When we left Job last, Satan had taken all of his material possessions and killed his children. Yet, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:22).
Grab your coffee because Job’s life is about to get worse. (I know, it hardly seems possible).
That same angel gathering happens again, and again Satan approaches God. And again God brags about Job, calling Job a man of integrity even in the midst of hardship. And AGAIN, Satan challenges God’s glory. It’s instant replay, friends, but this time God grants the enemy permission to attack Job’s health, sparing only his life.
This makes me weep. I’m fairly certain we all know someone, if not ourselves, who’ve endured tremendous physical ailments. Like torture, our bodies are riddled with pain, deformity, and dysfunction. I don’t dare say one trial is worse than another, but physical pain coupled with extreme grief… that’s unbearable to watch, let alone live through.
In despair, Job cuts himself and sits weeping in the ashes of his lost life. He was broken in every way, empty of all hope and silenced by the weight of tears.
Even his wife wanted him rescued from the torture and her only solution was death. “Curse God and die!” she said.
Hold up. Before we gasp at this poor bereaved wife, let me clarify that the word “curse” in this sentence is not what we think it is- it is NOT the translated word for “place a hex” or use foul language at God. No… it means to kneel.
She was asking him to kneel to the circumstances, to give in and give up.
I can’t blame her, it had to have been agonizing having lost all of her children, her home, her security and now her husband sat painfully debilitated in a pile of ashes. She doubted the character of God in the midst of unpredictable and unprecedented loss. Death had to be better than all of this.
But not to Job. Although, I don’t think it was the death part he was opposed to… it was the kneeling to the circumstances, giving-up part. From the very beginning Job was about kneeling and honoring God alone.
His response has yet again unraveled my pretty little picture of faith.
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10)
Here sits a man who once had everything. Everything. Now it has all gone up in smoke. In writhing pain he sits, empty and broken, and humble. Bowed low with nothing to speak of, he places honor at the feet of a sovereign God. He clung to faith in God’s character, not just His hand.
Let’s be honest, we wrestle with hardship and pain, even when it’s not our own. Other’s messy struggle make us uncomfortable and sometimes awkward. Pain and tragedy scare us and we frantically search for the why. Here in this place of utter devastation, Job didn’t search for the why. He just bowed low… and adored God in both the good and the bad.
That is hard to do when we are holding on to pride.
This post is part of a series through the book of Job. If you don’t want to miss any future posts of this study sign up in the box at the top right to get the latest delivered directly into you inbox. Also, you can find the story of Job in almost any translation Here. All scripture addresses link to Biblegateway.com.
We’re diving in friends! This is the first post in the series on the book of Job. Remember, we’ve agreed to be real, no fake-hide-the-pain-smiles here. This week we’re talking about Job chapter 1.
Job was a man who had it all. I mean really, he had everything going for him. He was a prosperous herdsman with 11,000 in total animals and a crazy number of servants to help care for those large herds. Just for fun I Googled his worth. Mind you there is no mention of land ownership and his slaves aren’t numbered- so this is based on his herds alone. (And the price of sheep varies GREATLY ) Job was worth over 13 million dollars! He had a large and healthy family and an even larger circle of friends. Not only was he rich, respected, wise, and famous, but to boot, he was blameless before the Lord.
Job 1:1 “This man was blameless and upright, he feared God and shunned evil.”
He was in right relationship with God, and he revered the Lord with honor and awe. Job had blessing, prosperity and strong faith. What more is there?
He even took precautions to avoid sin among his children “just in case”. After his kids partied, he would put his entire household into a process of cleansing; offering sacrifices of repentance. And to be clear, the sin he was most worried about was that his children would stop honoring God while celebrating with their friends… we’re not even talking about the “Big” sins. His biggest concern was his children’s destiny.
So you get the picture, Job was doing it all right. He was a good steward of the blessings and assets he had, he sought the Lord in business and in family and he was faithful in his walk with God.
Then the middle of chapter 1 happens and things suddenly get messy. The scene opens in the throne room of heaven with Almighty God about to begin a staff meeting with his army of Angels. When Satan walks in. (Can we pause there a second. I recently heard a preacher clarify something that makes this picture a little clearer to me… Satan and God are NOT equals. Satan never was and never will be a god… this good vs evil thing is not a war between gods. Satan is a disgruntled angel who likes to think he’s a god.) Satan, out of familiarity, shows up to this daily meeting , and God asks him what he’s up to. Satan readily admits he’s been snooping around the earth.
