I am reading through the Bible chronologically this year. I have always wanted to do this. I am in Job right now, which means that I am already a week or so behind! 🙂 Anyway ….. I am always struck by something when I read in Job. Since Grant’s death four and a half years ago I feel like I read Job differently than I used to. I guess I understand his grief which turns into questioning God. I have several observations that hit me this reading.
There is the obvious observation that God pointed out Job to Satan and allowed Satan to have his way (up to a point) in Job’s life. Wow. It reiterates to me the truth that God is sovereign in ALL things and that nothing comes into my life that does not come through His hands. It also reminds me that one of the reasons that God allows or causes trials in our life is so that our faith is tested and made stronger. This point deserves an entire book to explain it and I am not up to that task!
Another observation (even more obvious than the first) is that those first three self-righteous, condemning “friends” ought to have had their mouths washed out with soap! Obviously, they had never experienced the kind of pain that Job had been going through. If they had, they would have had a clue. The lesson for us: be careful not to judge when you have not walked in someone’s shoes.
Another observation is the patience of God. He lets Job wallow in his sorrow and questions. Job struggled with an issue that I often deal with – having his focus on his circumstances and himself, instead of focusing on God. Job was trying so hard to defend himself and show that he had not done something to deserve what was happening to him that he was losing sight of the character of the God he served. I do this ALL the time!
Some of my favorite chapters in Job begin in 38. God answers Job’s complaint and He NEVER mentions anything about Job’s current situation, nor does he give a reason for it. He only tells Job Who it is that he is questioning.
1Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
2“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
4“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
9when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
11and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
Isn’t that amazing? I mean, I completely believe that God made the earth and all that it contains. I believe that He sustains and holds it all together. But, I don’t think about it in this kind of specifics. God begins his speech to Job with a detailed list of observable truths seen in creation. In chapter 40, verse 4, Job answers the Lord that he will lay his hand on his mouth – he has nothing to say in response. I should do that more often!
God adds more after this comment from Job. Finally in chapter 42 Job once again answers the Lord:
1Then Job answered the LORD and said:
2“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?
‘Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
5I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”
This is the attitude that I want to have when I face trials in my life. I want to remember the character and power of the God I trust in.