There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 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.” 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?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 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.
This is a little deviation from my usual writing, which will continue, but I thought that I might try something new. Today, after I returned from my classI was struck with this want to simplify my life. To remove distractions from my living spaces. See, as I stated in one of my earlier posts, is that I have no been clinging to my source of life. Well, I took out the television, ripped out my Apple TV, boxed up my video game console, and left my desk with only my laptop, my Bible, and my school books. Y’all, none of those things were bad, nor where they detrimental to my life. However, I have found that it has been far too easy to waste time. Precious time. So, for the foreseeable future, I will be going without those things in my room. That doesn’t mean that I can’t or won’t enjoy them, but that I’ve set them aside for a while. You see, sometimes we just have to hit the reset button. To start over. To begin anew. That’s what today is for. Staring new.
We have a tendency to forget all the blessings that God has extended to us. The shelter, the internet, the entertainment, the beauty, the charm, the talent, the skills. We take pride in these things which were given to us for our use to further the kingdom of God. We selfishly look at these things and see the path in which they’ve taken us. We go blind to God, losing sight of the one who bestowed all these things upon us, and we squander them. Yet, as we see above, Job did not. He remembered all that God had given him, and God rewarded Job’s faithfulness by increasing his wealth. We also see that Job was purposeful in offering sacrifices for the potential sins his children may have committed. We see that Job was a man of character.
Y’all, we lack character. We lack a backbone. Particularly, we lack a backbone in our spiritual lives. We are so moved and thrown about by every temptation that is put before us, and we fall for every lie that is whispered into our lives. When times get tough, when things do not go our way, we falter. We give up. We neglect our relationship with God. Yet, when Job lost his children, his animals, his servants, he worships God. Why? How can a man who lost, for lack of a better word, everything stand or, in Job’s case, fall to his knees and worship God? Because, Y’all, he knew the source of all that had been given to him. He knew the provision of the Lord, and that the Lord would sustain him, with or without. Job’s character is revealed both in the times of peace and time times of trial. Job feared God and he had the upmost reverence for God. Why do we lack such convictions that we just abandon God when the slightest bit of discomfort appears in our lives? Why are we so quick to abandon God for sin? Why are we so easily put to curse God for failing us, when he, alone, is the one of provision?
Y’all, we’ve all been blessed by God in countless ways. We’ve been blessed so that we may be a blessing to others. To be stewards, good stewards, of what God has provided. That means being someone of good reputation, of good character. One that is not thrown about by the winds of change or the temptations of sin. I think of Paul who writes from prison that he knows what it means to have plenty and to be in want. To have more than he needs, and to have nothing. To be brought low, and to abound. Paul was content. Content in whatever situation God put him. Why? Because Paul knew God was with him, and that God would use his situation to bring others into the kingdom.
When life gets hard and we cannot see the hope that stands before us. When we’re walking in the valley and the top of the mountain seems unreachable. Will we rejoice? Will we honor God? Will we worship God no matter the circumstance? What would our lives look like if we just surrendered everything to God? If we gave up our lives so that God may use us to bring other’s into his flock? We must, and I must emphasize must, be believers who have character. Who have a reputation. We must be a light to those without hope. That means that we must cling to the sole source of life in order to be a source of light to others. We absolutely must trust God in whatever situation we face. In sickness and in health. In poverty and in wealth. In the times of stagnation and the times of progress. What does absolute trust in God look like? It looks like worship!
Grace and Peace,