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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Worship In The Worst Of Times

Job, in chapter one of the book by the same name, stands out in my mind as an excellent example of the proper response in the face of overwhelming and unbelievable adversity.  While the story of Job and his adversity takes a number of twists and turns over the course of the next forty-two chapters the New Testament itself bears inspired testimony to the patience of Job when in James 5:11 we find these words, "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."

The major points of the chapter are worth highlighting.

Vs: 1 - Job was a godly man.
Vs: 3 - Job was a very wealthy man.
Vs: 5 - Job was a family man.

Everything we learn of Job in the opening verses commend him to our consideration.  He is the kind of man we should all hope to be; faithful, fruitful, and familial.  Job was good and everything was good in his life.

Yet, unknown to Job, a storm was brewing.  According to verses 6-12 Job became a topic of conversation between God and Satan.

Vs: 8 - God bears testimony to the greatness of Job.

Vs: 9-11 - Satan questions Job's integrity.  He argues that Job is good because he has it so good.  Satan argues that Job only blesses God because God had blessed him.  Satan argued that should Job be made destitute he would come to despise the God whom it now appears he loves.  If God would crush Job; Job would curse God!

Vs: 12 - Permission is granted to severely try Job in order to see if he was a man of integrity.  This thought is both comforting and disconcerting  Comforting in that permission must be granted to Satan to afflict God's people.  Disconcerting in that the permission is at times granted.  Solace is to be had in accepting all things as having been permitted by God.  Where he allows trouble he provides grace!

The next seven verses reveal the intention of Satan to maximize the impact of what had befallen Job on this day.  In each catastrophe one servant had been allowed to survive in order to bring word to Job.  Three consecutive verses (16-18) begin with the same words.  "While he was yet speaking, there came also another."  Four bearers of bad new arrive within minutes of each other.  Before Job even has a chance to assimilate and assess one tragedy news of another is thrust upon him.  In a matter of minutes his entire world is altered.  He will go to bed that night a different man than when he got up that morning.  While the sun rose on a prosperous and honorable man it will set on a destitute and suffering man. The question is will he be as honorable in his suffering as he was in his prosperity?  Was Satan right when he said Job only feared God because God removed all the fear from his life?

Job's response is legendary, as it ought to be!

Vs: 20-22 - Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,  And said, 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.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

He did mourn as signified by the renting of his mantle and shaving his head.  He was in the depths of sorrow.  He was brought low.  Yet, in his sorrow he did not curse God but he worshipped Him!  Job did not bless God only because God had blessed him.  He blessed God because he was God.  Therefore when his circumstances were made hard his heart was not!  He did not, as we may be tempted to do at times, charge God foolishly.

Let us stand in awe of a God that can produce this kind of integrity and godliness in a mortal man!
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