Job is an example of endurance, which means faithfulness under trial. “You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:11 Satan accused Job of serving God only because God blessed him. Satan’s claims in the book of Job were that God would not have followers if He did not reward them! Job’s example was for us to learn some valuable lessons about trusting God when everything around us tells us otherwise.
Much of life is cruel, painful and disappointing. The people we love may treat us unfairly and may even wrong us again and again. Almost daily, we come into contact with people who are rude and unkind. We live in a world where truth is difficult to recognize anymore.
Success is not only temporary; it still leaves a void in our lives. No matter how much we have materially or how popular we are, without God we will eventually perish. “Do you not know of old, since man was placed on earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?” Job 20:4&5
Many times, as we try to be all that we believe God wants to be, some of our decisions are affected by what others think. It is difficult to take a back seat – even to God. We live in a society where we have learned that we are lacking something if we don’t make things happen. The natural thing for us to do is to take matters into our own hands and begin to seek results based on our own experiences and our own wisdom and knowledge. We acknowledge God in our “quiet time” then we go about our business doing what comes naturally to us. We don’t really spend time seeking God and letting Him direct our every path and our every decision. We don’t want Him to have that much control. One reason is because He’s probably going to give us some instructions we don’t want to follow. So, we just make sure we are respectful enough to say our traditional prayers. However; we definitely turn to Him when there is a crisis. After all, that’s when we really need His help. We can manage everything else.
Let me ask you something. How do you feel when someone comes to you only when they have a need? God made us for fellowship with Him. He created us and loved us enough to give us His only Son to die that we might live. Have we heard that story so much that we’ve lost the value of it? Or, have we really ever understood what it means?
Some of us go to church and follow our traditional rituals out of habit or guilt. Or, we may go to save face. How many of us truly go to church on Sunday, or any other day of the week because we love God with all our hearts and want to go and worship Him? Why do we attend so many classes and studies? We gain so much knowledge, yet what do we do with it? Are we studying God’s Word because we love History and we are fulfilling an obligation to read our Bibles every day? Let’s investigate the motives behind our Christian walk and our service to God.
What is God to you? He is the Supreme Being – the Maker of all things. We take a few hours out of our week to pay our respects to Him. We do our best to memorize Scripture and familiarize ourselves with Bible stories. We pick up some interesting facts along the way.
We fill our days and weeks with committee meetings and programs and socials. We love having our schedules arranged and our days planned ahead. We’ve become so busy that we don’t even time with those we love. We’re okay with it. Instead of communicating face to face, we stare at bigger and better wide screen computer screens with beautiful graphics and wonderful sounds. We work on our laptops and watch our big screen TV’s at the same time we are answering all of our emails. Sometimes we even communicate with several people at one time online. Communication has reached a level that causes us to distance ourselves from those we love.
Where does communication with God fit into all of this? Never in our history have we had so many ways to communicate with so many people from anywhere in the world at any time. Yet, we fail to communicate with the One who created us for friendship and fellowship with Himself. We may think that all of our sophisticated technological equipment means that God is just outdated – too old fashioned. Where does He fit into all of this?
What kept Job was his faith in God and his personal integrity. God used Job to prove that his friends couldn’t supply what he needed. They didn’t have the ability to comfort him or answer his questions. They tried to find answers that would explain what was going on in Job’s life, but all they did was make matters worse.
God also used Job’s example to disprove the accusations of the devil. Job did not serve God just because God blessed him with material things and health. He didn’t turn from God when his wife refused to stand by him or when he lost everything he had. Job knew he was in right standing with God, no matter what others thought. His friends did not encourage him, they did all they could to try and discover what Job was doing wrong. If you are perplexed about something in your life, wait on the Lord and let Him work out His hidden purposes.
What is it that you believe are true works of God’s blessings in your life? Are they health and wealth? Are they freedom from pain and suffering? Are they success on the job or in a marriage? How about perfect children?
How many times do we examine God’s love for us based on our surrounding circumstances? How often do we blame Him for the unpleasant things that happen in our lives? We examine what happens to us against our behavior or someone else’s behavior. The standards we use are standards of good and bad as they relate to whatever seems right to us. When something goes wrong in our lives (according to what we have perceived against our standards of right and wrong) – we begin to assess the blame. Many of us automatically assume someone else is at fault.
Somewhere along the path of life we have acquired a standard of right and wrong. We have also already made up our minds after experiencing life, what things are good in life and what things are bad in life. Each of us has a totally different view of this standard for successful living.
Along this path somewhere we have found God. At that point in our lives we begin to learn about Him and we acknowledge that He exists and that He is a supreme being. We stand in awe of Him and usually we allow Him a couple of hours on Sundays, and possibly an hour or so on weeknights to fulfill our obligations to Him. Some of us go a few steps further and join an extra hour or so of Bible Study. (That makes us feel really special.) And, even others of us go beyond that to doing all sorts of extra activities to show our devotion and love for God. We’re trying to earn His love and acceptance just as we try and earn it from everyone else.
It’s also possible that we want to fulfill a need within ourselves – something that is missing. It’s our way of patching a hole within our hearts – some sort of shortcoming or failure in our lives. It makes us feel better about ourselves. It gives us stature. We feel somewhat satisfied that we have added another accomplishment to our uneven list of successes and failures.