"
b. However, he did not know, and neither do we, what may occur in
his life in the next moment.
2. Could not see God.
Job 23:8 "Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:"
(v. 9) "On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:"
3. His friends misunderstood and charged him that he had sinned or was just a hypocrite.
(v. 11) "But he knoweth the way I take"
2. Could See Job
Though I cannot see God, what is a thousand times better, He can see me!
a. If He notices the fall of a sparrow
b. If he counts the hairs of our heads of course "He knows" the way that I take.
3. Understood that Job was "a perfect and upright" man.
Here is instruction for us in like circumstances. Fellow-believer, your fellow-men
and your fellow-Christians, may misunderstand you: but console yourself with the blessed fact that the omniscient One knoweth.
Song in Hymnal "Stand By Me" pg 149
Verse 3 In the midst of faults and failures, Stand by me, In the midst of faults and failures, Stand by me; When I do the best I can, And my friends misunderstand, Thou who knowest all about me, Stand by me.
C. One of the greatest tests: How does God's omniscience (all knowing ability) affect you?
1. Does it cause you distress or comfort?
2. Are you troubled by the fact that God knows the way you take whether it be
in righteousness or in unrighteousness. God knows the very hearts of men.
Genesis 18:19 "For I know him [Abraham] , that he will command his children and his
household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and
judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken."
Psalms 139:1 "O LORD, thou has searched me, and known me."
Psalms 1:6 "For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
D. There are two ways. Choose His Way
Matthew 7:13 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
(v.14) "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Are you saying that few will be saved? The One who said, "I am the Door" said
few would find it.
E. Don't Be Deceived
Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are
the ways of death.
Proverbs 16:25 "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are
the ways of death."
A man may persuade himself that his easily besetting sin, his evil dealings, his false religion,
and his selfish way are right, but whatever is not God's way will end in death and hell. Dake pg 650
II. DIVINE TESTING
A. "When He hath tried me"
Proverbs 17:3 "The fining pot is for silver [crucible], and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts."
This was God's way with Israel of old, and it is His way with Christians now. Just before
Israel entered Canaan, as Moses reviewed their history since leaving Egypt, he said, "And
thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the
wilderness, to humble thee, to prove thee, and to know what was in thine heart, whether
thou wouldst keep his commandments or no" (Deut. 8:2).
B. The daily irritations of life, the things which annoy you so much--what is their meaning? Why are thy permitted? Here is one answer: God is trying you. That is the explanation (in part, at least) of that disappointment, that crushing of your earthly hopes, that great loss, -- God was, is, testing you. God is trying your temper, your courage, your faith, your patience, your love, your fidelity.
To separate the impurities in the ore and isolate the precious metal often requires a great deal of heat.
*Clarification: You can be the instigator of your own problems. You most certainly will reap what you sow. Several other factors can be mentioned here, but I am only discussing one and that is God's refining process.
Psalms 17:3 "Thou has proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress."
Psalms 66:10 "For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried."
Tested to see what you would do in a particular difficult situation?
Or, to refine one's character that your thoughts and actions may be purified by refining remove any impurities?
Did Job have impurities? He was "perfect and upright" (Job 1:2).
Maybe Job was tried not simply to purify him, but to prove a point to Satan and for our benefit.
How many have drawn strength and encouragement from the man called Job and his ordeal?
D. Job was able to endure great trials because he was a great man.
1. Trials are proportionate to the individual. They are custom made.
I Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Temptation->Not to sin but a proving, refining process. God does not tempt man in the
sense of sin.
James 1:12 "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation [refining]: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised them that love him."
(v.13) "Let no man say when he is tempted [to sin], I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"
(v.14) "But every man is tempted [In the sense of sin.] when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
Our standing depends on our faith and union with God and stedfastness in prayer. The greatest saint can stand only as long as he depends upon God and continues in obedience to the gospel. Dake pg 182 NT
2. Abraham endured great trials producing and exercising great faith and God brought forth from him a great nation.
Hebrews 11:17 "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son."
E. You may have questions, but don't question God.
1. To enquire of God in a trial is one thing.
James 1:5 "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all
men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given."
Wisdom in the sense of what is God's direction and purpose in the matter of trial
Wisdom in the sense that we do not waste the opportunity God is giving us to mature. Wiersbe
Upbraideth not --> That is, God will not scold you for asking for understanding and direction, but will give it.
2. To question God's authority or knowledge is another.
Romans 9:20 "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest [to contradict] against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why has Thou made me thus?"
(v. 21) "Hath not the potter power over the clay?"
He is the Potter and you are the clay.
III. I SHALL COME FORTH AS GOLD
A. Not I might, I hope to, but I shall.
Remember, He had full assurance that God knew the way that he was taking and that he would come forth as gold.
B. Then be of good cheer, tried and troubled one. The process may be unpleasant and painful,
but the end of the situation is charming and sure --> as gold.
C. For the future this is sure: the most wonderful thing in heaven will not be the golden street or the golden harps, but the golden souls on which is stamped the image of God.