Do you love your job, or do you hate your job? There was a man in the Old Testament named Job, the Bible tells us he was God’s servant. He loved his job! He was wealthy, he had many, many servants and cattle, he was a rich entrepreneur and was doing incredibly well for his day. Today we would look at him and call him a “self-starter”, or a successful businessman. He served The Lord in his daily work and God seemed to smile on him for it. I find it ironic that many times in our lives, God works through our job to teach us the lessons he taught to Job. 🙂
God had a plan for Job, and it involved Job going through some real crisis in his life.
In Job 1 we read all about how Satan approached God and asked permission (Satan can do nothing apart from God’s authority) to strike Job’s life with crisis and terrible turmoil.
Job’s children were all killed in a windstorm, all of his livestock were stolen by raiding bands, and his servants were killed by some of the raiders and fire from heaven. This all happened in a single moment of time.
Then at the end of chapter 1 we read:
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
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.’
In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” ~ Job 1:20-22
Virtually all of Job’s wealth and his family (other than his wife) was stripped away from him in a single moment. It makes my troubles seem so small! Now let’s look at chapter 2:
1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.
2 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
3 And the LORD said to Satan, “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? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”
4 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life.
5 But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.”
We have some great examples in God’s word of men who show that “all that a man has he will give for his life”.
Abraham in Genesis, Kind David in 1 Samuel, and the Apostle Peter in Luke 22
Abraham Forsakes Sarah his Wife
From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar.
And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”
And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?”
Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, ‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’
Genesis 20:1-3, 10-11
King David Denies His Sanity
And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath.
And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”
And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard.
Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me?
~ 1 Samuel 21:10-14
Peter Denies Knowing Jesus
Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance.
And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them.
Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.”
But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.”
And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.”
And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.”
But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”
And he went out and wept bitterly. ~Luke 22:54-62
But as we see in Job’s life, he holds fast and his faith is firm. He never sways in his belief that God is on the throne and that He is in control.
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
~ Job 19:25
God commands us all throughout the Bible to also stand firm in our own faith.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
~ 1 Corinthians 16:13
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.
~ Exodus 14:13
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
~ Psalm 20:7-9
I’m so encouraged by the faith of men and women in the Bible, and men and women in my own life, that are examples to me to stand firm in Jesus.
6 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.
9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Job’s wife is not exactly encouraging is she? This is in sharp contrast to the wife we find exemplified in Proverbs 31:
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
~ Proverbs 31:10-12, 25-26, 28-31
In all this Job did not sin with his lips
Consider that in the worst possible circumstances, “Job did not sin with his lips”. Job did not follow his wife’s advice to “curse God and die”. She was saying “give up!”
Job’s wife may have been given a bad rap. We don’t know much about her other than this one statement. How many times we’ve all become so frustrated we’ve wanted to give up! How many times have we grown incredibly weary and we’ve questioned God? We get anxious and angry. It happens. Even King David questions God in some of his songs.
“Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
~ Psalm 10:1
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD—how long?
~ Psalm 6:2-3
Job’s Three Friends
11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.
12 And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven.
13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
Now we meet Job’s three friends who later seem to focus on discouraging Job and question his thoughts and actions. But for now in this chapter, they spend a full week sitting with Job, mourning and suffering with him. That’s an example of deep friendship when friend is willing to sit with you in your darkest hour.
Jesus is our friend in those times of utter darkness. Sometimes we are allowed to go through the valley of the shadow of death, but God never leaves us.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
~ Psalm 23:4
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
~ Psalm 34:18
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~ Isaiah 41:10
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
~ James 4:8
Be encouraged. Encourage others.