Job 5-7: THE WEAVER’S SHUTTLE
Sometimes Job’s three friends will state a truth, but we know even the devil can quote scripture and truths mixed with lies.
Eliphaz says to Job: “Call if you will, but who will answer you? To which of the holy ones (angels?) will you turn?” Here is the idea of a mediator as someone who will work on the behalf of Job before God. Once again we see the Old Testament point out the need of mankind- a go-between; a mediator who will intercede for us. The Lord Jesus would be our mediator, our High Priest who intercedes for us.
Here is a truth from the mouth of Eliphaz: “Yet man is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upward.” Jesus told us the same when he told us: “In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 33)
Now in Job 5:8, Eliphaz makes a statement often heard from well-meaning people offering advice: ‘If I were you’. The problem is and always has been in these situations- you are not me. He then goes on to say you should lay your cause before God and make an appeal. In other words, Eliphaz and his three friends see Job’s problem as unconfessed sin, and his unwillingness to confess those sins to God. They are in a way saying Job – you are a hypocrite.
Eliphaz goes on for some verses in an eloquent fashion speaking of many of the wonderful attributes of God. His two friends are obviously nodding their heads in agreement with Eliphaz’s assessment of Job’s problems as he concludes with this unified statement: “We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.”
What did Jesus tells us; admonish us not to do in Matthew 7? “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1, 2) Later on in the same chapter, Jesus tells us we will know people by the fruit they produce. Paul also writes we are not to associate with people who are sexually immoral who calls himself a brother. Paul also adds this is to be true of those who call themselves Christians who are greedy, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards or swindlers. (I Cor. 5) It is also Paul who advises us ‘to test everything.’ (I Thess. 5:21)
Chapters 6 & 7 record Job’s response to ‘if I were you.’ Job says in so many words: ‘You are not me’. You cannot possibly feel the heaviness of my suffering- I have buried all 10 of my children: 7 sons and 3 daughters I cherished and loved. I have lost my possessions, my trusted servants whom I loved. And now my wife is so depressed and grieved she wishes I would curse God and die. There are no scales which can measure what I feel and what I have suffered. You are not me- and you do not have an inkling of what I am going through.
But that is not the worst part, for now I am the target of God’s arrows tipped in poison. What an expression of bitterness Job has proclaimed. He says he feels like a target at which God is shooting his poisonous arrows.
Job says if my complaints sound like the braying of a hungry donkey or the bellowing of a hungry ox, it is because he is starving for some words of encouragement. He is hungry for some love, mercy, understanding and sympathy. He is desperate to hear from God. Have you ever noticed the people whose desperate conditions drove them to Jesus? The woman with the issue of blood for 12 years; the man whose daughter lay at death, the Canaanite woman whose daughter was possessed, the man whose son had seizures, Blind Bartimeus etc. There are many stories and in all of these we see their desperation and trouble in their lives led them to Jesus.
I remember a young preacher telling me of when he lost his job at a church for no reason of his wrongdoing. He and his wife were crushed. They went to an older woman who had been a prayer partner and told them of their misfortune and mistreatment. She said, “I am so sorry.” They said thank you. But then she explained. “I am so sorry, you cannot trust God to work all this together for good.”
And like a starving person is weakened, so is Job. Job wants God to give him his request that he hopes for and longs for- his request: “That God would crush me, and let loose His hand and cut me off!” The last phrase, as we will see, is a reference to a weaver, to cut off the sheet of material and thread from the loom.
Job is losing hope. He is at the point of hopelessness, one of the darkest emotions to experience. He wants to die. Hopelessness produces uselessness. ‘What’s the use?’ says the person who has lost hope. When you combine hopelessness with uselessness- when you feel useless, you don’t want to live. Job will not commit suicide, but he is asking God to end his misery. Just crush me Lord, cut my life off like the weaver cuts off the material from the loom. Do you once again see how the enemy drives a wedge between man and his God.
Job then tells his three friends: “Now you too have proved to be of no help, you see something dreadful and are afraid.”
In chapter 7, Job continues his lament. He describes the futility of life and the brevity of life. He says my life is like the weaver’s shuttle, moving swiftly until the thread runs out and the weaving is cut from the loom.
Job is looking at his life, the tapestry of which seems to have unraveled in a horrible mess. He is not looking at the Weaver.
Eliphaz was right that man is born to trouble. We have trouble because we live in a fallen, troubled sinful world and sometimes it runs smack into us like a speeding car. Sometimes we create trouble with unwise choices. And there is trouble, discipline, chastening by our Loving Heavenly Father for when His children sin.
There is also this type of trouble Job is experiencing on a scale which few have experience the heaviness of his problems. We know trouble, suffering comes as a refining process for our good and God’s glory.
KEY: But here is the key, God wants to use ALL these problems, troubles, suffering which James called ‘diver’s temptations, (various trials), regardless of where they come from for one purpose: to conform us to the image of His Son. To burn off the dross so we can come forth as gold. To circumcise the flesh away from our hearts, so we can love Him with all our heart.
Faith does not become strong when faith comes easy. Faith that is strong has been tested in the fire. Jesus would often question the disciples – where is your faith? Think about Peter and the disciples who witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus. If ever there was an event which should strengthen your faith, what a mountain top experience this was. Yet shortly after this, Peter would deny the Lord three times. Why had this transfiguration experience not made his faith stronger? I submit it is because it did not test him. Peter figured it out by the Holy Spirit and after reaching the lowest point in his life- his denial of the Lord, something he swore he would never do. He was crushed. Thought himself to be useless. Jesus had to send a message to tell the disciples and Peter where to meet Him. Jesus knew Peter would no longer consider himself a disciple. How do I know Peter learned a hard lesson of faith at this point? Because he tells us of his experience: “ And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (I Peter 5:10) Adrian Rogers said: “A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.”
