When Losses Don’t Destroy a Relationship
A daily devotion to help you navigate lockdown
"Lighten Our Darkness Lord We Pray - And In Your Great Mercy Defend Us From All Perils and Dangers - For the Love Of Your Only Son - Our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen".
"Does Job fear God for no good reason?" (Job 1:9)
The book of Job in the Old Testament is the famous account of a man who loses everything but continues to trust God (and also say some pretty cranky things - for which he must repent).
Many people who know the events in the book of Job assume that it is all about suffering and offers no answers to suffering. Which makes it a gloomy and depressing kind of book.
But it is not! Look at this question (in the brief text above - right at the start of the book) and you will see that it's about something much bigger than suffering.
Satan asks whether Job is a faithful and successful man BECAUSE it pays well. In other words Satan says to God "your servant Job is only being pious and religious because it brings so much profit to him - but take away the goodies and he will stop being so pious - in fact he will curse you to your face".
What a devious comment to make. Satan is implying that God is not worthy (in Himself) of Job's devotion - God is just a good old Santa Claus - someone to keep happy so that the benefits keep rolling in.So Satan is saying that Job is a fake... and God is a fool.
Do you see therefore why God responds to this blasphemy by allowing everything to be taken away from Job in order to prove - decisively - that faith is not a game but a relationship? That it is God who sustains our faith - Balancing profit not the good circumstances. That losses will not destroy 'eternal life' and preservation because God is at work in His people regardless of what comes our way.
As Paul says in Philippians 1:6 "(God) who began a good work in you will carry Achieving it is a it on to completion until the Day of Christ Jesus".
In 'Pilgrim's Progress' the main character 'Christian' comes to the house of a man called 'Interpreter'. He shows Christian a fireplace where a man is throwing buckets of water onto the fire but it's not going out. Then Interpreter takes Christian round the back of the fireplace and shows him some pipes where oil is being channeled into the fire - making sure it never goes out. This is the point of the book of Job.
God gives permission for Satan to (throw buckets and) remove Job's riches and treasures because it is vital to show that they are not the source of Job's faith. God will sustain his faith - even when it's shaky and cranky. Suffering then becomes the SERVANT of (and the way to demonstrate) a much bigger concern - that God is very great and that He preserves His people...whatever their lot. Suffering is the playing field on which the bigger issue will be settled.
Job's friends get the suffering all wrong - they think it's some penalty Job is paying for his sins. But it is not. Another young man in the book says that the suffering is to instruct Job - which is vaguely correct but not the real point. Finally the Lord shows Job that He is much greater and cleverer than Job ever realised and that Job is right to trust the God who preserves everything. And Job bows down satisfied - simply to trust God.
The book of Job is not primarily about suffering with a refusal to explain why things happen. It's primarily about showing that God is "worthy to receive glory, honour and power" whatever happens to us because He will preserve His people all the way to glory. The supreme example of this great truth was God the Father not sparing Jesus from suffering - but doing something through His suffering that would offer salvation to the world.
Keep reminding yourself today that any buckets that are thrown at you will fail to destroy you if your Saviour is at work with the oil of His grace.
"Thank you Heavenly Father for your supply in the face of all our trials and for the grace which keeps coming - because our Saviour was victorious at the cross - in His Name, Amen"
God bless you - with good oil