The story of Job is of great benefit to all who have and will suffer in this life. In the first chapter, God describes Job as a man who feared Him and who shunned evil. God also declared that there is no one on earth like him, and that Job was blameless and upright. Job was blessed with wealth and ten children. Then, as God allowed, the day came when Satan enters the scene. “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.” (1:6) In the Bible Satan is revealed as “an angel of light” to deceive and to tempt us. (2 Corin 11:14)
Job endured severe tests of his faith. In the end, God restored all that Job lost with a double portion. In this life, we are all tested, and sharpened through our suffering for just choosing to trust in God. We are privy to a conversation between God and Satan. God asks Satan; ‘Have you been seeking to find a flaw in my servant Job?’ Satan replied ‘if Job’s flesh becomes painful he will surely curse You to your face.’ The Lord gave His permission to inflict sores, but Job’s life must be spared. (2)
Job’s wife in her despair encouraged; “curse God and die”. While Job’s four friends stuck with him through his painful trials, each friend somehow suspected that sin was the cause of all the tragedy in Job’s life.
In Job’s dream; “A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice: Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?” (4:16) God described Job as blameless. Outwardly Job was prosperous and inwardly upright. Was he living perilously close to becoming self-sufficient, or overly confident in his own ability? We all lived immersed in all the beauty and wonders of the world. It is therefore easy for all of us to forget God’s purpose in our assigned position.
Job’s prominence was of God’s making, and entirely for His purpose. The question remains; “Why does God allow good people to suffer?” Through suffering, God takes us on a deep inspection of our souls. His purpose in allowing us to suffer is that we may see who we really are. God’s own Son suffered, and so must we. Our sorrows in life add compassion to our humanity. “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Like athletes of the faith, we are put under a strict training program that we might win the race. (Heb 12:1)
Consider the Prophet Isaiah. When he saw himself clearly, he fell on his face totally undone an cried out to God “I am a man of unclean lips”. (Isaiah 6:1) When we honestly measure our life to the holiness of God, we discover that we are unclean.
In Job 42 while job is in the midst of great suffering, he is conscious of God’s holy Presence. Job is convinced “surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said ‘Listen now and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You.” The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. Job lived 140 years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. We all know good people who have suffered greatly. During our suffering, we are reminded that God allowed His Son to suffer, “then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.” (Mark 15:17)
Through all the tests, even though Job was miserable, he did not curse God. He did however curse the day he was born. “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. 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) In the end of all his suffering Job proclaimed “I know my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (19:25). As we experience favor in this life, like Job, let attest that it was through our trust in God.
LESSON: The righteous do suffer, but not alone.
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
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