So January found me reading Job. I have to say that Job is a difficult book for me to wade through. For one, the idea that God points out someone who is serving Him to Satan and says have you considered Job. Makes me cringe a little. Ok, it also makes me a bit excited. I mean the God of all creation and the universe knows our names. Cares about us! Pretty cool, but why if Job was such a shining star on God’s team, did God see fit to point out to Satan how well Job was doing? I mean God has NO reason to do a “mine is better than yours” argument with one of His created beings. Alright, here is what I know about God. He is good, faithful, honest, upright, powerful, continually drawing all to Him so that none may perish, the list is endless… So why would God point out someone who is doing well to Satan? Maybe, remember this is not Biblical, but my own musing, maybe God wanted Satan to see that a person fully devoted to God would stay strong regardless of his or her circumstances. In fact many people whose love of God is sincere draw even closer to God through illness, loss, hard economic times. So maybe this is God’s way of showing Satan that His kids are tougher than they appear. Maybe it is God’s way of showing Job the strength of his faith. Untested faith is pretty easy to swallow, but tested faith takes an iron gut.
Secondly Job is difficult because not even Job is actually in the right. God Himself gets onto Job about his planned response to God. The arguments he is presenting to his friends about how God has misused Job. However not all of Job’s musings are inaccurate. He talks of knowing his Redeemer lives and in the end He (Job’s Redeemer) will stand on the earth. He says “though He (God) slay me, yet I will hope in Him (God).” So Job in the midst of losing all his children, losing all his wealth, and losing his health makes these awesome professions of faith. However he also laments the day of his birth. No, he never curses God, but Job does accuse God of injustice. Job tells his wife essentially how can we accept good from God and not bad. Then he promptly turns around and says I am innocent and essentially claims to be without sin. This makes it difficult to see when Job is appropriately representing God and His dealings with man and when Job is not. I most likely struggle with reading Job because I find myself much like Job. I make huge professions of faith knowing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Then two seconds later I am begging God for mercy and to spare me from the difficult parts of life. That is part of my humanity with which I have never come to grips.
Thirdly, Job’s friends are the “I think I have God figured out” sort of people. They speak half truths or truths that match their understanding of God. It is like God fits in their perfect little box and when hard times come, it all makes sense to them. It has to be Job’s sin…Oh, that I may never presume to know God’s plan for hard times people are going through. That I may remember that God isn’t a vending machine that you put in a “good” life and out pops prosperity, health, and smooth sailing for the rest of my life. No, remember from my last post that it is God who makes me holy. It is God who as Job says gives and takes away. God knows those perfect plans to give us a future and a hope. May I seek to honor Him in the good and the bad…May I seek to know Him more by reading even the difficult parts of scripture because God has something for me in those things as well as the easy things to swallow.