Read Job 13:26-28
"For you write bitter things against me and make me inherit the iniquities of my youth. You put my feet in the stocks and watch all my paths; you set a limit for the soles of my feet. Man wastes away like a rotten thing, like a garment that is moth-eaten."
• Are you taking everything personally?
• Pain tests the faith of even mature believers. What are some things we can do to cope?
• We must not let the graffiti and noise of this world make us doubt God's forgiveness. What steps can we take to live in truth?
As Job continued his response to his friends, he clearly was struggling. He again said that his conscience was clear, and he affirmed his faith in God as his only salvation.
Still Job couldn't get past the hurt and the perception that he was being punished for some wrong. As verse 26 states, he thought God was writing bitter words against him and repaying him for the sins of his youth. He thus pleaded with the Lord to reveal to him what those sins were.
Painful events often bring into focus some tough truths. Reconciling these with the damaged view of the world around us and, as we've seen with Job, with the words of well-meaning friends, presents a formidable challenge for even mature believers.
Job knew that he had sinned in the past. He knew that God is holy and righteous. He was also subject to the human tendency to believe in a just world--that bad events are punishment for sin. All of these together lead him to conclude that his livelihood and family were taken away because of some unconfessed sin.
Contrast this chapter with Job's words in Job 1:21. Satan's intent was to cause Job to stumble and turn away from God. The turmoil Job was experiencing now suggested that the pain was starting to take a spiritual toll.
How did this happen? Perhaps Job's faith had been worn down by the noise around him. As he looked at the fallen world around him, he likely saw examples that "proved" the point that sin is punished. Moreover, his friends were repeatedly telling him that he must have some unconfessed sin in his life. He now couldn't seem to help taking all of his woes personally.
What Job was missing is the assurance we have in Christ. He didn't have the promise in Hebrews 8:12 that the Lord will remember our sins no more. Even with this assurance, pain may sometimes lead us to believe the graffiti and noise around us, that our pain results from some unforgiven sin. Dwelling there, however, doesn't help us overcome the hurt. Instead, we must boldly grab hold of God's promise to us through Jesus.
Lord, the world keeps telling me that I'm hurting because of something I did. Please help me to discern Your voice of truth and follow it to healing. Amen.