“But he knows the way I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” – Job 23:10
The book of Job bothers most people because it never really addresses the issue of why people suffer. However, Job bothers me because it show us that God is more interested in our faith and the final, gold-like qualities of our life than He is in our comfort and pleasure.
God wants us all to come forth as gold. But why gold? Probably because it is such an interesting metal. 1.02 ounces of gold can be drawn into a wire 62 miles long. It conducts electricity, shields from heat and, because of its ability to reflect infrared light, it is used to control the temperature on satellites. NASA coats the visors of space suits with gold to afford them protection from the rays of the sun.
Gold is non-toxic if consumed, and chefs use it as a food decoration in the form of gold leaf. 1 ounce of gold can be beaten so thin that it covers 300 sq. ft. Gold is described as ductile because it can be drawn out into a fine wire and malleable because it is easily hammered into sheets. A goldsmith can shape it into any desired form, and it is resistant to rust, oxidation and tarnishing.
Gold is a marvelous substance for the countless ways it is shaped and used. However, before it can be used, it must be harvested, melted, purified and tested. Job understood what it took to make pure gold, and even so, he was willing to go through the process.
Contrary to many people’s theology and comfortable lifestyles, Scripture teaches us that God does desires to test us. The word “test” in this passage is a Hebrew word which means to examine, prove, and test (especially metals); to generally and figuratively investigate. What God is investigating is our purity, our faithfulness, our obedience to His commands. Job knew that when the testing was over he would shine like 24-carat gold.
Do you know when gold is pure? When the goldsmith can see his face reflected in the gold. This leads me to a very uncomfortable question: Does God see Jesus or Jim when He looks at my life?
The other part that bothers me is this: the real value of gold is never found in its native state. It is most valuable only after the goldsmith has fired, purified and shaped into something desired by the owner. Pure gold is malleable, workable, stretchable and easily purified. Am I? Am I malleable, workable and stretchable in the hands of my Creator? Do I willingly submit to the testing and purification process of God so He can form me and use me in any manner He sees fit? As the years go by, I do believe there is more of Jesus to see in my life and a bit less of Jim. I just didn’t really think the transformation would take so long.
One final thought. Gold is never precious to itself. It is only valuable to the One who owns it. I will never understand my ultimate value by looking at my self through my own eyes. Only when I see my self through the eyes of God will I understand my true value. Only when I see myself through the sacrificial love of Jesus do I begin to understand what God sees in me. Then, and only then, am I ready to say with Job, “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
Previously posted June ’09