“For God speaks in one way and in two. Though, man does not perceive it in a dream and a vision of the night when deep sleep falls upon men while they slumber on their beds. Then, he opens the ears of men and terrifies them with warnings that he may turn man aside from his deed and conceal pride from a man. He keeps back his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.”
So, what Elihu is saying here is very different than what Job’s friends had been saying to him all along. Job’s friends had been saying, “Job, you’re suffering because you’re wicked.” But, Elihu is saying, “You’re suffering Job, and God is refining your faith in the middle of it.” It may not be that you’re suffering specifically because of some sin or evil or wickedness in your heart and your life. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that even innocent suffering, suffering when you’ve not done something specifically wrong, God is not still working in ways that are good for you to refine your faith.
Job 33:14–18 Expresses God’s Redemption
You keep reading down in Job chapter 33, and you see this expressed in different ways. Elihu keeps talking about how God redeems our soul from going down into the pit. How God protects us from the pit that we may be lighted with the light of life. So, when you think about suffering in your life and for some of you, it’s not just like an intellectual exercise, you’re walking through it right now. You’re walking through hard days. See the picture here in Job 33, in the middle of suffering in ways we don’t usually see, God is saving, protecting, working for our good. He is refining our faith in ways that are really good for us.
I need this reminder in the middle of hard days, and I’m guessing every one of us does. We know this is true because of God’s promises to us in a place like Romans chapter eight, right? “God is working in all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” And, that purpose is good. Conforming us more into the image of Jesus. Romans 8:29 and 30 talks about it in a way that will one day lead to our glorification.
Job 33:14–18 Helps Us Trust God’s Refining Work
So, we pray. God help us to trust your refining work in our hearts and our minds and our lives in the middle of difficult, challenging, even painful days. God, we trust that you are always working for our good. We believe that, help us to believe that, help us to believe that on days when faith like that is hard to come by. But that’s just to it, God we pray that you would refine our faith to see your goodness, to see…
As we read here in Job 33, you use suffering to turn us from wrongdoing, to keep us from pride, to preserve our souls from the pit, to keep our lives from perishing by the sword. God, please do all those things in our lives. We pray, work for our good according to your wisdom. And we say together, we will trust in you God, I pray, especially for any person, every person listening to this right now who is walking through difficult days right now. God, that you would refine their faith. You would refine our faith in ways that lead to good for others in ways that are ultimately glorifying to you as we trust your good purposes in our lives. God, we pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.