Saturday, January 14, 2012

Job - Worst Case Scenario or Best Case Scenario?

I am reading through the Bible chronologically this year, and the past week or so I have been reading in the book of Job. Today I read through to the end of the book and the thoughts I could post probably would take up an entire blog. Instead, I wanted to share some thoughts about the entirety of the book of Job.

The story of Job seems like an absolute worst-case scenario if you look at it from a normal, realistic perspective. He was a spiritually revered man; blameless and morally upright. He had a pretty good hold on what it meant to fear God. Oh, not to mention he was ridiculously rich and esteemed, and he had a great family. What more could you ask for right? And then, tragedy strikes. Not simply losing a bunch of money in the stock market or even losing a child. He is literally stripped of EVERY SINGLE THING and brought to the point where his own health and life is hanging in the balance. His children all die, all of his wealth is destroyed in an instant, and even his reputation is lost. His closest friends ridicule and criticize him, and he is so distraught that he simply begs God to let him die.

The book of Job really starts to pick up near the end as a wise friend, "Elihu", talks to Job and his friends and gives them some insight into the POWER, MAJESTY, WISDOM, and GOODNESS of God. Then in chapter 38, God Himself  comes and speaks to Job from a whirlwind. Through the next 4 chapters God powerfully proclaims His own greatness, power, wisdom, sovereignty, goodness, majesty, strength and glory to Job in such a God-exalting, man-minimizing, sin-despising completely mind-blowing way that Job is led to say in chapter 42, verses 5-6: "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." The chapter goes on to tell how Job's family and riches and position was restored to him twice as much as he had before and he dies at an old age, having fully lived out his days.

Now, if it were up to Job, I don't think he would have chosen any of the things he went through, possibly even if he foreknew how the story would end. I think he would have been very much content to carry on his life with his family, his wealth, his reputation and the knowledge of God that he had. But through the things God allowed him to go through, he came out on the other side not only having twice as much physical glory and blessing than before, but a much deeper, wonderful, glorious, REAL understanding and knowledge of God. Were it up to him, he might have avoided the trials and hardship, but then he would have missed out on the greatest power and blessing in his entire life.

The entirety of the story of Job, and what I learn about God through it all gives me a lot more courage to say and believe what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:18:

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."
And in verses 31-39:
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
    “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
        we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I heard John Piper say in a sermon one time (and this is not an exact quote, so pardon me for that) that "I've never heard someone say that they grew closer to God in the easy times in life when everything was going perfectly, there is something about suffering and hardships that refines us and causes us to run to God."

I completely agree based on my own life experience. So whether you are going through something difficult, or may have trials around the corner that you do not yet know about, take heart and be of courage brothers and sisters! Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!


  1. Awesome! Enjoyed reading that...Is it weird or wrong that Job is one of my favorite books to read? Or strange that I find a lot of encouragement in it? I once wrote about Job too... :)

    1. I don't think there's anything wrong with liking the Bible! haha. I love the book of Job for all the truth and power it teaches me about our God...

      Thanks for the link, I'll check it out!