Day 243: Praise's Bruising
For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: — Job 23:16 KJV.
A chord must be struck to create music, and spices must be crushed to produce their sweet smell. Music would not be so beautiful without the minor chord. So, too, must our hearts be bruised and made soft to receive and exude God's word and praise in richness and beauty.
Job 23 is a sonnet of praise sung in a minor chord.
At this point in his life, Job has lost everything. There is no answer as to why. His friends tell him its because he's a great sinner and that God is punishing him to bring him to repentance. But that isn't why Job is suffering. What Job cannot see is the unseen conflict between God and Satan. Satan's desire is clear: to cause Job to harden to God and renounce his faith. God desires to purify Job and to awaken him to a righteousness that is beyond his own. But Job doesn't know that, yet.
First, Job resists the urge to complain.
Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. — Job 23:2 KJV
My stroke is more massive than my groaning. The King James translators placed in the margin here, My hand is heavier than my groaning. This meant he was resisting the urge to grumble and complain. He desired instead to appeal to God than to complain about God.
Praise and complaining don't mix.
Then, Job seeks his case to be heard by God, but cannot find him.
Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! — Job 23:3 KJV
Job may not have known where to find God, but God knew right where Job was--in the furnace!
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. — Job 23:10 KJV
It's easy to praise when the path is understandable, but to receive God's song in the night--that is faith.
...in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. — Psa 42:8 KJV
Job recognizes he's stuck in his circumstances.
God appointed this furnace. Job may have been seeking a hearing with God to present his case, but God had more to teach him. Try as he might, he couldn't get out of the trial.
But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. — Job 23:13-14 KJV
Job could not see from God's perspective, but he could tell God was doing something in his heart--God was making it soft. This was the opposite of what Satan desired, but God was in charge of the furnace's thermostat. A soft heart toward God is the equivalent of a toiled field, ready to be sown by the farmer's choice seed.
There's a pain in the breaking, but joy comes in the morning!
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. — Psa 30:5 KJV
Job's bruising was painful but necessary. Up to this point, Job had been presenting his own righteousness that was established upon doing what is right. That is good for oneself and others, but it's not enough in the sight of God. God's righteousness is bestowed and not earned.
Job declares this once he finally gets his meeting with God.
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. — Job 42:5-6 KJV
Can you hear the praise in that? I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee!
Job no longer asks why. That is when praise matures.