We can see the pattern of God’s design in nature. In the beauty of nature, in the majesty of the heavens which declare His glory. A Christian physician and scientist showed the beauty of God’s design by showing two slides: one was a magnificent stained glass window which stirred the audience with its sheer beauty and the wonderful skill of the artist who created it. Then the second slide was shown next to it and the resemblance in design and color were so similar it was amazing, but what took the breath of the audience was the second slide was a cross section of human DNA. (This was done by Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project and co-mapper of human DNA)
We know God is our Creator. We are in awe of the many things we see in nature which are beautiful and inspiring. Yet we fail to see the pattern of the Grand Weaver’s design in our own lives sometimes, especially in tough times. To us on the underside of this tapestry, we see nothing but knots and tangles.
For in our times of testing, in our fiery trials, in our trip to the Potter’s Shed, we sometimes cannot see the design or pattern. It seems hopeless and useless, yet in our heart of hearts as His children, we know God always has a purpose. Nothing can happen in this world and in our lives that is not part of His design.
Let me share with you three steps which will help us see the design the Grand Weaver is weaving into our lives.
- Allow God to make your heart tender. To do this we must respond to adversity, trouble and suffering in the appropriate way or we will become disappointed. (“I once was downhearted, disappointment was my best friend. But then you, came and it soon departed and you know it never showed its face again! Your love keeps lifting me higher, higher than ever before.” Jackie Wilson song, Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher) If you allow your heart to become hardened by your trouble and desensitized, your heart will be crushed under the weight of the disappointment. Do not let the enemy of your heart drive a wedge between you and your Heavenly Father, The Grand Weaver.
- Make your mind strong through faith. And as we have seen, adversity builds strength. Suffering creates endurance, perseverance/patience. And patience is a builder of faith, character and integrity. This is our source of hope which does not disappoint. Faith is a thing of the mind. This is why Paul tells us ‘not to be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. For as man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Believe God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. And His Son, Jesus tells us His Father, who is also your Father, is always at work. And He is working all things together for good for those who were the called according to the purpose. Whatever is happening to you now, God has allowed. God is doing it on purpose. He is Sovereign and in complete control. He formed you for a purpose. Trust Him and do not lean to your own understanding.
- See the world through the lens of Jesus’s life. The enemy wants to portray God as a dictator, a wrathful king who wants blood, a ‘kill-joy’ who withholds good and is narrow minded, an egotistic deity who cannot be trusted. God longs for you to see Him as He really is. This is why Jesus came, the One who was the exact representation of God. Jesus said to Phillip who wanted to see the Father. If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. What we see in the life story of Jesus is a God who so loved the world and He sent His only Son to pay for our sins to die for us and experience the suffering for our sins. The Carpenter of Nazareth built a bridge across a chasm we could not get across. He built it with an old rugged cross and a handful of nails. And since Jesus, God the Son who became flesh, and the Father are one- God gave us His all- so He could be our all -in -all. Do you see? God gave Himself to us, so we could give ourselves to Him. It is mutual submission. But God gave Himself for me while I was yet a sinner. He first loved me.
Think about the Cross: Jesus suffered the most anyone has ever suffered or ever will when, He, who knew no sin, became sin and took our penalty for our sin. Not just our sins, but the sins of the whole world. Do you realize the lowest point and greatest suffering Jesus experienced in his incarnate, physical life was when He was centered in His Father’s will.
God is your Grand Weaver if you are His child. So do not drift from His Word. The truth of His word is the thread He is sowing into your life. His Word is shaping you. It is the truth which sets you free. And truth is in a person, the One called the Word of God, who said of himself: I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me. (John 14)
A tender heart. The Holy Spirit is said to seal us. This reminds me of what was done in ancient times, a king would send a message which was sealed with wax, which had been heated to soften it and make it easy to receive the imprint. Is this not what God has done through our testing, made our hearts tender whereby we might receive the imprint and seal of the Holy Spirit. Remember the disciples on the road to Emmaus? When the resurrected Lord shared the Word with them, they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Do you see when that occurred? On one of the saddest days and weekend of their lives. They were disappointed, downcast, and heartbroken for they had hoped He was the Messiah, now that hope appeared to be gone. But things were not as they appeared- they never are.
That is why we are encouraged not to harden our hearts.
A mind transformed by the Word of God- stored in our tender hearts. And now the eyes of our hearts can be opened to see through lens of the life of Jesus- God as He longs for us to see Him.
Does Job or his three friends have all the answers? No. And neither do I. Sometimes Gina asked me in great earnestness about a problem for which we have prayed so long- why isn’t God answering our prayers? To which I reply: “I don’t know.”
I don’t know. God does. He knows the way I take. The reason I do not know- is if I knew I would not need faith. Faith exists in the area of the unknown. If it is known, we do not need faith. Faith exists in the area of the unknown, the unseen, the hoped for which has not become reality yet.
This is where faith grows strong. For it is here where you meditate on the Word of God day and night. It is in these times you are desperate to hear from God. You cry out for mercy. You want peace.
Remind yourself of what you do know:
- Jesus Christ died for my sins. He did not die in vain. He died for me, for my sins.
- I know having believed Him, my sins are forgiven.
- I know when I die, I will go the heaven.
- I know He loves me and will never leave me or forsake me.
- I know He is my Helper.
- I know He will not place more on me than I can take, but will with the temptation, the test make a way for me to escape so I can bear it.
- I know He is the same today, as He was yesterday as He will be tomorrow and forever.
I know- He knows the way I take. And when He has tried me I shall come forth as gold.