Every night before going to bed I listen to God’s Word being read to me from the Ezra Project! Recently it has been from the book of Job. Job lived in the land of Uz, between 2000-1800 B.C., which was located near the desert land between Damascus and the Euphrates. Job was quite wealthy. He had thousands of sheep, camels, and other livestock. His family was large and influential. Job 1:3 tells us he was the greatest man among all the people of the east.
The book of Job is not a book in God’s Word that I have particularly been drawn to read, the reason being the magnitude of suffering, hardship, discouragement, and sorrow it testifies to. Loss of family, health, friends, property, and livelihood! Wow! Hard, hard circumstances to be living through. And just like us, job did not understand why God was allowing so much suffering in his life.
The last two years has also found me not understanding all the alienation, aloneness, anger, injustice, and hatred our world is experiencing. What is God doing, and how does my life fit into His plan and purpose?
I don’t know about you, but sometimes God has to hit me over the head with a two-by-four, and that is exactly what He did as I read the last five chapters of Job. Imagine the answers to those questions being right in front of me in God’s Word!! I love it!!
God speaking to Job in a whirlwind, right where he was in a big fat mess of misery! What did God speak into Job’s heart? He spoke of His sovereignty, supreme power, and authority over his life and everything in it!
Let’s go back to the beginning of the story. What exactly happened?
Job obviously had been minding his own business when suddenly Satan, the accuser, came before God claiming that Job was trusting God only because he was wealthy and everything was going well for him. (NIC Study Bible)
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.”
Just as he is doing now!
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 you to 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.” (Job 1:6-10)
So began the life and trials of Job! The hard part for Job was that he did not understand why God allowed Satan to do what he did! Remember he had been stripped of his family, his friends, his home, his wealth, and even his health. Satan did everything in his power to get Job to deny the power of God in his life.
Life’s struggles at times seem impossible to work through! So what kept Job from not succumbing to Satan’s schemes, deceptions, and trickery? First and foremost, I believe it was Job’s “faith foundation.” That foundation was built long before God allowed Satan to do what he did in Job’s life. Again in Job 1:8 God tells Satan:
“There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
Job’s life was not built on worldly thought, power, or financial success; it was built on God and God alone.
My dad was a builder, and every home he built has stood the test of time and is still standing and housing families 65 years later. My parents never had a problem selling their homes, because my dad built the homes we lived in on a firmly prepared foundation. In Pennsylvania there is a man who restores old stone homes. Some of the homes are older that the United States. The foundational stonework in these homes is amazing! Often hand-laid and picked from the land they are on, each stone is carefully placed and stacked in order to support the whole.
What an awesome picture of Job’s life! Job could not have withstood Satan’s shakedown if he had not had a strong, well-built foundation!
Well-built foundations can and do withstand time and the fury of weather. After a tornado or hurricane, it is a known fact that many a house or building might be gone, but the foundations somehow remain. Our lives are the same. The storms of life might be raging all around us, but if our foundation is built on the Lord Jesus Christ with superior products (God’s Word, faith, prayer, love, and God’s community) then it, too, will stand the storms of life and time.
“Fearing God” is a concept we no longer hear much about, let alone “shunning evil.” These, however, were the cornerstones of Job’s life.
Some questions came to mind while writing this blog that I believe we need to seriously ask ourselves.
• Have we stopped building on our foundations with superior products: God’s word, faith, prayer, love, and God’s community?
• Have we as Christians settled for what is cheapest, easiest, and quickest?
• Is giving God our best time, energy and resources even something we consider?
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wiseman who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been built on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Jesus told us in this passage that the storms, floods, and winds of life will come. In fact, He tells us they will be fierce, unrelenting, and raging. So make sure you have a firm foundation built on the Rock of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear, and I will speak; I will question you and you make it know to me. I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore, I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6)
“Lord God, thank you for Job’s life story and the living example of your Sovereignty in his life and ours. Thank you for the firm foundation Job laid his life on – YOU! Thank you for giving us your only Son Jesus, our Savior, as our firm foundation. Thank you for the truths of your Word that continually allow us to build on that foundation! Father God, we acknowledge you are all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign, and mighty. Help us to live each day and moment in light of who You are. Amen.”
P.S. If you want to really know who God is and what He is doing, look no further than Job 38-41.
And Jesus said:
“Behold, I am coming soon. And My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and may enter the gates of heaven.” (Rev. 22:12-14)
Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.