One day, I went to the supermarket with my wife. (Especially in the very hot summer or cold winter, I go there sometimes to do some walking.) Making it a point to look at the faces of the people I passed by, I noticed that most of them looked a bit sad. I suppose that reflects the Biblical truth that "Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward" ( Job 5:7), which, in turn, was the result of man's fall. God said to Adam, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" (Gen. 3:17).
Then, I decided to smile at the people I came across, and in almost all cases they smiled back. And those smiles immediately added cheerfulness to their faces, making them warmer and friendlier.
That occasion brought to my mind the last two verses of Job Chapter 29, where the man Job was speaking as a type of Christ. Those verses are quoted in the box above. The word "laughed" in the first half of verse 24 is translated "smiled" in many other versions, including the NIV, the American Standard and the Revised Standard. This is how the Modern King James starts that verse: "I smiled kindly on them when they did not believe." Indeed, even while we were unbelievers under the curse of sin, God came and smiled kindly on us.
What happened? The second half of the verse reads (KJV), "and the light of my countenance they cast not down." To understand that, let's read Psalm 4:6-8: "Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart...I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety." In short, as God smiles on us, we reject Him not;we become saved. That's irresistible grace.
Verse 25 then describes how God relates to us in our new life in Christ. First of all, He chooses our waythat is, He directs our paths of life. Then, He sits as chief, meaning He is the Lord that rules over us. He also dwells in us as a king in the army; He fights our battles. And finally, He comforts us, assuring us that we no longer have to mourn over the prospect of being eternally condemned for our sins.
Yes, all this began with God smiling kindly upon us while we were unbelievers. No wonder God told Aaron in Numbers 6:24-26 to bless the children of Israel by saying: "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." God then promises, "And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them."
Tom Holt, Editor
Third Quarter, 2001
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