then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear. Job 11:15
This comes from Job chapter 11 where his well meaning friend, Zophar is telling Job it is his fault that all of the terrible things are happening to him, and he needs to repent and have more faith and everything will be better.
Well if you know anything about Job, you know that in an instant his whole life is turned upside down.
13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Poor Job, he just couldn’t catch a break. Perhaps any other person experiencing all of those tragedies would curse God and turn away from him, but instead Job’s response is suprising:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.[c]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing
The onslaught of tragedies had nothing to do with his lack of devotion to God, because even in the middle of unimaginable pain and suffering he still praises God.
I don’t know about you, but that is super convicting to me, that in the darkest times he still is able to praise God.
Now let’s take a look further at his friends “well-meaning” advice:
“Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,
14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.
16 You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
17 Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.
18 You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favor.
20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
and escape will elude them;
their hope will become a dying gasp.”
Zophar tells Job he can only stand firm, free of fault and without fear if he devotes his heart to God, stops sinning and has hope. Essentially he is saying it is his fault he is going through this and with a few quick fixes he will be “good as new”.
But that is not how pain works. That is not how grief works.
Even in the midst of pain and suffering we can still praise God because our circumstances do not reflect the kind of God He is.
Because of God’s goodness, His grace is given to us.
You can be fully anchored in your faith in God and still suffer.
Because Jesus died on the cross for us and our sins, we are presented holy and blameless before the Lord, through his sacrifice we can lift up our face and stand firm, free of fear.
So lift up your face, friends. Know that because of Jesus you are forgiven, and walk in the confidence He has given you to be free of fear!
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7