Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord and dislocated his hip; sometimes in wrestling with God, we dislocate our souls.
We see through a glass dimly – a dirty, marred, and cracked, mirror reflects back at us, blurring and distorting our own images. Yet, through that reflection we try to see God – often judging Him for the things going on in our lives by that reflection. Sometimes we try to pray it away – some even try to claim it away. We command and rebuke, or we weep, wail, and beg, but the distorted image of God still remains.
We all have distorted images.
If you think you don’t, then sadly my friend, yours is the most distorted of all.
Read about Job in Chapter 29
1 And Job again took up his discourse and said,
2 “Oh that I were as in months gone by,
As in the days when God watched over me;
3 When His lamp shone over my head,
And by His light I walked through darkness;
4 As I was in the prime of my days,
When the friendship of God was over my tent;
5 When the Almighty was yet with me,
And my children were around me;
6 When my steps were bathed in butter,
And the rock poured out for me streams of oil!
7 “When I went out to the gate of the city,
When I took my seat in the square,
8 The young men saw me and hid themselves,
And the old men arose and stood.
9 “The princes stopped talking
And put their hands on their mouths;
10 The voice of the nobles was hushed,
And their tongue stuck to their palate.
11 “For when the ear heard, it called me blessed,
And when the eye saw, it gave witness of me, [emphasis mine]
Job had long been soul wrestling, and all he could see at this point, was his former blessings. God had watched over him – His lamp had shone over his head – He was a friend of God – the Almighty was with him. People admired him as someone who was protected and blessed by the Almighty. He was a man given great honor and respect.
He then expounds upon on his care for others, which now in his distress, he can no longer do.
Chapter 30 present Job in his humiliation, “But now those younger than I mock me, Whose fathers I disdained to put with the dogs of my flock.” (v 1)….”and now my soul is poured out within me, days of affliction have seized me (v16)…I have become like dust and ashes(v19b)…
I cry out to you for help, but you do not answer me; I stand up, and you turn your attention against me. You have become cruel to me…”
Job was still wrestling with God – and His soul was dislocated. He had seen through a dimly lit and cracked mirror, and his perspective of God was blurred by a mirror of blessings. His health, prosperity, even his family had been taken from him, so obviously God has removed himself as well. Many of us have been in places where God has felt cruel to us – where we questioned our years of faithfulness and integrity before God, only to be left feeling abandoned, or confused.
I have heard the emphasis of Job’s story too many times – the latter fortunes of Job were greater than the former – his wealth was restored double – and they were; but from Job’s new, clearer perspective, he tells us what the end the experience of his suffering produced. I am sure the double fold blessing of wealth, was filthy rags in comparison to the infinite, developing knowledge of God. Chapter 42:
1 Then Job answered the LORD and said,
2 “I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
“Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
4 ‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
6 Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.”
The purposes of God could not be “thwarted.” God wanted to draw Job into a deeper understanding and intimacy with Himself. What does Jesus want for us? A deeper intimacy with Himself and the Father.
Job says he, “declared that which he did not understand.” All the prosperity in the world did not give him a clear vision of God, nor did perfect health; only suffering brought Job to the place where he could see God. His dirty, marred and cracked mirror could reflect a little more clearly the heart, and purposes of God. He had wrestled with God, and had a dislocation of the soul. His permanent limp would forever remind him, “I will ask you, and You instruct me.”