January 22 Job 1-5
January 23 Job 6-9
January 24 Job 10-13
January 25 Job 14-17
January 26 Job 18-21
January 27 Job 22-24
This week we begin the book of Job. Frankly, Job is my least favorite book. Not because of the glorious story of God’s care for one man and the knowledge that God is not only aware of my problems, but that Satan can’t touch me without God’s permission, but because of the constant arguing between the friends. On and on and on go the friend’s conversations and justifications as they try to find a human reason for Job’s pain. It’s the one book I dread! (I want to be honest as we go through the Bible.)
Here’s a guy who had it all. Satan comes and talks to God and God allows him to take everything Job owns. Now this is interesting. Satan goes to the throne of God after he roams the world? Satan needs permission from God to do whatever he wants to?
Satan kills Job’s 14 kids and causes him to lose all of his possessions in a short period of time. Job, a man of perfect integrity does not “sin or blame God for everything”.
Satan goes back to God and basically says “yeah, but it’s only because he’s still healthy that he chooses to praise You.” God allows Satan to make Job physically ill. Job’s “friends” Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, come to comfort Job. Instead of praying or commiserating, Eliphaz tells Job that he must have done something to cause these problems! Job’s reply:
It would still bring me comfort, and I would leap for joy in unrelenting pain that I have not denied the words of the Holy One. (6:10)
(This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One. Job 6:10 (ESV)
Can you say that? Can I? No matter what happens, I won’t deny Jesus?
Job calls for help to God and pleads for respite. His next “friend”, Zophar, wonders what God has against him – tells him to get rid of sin and everything will be good. Job reminds him that everything is in God’s hands. Basically asks him to shut up – says he’d rather talk to God directly – reminds Zophar that no matter what, his hope is in God.
Eliphaz chimes in and accuses Job of lack of trust, and Job tells them that they are all miserable comforters. (The application here is obvious. We need to watch what we say when we offer comfort!) Job's next words of faith:
But I know my living Redeemer, and He will stand on the dust at last. Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh. (19:25-26)
We close the week with Job wondering how to find God. He feels very alone. His friends pay lip service to his problems.
Have you ever felt that God is far away? That your prayers aren’t getting anywhere near heaven? God’s turned His back? Life isn’t worth living?
If you have, then you can have empathy with Job’s anguish. His friends blame him for the loss of his kids, livestock, possessions and even health. He doesn’t think that God is really paying attention. But even though everything is going wrong, Job chooses to continue to praise God!
How can we apply this to our lives? Here’s what I see so far:
1. Satan has to ask permission to annoy us. God, therefore, knows what’s happening to us, even if we feel that God is far away.
2. Our friends aren’t always the ones to turn to in times of trouble. In fact, most friends will probably try to blame me for the problem rather than looking at the bigger picture and seeing how it fits into God’s plan.
3. I need to persevere in prayer and thanksgiving. (give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5:18 (ESV)
What applications have you found? Has this story impacted your life? I’d like to know!
Tell your friends about the challenge – and about this blog. We can read through the Bible in a year – together!