Job 23:10-12—But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
Job’s friends continued to insist that he was being punished for his sin. They kept telling him that the wicked are always punished and the righteous are always blessed. Job told them that this was just not true. Many wicked live in prosperity and die in peace. Many righteous suffer without a cause that can be determined. He told them their counsel was not true. We’d like to think that judgment for the wicked is always swift and observable, but God often reserves judgment for the Day of Judgment. Job had a firm conviction that he had not intentionally committed anything for which the Lord would deal with him like this. He had retraced his actions, thought through his life, and not been able to find anything for which God would be disciplining him. How few of us can make the same statement! Of course, he had sinned, but he had not intentionally rebelled against God’s will. Instead of punishment, he now saw this as a refining process, just as gold is refined by fire. We will see this idea again throughout the Scriptures, but this is the first mention of it chronologically. What words is Job referring to when he speaks of ‘the words of God’s mouth’? He may have had an oral report of Adam to Abraham but as yet there were no written accounts that we know of, with the possible exception of the Book of Enoch. Did Job once hear the still small voice of God? He complained that no matter which direction he turned God was not to be found. Perhaps he had found God in the past in that voice within his heart, but now the heavens were silent. He treasured the words of God more than his daily food. That was what led to such a righteous life. There will be times in our life when we are walking with God and yet we do not hear His voice. We must proceed by faith, knowing He is refining and teaching the child upon whom He has fixed His love.