A Closer Walk
When we are experiencing affliction or enduring suffering, it seems easy to think that God is punishing us. “Surely I must have done something wrong for the Lord to allow this to happen to me,” we might say. First, if we are aware of some sin that the Holy Spirit has brought to our attention, then we need to go to the Throne of Grace and confess and repent, and ask our Lord for forgiveness. Second, if we are not aware of any sin we have committed, and we have nothing to confess, then there may be something else going on.
"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil," Job 1:1 NASB. So Job was an upright man, fearing God, turning away from evil, and he was blameless. Oh! That the same could be said of each of us. The statement in the verse was not what men said about Job, but was what God said about Job. Even so, the Lord allowed Satan to test him. Was Job being punished for some sin, or something he had done wrong? Quite the contrary. He was blameless, and upright.
In a Sunday School class several years ago, a participant said of Job, "God must have been so proud of him". That's certainly possible. Nevertheless, it's clear from the text that God deliberately pointed Satan directly at Job. "And the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil'," Job 1:8 NASB. Again,this isn't what men said about Job, this is what God said about Job. Then Satan was allowed to test him.
Job had seven sons and three daughters. Each son would hold a feast on his day for his brothers, and they would invite their sisters to join them. Beyond his family, Job possessed seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred female donkeys. And he employed very many servants. In four separate events, all happening at the same time, calamity fell upon Job; he lost all his livestock, then all his children, who were killed during one of their feasts. In each event all the servants were also killed, except for a single survivor who brought the message to Job.
"Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said, '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 1:20-22 NASB. In Job's day, tearing the robe and shaving the head were signs of mourning. So, show of hands. After hearing you had lost all your possessions and all your children, who would be first in line to fall to the ground to offer worship? Anyone? Yet, that is exactly what Job did. Oh! That we could follow his example.
But even after this trial, as difficult and heart wrenching as it must have been for Job, God and Satan weren't done with him. At a later date, Satan returned to accuse Job again. "And the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause'," Job 2:3 NASB. God describes Job as a man of integrity, and he has held fast to that integrity through his severe trial. Also we discover here that Job was tested "without cause". In other words, in case we missed it before, Job was not being punished for sin or wrongdoing. Even so Satan , "...smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head," Job 2:7 NASB.
Job's wife has been with him through all these ordeals. "Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!'," Job 2:9 NASB. In his response to her outburst Job asks a very profound question. "... 'Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips," Job 2:10 NASB. Indeed shall we accept good from God, and not accept adversity? Shall we accept good from our Lord, but not accept adversity?
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28 NASB.
“ 'For I know the plans that I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope',” Jeremiah 29:11 NASB.