There was a man in the land of Uz” begins a great story of who man is, who God is and how God uses the devil to test His people. Without these tests, we would never know whether we would stand or fall. Tests develop our character.
Job personifies all of us. Job 1:1b “whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” Just how perfect can we be? Job was as perfect as he could be at that time. Reading several scriptures, I find that it is a growing process and always with room for improvement.
Two scriptures confirm this. 2 Chronicles 8:a6 “Now all the work of Solomon was prepared until the day unto the foundation of the house of the Lord, and until it was finished. So the house of the lord was perfected”. God’s house was completed. It needed no improvement. It was perfect.
Luke 13:32: “He (Jesus) said unto them (certain Pharisees) “Go and tell that fox, Behold I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be PERFECTED.” What was he saying? When he came to the earth as a baby, he had to progress like all mankind did. We grow in steps from tests and trials but we haven’t made it yet. Sometimes we have to do some things over and over until we get it right. Jesus never had to do that though he did have more than his share of tests and trials. He had to be tested by Satan before he could start his ministry.
We don’t know all Job had to go through before he lost everything. He made mistakes, too. It seems like he had many trials with his children and even his wife before he lost everything he had. His wife wasn’t much help during his devastating trials God allowed Satan to put on him to see if he would give in.
John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said: it is finished: and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.” His work on earth was done. He was perfected and ready to take over his final role as KING of Kings.
Back to Job. The name Job means “hated” (from Strong’s concordance) or “persecuted”. He was the patriarch who was known for his patience. In the dictionary it means “the will or ability to endure without complaint”. It seems that Job did more than his share of complaining. It didn’t help when his “friends” began to accuse him of having sinned to get all this piled on him. They bombarded him with this false accusation until he cursed the day he was born; Job 3:3-4. He even complained about his birth. He wanted God to forget that it ever happened.
The question is “Why do the righteous suffer if they are living according to God’s laws? This exchange Job 1:7-11) between God and Satan is an eye opener. Satan is very bold about how he talks to God. First God asked him where he came from (of course God knew but He wanted him to answer for himself) “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” God never sleeps and neither does the devil.
God asked Satan if he considered his servant Job, a perfect and upright man. Satan questioned God and said: “Have you not made a hedge around him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in his land. But put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”
Verse 12 tells us that Satan can not do ANYTHING to us unless God permits it. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only himself put not forth your hand.. So Satan went forth from the presence of God.” I imagine he gloated about all the trouble he could pile upon Job. Verse 13 tells of all that happened to his children and all his belongings. It happened all in one day because when each servant came to tell Job, the next sentence was “While he was YET SPEAKING”.
Five times those words were said! One loss at a time is hard to take but five very devastating ones in a single day is more than most of us could handle. When we know God is in charge, when these things do happen we should ask ourselves “What lesson am I supposed to learn and is there something lacking in me that God wants to show us through these trials. God alone knows what we need including the trial or trials to open our eyes to His truths. I heard a preacher once say when we are in a trial we should thank God instead of moaning about it. He loves us so much He continually wants to perfect us.
He would leave us alone if he didn’t love us.
Faithful Job accepted it all until his friends accused him of sinning. Verse 20: Then Job arose and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground and worshipped.” This could be the hardest thing to do in his circumstances. Not just his possessions did he lose but also all his ten children. His wife that was left was no help at all.
Verse 22 “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”. Job was O.K. with this but he was not to see the end of troubles. Good thing we can’t what is ahead of us. Some things we can take and eventually get over them. All too soon it seems more things hit us all at once. Why, God, Why? If everything went well all the time, how soon would we forget about God? Without trials, how would our faith be purified and strengthened? It is easy to say we have faith if we never have to go through anything bad. Little trials do not teach us a whole lot.
I rode the bus every day to work. I boarded with a smile on my face and a cheery “Good Morning”. One driver said: “It’s easy for you to say.” I was shocked at his words. At that time I was going through some really bad times. I responded with; “You don’t know how many troubles I have. I am a waitress and deal with people all day long. I just don’t drag my problems to work with me. It is time to deal with them when I get home. After that he did say good morning to me though begrudgingly. That was a step in the right direction for him. I didn’t see him any more.
