I’m rather behind in beginning our series on Job, hopefully I’ll catch up this week. So here goes: The Book of Job, the Book that asks, “Why?”
It’s a massive book, and feels more massive by it’s very tone and voice. There is just so much talking, and not an easy conversation but a long drawn out presentation of misery.
I really actually enjoy the book of Job.
Honestly it is kind of amusing but I tend to enjoy books many will shy away from, Job is one, not because of it’s endless depressive tone but because of its over-all message.
Because sometimes it is in the darkest places that we find the brightest hope.
Before starting in on Job one needs to know just a few things about the players and who is, and isn’t, right in what they say. This is important because whole chapters are dedicated to one or another persons response, and if you aren’t paying attention to who is talking, and what is happening, you might pull some scriptures very out of context.
We enter the book of Job with a very quick understanding that God likes this guy, in fact He even holds up Job as an example of faithfulness, and Satan wants to test it.
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
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.” Job 1:8-12
Now you’re going to have some questions right off, and I completely understand that, questions like, “Why did God point out Job to Satan?” “Why did God just let Satan hurt Job if God loved him?”
And right there is the big question the book of Job grapples with, and it is soooo relevant to us today.
Why does God let bad things happen to good people?
Big, huge, WHY?
Job looses everything in the first two chapters, all of his wealth, all of his children, and his health. All he’s left with is his life and his wife, and even she is telling him to just get it over with, curse God, and die.
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:9-10
And his friends come by to commiserate with him.
But they do so very badly, and this is why you need to understand the context, because his friends assume something huge, and they are wrong. They assume that Job has sinned and God is punishing him, and God ISN’T, and Job HASN’T.
What follows is a very very long conversation that goes something like this:
Job: Everything is horrible! My life is horrible! Why is God doing this to me?
Friends: You’ve obviously sinned, it is all your fault! Repent you horrible person you!
Job: I haven’t sinned! I haven’t! I’m innocent! Why is God doing this to me?
Wash, rinse, repeat.
And this continues, until something else happens. But I’ll leave that till later.
What you need to know now is that the big thing here isn’t what has happened to Job, it isn’t “why did God stop blessing Job?”
The big thing you need to hold on to as you take the crazy ride of this book is this: “God is still blessing Job.”
Because even as he’s lost everything, he still has God’s favor, but Job doesn’t see it, his friends don’t see it, his wife doesn’t see it. That doesn’t make it not true.
Here is the big thing I want you to hold on to right now as we read Job:
Trial is not the absence of Blessing.
This is going to seem really upside down, and kind of radical and weird, but it can also change your whole outlook on life.
Because if you get this, if you hold on to this, you’ll find that many places you thought were darkest are actually full of light, and life, and hope.
Welcome to Job.
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job 1:20-22
I pray for you, dear reader, that as we go through Job you are able to see the beauty in the storms, the gifts in the pain, and when all that is wrong in this world rises up against you, you will fall to your knees in worship and say, “May the name of the Lord be praised!”
Joy Aletheia Stevens
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