April 25, 2006
"[Job] 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.' " (Job 1: 20b-21)
The Bible tells us that Job was a righteous and upright man who feared God and shunned evil. The overriding question has always been, "why did Job suffer?" and correspondingly "why does any righteous person have to suffer"? However, today I would like to focus on Job's ability and willingness to worship and praise the Lord in spite of his hardships.
Job was devoted to God and knew that He was sovereign in all things and in all circumstances. He knew that God could bless and that God could take away His blessings. He was in charge and in control. I believe that Job saw God. Not visibly, but he had revelation of God's power, might and worthiness to be praised, no matter what. Job also had an adversary. An accuser. Satan, the accuser of the brethren. (Revelation 12:10) Satan was convinced that the only reason that Job led a righteous and blameless life was because of the abundance of blessings the Lord had given him. He wanted to see what would happen if Job lost everything. How righteous would he be now? So God allowed Job's life to be turned upside down. He lost his sheep that provided clothing and food. He lost his 3000 camels that provided transportation and milk. 1000 oxen and their power to plow and provide food and milk. 500 donkeys. His servants were all dead. The worse loss was yet to come. The loss of all of his 10 children when a tornado whipped across the desert and killed every last one of them. His losses were financial, emotional, physical and spiritual. Would Job serve the Lord now? Absolutely!
Job followed adversity with adoration. Woe with worship. He did not give in to bitterness or blame God. His wife told him to "curse God and die". But he responded, "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" He called her a foolish, spiritually ignorant woman. (see Job 2:9-10) He praised God in spite of it all. Job showed us that we can be devoted to God without receiving anything in return. He showed us the heart of worship. It's not about us...it's all about Him!
It's all about Him because He is God. Pure and simple. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all life. He is the King and the Lord. He is. Period. And because of that He is worthy and entitled to our worship. No matter what. And the sooner we stop seeing Him as a slot machine, dispensing answers to our prayers, the sooner we will begin to see Him for who He truly is and we will worship Him because He is worthy to be worshipped. We will seek His face, not His hand. We will take our eyes off of ourselves and fix our eyes on Him. As a result, our relationship with Him will go to a whole new level of intimacy.
Of course we should thank the Lord for all of His blessings and goodness to us. But we should be more in tune with seeking His face and gaining revelation of Who He truly is than being interested in what He can do for us. My goodness, He sent His only Son to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins! If He never did another thing for us, that's enough! He allowed you to wake up this morning and breathe air into your lungs. I believe He does that to allow us one more day to possibly, just maybe, seek Him today. Really seek Him...He longs for that. He wants that from you.
Like Job, you too have an adversary. The same one..Satan. In the midst of your trouble he will tell you that God isn't there. God doesn't love you. You have been so bad that God will never bless you again. You brought this upon yourself. Curse God and die! The book of Job proved to us that these are all lies. Job was righteous. He did nothing to precipitate his adversities. And God did bless him abundantly in the end. God is God. He is Holy. He is in control. Job gave us a beautiful example of praising God in the midst of...in spite of...
God wants to bless us. He wants to be good and gracious to us. But I believe that He wants us to know Him more than He wants to make our lives comfortable. He wants an intimate relationship with us. He wants our hearts. He wants us to fall in love with Him. He wants us to long to live in His presence. And how insulting it must be when we stop praising Him because life isn't going quite the way we would want it to. How would we feel if our own children only loved us and showed love to us when we were giving them presents? I think that I would be very sad and very insulted. I want them to love me because I'm their mom. I want them to spend time with me because of that love, not because of what I can give them. And God is that same kind of parent.
Worship God for who He is. Seek His face. I dare you to really, from the bottom of your heart pray, "God, show me more of who you are. Show me your glory. Give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I may know you better (Ephesians 1:17). The only thing I want is you. If you never give me another blessing, bless me with fullness in the knowledge of you. Draw me close. I want you and you alone." And since this is God's heart...He will answer you and you will see things you've never seen before. I promise you that!
No matter what you are going through today, let Job be an example to you. He cried,"Blessed be the name of the Lord" in the midst of his trial. Let the words of the prophet Habukkak be another example. "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Habukkak 3: 17-18)
That is the heart of worship!