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Week 4 For Better or For Worse
Nov. 5, 2012
For Better or For Worse
“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.”
- Job 1:21
Let me tell you a story. In the Land of Uz long time ago, there was a certain man whose name was Job. He was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He pleased God more than any people there were. He was the apple of the eye by which the Lord found favour in him. He had seven sons and three daughters. He had a vast majority of possessions. He was a wealthy man. A wide and spacious space was what he occupies. He was known on the land as a righteous and very kind person. To give you an idea of how rich a man he was; he owned seven thousand sheeps, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man of all the people on the East. He was blessed indeed and he shared what he had among those in need.
His sons used to take turns holding out feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. They would have a good time and when a period of feasting had run its course; Job would send and have them purified. He wanted them to be clean in every aspects of their life. He had a deep love for them. He cared for them very much that he would get up in the morning though the sun may not have shine through. This was so that he could sacrifice burnt offerings for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This has been Job’s regular custom.
Before we proceed any further, let me ask you a question, “How often do you care for others more than yourself?” Are your works beneficial for others or are they meant only for yourself? Do you desire to make others happy or want what’s good for them? In Job’s action, we can see what a very good man he is. He had much concern for his sons and daughters. He would wake up at the break of dawn to offer sacrifices. He may not know what his children have thought or sought for in their hearts but he continually made it a habit to make them clean. He was preserving them to live a life pleasing in God’s eyes. He was the father that took a step more because he loved and cared for them. He was one of a kind indeed. One cannot compare to how he was such an esteemed person.
Now, This is Job’s first test.
One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse your face.
The Lord said to Satan. “Very well then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then, Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the older brother’s house, he would soon have himself hear bad news. There were four messengers who would come to him about the tragic events that would happen in that day. The first came and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” The second came, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”. Then the third came, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”. Then the fourth came, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”. Three of the messengers came while the other was still speaking!”
Upon knowing these, what do you think Job’s reaction will be?
Upon losing something or someone you loved, wouldn’t it hurt you?
Let’s look at what Job did.
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship.
Note the word worship. Job worshipped God despite all this. He did not do any unpleasant act like breaking up glasses and materials there were just to ease up what he felt. No. his love for God was greater than what he lost. He also tore his clothes and shaved his head. It was a way to show he was grieve of what had happened. It was painful to see the fact that the children whom he have offered sacrifices of purification for was now gone. All of them were in rest.
Now, let’s look at what he 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 one day, Job had lost 10 of his children. His servants were no more and 11,000 of his livestocks were now nowhere alive. But, did Job accused God by being wrong with these events? No! In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job lost everything even the figure he had made among the people. He was far from the man before. Once the wealthiest man in the East now sits in ashes and being ridiculed for. His material possessions now lie in ruins. The only thing he has was his integrity by which he kept on.
On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself.
Then the lord said to Satan, “have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
Job had painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head and this was Job’s second test. He used a piece of broken pot and scraped himself as he sat among the ashes.
By these tests, God would know how faithful Job is.
I will not speak of how Job had a conversation with his three friends; Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. But, by the end of their visit, Job would know that God have been keeping watch of him all along. At the end of all these; after Job have prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again. He gave him twice as much as he had before. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had 22,00 livestock all of which is twice the number of those which compromise the first. God also gave him children as like before. He had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren Happuch. His three daughters were the most beautiful of women in the land. There were nothing like them and Job gave them an inheritance along with their brothers.
Job lived a hundred and forty years. He saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. He died old and full of years.
If you think your problems are great, think of Job. How did he react to the situations given to him. When he lost everything, did he gave up by saying, “Lord, what have I done to deserve this?” ? Certainly not! Whatever happened, he knew that God has a purpose. It was a test. He stated that “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.” God gives and he takes. May the name of the Lord be praised!