The Righteousness Test – Job 23:10-12

“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food” (Job 23:10-12, NLT).

Did you ever sit down to take a test in school and wonder where the questions came from?

The test questions didn’t ask for any facts or information you read about in the text or discussed in class. Instead, the test questions expected you to analyze and apply the facts and information you had read or discussed.

And, you probably thought the test was unfair and maybe even complained to the teacher or at least to other students.

That is what happened to Job.

When Job’s faith was tested by God, at first Job doubted that he could plead his case to God.

In this passage Job expresses confidence that when God tests him, he can, in fact, ask God for an explanation of the test.

In reality, God wasn’t testing Job’s faith; Satan was.

But God does use the difficulties in life that confront us–emanating either from Satan or from our own mistakes–to instruct us in His holiness and righteousness and build our faith in Him.

It’s the righteousness test!

God knows where we are going in life, and the righteousness test keeps us on the path to where He wants us to go.

And when God uses our suffering to teach us about His righteousness, then like Job we will conclude: “He controls my destiny” (vs. 14).

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

The God of Good – Genesis 50:20

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” After Jacob died Joseph’s brothers were afraid that he would take revenge on them for selling him into slavery many years earlier. So they sent a message to Joseph begging his forgiveness. When Joseph received their message, he wept because they still feared reprisal from him. Then they came to Joseph and bowed down before him and told him they would be his slaves. His brothers’ act of submission fulfilled a dream God had given him. Years earlier Joseph’s brothers became angry with him, kidnapped him, and sold him into slavery after he told his brothers about the dream. Thus, the whole chain of events that was set in motion by Joseph’s dream now finds fruition and fulfillment. To survive the drought, Jacob (Israel) relocated his extended family to Egypt where Joseph was the prime minister and over the next several centuries Jacob’s extended family would grow into the nation of Israel. Joseph recognized that he was the bearer of God’s promises and God used evil acts taken against Joseph to precipitate a course of events that enabled Joseph to preserve God’s promise and covenant with his father, Isaac, and grandfather, Abraham. When bad things happen to us, we sometimes let a dualistic theology take over our thinking and we treat good and evil as equivalent moral opposites that are both instigated by God. This story clearly demonstrates the superiority of good over evil. GOD DOESN’T DO EVIL. God is the God of Good. In fact, we could argue that God can’t do evil because it is against His nature. Evil is but another tool God uses to work His plans for good (Jeremiah 29:11). When bad things happen to you, don’t attribute it to God, but attribute the good that comes out of it to God as He uses you, or tries to form you into someone He can use, to accomplish His plans and purposes.

Doing What God is Doing – Genesis 41:16

“It is beyond my power to do this, Joseph replied. But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” Pharaoh had two dreams and no one could interpret them for him. Pharaoh’s cupbearer remembered about Joseph interpreting his dream when they were in prison together and told Pharaoh. Pharaoh had Joseph brought to him and asked if he could interpret his dreams. Joseph recognized that God had given Pharaoh the dreams for a purpose. Therefore, God could tell what Pharaoh’s dreams meant and Joseph was confident that God would do so to accomplish His will. Joseph was so filled with the Spirit and wisdom of God that it was apparent to Pharaoh and his officials: “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” (vs. 38). Because Joseph was full of God’s Spirit, he recognized that God was at work and he joined with God in what he was doing. We each have God’s Spirit in us and like Joseph, by the unction of the Spirit, we should be able to recognize what God is doing within and around our lives and we should join with Him by exercising the gifts and talents He has given to each of us. “So Jesus explained, I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” (John 5:19).

Your Destiny, God’s Plans – I Kings 19:25

“Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins.” Isaiah prophecied against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, at the request of Hezekiah, king of Judah. The Assyrians had already conquered Israel and its capital city of Samaria and now they were trying to conquer Judah. (They will fail in their attempt.) Sennacherib’s great mistake, however, was to imagine that what he had accomplished in all his military campaigns had been achieved in his own strength and not by the providence of God. In reality God had determined it long ago. God planned for Sennacherib to conquer fortified cities so his pride in his mighty accomplishments is only vanity. In fact, Assyria is merely the means to pronounce judgment on Israel for its disobedience. Similarly, God has determined plans and a purpose for your life–your destiny. Find out from God what it is and let Him use you to accomplish His will through your life.