Thursday, November 11, 2004

And Job Worshiped: Job 1 & 2

I think we can learn a lot from how Job responded to the loss of his possessions, his children, and his health. It says that, after hearing the reports of his losses, that he "tore his robe and shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped." (Job 1:20). The first thing to see is that Job grieved over his losses. Job felt the pain of his losses very deeply. In fact, at the end of chapter 2, it says that Job's "pain was very great." When we suffer affliction, God does not expect us to put on a happy face and pretend like nothing has happened and everything is all right.

Paul talks about, "suffering the loss." Loss is always accompanied with pain. This is true for both the believer and the unbeliever alike. But what separates Job from many people today is how he handled that pain and where he turned for strength and comfort. In the midst of his pain, Job worshiped God. Job understood that ultimately God was in control. That even when he could not understand his circumstances, God understood them. He was able to release his questioning and wonderings to a God whom he knew was good and just.

I believe that there are some lessons we can glean from Job and his response to his suffering:

Some things are worth more than riches
Job realized that riches are temporary; the come and they go. He reminds us that "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away." But Job possessed something that he considered of greater value than all his riches, something eternal. When Job lost all that he had, he still had his relationship with the Lord. Job valued his walk with the Lord above all things and, when he lost all his earthly possessions, he still counted himself rich because of his relationship with God. Paul writes about us who believe saying, "We are as poor, yet making many rich." (2 Corinthians 6:10). How we handle our losses in life depends on where our riches lie. Are our riches found only in this life or do they lie in the eternal Kingdom of God?

Somethings are too valuable to surrender
Job's wife asked him a very interesting question. She asked, "Do you still hold fast your integrity?" (Job 2:9). We all have things in our lives that are negotiable. We all have things that we are willing to give up or do if the price is right. To see the truth of this we need only to turn on one of the many reality shows on TV. It amazes me to see how far people will go and what they will give up just for the chance to will $1 million. But for Job, there were things that were not negotiable. He possessed things that he was not willing to sell or depart with. Job's integrity mattered more to him than his possessions and his own personal comfort. What are the non-negotiable items in our lives? For Job they were things like integrity, uprightness, and fidelity. Psalm 15:4 says that the righteous, "swears to his own hurt and does not change."
What David is saying is that the righteous live for what is right, even if it means that their own personal comfort must suffer. Proverbs 22:1 says that, "a good name is to be more desired than great wealth." It is better to have character than wealth, and good character is work holding onto.

Life is for living, not quieting
Job's wife's counsel to him was to "curse God and die." Her council to Job was to "take the easy way out" and to "give up on life". To be sure, Job's present condition was not very pleasant. In fact, later on in the book, Job even begs God to let him die. But one thing Job never considered was ending his life on his own. Job never considered suicide. For Job, life was for living, right up till the very day that God would call him home. It is God who decides our lot in life and it is God who determines our length of days. Life is sacred, and no matter how difficult our life may be, we do not have the right to end it prematurely. That is God's job.

David Robison

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