Job 1-2, 42
As I read the account of Job, I was struck by his default response to the loss of all he owned, including all ten of his children within a single day. He fell to the ground and worshipped God.
Satan stood before the throne of God after roaming the earth and the Lord asked him, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8) Satan claimed that the only reason Job remained faithful was because God had placed a hedge of protection around him. God therefore gave Satan permission to touch all that belonged to him as a test, in order to prove his devotion.
Job is described as “The greatest of all the people of the east” (Job 1:3). He was very wealthy and highly regarded by all. He loved his children deeply and would regularly make sacrifices on their behalf so that in the sight of God, they would remain blameless (v.5). Then in a single day, Satan was allowed to wreak havoc on Job’s life (v.13-19). He was told of the loss of all his livestock and those who worked for him and when he heard of the loss of all his children, he “Arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’” (v.20-21).
Imagine God turning to Satan and saying, “Have you considered my servant…” and then put your name in there. What difference would it make if you knew that the challenges you are facing right now were a test God was allowing in your life in order to prove your faithfulness to Him? Your steadfast devotion to God in the face of great hardship is the evidence that proves your faithfulness. How can you claim to truly love God and will remain faithfully serving Him with all your heart if that claim has never been put to the test?
I’ve always considered Job to be an extraordinary character in the Bible precisely because God considered him worthy of the test.
James reminds us to, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4.
Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
Job remained faithful to God through the test, even when he himself was afflicted. At the end of the story we read that, “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.” (Job 42:12). He became far richer than he’d ever been, had ten more children and lived to see his great grandchildren. “And Job died, an old man, and full of days.” (v.17)
Much of the book of Job is an account of the wrestle to understand the role of suffering in the life of a godly person. God is not offended at your questions and your wrestle with Him to comprehend the challenges you face, but determine in your heart and mind to believe that God is good, that He loves you and His plans for you are ultimately for the good. Worship Him and, “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13.
© 2021 by Ruth O’Reilly-Smith