I stumbled across something in the book of Job the other day that left me in awe. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this story it goes something like this…
Satan comes before God and innocently states he’s been out roaming the earth, yet we all know “the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter5:8b) Unprompted God asks him if he’s considered His servant Job. At this point you’d assume Job has royally messed up and God is using Satan as His attack dog, yet the very next words out of God’s mouth are “there is none like him (Job) on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil”. (Job 1:8) I would love it if God used those words to describe me, but not for the purpose of putting a target on my back with the devil. Satan responds, “Well, duh…of course he loves and worships You. You’ve given him everything and put a hedge of protection around him. Everything he touches turns to gold. But, stretch out Your hand against him and he will curse You to Your face!” I’m obviously paraphrasing here, the book is 42 chapters and I’m not going to be able to cover it all. At this point I would hope God would say something like, “Get out of here, Satan, this dude is mine and you can’t touch him.” But no, instead He says, “Everything he has is in your power, you just can’t touch his body.” God removed His hedge from around Job and his life literally went to hell in a hand basket. In one day he lost everything. A servant came to Job and told him while the oxen and donkeys were plowing they were raided and all the livestock was taken and all the servants except him were killed, and while he was still speaking another servant approached saying fire fell from heaven and devoured all the sheep and servants except him, and while he was still speaking another servant comes and says the camels were stolen and all the servants were killed except for him. I’m sure at this point when Job sees another servant running up he’s terrified to hear what news he brings. “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house and it fell on the young people, and they are dead.” (Job 1:18-19) I can see Satan rubbing his hands and giggling in glee. He has destroyed Job, taken away everything of value to him all in one fell swoop. He sits back and waits for the cursing of God to begin.
Job tears his robe, shaves his head and fell to the ground and…worshiped. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21). That would not have been my response, and I seriously doubt that’s what Satan was expecting. It goes on to say that Job didn’t sin or charge God with any wrong. I’ve been through a lot less than Job and yet I’ve blamed, and questioned God on more occasions than I care to admit. My son is currently not walking in a way that is pleasing to God. My husband and our family and his friends have all tried to reach out and to hold him accountable, to speak truth into his life but he refuses to hear. I told my husband the other day that if I truly believe God loves him, and if I truly trust God to watch over him, what would that look like? Does that mean I stop speaking truth into his life and just go along for the ride? I don’t think so, we’re called in scripture to hold each other accountable. Does it mean I shun him and let God have him? I don’t think that’s the answer either, we’re called to love. Does it mean that I lay awake at night worrying about him, plot and plan every conversation, try to orchestrate what everyone says and does with the hope of reasoning him back to reality? I think this is where my lack of trust in God is showing. If I truly trusted Him, I’d give him my son, and let him worry about all the “what if’s” and pray and be there as God wants me to.
Sorry about the rabbit trail, back to Job. Chapter 2 starts the exact same way as chapter 1. Satan shows up and God asks him what he’s been up to and he says just roaming the earth. And God asks him again, “have you considered my servant Job?” Only this time He adds, “still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Can’t help but feel like this was a little bit of a mike drop for God. But Satan can’t stand the thought of losing so he ups the ante. “‘Skin for skin!’ Satan answered the Lord. ‘A man will give up everything he owns in exchange for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’” (Job2:4-5) God agreed with the exception that Satan couldn’t kill him. Immediately Satan struck Job’s entire body with boils. At this point Job’s wife, the one thing Satan left him with, comes out and starts telling him to curse God and die. Lovely lady. Then his friends join in and start telling him that obviously God hates him and doesn’t deserve Job’s loyalty. This goes on for the next 36 chapters. Finally God has enough and He answered out of a whirlwind, “Now prepare yourself like a man, I will question you and you shall answer me.” (Job 38:3). I believe this is the first time “man up” is used. Seems a little harsh considering everything he’s just been through. But God is just getting warmed up. I highly recommend reading Job 38-41. God starts by asking Job where he was when He laid the foundations of the earth? If Job was there when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy? When He said “This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!” He even gets a little sarcastic by asking Job if he can loose the belt of Orion. He talks about how He’s entered the springs of the sea and walked their depth, He sends forth lightning, the gates of death have been revealed to Him. Makes me feel small and insignificant. God starts at the size and depth and magnitude of the universe and then switches gears to asking him who provides food for the raven, when it’s young ones cry to God? Or if he knows when the wild goat, dear and bear have their young? As I read this I go from awe at the magnitude of God, to love at His care for even the beast of the fields, to guilt. Who am I to question God?
I think in today’s day and age we’ve taken God and brought Him down to a friend level. We’ve gotten sloppy in our approach to Him. By sending His Son, He did open up direct communication, so that we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) but He’s still the same God of Job. He’s still so far beyond our comprehension. It says we need “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” (Psalm 2:11) We see glimpses of who God is all through out scripture but for some reason when I read through the last few chapters of Job the power and magnitude of the God I serve really hit home. In a time in my life where I feel out of control and helpless I was reminded that my God is bigger. He’s bigger than my chronic pain, He’s bigger than my son’s desires, He’s bigger than sickness, He’s bigger than my “wisdom”.
The story of Job has, and still does bother me. I don’t understand why God did what He did, but maybe that’s the point. He’s God and I’m not. If I could, like Job, grasp and understand the God of Job 38-41, how would that effect my life?
As always I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to post a comment below or send me an e-mail.