Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Week Twenty-Three - I'm not Job!

I'm not Job; perfect and upright. I have flaws. I don't have ten children; I have five. I don't have livestock; I don't even have a pet. I don't live near my children. They are thousands of miles away. But each day, I ask God for His hand of love and protection around them. You might catch me wailing, complaining, and experiencing fear and worry when a crisis or trouble comes, but my reaction, like Job's, is my choice. What did Job believe that gave him such faith and spiritual stamina in dire circumstances? Is his secret available to me?

As I continued to read Job's story, I think I found it. The first hint is in Job 1:21, where he says, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Do you see it? Everything belongs to the Lord. Everything! Job knew God's hand brought him wealth, family, and prestige. He humbled himself and blessed the Lord because he knew the cattle on a thousand hills and all of his temporal possessions belonged to the Lord. 

That might sound rather cold, but sometimes the truth is like that. I read on and found a few more sparks of truth that helped me see beauty in the middle of Job's despair.

Not only did Job believe everything belonged to the Lord; he also knew everything came from the Lord. The Lord gives from His abundant supply, and it is His prerogative to administer every facet of His creation. Job knew this truth and settled his heart to accept God's sovereignty in all matters.

In Job 12:9-10, he says, "Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind." Sounds like Job already knew the truth of Ephesians 1:11, God "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."

In chapter two, Job's wife and Satan describe him as a man who "holdeth fast his integrity." Do you know what that means? We might think it refers to his manner of life, honesty, or consistency, but the actual definition means his innocence. Job believed he had not done wrong, that his circumstances were not the result of personal failure. His heart was right before God, so he didn't have to question why hard times came. He knew God was at work. There is a lot to be said for knowing your innocence. It means you don't face self-condemnation, and you stand before your enemy with a pure heart. It gives you a place from which you can evaluate the situation with more wisdom and peace.

The revealing thing to me is that though Job did not question these truths, he still grieved. "His grief was very great" (Job 2:13). He was human. I'm glad God didn't hide Job's emotions from us, but I am equally happy God showed us Job's faith. This makes it even more poignant to read Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." Though Job did not know why hardship had come his way, and he felt the sting of emotions, he rested his hope on truth. Everything belongs to God, and everything comes from God. So Job chose to trust Him.

If we want to come through our trials shining like gold, like Job, we must follow his example. God works everything according to the counsel of His will. Rest yourself there. That's the secret!

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