THEME: NAKED WE CAME, NAKED WE SHALL RETURN
Today, we’re introduced to the Book of Job. Job was a spiritual man who trusted God. He was a prayerful man, who kept his seven sons and three daughters covered by prayer and supplication. He was a wise man, who had been blessed by God in many ways, and he was a pillar of spiritual piety among his peers.. but Job was unaware of the spiritual battle that was raging in heavenly places. Although he knew God as Creator and worshipped Him with reverent fear, Job did not know that the old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, was using him to challenge God’s sovereign authority. The Lord had referred to Job as, My servant, and said of him, there is no one on earth like unto him. The result of Satan’s dialogue with the Lord, and his accusations against Job, was that the Lord permitted the devil to test Job’s loyalty and his faith in the Lord God of Creation, Whom he served with reverent fear.
Multiple disasters befell the stricken man, including the death of his ten children and the loss of his entire material assets. His many possessions and dearly loved offspring were all snatched away from Job, in one day – but this godly man did not curse the Lord, despite his broken-hearted grief. He tore his mantle in anguish of heart, shaved his head, as a sign of mourning and inner turmoil, and fell on the ground in order to worship the Lord, saying: 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.
Satan had wagered that Job would curse God, when such intense disasters befell him, but Job recognised that everything he had was a gift from the Lord, and acknowledge that God retains the right to remove it. God is equally justified in permitting evil to overtake his servants as well as good. Job understood that all he had was from the Lord, and the loss of his estate and dearly loved, children did not negate the goodness of God. Job had long understood that we are born into this world with nothing, and that when we die, we leave this world equally empty-handed. He was naked when his mother brought him into the world, through much pain and travail, and at his departing he would similarly be naked – for from dust we are made and to dust we shall all return.
Job’s response to his tragic loss, demonstrates a truly extraordinary man, with a truly remarkable faith in God. He reacted to his woes with worship, and to his devastating losses with reverence and humility of heart. Job did not curse the Lord, as Satan had supposed, and despite his ongoing problems and pain, he retained his faith in the Lord, which honoured God. Satan was so wrong in his assessment of this saint’s relationship with the Lord God almighty.
Too often, in our own lives we find ourselves in similar circumstances like job. We question God for allowing such calamities befall us his children. We imagine were we have wronged him and how we have offended him. We ask if he’s no longer the faithful God who never abandons nor forsake those who trust in him. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God of Daniel in the Lions den and Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego in the flame of fire. So many things begin to run through our minds.
At points like this we must remain steadfast, bearing in mind that: Godly devotional, saintly worship and reverential fear of our heavenly Father is not perfected through multiplied blessing, but is often fine-tuned through the long night of doubt and sorrow, or in the painful times of trial and tribulation – for it’s when we are in pain that we hold fast to our heavenly Creator, for there is no one else to turn to, for He has the word of eternal life.
However, in order to meet those seasons of sorrow and sadness with the same resolve as Job, we need to follow the attitude and behaviour of that saintly man, before he was robbed of his wealth and his children. Job had set a precedent in his life, which stood him in good stead when life became unbearable. Job was a man of prayer and praise. He was a man who knew and trusted God’s word, and Job was a man who held fast to faith in His heavenly Creator – despite not knowing why he was undergoing such tragedy, or understanding the fierce spiritual battle that was being fought over his integrity and trust.
May we be prepared to reiterate the words that came from Job’s mouth and the sentiment that ruled his heart, even when we do not know or understand why difficulties and disasters strew our pathway. May we be prepared to cry: 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.
GOOD MORNING AND HAPPY NEW WEEK!