A LIFE OF INTEGRITY, HONOR, STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE
Trees snap like toothpicks or fly upward, wrenched from the earth. Whole rooftops sail, cars tumble like toys, houses collapse, and a wall of water obliterates the shore and inundates the land. A hurricane cuts and tears, and only solid foundations can be used for rebuilding after the storm. For any building, the foundation is critical. It must be deep enough and solid enough to withstand the weight of the building and other stresses. Lives are like buildings, and the quality of each one’s foundation will determine the quality of the whole. Too often inferior materials are used, and when tests come, lives crumble.
No one likes going through tough times. No one likes to hurt, as with Job, we must sometimes go through certain things in order that we may know the truth, that no matter what, God is Sovereign and Just. Let us take a peek at Job’s life..
Job was tested. With a life filled with prestige, possessions, and people, he was suddenly assaulted on every side, devastated, stripped down to his foundation. But his life had been built on God, and he endured. Job, the book, tells the story of Job, the man of God. It is a gripping drama of riches-to-rags-to-riches, a theological treatise about suffering and divine sovereignty, and a picture of faith that endures. As your read Job, analyze your life and check your foundation. May you be able to say that when all is gone but God, He is enough. (NIV Study Bible)
Job had suffered much. The loss of his children, the loss of his fortunes, his friends misunderstood him and his wife told him to curse God and die. He knew that he had not out-rightly sinned against God. But of course, he had to question if he had. Can you imagine how Job felt about being misunderstood by his closest friends and his wife? They did not get it. They did not see what God was doing, but instead, they “assumed” because of Job’s sufferings that He had sinned against God. Job sat before the Lord and asked for forgiveness of what He had done. God spoke to him and revealed His heart.
As you continue to read throughout the entire book of Job, you will continue to see his friends asking of him to admit his sin and ask for forgiveness, but ironically, Job’s repentance was not the kind called for by his friends. He did not ask for forgiveness for committing secret sins, but for questioning God’s Sovereignty and Justice. Job did repent of his attitude and acknowledged God’s great power and perfect justice.
Job became stronger and learned much about himself as well as God through this trial. He came out stronger, wiser, and more blessed because of it.
We sometimes angrily ask, “If God is in control, how could He let this happen?” Because we are locked into time, unable to see beyond today, we cannot know the reasons for everything that happens. John 13:7 says, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
As noted earlier, Job, in his time of suffering deeply questioned God’s Sovereignty and Justice.
Why did he question God? Well, he lost his children, his health and his wealth. The loss was deeply wounding to him.
His closest friends totally missed the reason why Job was going through what He was. This was a test of Job’s trust in the Lord, nothing else. His friends mistakenly missed the target as to why the suffering. They assumed that Job’s suffering was caused by some great sin, and because of this, God rebuked them. They were judging Job without knowing what God was doing.
People make the same mistake today when they assert that sickness or lack of material blessing is a sign of un-confessed sin or lack of faith. Don’t get me wrong, yes, sometimes un-confessed sin does lead to these things, but there are times in our life or others lives, that the reason for this could be or could not be because of un-confessed sin. Job’s life was not. He led a righteous life, honoring and walking in integrity with God.
We must be careful to avoid making judgments about a person or person’s because God may be working in ways we know nothing about.
The Lord says to us in Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” God’s knowledge and wisdom are far greater than ours. Job sat before the Lord, shared his frustrations and God asked of Job to be silent and listen while He spoke to Him as to give the answer to his concern.Job listened. He learned from the Lord that yes, He did not understand at that time as to why, but acknowledged to God in chapter 42, verse 2, “I know that you can do all things, no plan of yours can be thwarted.” This was Job acknowledging that God can do all things, and that no plan of His will be thwarted. Job acknowledged right then and there, no matter the outcome, He trusted God and that His plans stood firm.
What is it that someone close to you is going through? Are you being like Job’s friends and judging what they are going through, as if you may know the answer, “because of un-confessed sin?” Remember Job’s friends. Allow God to do the judging. Allow God to do His work in those close to you. Your responsibility is to pray for this them, not judge them. Leave it in the hands of the Almighty One to do this.
Or, are you finding yourself going through a trial in your life? Just as Job, what have your closest friends spoke to you? Know, the only one opinion that matters is the Almighty One, the One in which will show you The Way. Sit before the Lord and ask Him to examine your heart, and ask Him to show you if there is anything in your life that is not pleasing to Him. It may be sin; it may be He wants to deepen your relationship with Him. But, it must come from Him. He will answer. Silence the voices around you, quieten your soul and listen. Only He will give you this answer. Are you listening to the clatter of all that is around you, or are you truly listening to the Voice of God?
If you need to repent, repent; and then pray for those who have misunderstood these things.
In the final chapter of Job, Job prayed for his friends. He knew that no matter how he felt about these misunderstandings, the Lord wanted Job to pray for them. In verse 42 it states, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again, and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.”
This is a wonderful ending to such a traumatizing event in Job’s life. Job obeyed, and he did not hold on to the memories of the past, instead, he refused to be bitter, instead, he prayed for them and then he opened his home to them. The Lord blessed him with more.
Questions to ask ourselves when we suffer, and what to do if the answer is yes…
Question: Is what I am going through due to sin in my life?
Answer: Confess known sins.
Question: Is satan attacking me as I try to survive as a Christian?
Answer: Call on God for strength.
Question: Am I being prepared for a special service, learning to be compassionate to those who suffer?
Answer: Resist self-pity. Ask God to open up doors of opportunity and help you discover others who suffer as you do.
Question: Am I specifically selected for testing, like Job?
Answer: Accept help from the body of believers. Trust God to work His purpose through you.
Question: Is my suffering a result of a natural consequence for which I am not directly responsible?
Answer: Recognize that in a sinful world, both good and evil people will suffer. But the Christian has a promise from God that his or her suffering will one day come to an end.
Question: Is my suffering due to some unknown reason?
Answer: Don’t draw inward from the pain. Proclaim your faith in God, know that He cares, and wait patiently for His aid.
I pray that this Word has blessed you today, and has shown you things that you may not have otherwise known. Honor God in all you do and say, and be careful when we judge the circumstances that others are in. Walk in the love of Christ, encourage others, and let others encourage you. You are not alone on this journey of faith. God has wonderful plans for your life, and for the lives of others that are around you. Never forget that God loves you very much and He wants to reveal Himself in ways that you could never imagine. So trust and obey.
And remember, just as with Job, those who persist in trusting God will be rewarded!