I've heard countless sermons on the man over the course of my life, accounts of how faithful he was in the midst of unfair trial, how his faith never wavered. How he stayed the course despite hardship and pain in literally every area of his life - family, home, possessions, finances, reputation, faith, etc.
I've heard metaphors and analogies on how because of Job, we know that bad things happen to good people, because of Job, we know that God is with us through even the darkest storms, we know that God restores what the locusts have eaten.We know that Romans 8:28 is alive and well through the story of Job.
Because of Job, we know that it's okay to question God in the midst of unbearable trials and suffering. Because of Job, we know to be careful whose counsel we seek during our storms.
We know the story of Job.
But do you know how it starts?
If you were like me, and like the majority of the people I polled, you probably thought the same thing I did. Because it's the way it's been told and passed around for ages - that Satan came to God in Heaven and asked permission to persecute Job, in order to prove to God that Job was only faithful because God had blessed him so much.
(There's a good sermon there, too - on how everything that happens to God's children passes through His hands and His word first. Nothing can get to us without God's permission.)
Read this from Job chapter one:
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
DID YOU CATCH THAT????
Just in case - here:
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?
Well that changes everything....
When this truth was pointed out to me in a sermon recently by a very wise man I respect very much, I about fell off the padded pew. It was one thing to believe that God granted permission for one of his beloved children to go through such pain...but to accept that God SUGGESTED it?
I don't know why, but in the midst of my personal storm right now, this actually brought me significant comfort.
Because it just really does prove that God is so crazy-ridiculously in control. He's all "I've got this". He was SO confident in Job, that He was essentially bragging on him. "Check out my man Job. He's legit."
And he was.
I wanna be legit.
God had faith in Job because God knew his heart. And God knew that Job would pass those tests and would be better on the other side for them, would grow and learn and stretch and become even more on fire for God, even more passionate for his King, be stronger for it.
Talk about a boot camp. Job lost everything except his life. And guess what?
God restored it all in abundance.
God doesn't just like to restore, you know. He likes to go overboard. Think about the miracles Jesus performed in the Gospels. The wine in Cana, the baskets of bread and fish - always more than necessary. Jesus had a thing for leftovers. Abundance. He didn't just take care of business, he was LAVISH in his grace, mercy, and love.
He still is. The Bible isn't a book of exceptions and one time truths. It's the living Word of God, timeless. It's still true, friend. The Word tell us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
So that brings me comfort. That I can know that in the midst of my storm that some days, literally has me curled up in the fetal position clutching my Bible, that God is in control. There might or might not be a conversation about me in Heaven between the devil and God. I have no way to know. But spiritual warfare is real, and the devil IS, according to God's word roaming about seeking whom he might devour, and let me just assure you, he's after believers. He's after God's passionate servants. He's after the Jobs of today.
And I want to prove myself like Job did. I want to bless and not curse. I want to question without wavering. I want to cry without giving up. I want to come out the other side in abundance with a faith more concrete than ever before.
Do you? Will you?
The story of Job - the TRUE story of Job...changes everything.
Because God changes everything.