Monday, July 05 2021
All over the world we see disasters arising. Not just the Covid pandemic but new strains of the virus alongside bush fires, storms, disastrous buildings falling over.
How can we survive this year, this day, this time?
Job has lots of good answers that we might glean wisdom from.
He is the ultimate disaster survivor.
First of all, he was under the pump of God.
He was being tested.
Messengers came one by one, each with a new disaster to report. His farm animals were stolen. His farmers were dead. His sheep were stolen. His shepherds were dead.
His children, enjoying a celebration, were killed by a violent wind like a hurricane or twister. The house collapsed and all were dead. One servant in each case came to bring the bad news.
Next, Job became ill with boils on his skin.
He is in a state of serious depression when we meet him. He wants to die, and questions why he is still living.
Of course, he does not know that this was the deal made by the Lord and the enemy of God, Satan. He could not take his life, but everything else could be taken away.
Now, it is interesting to see how his friends came in a hurry to give him some advice. (lip service)
They were all sure that they had the answer and had made many assumptions about Job from their long lives of experience.
Eliphaz ultimately insinuates that Job is not old enough to know what he knows. His family of wise men learned from their fathers before foreigners entered their habitat.
He gives his argument from the time perspective. In other words, Job has not lived long enough to know as much as he, the guru Eliphaz. (Job 15:17-19) He even insinuates that Job is wicked.
Job does take the bait frome each argument, but continually pleads for God to intervene.
Even as maggots come from his wounds, he looks to the Almighty for relief and help. He never asks these "fake helpers" for their assistance.
In Chapter 3, there is a clue as to why Job actually knew this disaster might happen. (3:25, 26)
"What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, ...only trouble comes."
What about you and me? We see this pandemic is still raging across the globe, taking its victims in its path, like an unseen tornado or twister seeking whom it may destroy. We are not too far from the position in which we find Job in these pages, written hundreds of years ago, long before Jesus Christ came to live and die for Job, for you and for me.
We can look back into this man's life, who was living righteously in his community. He was always worried about how his children behaved and so we do the same. We worry what God will do about the problems they cause others, or what troubles will arrive in the next season.
For some people, ignoring everything and getting on with their lives is their answer. They serve God or do their tasks diligently, ignoring the flames around them, walking quietly through the storms and flood.
For others, they sit and fret a lot. They worry about this and that and listen carefully to the news and obey diligently as they are able. Their sleep is disturbed and they long for that bright day when they can get back to their work again, and do those things they always loved to do.
For others, like Job, they simply want to lie down and die, or be taken into a spiritual realm where troubles are far away from them.
Interestingly there are three friends with different opinions visiting Job.
Eliphaz simply gets on with his life. He feels a good dose of self-righteousness and concludes that Job is simply being corrected by God because of his dream, where he was challenged. He just gets on with his life, carrying this dream in his soul and feels fine. He also brings in the word "we" to demonstrate his class distinction and abundant knowledge. (5:27)
Bildad makes the point of looking back to his previous generation and concludes that his integrity is intact because he believed that God will not help the wicked to do evil. (8:20) He literally believes that Job has simply forgotten God and is clinging to his riches for his life.
Zophar the third "friend" indicates his belief that Job is simply wicked and the only solution is death. (11:20) Not only is Job considered wicked, but he will also soon be blind according to Zophar, who may be a physician by profession. (13:4b)
In each case, the visitor has judged Job wrongly.
How many times do we judge correctly? Without knowing the facts?
Are we like Zophar, judging others and condemning them?
Are we like Bildad always looking back to the past for answers. (We do need to learn from our past)
Or, are we more connected to Eliphaz and ignore everything around us as we do what we have to do without thinking too much. "Must dust"
How many of us are more like Job, who wonders what is going on? Why are all these disasters happening? When is the next disaster about to happen?
Looking for answers from God?
God does indeed have all the answers and we can simply ask God about it all. Jesus said, "Ask me anything and I will do it."
And many more words of encouragement for us to hear.
Although Job has been declared innocent, he is also flawed in his own nature because he is a human being. He worried about what might happen and it happened as he thought it would. He expected a disaster and lots of disasters came to his life.
He argued brutally with God about his innocence, but he forgot that he was also a sinner like his friends and needed redemption.
If he had spoken to his children about their wild ways would that have changed the course of his history? In a way, this was a destiny for him because it was simply so.
In the end he did lose a lot, his home, family (except his wife), servants, and even his friends. But, God proved faithful, good and compassionate to him. God restored his worldly goods and of course, his sins were sealed and forgiven by Jesus on the cross. His hope was the grave, but we know that Jesus defeated the grave and death.
Let us all look to the Lord of Heaven in these trying times and see what God has in store for our future, whether here on earth or through the veil of death.
Where God lives, there is life abundant. (John 14:6 )
New Living Translation: 2007
Tyndall House Publishers, Inc, Illinois.