January 4, 2017. Job 1 – 5.
This may seem strange that yesterday we were reading from the book of Genesis and today we are in the book of Job. His story appears before we are even introduced to Abraham and the subsequent formation of the nation of Israel. This is part of the adventure of reading the Bible in a chronological order rather than book by book.
So now we have opened the oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job and for the next 42 chapters, our hearts and minds will be challenged as we follow the narration of this man’s incredible suffering and tribulation.
He was a good man, blameless, upright, and just; and yet he suffered more than just about any other character recorded in the Scriptures. In one day, he loses everything, including his children. At the realization of these horrific losses, his wife cannot bear to see him in such pain and agony and she instructs him to curse God and die – get it over with, escape this pain, grief, and injustice.
In chapter 3, Job is so distraught and without any answers as to what has happened, that he spends this entire chapter cursing the day of his birth. He wished that he had never been born. He was not suicidal, but he surely regretted ever taking his first breath.
If all of that is not bad enough, his friends begin a dialog with him that implicate Job as having some secret sin. They infer that he must not be innocent because the innocent would never suffer as he is suffering.
And here it is – the crux of the book of Job. Why do the righteous suffer? We have all asked that question of our own lives and suffering; “Why me Lord? Why is this happening? What did I do wrong?”
** Spoiler Alert ** Read the entire book of Job and that question of “Why?” is never fully answered. Some things about God and His ways are far too grand, spectacular or complicated for us to comprehend. This book will not teach us why, but it will teach us how to suffer correctly so that in the end God may restore and reward His faithful servant.
Look at these examples of how Job chose to handle his suffering:
Job 1:21 “…Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD. Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
Job 2:10 “… Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Life has taught you that even though a new year is before you, there will be some pain, grief, and loss associated with it. The question is how will you respond to it this year? May we follow the order and example of God’s righteous servant – Job.