As a brief synopsis, Job was a very obedient servant of God, he loved God and obeyed Him, he lived a righteous life. God was really proud of Job.
Job 1:8 NIV
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
However, the devil impliedu that Job served Him just because everything was going on well in his life and that if things started going wrong, Job would curse and reject God. That’s how God gave permission to the devil to attack Job’s belongings and afterwards his health. The only restriction that God put was on Job’s life, so that the devil wouldn’t take his life away.
This story has always been very difficult for me to grasp, mostly emotionally. Nevertheless , God was using this to teach something very very important to Job, to his friends, and to all those who would read the book of Job in The Bible (or even just hear about it).
Below are some of the things which happened to Job. It didn’t rain but it poured.
Job 1:13-14, 16, 18-19 NIV
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Job 2:7 NIV
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.
Unfortunately for him, his friends who came to meet him initially to comfort him instead made things worse. They started accusing him of being a sinner and suffering the consequences of his hidden sins.
I hope some time God willing we’ll really study the book of Job deeply, but today, we’ll just focus on what Job and his friends probably got wrong.
1. Every person who suffers, suffers because God is punishing him/her for his/her sin(s) (or the sins of their forefathers).
2. Everyone who serves God lives a (or should live a) smooth and perfect life with absolutely no suffering.
3. Every wicked person (murderer, thief, person who rejected God, sinner in general etc.) lives a life of (or should live a life of) suffering, torment and punishment at some time or another.
These are false beliefs, and can be very detrimental to anyone’s mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Just by taking Job’s case into account, we realize that
1. There are people who suffer not because of sins they committed, nor because God is attacking them but because of the devil’s attacks on them.
2. Even God’s righteous servants can face difficult times. Serving God doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never have any problems (for example Jesus faced tribulations) but that God will be present for you always.
3. There are people who disobey God all their lives yet “nothing” “apparently ” happens to them.
If you live your life believing that everyone who suffers, suffers as consequences of their sins, you will difficultly be able to show compassion to others, and at times you will judge people and consider them as sinners not because you have seen them commit any sins, but because you have seen them suffer and have concluded that “someone can’t suffer this way if the person hasn’t done something horrible”. This is what happened to Job’s friends, they were unable to sympathize with his suffering (though they knew him as a righteous man) because it was just not logical. “If he suffers so much then he must have been a sinner ever since “.
If you live your life believing that because you serve God you will never face any problems, you are probably going to face depression. This is because when the slightest trouble will come your way you will begin to doubt that God really loves you and is really by your side. You may even start thinking (just like Job did) that God has something against you and is attacking you for no reason.
You shouldn’t check God’s presence with respect to what’s going on around you but with respect to the promises He made to you in His Word. Job was discouraged when he faced these hard times because he couldn’t understand why as righteous as he was, he would suffer “as if he were a sinner” .
If you live your life expecting for God to punish “sinners” instead of praying for their repentance, you will feel frustrated every time things go wrong in your life while in the life of the “wicked ” people around you everything seems to be going on well.
The punishment of “sinners” isn’t a compensation for your obedience to God.
Obey Him because you love Him, not because you are afraid of punishment, nor because you want to see the disobedient ones being punished.
Everyone has his/her own story with God and you can’t define your story with God based on someone else’s story with Him.
Always keep in mind that God loves you and no matter the attacks of the enemy He shall protect you and use it to instruct you.
Father Lord God Almighty thank You for teaching me today that Christianity isn’t about never suffering but about experiencing God’s love and presence not only in the midst of joy but also in the midst of pain. Help me not to seek punishment of those who don’t obey You, but to pray for their repentance. In Jesus Christ’s Name I pray. Amen.
Thanks for reading.
God bless you all.
Please like, comment and share.