One of my favourite men in The Bible is Job. Whenever I hear of his story, I always think about how amazing it would be to have that kind of faith. If you are unaware of who Job is, or you have tried to read it, and just couldn’t ever fully grasp it, well then you’re not the only one.. Job is quite a long book, and can be quite overwhelming, and difficult to understand.. I recommend google-ing Job to see which key parts you may have missed.
If you would rather hear the condensed version right now, this is it: he was a righteous, holy man who had received many blessings from The Lord. One day Satan asked God if he could prove to Him that Job would not continue to be faithful, if he had everything taken away. God agreed. Through all of the tribulation and heart ache that Job endured, he still continued to believe in The Lord, and trust in His goodness. At the end of the story God blesses Job for his faith, and restores unto him all that he had lost, and then some. Now there is obviously more to it then just that, but that is the story in nutshell.
One of the amazing things about The Bible is that there are so many lessons in every story. Even when you think you have understood everything there is to know, you soon realize that you’ve only just skimmed the surface.
There are definitely more teachings in Job that I have yet to grasp, but for now, these are the 7 lessons that I have learned:
He had everything he loved be taken away from him. Can you imagine the pain and torment he must have felt? If that doesn’t make you doubt God, I don’t know what will. Job definitely had moments where he struggled with trying to understand why The Lord would allow this (Job 3), but he never turned away from Him. We have all faced situations when we have felt angry, disappointed, and confused. Everything is going wrong, it feels too hard to have patience, and we just want it all fixed..like, yesterday! But as the prophets, before us, demonstrate, sometimes we must endure the heartache, in order to obtain the precious treasure that our Lord has in store for us.
Job was unaware of the reasons for his pain, he also didn’t know if he was ever going to get relief from it, but he didn’t allow that to cause him to stop following The Lord. He held onto his hope in God, and trusted that his Lord would deliver, someway, somehow.
We are told right away that Job is a righteous man of God, he is faithful and obedient. Of course this doesn’t mean that Job is completely free from sin, but it shows us that if anyone could avoid punishment then it would be probably be him. There are times in the story where Job is left questioning, like any of us would, what he had done to deserve this treatment. He thought he had been living a Godly life, but if all of this was happening to him, then maybe he was wrong. He seeks guidance from his friends, asking them if maybe he had overlooked some of his own actions that could be causing these events to take place. Welllll… they were not the most encouraging friends, to say the least. They tell Job that the only explanation is that he isn’t as righteous as he thought, and that he is obviously just a big, big sinner (Job 11).
Poor Job.. I can’t even begin to understand the pain he must have felt when his whole world began to fall apart, and not only that, but the guilt that filled him when everyone was claiming that it was all his fault. At times, Job is filled with so much anxiety and fear.. he is continuously questioning what he has done wrong, and is crying out to God to just give him an explanation. He is living in a constant state of fear, always wondering when the next bad thing will happen (Job 7:20-21)
But as we see in the beginning when Satan is asking for permission to prove Job’s lack of faith, The Lord does not agree in order to punish Job.. It’s actually the complete opposite. He knows that Job’s heart is true, and He allows all of this in order to build Job’s relationship with God, and to bring him to a deeper understanding of who He really is.
It’s easy for us to trust The Lord when everything is going our way, but it’s in our darkest moments that we are able to really see how merciful God is.. if we are willing to open our eyes.
We are told in 1 Peter 1:7 that The trial of your faith, being more precious than of gold. This is a really hard concept to grasp when you are in the middle of the storm, but it’s so true. Without our trials we would not grow as Christians, we would not learn to lean solely on Jesus, and we would not learn to have real, deep compassion for others. No one would say that it’s fun or easy to go through hard times, but we need to remember that they are for our good.
Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me. – Job 30:21
It is such a common reaction for us, when we are hit with one of life’s many avalanches, to blame The Lord, and to question His goodness. It’s funny how when everything is fine and dandy, most people want nothing to do with God.. but as soon as things turn upside down, He’s the first one they want to blame… and don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there, too.
You see, because Job was such a righteous man, Satan chose to attack him, causing him to question God. If God was so good, then why would he allow so much harm to one of His faithful servants? We think that if God is letting tribulation prevail in our life, then it must mean that He doesn’t care. We believe that a loving Father would only allow blessings for His children.. but this just isn’t so. If you are a parent, then you know that there will be moments when we must allow our kids to walk through trying times, in order for them to learn and grow. The Lord does not find joy in allowing suffering in our lives, but He sees the bigger picture, and He knows that sometimes we must experience hardships in order to obtain stronger faith, deeper wisdom, and a real dependency on our Heavenly Father. Lets be honest here.. for most of us (maybe not all), our flesh is too strong, and if everything was always hunky dory, we probably wouldn’t feel much of a need to seek a close relationship with The Lord. Now, I wish I could say that this wasn’t true, but I know in my own life that sometimes, when the waters have been calm, I seem to become less focused on drawing near to Him.. but as soon as that boat starts to rock, well.. I come running back to my Father for help. The Lord has such a desire for us to seek Him, to know Him, and to love Him with all that we have. So at times we may face trials, but oh golly my dear friends, these trials are so worth it, because they are what bring us closer to Him!