So God takes this moment to bring up glory, and begins talking about Job.
Satan takes the bait and asks God to prove His glory in this so called faithful servant.
I wonder what the room of angels sounded like at this moment, did they gasp? Or did they smirk, knowing the power of glory about to be revealed?
None-the-less, God grants permission to strip Job of everything.
Job 1:12 “The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
And here is where my predictable box of religion gets turned over.
Job was doing everything right. He prayed the right prayers, he attended all the right church services, he gave the right amount of tithe, he read the book and kept a clean life. Even God Himself declared Job as blameless.
Yet God granted the devil permission to destroy it all.
The wrestle right here is real for me. Maybe you too, because we put this faith in God in a box of formulas and processes. If this ___ then this ____. So, if not this ____ than this ____. We think we can access the promises of God by following the formula.
What if faith isn’t a formula at all, not a recipe of various ingredients, not a puzzle to be put together?
What if it has nothing to do with what God can provide and do, but instead is all about who God is?
What if naked we come and naked we go, but blessed be the name of the Lord?
This post is part of a series through the book of Job. If you don’t want to miss any future posts of this study sign up in the box at the top right to get the latest delivered directly into you inbox. Also, you can find the story of Job in almost any translation Here.
I stood there in my kitchen, her tears echoing in my ear. Life is brutal sometimes, okay, a lot of the time. Setting the phone down, I let her ache sink deeper in my mind; reminding me so much of my own. Mine numbed by time, her’s fresh with gaping wounds.
Questions swirled… why? …How? I glanced out the window as the wind whipped through the leaves with a vengeance. “It doesn’t make any sense, God… and it isn’t fair at all” I whispered.
Something a man named Job once said echoed through the violent dance of leaves. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21b)
This man confuses me, his story compounds my wrestle. How can someone loose everything and not throw fists at the heavens? And why did God call him blameless?
How do you worship the Lord when the world under your feet completely gives way? How do you cling to faith in the midst of darkness, where hopelessness seems rampant and God sounds like silence? How do you praise God from a pile of ashes?
The answers to those questions have to be tucked somewhere within the word of God. Sure, faith can sometimes look like a field of daisies in the sunshine, where prayers are answered and the whole earth sings the hallelujah chorus. But more often than not, faith is hard and downright messy with the foul of sweat and ugly tears. You might even call it bloody as we fight to hold on to the promises of God. I know no better place to dig for truth about that battle than in the book of Job.
Will you join me? Can we talk about it with our real voices and not the pretend smiles we wear to hide the pain? Can we be brutal with ourselves about how hard it is to go through tough seasons and still believe in God?
Good. I’ll put on the coffee.
This is the first post in a series ~ we will sit with Job among the ashes to talk about faith in the midst of trial. I have no idea how long this series will take… but I do know it will happen every week (maybe even twice a week!). If you don’t want to miss one- sign up to meet us in your email inbox. I’m so eager to meet with you and talk about real faith in real life. Also, a GREAT online (and Mobile – my all time favorite Bible App) resource to study and read through the Word is Biblegateway.com ~ check them out!! All scriptures throughout this series will link back to their website, feel free to read the verses in different translations by clicking the emboldened reference – i.e. Job 1:1). Ok- enough chat – I’ll see you all very soon with Job chapter 1!
Hello my dear friends!
It’s been far too long since we’ve sat together and talked all things faith! I decided to turn the light on in here and tell you all about it. :)
If you’re getting this in your email inbox- you need to click HERE and come see my smiling face!
In the video I referenced a book… you can read about it HERE.
And I referenced linking arms with a Ministry out of California… check them out here: Remade Ministries
So now, may the God of peace make you His own completely and set you apart from the rest.
May your spirit, soul and body be preserved, kept intact and wholly free from any sort of blame
at the coming of our Lord Jesus the Anointed.
For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (Voice)
It’s daunting, this walk of righteousness. The world spins on distortions. Distracting greed, relentless selfishness, savory desires; they all pull and tug for your focus. Sometimes even fellow sheep seem to feed this battle through jealous comparisons and gossipy discussions.
But God has called you higher, you know it. He has called you to be His love on display. You are a radiant exhibition of His goodness, His self-control, His perseverance, His mercy. This is His light of righteousness through your life.
It is not by your doing, but by the God who has called you. He alone is faithful and trustworthy to bring those things out in you. You will be preserved with the integrity of the Holy Spirit.
Chin up, lovely, He is faithful.
*this post originally appeared on Drop of Encouragement at Remade Ministries.