God wasn’t through with Job yet. He had another meeting with the sons of God and Satan came, too. God again asked where he came from. He mentioned Job again. Job 2:2-5 “and still he holds fast his integrity. Although you moved me against him without cause. And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea all that a man has he will give for his life.. But put forth your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.”Verse 5 “God said to Satan: “Behold, he is in your hand; but save his life.” If God wasn’t in control, Job would have been dead at the very beginning. And there would be no lesson to be learned.
Verse 7: “So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” When I first got saved, I kept hearing testimonies of what God has done for them. I felt deprived because I didn’t have a testimony as yet. Not knowing anything, I prayed for a test. Don’t ever do that. You will get more than you bargained for. You will get enough without praying for one.
I was a dishwasher in a little restaurant. I threw an empty gallon jug in to wash. Just a little bit of liquid splashed out on my face and into my eyes. I thought it was just water. Within an hour my whole face was swollen and my eyes almost shut. The fluid was some kind of disinfectant. I had to go home and was off for about three weeks. I needed the little money I made. That whole time my face would burn. I put salve on it to stop the burning. Then it would itch. I was a miserable unhappy creature. I couldn’t sleep so to forget my misery, I would read Psalms then switch to Job. I could feel Job’s misery although mine was not anywhere near what his was.
It finally dawned on me that is was the test I prayed for. That is not what I wanted. I preferred something more dignified and heroic. How can you be dignified when your whole face is blown up like a balloon and all marked? Heroic? No way! I’ve had enough tests since then and I don’t have to pray for any more.
Job accepted his fate and took a potshard (a piece of broken pottery) to scrape himself with ; and he sat down among the ashes. His wife shared the first losses with him but when it came to his personal woe, she wasn’t so sympathetic. Why did she speak like she did? Verse 9”Then said his wife to him, do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die.” Job still said the right words. Verse 10: You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
I mentioned my predicament to someone I thought was a good Christian. She responded that she doesn’t accept Job’s story. She believed in the false doctrine that you should never be poor or sick. If that is the case why do so many professing Christians always have something to pray about? Why do they have financial worries? Why are they always going to a doctor for one ailment or another? Isn’t their faith strong enough as I’ve been accused of? God is the provider and the healer. God uses upsets to prove our faith like He did Job. He is God. He can use whatever method He thinks is best in each case.
It bothered me because when I mentioned I was going to a doctor for something, I was given a talk on not trusting God enough to heal me. Later a woman was all excited because she said her eyes were healed. I was glad for her. My eyes were giving me problems but they weren’t being healed as often as I prayed for them. I had to go to the eye doctor. Wasn’t I as trusting as she was?
I had to get cataracts removed and lens implants put it. I could see without glasses except for reading small print. I considered myself healed. Eventually she had to admit she did need glasses to read. I realized she had the lens implant, too but did not want to admit it. In my case, eye surgery with all its waiting periods and after care, taught me a lot about patience. The surgery itself didn’t bother me.
Later the first woman who didn’t believe Job’s story, came to work without glasses, proclaiming her eyes were healed. I watched her for awhile. I noticed she would squint when she was writing her orders down. She would not confess that she hadn’t been healed yet refused to wear glasses. That would make her out to be a liar. I quit my job and a couple years later got a chance to talk to someone I knew. I was told the woman was almost blind and had to quit. I would never suggest anyone to refuse doctor’s care if necessary. God gave them the know-how to treat their patients and do all they can to fix them up. The rest is up to God and prayer.
We have no answer why God doesn’t always heal some unless to bring them closer to God and depend on Him more rather than faulty man. We will know the answer by and by. When we make it to God’s Kingdom, we will never remember all the bad things in our lives. What God has done for us will be a memorial for His glory forever.
If Jesus could suffer and die for us, isn’t it right that we should gladly endure suffering for him? “Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” and all the tribulations that have gone on in between.