We must remember that an easy, happy life is not what is most important, but our relationship with our Heavenly Father, and our eternal salvation is.
One of the actions of Job that I have always found to be so endearing is that even when everything was crashing down around Him, and even when He was in a state of complete confusion, frustration, and despair, he never stopped turning to God. Now, there may have been many conversations where he yelled at God, questioned Him (Job 7), and even had a full on tantrum(Job 3), but one thing still remained, Job knew that there was no way he was going to get through this without his Father.
I think that when we are being faced with tough situations our reaction is to flee from God because our faith in Him is weak, and we’re not sure if He will actually come through for us. We turn away from Him, and cling to anything in this world that might ease the pain and torment. I have been there so many times.. I have walked down that path of resentment, doubt, and anger, thinking that I can make it through on my own.. but you know what I have learned?? That just ain’t going to happen. On my own I will not be able to overcome the hurt that this life has to offer.. And if I try to rely on my strength to get me through, I will just crumble underneath the weight of it all.. but thank Jesus, I have this hope.. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me – Philippians 4:13.
Job knew it, and we must know it too, this life is going to beat us down.. there will be moments where the burdens completely engulf us, but if we choose to hold on to The Lord with all of our might, He is faithful to bring us through. The Lord does not promise us an easy life, but He does promise us that He will hold our hand through the pain, and make a way for us to overcome.
As the sinful beings that we are, we think that we know eeeeeverything.. I mean to be completely blunt, the human race is a pretty arrogant, big-headed bunch. We are really just tiny little specs in this humongous world that God created, and don’t have any right to question the decisions that He makes.
Job and his friends seemed to think that they had God all figured out, but they didn’t know the conversation that went on between The Lord and Satan. They were unaware of the bigger plan that was unfolding in higher places. Still they thought they knew the reasons for The Lord allowing these incidents to take place in Job’s life, and because of it they caused a lot of unnecessary confusion.
I think sometimes we all can be a bit like Job’s friends. Maybe one of our loved ones is going through a hard time, so in trying to comfort them or give them answers for their questions, we share with them our “wisdom”. I believe our intentions are honest, but there are certain times when we need to keep our mouths shut. Instead of always trying to come up with an explanation, and putting words into The Lord’s mouth, we need to admit that we just don’t know. There will be events in our lives that don’t make sense to us, but our responsibility is not to question, but instead, to trust God, and believe that He knows best.
Towards the end of the book, Job finally gets a response from God, but maybe not the one he was hoping for. God gives him an answer that brings about complete humility. He pretty much asks Job if he created the universe, and if he didn’t, then he shouldn’t doubt God’s decisions (you can read it in Job 38:2-40:2).
Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said,
Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
– Job 40:1-4
Can I get an Amen?? I know it can be a hard thing to admit sometimes, we want to believe that we know what’s best for us, but we don’t. We need to serve ourselves a big ol’ piece of humble pie, and realize that we did not create the universe, and we really don’t have a right to question the One who did. We must trust that our Lord is pure, and good, and faithful. He will only allow what He knows is best for us. In the midst of the trials, it can be really hard to believe that, but none the less, we need to.
Throughout the book, we see Job continuously asking The Lord to give him an answer. He has no idea why all of this is going down, and he just needs some clarity. I personally think part of him just wanted to know that God was still hearing him, and that He still loved him.
Having patience can be such a difficult lesson to learn. There are situations where we cry out to God with our questions, and our needs, only to be met with silence. It can really try your faith when you are so desperate for an answer, but one doesn’t come. It seems to be our instant reaction to assume that if He’s not responding, then He just isn’t listening. We begin to believe that there isn’t a point in praying to God, if He doesn’t hear. But this is where faith comes into play. We must trust that The Lord always hears, and He always cares.
One of the greatest, if not the greatest, lesson we can learn from Job is that even when every single thing goes wrong, The Lord is still good. A lot of the time our love comes with conditions. It’s very easy to love someone when they do what we want, but the real test is when they don’t. If this was what qualified God for our love, then it would be safe to say that Job had every right to turn away from Him. But Job didn’t, not because he was a saint, but because he knew that The Lord always deserves our love. This was part of Job’s test, to see if even without all of the blessings that The Lord had given him, if he would still follow Him.. and he sure passed.
Difficult times will come, but we must remember that our love for The Lord should not be based on what He can do for us, but on who He is.
Phew.. that was a long one I know, and to be honest there is probably so many more lessons in the book of Job that I am not aware of. It’s an amazing book that I know will surely strengthen your faith.
Like Job shows us, life isn’t always going to be a piece of cake, but if we purpose to draw near to our Lord in the midst of the storm, and we choose to love Him no matter what, then we will see our relationship with Him grow.. and that my dear friends is the greatest gift of all!
Have you ever studied the book of Job? What lessons have you learned?
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of The Lord.
– Job 1:21
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