All Alone (Just A Minute #117)

Andy Bonikowsky
Written by Andy Bonikowsky

I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy. (Job 33:9-10)

We don’t know if Job actually said these exact words, though it is likely. Whatever the case, Elihu used them to accurately summarize the suffering man’s main argument.

I don’t think Job was claiming sinless perfection. He was a godly, mature man, and it is doubtful he would make such a bold statement. What he did mean is precisely what God said about him in the introduction to the book, that he “was perfect, and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”

But now he was very confused.

He had been the greatest man in the east, accustomed to being respected and feared by all. When he would arrive at the city gate, young men hung back in awe and older men stood at attention. When he spoke, princes shut up and listened. Not even the nobles dared to interrupt him. His opinion was law.

It would be natural for Job to get used to this special treatment. After all, was it not part of the blessing of God on his piety and faithfulness? Surely it was the Lord who had rewarded his integrity with a position of respect and authority among his peers.

But there came a day when the Lord decided to teach His servant a very painful lesson. It is important to understand that he was not a rebel needing rebuke. Rather, he was a strong believer whom God wanted to soar to new heights of fellowship with Him.

The initial attack came straight from the Devil, as he took away from Job pretty much everything he owned.

Then, in nasty succession, things got much worse. One by one, family, friends, and acquaintances abandoned him. His wife stunned him with the bitter challenge to curse God and die. Three close friends traveled in to bring comfort and ended up hurling awful accusations at him. Former servants and partners ridiculed him mercilessly.

To make matters totally bleak, even God refused to speak to him.

There he sat, in ashes, all alone.

Everyone he had ever known had turned against him. And then God Himself, with whom he had always enjoyed sweet communion, had withdrawn Himself completely.

Yet in spite of the present circumstances Job knew that Jehovah had never before failed him. He was also convinced that God could see him and could communicate with him if He chose to. But why this mysterious silence?! All he had to go on was the doctrine he had learned from God in their former days of fellowship.

His response, though defective, revealed a remarkable depth of faith.

I wonder how I would handle a trial as dark and lonely as this one. Could I keep my focus on the truth previously learned in spite of so many disconcerting events? Would I remember in the black of night what God taught me in the brilliant times of grace?

I’m not sure I want to know the answer.

Dear Father, only You know what I can handle. I am so thankful that You have promised to guard me from temptations beyond my strength. Help me remember that You will never leave me nor forsake me, that I am never really alone. Amen.