“What will I do when God confronts me?
What will I answer when called to account? (Job 31:14)
The Book of Job is not just about suffering. We can also learn from Job’s life and how he remained steadfast in his faith in God through his sorrows and sufferings. In this Book, we also see clearly how God is sovereign, all-knowing, and in control, and who knows His people well. At the end of the Book, Job was doubly blessed by God. More importantly, Job came to know God much more intimately than he had ever been before (Job 42).
It was Job’s resilient faith in the face of much suffering that first caught my attention, where he says, “Though He [God] slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (Job 13:15a). Such a powerful statement of faith from a suffering man is something we can learn and embrace as followers of Christ who was Himself slain for our sins.
In my current reading of Job, I noted especially how Job, in his suffering, looked back over his life to examine if he had unconfessed sins (Job 31). He knew to whom he was accountable, and asked himself: “What will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?” (Job 31:14). He went on to self-examine all three areas of his life:
1.Personal life – any sin of lust, falsehood, covetousness, adultery (v 1-12);
2.Public life – treatment of servants, widows, orphans, and the needy (v 13-23);
3.Spiritual life – any trust in wealth for security, any idolatry, any unrighteous speech, purity of motives (v 24-40).
In Job’s case, there was no grave area of sin. Unknown to Job, God had described him as “blameless and upright” (Job 1:8; 2:3). Not that Job was sinless (cf: Rom 3:23), but that he was an upright and righteous man who “fears God and shuns evil.”
David also came to be aware of the need for his heart to be examined. But unlike Job, God had to take the initiative in David’s case. David had become self-absorbed. God had to make him aware of his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12). David confessed and repented from his sin. Indeed, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9). David was not perfect, like everyone else, but he had a heart for God, and repented when he realized he had sinned against God and man.
Both Job and David remind me that it is a good practice to take stock of our internal life from time to time. Lest we lapse into complacency unconsciously, or worse, consciously, and suffer the consequences of wrongdoing, even though restored in God’s redemptive love, as we see in David’s life in 2nd Samuel.
May we also, like Job and David, examine our internal life where no human eye can see, except God. Check our thought life, our behaviour toward others, our walk with God. Confess our areas of sinful neglect. Thank God for our areas of strength. Like David, we ask God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24). We have God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit, also our God-given community of believers to help us live an abundant life according to God’s ways in our journey of faith on earth, till we see Jesus face to face. To God be all glory!
By sister Lee Yoke Kwang