No Bible story seems to capture the human dilemma like that of Job. At The Shoulder tonight 32 men in our Spirituality Class listened intently. Several even said, “Amen!” during the lesson. That is quite something for this bunch of guys who have faced troublesome times.
One of the men read Job 1:1-5 about Job’s TESTIMONY. Obviously, Job was a man of character. He is described as being Godly, productive, wealthy, popular, sociable, conscientious and persistent. He seemed the least likely person to deserve the impending trouble.
We understand why bad things happen to bad people. Most going through recovery feel guilty for being the villain. They feel they deserve judgment even as they plead for mercy. But this man Job…he was a good guy.
Another man read verses 6-12 about Job’s TRIALS. In our story, Satan came among the congregation during a worship service and had a conversation with the Lord.
Satan is so brazen and deceived he thinks the world belongs to him. He is referred to as the god of this world. 2 Corinthians 4:4a But he is only an imposter, a poser. One day he will be exposed. Read Isaiah 14:12-17
The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job?” Now I do not know about you, but I prefer God not bring up my name when talking to the devil! But God believed in Job’s integrity.
Job, a man of integrity, retained internal wholeness even as the world around him fell apart. Integrity means wholeness. Most who come through recovery have fractured lives. They are broken in pieces. Recovery is the process of restoring integrity.
(In a future time Satan would encounter this quality in Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of integrity.)
Satan told God that Job would curse Him to His face if He removed the hedge of protection surrounding Job. In effect, he was saying “Job only praises You when the going is good; Job is using You for his own advantage.” So God allowed Satan to tempt and test Job severely to prove him wrong.
Verses 13-22 reveal that one crisis after another pounded Job. These were severe tests like bankruptcy, physical disease and the deaths of his children and grandchildren.
Words cannot capture the deep agony of soul Job endured. While never cursing God, he did question God and himself. He analyzed the circumstances over and over from every angle. He could not adequately understand the reasons why he was being so severely tested.
Those who have mourned understand this deep level. They have excavated the depths of their soul in ways others on the surface never do.
After being physically afflicted with boils from head to toe, Job turns to his beloved wife for support and she suggested that all this spirituality, worshipping and trusting God had caused bad things to happen. She recommended that he “Curse God and die!”
There are two lessons here: First, even our closest relationships cannot identify with our personal grief. They may be dealing with their own grief. Human advice is limited. Secondly, being a wholehearted worshipper of God does not exempt us from trials and testing. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.
Chapters 3 through 41 refer to Job’s TREATMENT program. His friends tried to explain the whys and wherefores to a man who was grappling with the dealings of God. Their opinions were ineffective.
I am thankful for friends, therapists, pastors and counselors. They can hold us steady during our difficulties, but in the final analysis, “it is God with Whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13 KJV
Finally, in chapter 42 we see Job’s TRIUMPH. A broken man, empty of self, repents before his God. He admits he does not really know the Lord.
I love verses 5 & 6, I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You, Therefore, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.
This was Job’s turn-around-point, his moment of clarity!
In all our venues of ministry we encounter people who know about God, but through circumstances of life are now prepared to see Him personally for the very first time; just like Job.
Thereafter, the Lord instructed Job to pray for his opinionated friends.
Verse 10 says, …the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Verse 12 says, Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning…
What a hopeful promise for those in recovery and for all of us! In simple terms, praying for others leads to personal restoration. It opens the windows of heaven for God’s abundant blessings to fall upon us. We discover after the trouble, our personal growth and reward are doubled.
As we finished our Spirituality Class at The Shoulder, there was an unusual hush that settled upon the men. God was speaking. Nothing more from me needed to be said.
Those who pray for and financially support Discovery Family Ministries are extending the message of hope to many like Job who are being restored to integrity. Thank you for participating in this process.