One Bad Day

By David M. McNabb

(Continued from May / June )

So, in one day, Job lost all that he loved and possessed. His businesses, wealth, and children were all gone in a matter of moments.

He had trusted and feared God. Why was that not enough? Would not a loving and faithful God be interested in Job's happiness and prosperity? Is pain and suffering the reward for faithful service?

God, it seems, had himself pointed the goodness of Job out to Satan, and then removed the protective hedge from around him.

Job did not blame God, but rather worshiped Him, saying, "Naked came I out of the womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).

But the trials of Job did not end there. Satan once again stood before the Lord, and once again he was shown Job's perfection and uprightness. Now Satan requested permission to hurt Job's flesh, thinking that Job would then forsake God.

Job's body was covered in boils, and now the physical pain and anguish only heightened his emotional suffering. Now even his own wife thought him mad. She said, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die."

Still, Job remained on the Lord's side. He answered her, saying, "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"

Job did not speak foolishly. Neither did he sin with his mouth against God. His wife and his friends were of no comfort, and provided poor counsel. It was Job and God against the devil and the whole world, and yet Job's side had the advantage.

Many words are recorded in the book of Job: counsel of Job's friends, replies from Job himself, and God's own answer to the whole situation. In the end, Job's life stands as a memorial to the truth of the words of Jesus our Lord.

Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?" (Luke 9:23-25).

Again He said, "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting" (Luke 18:29-30).

Having no real reason to think that either his wealth or his health would be restored, Job remained faithful through the whole ordeal.

But God is also faithful, and, as the preacher declares, "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit" (Eccl. 7:8).

And so, Job's end was better than his beginning. In all things, he retained his integrity before God, and God's grace was extended to him. His possessions were restored unto him twice as much as he had at the start.

Also, he had seven more sons, and three more daughters. Scripture records that his daughters were the fairest in all the land!

After his ordeal, he lived 140 more years, and not only did he see his children restored, but also lived long enough to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. God granted that this wonderful family man was surrounded by the sound of healthy, happy children for the rest of his days!

What may be the most important development in the life of Job is often overlooked. After all that happened, God tells Job's friends to bring their sacrifices to Job to be offered. No longer would their sacrifices be acceptable, if offered on their own. No, God now required Job to act as a priest on behalf of his friends. These men, who had supposed they knew God so well, now had need of an intercessor: Job, whose right words had gotten him favor with God.

Job was not serving God so that he could experience worldly prosperity and physical health. He was serving God because it was right: because God is worthy to be praised and adored in that He exists. The loss of all of Job's earthly treasures did not change the fact that God is.

In Job's faithfulness to hold fast to the faith in God, he pleased God. Job's faith was not built on things, but on God Himself.

Satan's efforts were thwarted, not only that day, but for all time. You see, if Job could do it, so can you.

In fact, we have no excuse when we stagger in temptation, because we have an even greater advantage through salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, hallelujah!

The Lord promised that He would never leave us, nor forsake us. That promise is true today, as it was in the days of Job long ago. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever, and He will always hold us in the palm of His hand.

You may have to walk through the darkest valley, but you will never have to walk alone. Amen.

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