Yesterdays Walking in Truth message was a good one. I want to share some of it with you…
“Though God’s way is sometimes hid from a saint, the saint’s way is never hid from God.”
“How severely is faith tried and patience put to the proof by the hiding of God.” (The Pulpit Commentary)
“A person who elects to walk with God in those bleak periods of spiritual desolation is indeed a lethal instrument in the hand of God.” – (Facts Of The Matter)
The Scriptures indeed teach us that God is omnipresent. In Psalm 139:7, David verifies this fact with his inquiry – “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?” We also find in the Scriptures that God is near to those in need. Psalm 34:18 says – “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalm 145:18 says – “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.” And Isaiah 65:24 says – “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”
Yet, in spite of the Lord being Omnipresent and near to those in need, we find in the Christian walk a time or a season when the soul is cast upon the Unseen – when God seems to stand at a distance – when He’s hidden. The child of God is aware of a Presence, but it is veiled. He is aware of Divine Activity, but to him, it is silent. In times like these, he cannot understand the meaning of God’s providence concerning him. He is quite at a loss about it. It is in the aforementioned times when Scriptures like the following give strength and comfort -
Lamentations 3:26 says – “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”
John 13:7 says – “Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.”
Acts 1:7 says – “…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.”
Romans 8:28 says – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
Such a struggle with the “hidings of God” is common among the saints.
In Job 9:11, we find a depiction of Job’s experience – “Lo, He goeth by me, and I see Him not: He passeth on also, but I perceive Him not.”
In both Psalms 10:1 and 13:1, we find a depiction of David’s experiences – “Why standest Thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest Thou Thyself in times of trouble?” “How long wilt Thou forget me, O LORD? forever? how long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?”
Both Job and David saw the evidence of God’s existence, but on a personal level, they couldn’t see Him. Job – in particular – was sensible that God was nearby, but he could neither comprehend nor account for His dealings with him. They both experienced the presumable feeling of having God conceal Himself or keep away…withdraw His gracious Presence… defer His help and assistance…take no notice or turn a deaf ear in their time of affliction and sorrow…or leave them in the dark without a clear sense of His approval.
Times like these are depicted in the Scriptures as seasons when God seemingly turns away His countenance – He hides His face from His children. Can there be anything more devastating to the believer than this? Can anything add more to his affliction or make it heavier than to have God hide Himself – making him feel as though he is suffering alone?
For a moment, let’s zero in on Job’s experience. Listen to the anguish in his voice as he cried out in Job 23:3 – “Oh that I knew where I might find Him!…” He was desperate for a manifestation of God. He found himself in the midst of three so-called friends who were nothing more than “physicians of no value” (Job 13:4). But where, oh where was his only Hope and Refuge? Where was his Best Friend – the Lord God Almighty – the One with Whom he walked and fellowshipped in the days gone by – the One Who knew him truthfully as – “a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8)?
Job was experiencing a time of great spiritual darkness. His deep distress drove him to God. He missed the close fellowship with His Maker. He knew that He had to do all that he could to meet with Him. He had to find out the true cause of his troubles. But no matter what efforts he made, it was seemingly fruitless. Job 23:8-9 illustrates his search – “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him.”
From this, we can see that he looked in all directions for some visible manifestation of God before which he might come and plead his cause. Let’s follow him in his search.
In order to understand Job’s terminology, it is important to note that the Hebrews, Arabs, and Orientals imagined themselves to be looking Eastward – facing the rising sun. Also, the Oriental geographers considered themselves as facing the East instead of the North. Hence, in the above passage of Scripture, “forward” pertained to the East…”backward” to the West…”the left hand” to the North… and “the right hand” to the South. Since the day began in the East, Job felt that it was simply natural to turn his face in that direction – looking for a manifestation of God in the sunrise. He met disappointment in the East – the region of the rising sun (“He is not there”), so he turned with longing to the West – hoping that in the last lingering rays of the sunset, he would find an indication of the Presence of God coming forth. When that didn’t happen (“I cannot perceive Him”), he turned to “the left hand” – the North – “where He doth work.” The Northern part is observed to be more inhabited than the South. Hence, it would be a more likely place to find God. Also, it is in the North where you find the Aurora Borealis – the remarkable display of the power of God – as well as the glories of the Northern Lights. Surely He would be found here! Yet, Job said of the North – “but I cannot behold Him.”
Lastly, he turned to “the right hand” – the South.
The ancients considered the South to be an unknown region since it was wholly impassable and uninhabitable due to its intense heat. Perhaps, God would be found in the inaccessible regions. With great disappointment, Job concluded for the South – “I cannot see Him.” To whatever point of the compass he turned in his search for God, he met with disappointment.
When we read the end of the book of Job, we find that God did eventually manifest Himself to His servant. But until that time, Job did something that kept his faith and confidence alive and brought solace, comfort, and contentment to his soul. We find this “key” in Job 23:10 where it is recorded that he said –
“But He knoweth the way that I take…”
He came to the conclusion that even though he couldn’t see God, God certainly could see him. Though he couldn’t find God, God knew where he was and which way he took. He knew Job’s every step and was a witness to his integrity. Hence, the end of his trial could only be good.
Like Job, are you experiencing a spiritual battle? Are you desperate for a manifestation of God’s Presence in your life? Does it seem that everywhere you turn, He is nowhere to be found? Are you finding it hard to trace His purposes among the tangled threads of your life? Does all look dark and aimless? Remember – “ignorance” doesn’t limit God, nor does “blindness” cripple His activity. God Who is invisible observes your ways. Take comfort in knowing this. You may not be able to see Him, but He can see you. You may not be able to find Him in your “darkness” or “pain,” but He knows exactly where you are and which way you are taking. Like Job, hold on to His unchanging ways. “But He knoweth the way that I take…” Take confidence that you are “in God” – though you may not feel His Presence nor see Him at work. Before long, you will be able to testify like David did in Psalm 56:4, saying –
“In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust…”
May God Bless His Word..