This morning I was remembering a sermon I had heard about Job. The interesting thing about the story of Job is how his actions and reactions to his situation changed things:
- First is Job’s customary action, found in Job 1:5 (emphasis mine):
When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.
So what is the first thing that the devil took from Job? It was the animals for the sacrifice (Job 1:14-16). The preacher said that without the ability to sacrifice, the hedge around Job lifted, and he lost everything.
- Next is Job’s reaction, found in Job 1:20-22 (emphasis mine):
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job had lost all his children and all his wealth, and his reaction was to praise the Lord.
- Then when the devil struck him with sores all over his body, what was Job’s reaction? He broke a piece of pottery to scrape himself with and sat in the ashes (Job 2:8). This time he didn’t worship.
- His wife told him to curse God and die (no doubt so that she could go find another rich husband). But Job’s reaction was to rebuke her and remind her that God doesn’t owe us anything (Job 2:9-10). But he still didn’t worship.
- Job’s friends sat with him on the ground in silence for seven days and nights (Job 2:13). Notice that after this second attack, Job didn’t worship, like he did after the first.
- Then in chapter 3, Job curses the day of his birth, and this opened the door for his friends to blame all his troubles on Job because of sin. I used to think that they weren’t such good friends because of the rest of the book of Job, but in rereading 2:13, I realized that only good friends would come and sit in silence for seven days and seven nights with someone suffering the loss of everything like Job.
- Then in chapter 42, God rebukes Job’s friends, and Job prays for them:
After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before, (Job 42:10, emphasis mine).
When Job got his priorities straightened out again (God first!), and prayed for his friends, then God restored to him double what he had before.
So in thinking about all this, the Holy Spirit reminded me that when I was at my lowest point, after three years of depression ending in divorce, the way out of all that was when I worshiped God with all my heart. I was at a new church, sitting down front where I wouldn’t be distracted, and I worshiped God with everything I had. Was it a hand-raising church? I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. I wasn’t there for anyone else, only God. And don’t imagine for a moment that I felt like worshiping—not at all! If I had done what I felt like doing, I would have stayed in bed with the pillow over my head. But I’ve been a believer long enough to know that no matter what I’m going through, God is always worthy. And because of this abandon in worship, God healed me very quickly from the disappointment and sorrow of divorce. And not only that, but then He gave me the life of my dreams. I never even dared to dream that I would live in Italy and travel all over Europe helping missionaries. I hadn’t even thought of it this way before, but I had gone through a Job experience. God is good!