James 5: 11;
Job 1: 1; 37: 11-17
I have a simple impression to speak about God’s ways. What wondrous ways they are; indeed we can read that God’s way is perfect, Ps 18: 30. But perhaps sometimes God’s ways can be quite hard for us to understand in our ways. God’s ways for us sometimes do not seem to work out the way we may expect them to but what I would like to emphasise is that there is an end in God’s ways; there is always an end in them.
The epistle of James says, “Ye have heard of the endurance of Job, and seen the end of the Lord”. What a wondrous thing to come into, the Lord having to do with our end. What a great matter that is. There is much pressure amongst men at the moment; many of the saints also are going through much exercise and pressure. Perhaps it is beyond us to understand how some can have such extreme pressure, but the hymn writer says the Spirit is given here for us to help us to understand these things, Hymn 288. At least in measure we can understand them a little through the help of the Spirit. What a wondrous thing it is to have an acknowledgement of the end of God’s ways. Philippians 1 says, “he who has begun in you a good work will complete it unto Jesus Christ’s day”, v 6. What a blessed thing it is that there is a work going on in each and every one of us. We all have our own individual pathways; perhaps some going through more pressure than others, but there is an end in these things, and He will help us. What a wondrous thing it is that we can be helped and guided in these things, and there is a wondrous end in all these matters. Indeed, we could read in Hebrews where it says, “he has said, I will not leave thee”, chap 11: 5. So there is Someone who can help: the Lord is there and He can help us and guide us through these pressures.
And I would just like to touch on these passages in Job. What I read in chapter 1 brings out the character of Job; I would just like to touch on the character of Job. It says, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and this man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God and abstained from evil”. So if we go through the book of Job, we see that he went through exercise and pressure physically, as well as loss of possessions, more than any of us. He went through a lot of pressure but I do not think it was down to his personal failure here, because it says, “this man was perfect and upright”. God was working in this man - God has a way with each and every one, and He worked. The more that we go under pressure and the more we come in for exercise and burdens, the more we have to turn to divine Persons, to rely on the help of the Holy Spirit, and to turn to the Lord in our pathways. And we see at the very end of this book how much Job progressed and prospered in all that he had.
What a matter it is that God allows certain things to happen. He allows things to happen not only in our individual lives, our personal lives, but in things general in the world; it is all under God’s hand. What a matter it is that it is all under God’s hand. We perhaps question various things, but there is an end in all His ways.
What I read in chapter 37 speaks of the clouds: “he loadeth the thick clouds”. Think of the pressure which would come out in these thick clouds. We can see a lot of that in the present day, the thick clouds. But if we go down further to verse 16 it says, “Dost thou know about the balancing of the clouds, the wondrous works of him that is perfect in knowledge?”. So, despite the pressure God, in His wondrous ways, balances the clouds. So there is sunshine that comes into our pathways; there is something bright, and we have bright spots in our pathways. I think it is good to look on the bright spots and when these matters come in, it helps us appreciate the ways of God and how the Lord would come into our pathways in blessing. We have been reading in our recent Lord’s day readings about where the Lord says, “I AM” in the gospels and how we can see the Lord as these towers and the great things that the Lord has done. The many titles He owns and much of these things can help us to look on the Lord in every aspect of our lives here. Scripture also tells us that we will not be under more pressure that we can cope with, 1 Cor 10: 13. These things are there so that we may grow in our appreciation of and exercise with divine Persons.
I was just impressed by how Job overcame all these things. As you continue reading through this book, there was some of his friends who perhaps were a hindrance to him in his progress, but there was one man who guided him and helped him. Elihu helped him to see God’s ways and the end of His ways. I would just like to encourage us to appreciate these things more. It speaks at the end where I read about the south wind. It says in verse 17, “How thy garments become warm when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?” I think that would speak of God’s favour. What a favour we have been blessed with; we can go on in our spiritual pathways knowing that - despite the many exercises and burdens - there is One who will see us through all the way. He will not leave us in the midst of any commotion or circumstances. It is by faith we can see there is a wondrous end in all His ways.
I would just like to encourage us in these few simple thoughts. May the Lord bless these words.
From a meeting for ministry in Dundee
28th July 2015