In this part of the study, we pause in Genesis and head over to Job. I can’t read Job’s story and not get emotional. Though a challenging read, it is full of valuable lessons. It causes us to wrestle with some pretty tough questions, but teaches us about God, Satan, suffering, grief, repentance, faith, and hope.
We are introduced to Job by the text saying, “He was blameless – a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil (1:1).” Job was extremely wealthy, “the richest person in that entire area (1:3). He had a lot going for him in this world and his heart was in the right place with God.
But we learn quickly, that bad things are allowed to happen to good people, righteous people. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you feel like you are doing all the right things, yet trials and tragedies find their way into your life. Let’s delve into how Job handles life when all is lost.
Scripture – Job 1-5
- 1:7-12 – “‘Where have you come from?’ the Lord asked Satan. Satan answered the Lord, ‘I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.’ Then the Lord asked Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless – a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.’ Satan replied to the Lord, ‘Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!’ ‘Alright, you may test him,’ the Lord said to Satan. ‘Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.’ So Satan left the Lord’s presence.”
- 1:20-22 – Once Job loses everything – “Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, ‘I came naked from you mother’s womb and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!’ In all this, Job did not sin by blaming God.”
- 2:4-5 “Satan replied to the Lord (after a similar exchange as in 1:7-12), ‘Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!'” – Satan strikes Job with boils from head to foot.
- 2:10 – “But Job replied (to his wife), ‘You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.”
- 3:25-26 – “‘What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; only trouble comes.’
O – Observation:
- God allows Satan to test Job’s faith and integrity by taking away everything he has, including his health. He doesn’t cause it, but allows it. Job is still under God’s ultimate protection through his trials and tragedies. There are boundaries that Satan cannot cross.
- The first thing Job does is worship God.
- Satan patrols the earth and watches what goes on. He works to pull us away from God. He may understand human nature and its weakness, but not FAITH and its power!
- Humans have the capacity for unexplainable faith during suffering and grief. We can be a strong bunch with God as our foundation!
- Job’s friends come to sit with him in his grief. He curses the day he was born. One friend, Eliphaz, responds claiming that Job must have sinned to deserve such a tragedy and should repent.
A – Application:
It always breaks my heart to hear of some unexplainable, unfathomable tragedy in the lives of others. My first reaction is usually, “Why, God?” Why is there suffering and pain among your people? Why do you allow these things to happen?
Job’s whole life was stripped away without warning. Gone in the blink of an eye. What does he do first? Worship. He says in 1:21, “Praise the name of the Lord!”
Where did this act of faith come from? What caused him to react that way first?
We see him grieve, suffer and cry out to God throughout the text, but from a heart of worship. Worship, in this context, is the Hebrew word shachah, which means: to bow down. It notes prostrating oneself in reverence to God.
Job feared the almighty, powerful, and sovereign God. He understood that all that he had was from God and could be taken away. But his faith was strong in God’s loving nature as well. What he went through was beyond painful and it was okay to grieve. It was okay, or done without sin, because it came from a position of humble worship.
I remember when my Grandma (my dad’s mom) passed away 11 years ago. We were all in Alpena, MI that morning because we knew her time was close. After we had been to the hospital to say our final good-byes, we sat down for breakfast, broken-hearted and silent. My dad began to pray and the first thing he said was, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” My eyes shot open in amazement!
That has stuck with me since then as one of the greatest acts of courage that I have been able to see. Here, my dad’s mom had just passed away, and he was worshipping the Lord. It changed my heart and attitude immediately. I was sad, of course, but I was now able to focus on how good and loving the God I worship through good times and bad, truly is. It was a glimmer of light and hope on a dark day.
Another example is a woman I met one time at a lunch outing with another friend. I can’t remember her name or even exactly what she was going through (I gathered that it wasn’t good though.) My friend asked her, “do you still want to pray for our meal?” And this woman responded without hesitation, “Absolutely, there is too much to be grateful for.”
I think my jaw dropped!
When I face a trial, worship is probably one of the last things on my list to do. (Despite these great examples I have witnessed.) I grasp for understanding and control. I feel weak and depressed and my faith shrinks. What would happen if worship and gratitude were the first things I did? What if I stopped to pray like my Dad or that woman or Job. What if I turned my focus, not on my situation, but on the loving, eternal, all-powerful, and protecting Father?
You see, what happens in those dark and tough situations, when worship and gratitude are spoken, light pierces through. It’s like shooting a hole through a blackout curtain and letting the sun shine in. It allows us to see life and beauty in the midst of our pain and grief. It shows us that hope and goodness do exist.
It doesn’t change the loss or reason to suffer and grieve. It doesn’t mean things are going to be easy. But it does change our heart and perspective. I believe that it gives hope, which leads to perseverance, which leads to God being allowed make all things work for good.
What a good God we serve!
More encouraging scripture:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:6-8
P – Prayer
God, this is the day that you have made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. There is so much to be thankful for. You give hope and life in the midst of darkness in this world. You are eternal and have given us that gift as well. Father, help me to worship you first when trials come. Give me the strength to trust in your unfailing love and goodness. Take all of the bad situations in my life and use them for your glory. Amen