A GOOD START FOR A BAD DAY
So, Israel has seen the hope that comes in hard times. They can stand when their enemies want them to fall. What if there is no enemy to be found? What if it seems like God may be the source of your problems?
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. Job 1:1-5
The faithful do keep their children in prayer, especially when they are sure the children are missing the way. As a God fearing man Job has been prosperous, but he knows that God is his source. He has prayer to cover his household in spite of their shortcomings.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. Job 1:6-11
So the accuser of the brethren, Satan can bring charges against the innocent. But God is confident to allow the righteous to endure a trial to prove his worth. Still God does not himself deliver a curse against Job. He leaves that to the enemy.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Job 1:12-15
Under the rules of engagement Satan may not harm Job himself. But he has an open season on everything else in job’s life. He uses the Sabeans to do the violence required. We often see men who are willing to serve darkness willingly. We should remember to pray, targeting the spirits behind our enemies actions. We war against this evil spirit by prayer.
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee Job 1:16-19
The fire of God makes me wonder if they had volcanoes in the area, or if lightning could cause wild fires as it does in the American west. Raiding bands of warriors may be more common, but adding a tornado or other wind storm is getting to be a bit much. To be content with a little is godly, but Job is left to be content with nearly nothing. What he still has may prove to be less than comforting in the days ahead.
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. Job 1:20-22
There is a time and a season for every purpose, and for Job it is a time to mourn. In grief he tears his garment and shaves his head. Orthodox Jews and other religions value the beard and hair, but Job is removed from all pride now. Today we see many people being stripped of some of their material strength, but few losing as much as Job here.
Can you contain your temper at all times? I struggle with computers because I know that some smug but clueless programmer is ruining my life with half tested malware intended to make my life better. I have been known to suggest that all programmers submit to an annual caning as a reminder of the users out here. Job has given all to God before he lost it. He knows and trusts his provider.