Posted by: Billy Marsh | October 21, 2007

As Good As Gold

Occasionally, I like to look back at some of my past journal entries from years gone by and see how I’ve grown spiritually, how my theology has changed, how I’ve interpreted certain passages, and how prayers have been answered. As I was flipping through today, I noticed that I had written on Job 23:10 which is a verse that has been on my mind quite a bit here lately. So, I thought I might add to what I wrote a little and share “my heart” with you all on this text. (Just FYI, the only other article that I have posted that originated from my personal journal is the once entitled, “Gospel as Spiritual Warfare” which is based off of Revelation 12:11.)

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

~ Job 23:10 ~

Sometimes the point of greatest doubt in our Christian walks can be in our times of testing. Even more so, as in the case of Job, faith seems to be elusive when we feel the hand of God pressing down upon us for unknown reasons. Our inability to establish a clear-cut “cause and effect” rationale to our situation makes it all the more difficult to place our trust in the Lord as we appear to be dragged through the mud for no apparent reason. However, in Job 23:10, we see some of his boldest statements since chapter 3 concerning his loyalty to God despite the darkness of his circumstances. Job’s peace during this trial rests upon the nature of God rather than the work of God.

Job laments from vv 1-9 wishing to take counsel with God in order to retreive a definite answer concerning his suffering, but in v 10, he takes solace in God’s divine omniscience and wisdom. Notwithstanding that his main haven of rest is the nature of God, Job still presupposes that the work of God in testing him is in total congruence with the Lord’s character. Notice that he attributes his “trying” to God in the statement, “. . . when he has tried me”. Therefore, the “trying of God” is empowered by the fact that “he knows the way that I take”.

Refining Gold

In order to rightly understand the “gold” terminology, we must look back to chapter 22. Eliphaz tells Job to repent and give back the gold of Ophir that perhaps he believes Job to have wrongfully taken. In return, Eliphaz promises that “the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver.” Here, Eliphaz attempts to uncover Job’s terrible sin that has caused all of his turmoil by claiming that Job has treasured materials rather than the Almighty. Not a bad diagnosis, if it were true.

However, in 23:10, Job desires a “golden” character rather than valuable rocks from the earth. He is convinced that God fully knows the way that he will take in his times of trial, and thus, can take refuge in the Lord that when his time of testing is over, he will be purified just as gold is refined when it has passed through the flames.

We can know that Job desires a refined heart because of his following assertions in vv 11-17. In this section, he declares his faithfulness to the words of God and his commandments. He knows that ultimately God desires holiness and obedience from his people; and therefore proclaims, “I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food (23:12).” Still, in v 14, he returns to the tone of 23:10 stating, “For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind.”

We can be certain that God will use hardships and trials for the main purpose of purifying so that we will be like refined gold, spotless, holy and without blemish. Find assurance in your trials in the fact that the God who has placed you under difficult terms, knows the way that you take and when he has finished, his work in you will be complete. What an incentive to endure in this life, knowing that God is fully aware of all of our thoughts, actions, and steps. Therefore, may we all pass through the Lord’s refining fire in order that we might become precious golden metals so that we may behold the Almighty, our true “gold and precious silver”.

Here is what I wrote at the end of this journal entry, it brings back good memories:

May 12th, 2004 – Today we visited Caesarea, Herod’s palace, the Colisseum, Mt. Carmel where Elijah slayed the false prophets of Baal and am now in Tiberius. I spent the evening reclining on the rock shore of the Sea of Galilee picturing Jesus calling the first disciples to be “fishers of men”, calming the raging storm, and Peter calling out to Jesus as they both defy the laws of phyics by walking on the water. I pray that this trip draws me ever nearer to the God of this Holy Land and Lord over All the Earth.

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