Today is Day 40 in our journey through the Bible in 90 days.
In 40 days, we’ve covered 18 books of the Bible! Wow! In just 5 more days, we’ll hit a milestone: the half-way mark! Keep going…
Today we finish up Job and start the book of Psalms. Job is a book of tragedy, foolish counsel, mourning, but also great strength. It’s also the first book in the “poetry” section of the Old Testament. The Bible is divided into sections, and isn’t always chronological. Case in point: the book of Job. Job lived around the time of Abraham – in fact, they could have been buddies.
ONCE UPON A TIME…
Job begins happy and cheery. All is well, Job’s 10 children are partying, his animals and servants are living the life, and Job is in regular fellowship with his best friend: God. It doesn’t take long for life to take a turn for the worst, however. By the end of the very first chapter, all of Job’s kids are dead, his animals have been killed and/or stolen, almost of of his servants are dead, and he’s completely crushed.
Whenever I get to Job 1:20, I always have to pause – it blows me away. It tells us his response to his severe loss: WORSHIP.
I want to say I’d respond the same way, but so many times (with much less loss), I’ve responded the wrong way.
His loss continues in Chapter 2. Satan decided that taking his family and wealth wasn’t enough – he’d also take his health (with God’s permission, of course!). So, by the end of Job 2, we find this (once) wealthy, healthy, man of integrity sitting on a pile of ashes scraping his gaping wounds with broken pieces of pottery. It doesn’t get much lower than that…but then it does.
Who need enemies when you have friends like these?
Most of the rest of Job is either Job complaining about his circumstances (rightfully so) while trying to maintain his integrity and faith in the Lord, or his wife or 3 friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) giving him terrible advice. It’s brutal. By the end, he’s making sacrifices to atone for their sins because God won’t listen to them!
In Job 8:4, Job’s good old buddy, Bildad, even has the audacity to accuse Job of hidden sin! As if Job were to blame for his suffering! That’s a sad misconception that is sometimes even taught from pulpits today: hidden sin is causing your suffering. If you’d just repent/have enough faith/give enough money, God would heal you/bless you/prosper you. Sometimes, hidden sin or lack of faith is the issue, but don’t be so quick to apply that to every situation. Sometimes, some very Godly men and women suffer very deeply.
There are glimpses of hope throughout Job, though. Job 19:25-26 is a well known one…
For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,
What a statement!
Although Job is a book full of suffering, mourning, and sorrow, it ends on a high note when God appears. He spends the last couple chapters reminding Job that He is Master/Boss/Creator/Sustainer, then He hooks Job up. According to Job 42:10, God answered Job’s prayers, then restored his possessions…TWOFOLD! God is faithful!
If you’re suffering right now, take heart. God knows and God cares.
Enjoy the book of Psalms for the next few days – it’s a nice change of pace after such a heavy book like Job!
…Don’t get used to it, though, Ecclesiastes is only a few books away!