Book of Job Series: Chapters 1-3
Last week, I did a short introduction for this article series and the book of Job. One thing to remember as you’re reading is that these are the things I personally took away as I was reading Job. And since I am human, there are likely some mistakes. So, test everything that is written by me with the Word of God. His Word is unfailing. I will continue to remind you of these things, as I do not want to lead anyone astray.
We Don’t Always Understand Why We Are Going Through A Trial
One moment, life is perfectly fine. We have everything we could ever need or want. And the next minute, something tragic has happened. Whether it’s an illness, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or a certain situation that we are in, we didn’t see it coming and we don’t understand why it is happening. But in that moment, that’s all we can see. We can’t see the bigger picture or what’s going on around us. And we definitely don’t understand why we are going through that particular trial. But God has a bigger plan. Maybe He wants to teach us something from it, or maybe something better will come along. We don’t know the ways or plans of God, but we do know that we can trust Him.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
2. Sometimes Good Things Happen to “Bad” People, and Sometimes Bad Things Happen To “Good” People
I put quotation marks around bad and good because we are all inherently sinful ever since the fall happened in Genesis 3. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. But my point is, sometimes people who don’t follow God in any capacity are seemingly blessed. And other times people who fully trust in God have some of the worst situations happen to them. It is because we live in an imperfect world where sin is prevalent, and justice is out of whack. But if our faith was based on the rewards we received when we had it, would it truly be faith? For our faith to be unshakable, we must build it on the confidence we have that God’s perfect will, will come to pass.
3. Satan and His Demons Are Our Only True Enemy
I have a lot to say about this. God has been teaching me so many things about this recently, mostly through this verse: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy, but he is just one fallen angel. Sure, he has other demons who help him, but they are not powerful like Almighty God. Satan gets into our minds and twists the way we think about people and circumstances, and maybe we think the person(s) who hurt us are our enemies. But they are not...they are a child of God just like you and me. It is Satan who is trying to drive a wedge between our relationships. The thing is, once we recognize this truth and that Satan and his followers are just created beings, he no longer has control over our us. He can’t be in more than one place at a time, he doesn’t know our thoughts, and God puts limitations on what he can do.
Even though we may be going through something really difficult, we don’t know the number of things that God has prevented from happening. Satan might be the ruler of the earth and the air for now, but that won’t last forever. We can have hope because God is currently, always has been, and always will be on the Throne. And He is a good God who loves us unconditionally and is faithful to His promises.
“The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’” Job 1:12
4. God Will Always Be Worthy of Our Praise
God is a good and faithful God who loves us. As I have stated previously, the reason we go through trials is because of the fall of mankind. God wants to give us good and pleasurable gifts, but that is not always the case because of the sin in this world. Could you imagine ceasing your worship just because of one circumstance? As I also said above, we don’t know the number of circumstances God has protected us from. It is perfectly okay to grieve and be sad about the things we are going through, but it is what we do with those emotions that matters. Job was so grounded in his faith that he immediately went to God with his grief. I think we can learn a lot from his example.
“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 1:20-22
So, I want to challenge us with this question: When we go through trials, do we ask God, “Why me? Why is this happening?” Or do we say, “I don’t understand this, but I know You are good. How can I glorify You in this circumstance?” I will admit that I have been on both sides of the coin. And I definitely have more peace, learn more, and grow closer to God when I ask the second question. Which will you choose?
5. We Should Accept All That God Gives Us
“‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?’” Job 2:10
Sometimes it is thought that once we become a Christian and surrender our lives to Christ that all will be good and well. That our lives will be an easy life from then on out. But that isn’t the case. One might argue that it becomes more difficult. We have conviction for things we didn’t use to have guilt for, we have bitterness in our hearts that we have to work through, and there is persecution from the world around us, among many other things. But we endure these things because we trust what God says is true and we have hope for the day when we get to meet Him face-to-face. One promise that Jesus gives us is this, ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”” John 16:33
God can handle what we can’t. And similar to a point I made above, if we only had faith when things went our way, it wouldn’t be very strong faith, would it? People would “believe” in God only to get what they want, not because they want to be in true relationship with Him or to give Him glory for His sovereignty.
6. Relationships Are Important
In this world, we go through so many trials as well as so much joy! We all have high and low moments of our lives, and it is so important to have relationships with others to share in those moments. I’m not just referring to marriage, I’m also talking about close friends and mentors. People who really know us and who we can be vulnerable with. People who aren’t afraid to call us out when we need it, who will sit and cry with us, or who will laugh with us when times are good. God is a relational God. He is three in one, the Trinity. And when He made us in His image, He created us knowing we were meant to have relationships with others. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” Genesis 2:18
So, I think it is incredible that Job had friends who cared enough about him that they came alongside him in his suffering. They didn’t awkwardly sit there and pat his back, telling him that everything was going to be okay. They were physically moved by the sorrow their friend was going through. They grieved along with Job. We will not get into how they acted later in the book quite yet, but based on this chapter alone, I’d say Job had some pretty reliable friends.
“When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” Job 2:12-13
7. We All Have Times When We Wonder Why We Are Here
“After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. ‘May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it.” Job 3:1-3
I don’t want to get into the circumstances that have made me question my existence, but I would say it is something that most people have asked before. I’m not saying it’s good, but at the same time, God invites us to ask the hard questions. He can handle them. And He has the answers. In no way does He want us to doubt Him, but I would say that if you’re feeling that way, it’s better to get it out than bottle it up. God knows how you feel whether you speak it out or not, and I’d say it is much healthier to get those thoughts and questions out in the open. Take them to God in prayer, take the time to listen, and let Him answer. Meditate on His Word and let Him teach you.
8. God Does Not Always Reveal His Ways
“Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?” Job 3:23
When circumstances that don’t seem beneficial are happening, we might question why God is allowing it. I mentioned earlier that God might allow certain things to happen to draw us closer to Him or to strengthen our faith. All that we know is that we can trust God because He is good and faithful. He has many reasons why He doesn’t reveal His plans to us. I heard a pastor say something along the lines of this, “If God revealed everything He planned, just for our lives, would we continue to follow in His will?” What he was getting at was that we aren’t ready to know everything. If God had revealed to me that I would break up with my long-term boyfriend and move to Serbia to serve Him when I was 19 years old, I probably would have chosen a different path, partially because I was in a stage of rebellion and partially due to fear. The thought of being alone when I was that age was terrifying. But God reveals to us only what we can handle and what we are ready to hear. It will all be revealed one day, in His timing.
“For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Psalms 33:4
What is God teaching you through reading Job? What stands out to you about God and His character? I would love to hear your thoughts!