Though your beginnings were modest, your latter days will be full of prosperity. Job 8:7 BSB
How many times have you heard, “it’s going to be okay?” I know I have heard this statement more times than I can count. How about, “God is in control?” Whenever there is a problem in another person’s life, we often have no clue how to respond to them with comforting words, so we say these types of phrases. Though such words may be released to another out of a true intention to help at the time of distress, these responses rarely have the desired affect we had hoped for.
The truth is it is going to be okay, and God is in control if we let Him. God is not a controller, but He does hold the whole world in His hand. Our excessive drive to control things doesn’t stop God from being in control, but it does rob us from the peace we can have if we rest in the fact that He is in control. I believe it is a faithful saying; the final outcome is yet to be determined. Only God knows what the end result will be to our lives, good or bad, He has numbered our days and everything in them as we can see in the book of Job.
In the Bible, there is a story of a man named Job who had a relationship with God as was evident by his prayer times, his generosity to others, and the way he lived his life. The book starts out with, There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name [was] Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. - Job 1:1 NKJV
We can immediately see that Job was blameless, meaning no fault could be found in his devotion to God because he was dedicated to a righteous life in God and was morally right by God’s standards. Job feared God and shunned evil according to this verse; he refused to rebel or depart the righteous ways of God. The next few verses go on to tell us that Job was very wealthy with several children, ten in all. In Job’s fear that his children would sin he made sacrifices for them, burning offerings to the Lord, continually. This is a man that made it a religious practice to intercede for his children’s life. Jobs prayers were obviously rooted in the fear of God but probably in his fears as well; fear that his children may sin towards God. What we see from Jobs intercession is a combination of God’s will for us to bring our petitions, cares, and concerns to Him and a parents concern and fear for his children’s relationship with God. Anyone with children can probably relate to this kind of praying.
Bad Things Happen to Good People
Job was considered a good man in his day with a good reputation and yet he went through some of the darkest nights an individual could ever imagine. Perhaps you have been there. Maybe you have been living a godly life only to find everything you did seemed to be cursed instead of blessed.
The story goes on to tell us that Satan presented himself to the LORD along with the sons of God or other angelic beings. These spiritual beings came before God to give Him an account of their activities; God doesn’t allow the universe to run blindly before Him but demands an account from everyone, even the angels and Satan. Next, we read that God asked Satan where he had been and what he had been up to. Satan’s response was “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:7 Before I go any further with this, please allow me a moment to explain why this “going back and forth” is important to us. What we see here is the Adversary of our souls at work, he is the devil that walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1Pe 5:8) and is here to do nothing but steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) and not necessarily in that order. When Satan knows we are living a life unto God he will do anything he can to distract us, steal our worship, take our lives, and destroy our hopes with the intention of getting us to turn away from God.
Okay, we can determine why Satan replied with the comment he did, he was looking for trouble. God then asked Satan if he had “considered” His servant Job, confirming that Job was indeed a righteous man. Let’s make something clear right here; God didn’t call these angelic beings to His courts to ask questions of them with the intention of being surprised by their answers because He already has the answers, He knows the beginning from the end in all things because He is omnipresent. When God asks questions it is for a couple of reasons, one is to make us think, and the other is to hold us accountable, He was holding these angelic beings accountable and creating a forum of discussion whereby the Holy angels would be privy to Satan’s ploy to destroy Job.
Satan brought an accusation against Job, “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has and he will surely curse You to Your face! Job 1:10-11 Talk about a blatant and disrespectful comment towards a Holy God! Satan accuses Job of worshiping God because of what he could get from him snd not out of a love for Him. His words to God come from a prideful and vengeful heart, which is what got him kicked out of the presence of God to begin with.
It is at this point that God allows the devil to go after Job and bring destruction to all that he has except he wasn’t to touch his person. As the story goes Job loses everything he has including his children, livestock, and wealth but instead of cursing God, as was the accusation, Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21
What a holy response to such a horrendous tragedy! May we be so full of faith and hope that we would respond in such a way should we encounter tragedy.
Of course, Satan’s plan backfired, so the next time he appeared before the Judge he had the same conversation with God; but the devil continued to bring even more accusation against Job and, once again, is given permission to bring tribulation to Job by making him sick but not being allowed to kill him. Job ends up with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head! The situation is so bad that Job’s own wife tells him to let go of his integrity and curse God and die. It is interesting that she would use the word integrity because God described Job as a man who held fast to his integrity even when Satan incited God against him to destroy him without cause. In actuality, the word that God used translated as cause means for nothing, for no purpose, or in vain. There was a cause to allow Satan to sift Job in the manner he did because God would not allow such terrible things to come upon one of His own just to prove a point. But the result of Satan's attack came to nothing.
Pride Goes Before Destruction
So, why was all this stuff allowed to happen to such a righteous man? What legal right did Satan have to Job? I believe we can say that there were at least two opened doors in the life of Job that allowed Satan a legal right to afflict him, self-righteousness and pride. I am confident by what we read about Job that he would have raised his children in the knowledge of God and the way of righteousness yet he was afraid they would sin against God in their hearts. Job appeared to believe that his righteous could save his children even if they did sin against God. But the clearest reason we see for these things to happen is pride. In the end chapters of Job, God begins to rebuke him and discusses pride in such detail with Job that he describes it as the serpent Leviathan, the king of the children of pride. The rebuke is serious, and it works, Job responds with, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor [myself], And repent in dust and ashes." - Job 42:5-6 NKJV
I am not saying Job deserved the calamities that came upon him nor do I think God gained any pleasure out of such things. I am saying that when Satan brings an accusation to God about us, even if it is not a true accusation, God must allow a testing of our faith to take place if we need it. When God allows such things I believe He has confidence in our faith in Him to see the trial through to the end, He certainly exhibited that kind of trust in Job. Trials are an opportunity to be perfected, and God knows the end result because it is Him who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure! (Phl 2:13)
When we read the testimony of Job, we can see there is a lot of discussion concerning wisdom, and who is wiser than God. God is Wisdom, He created intelligence, knowledge, and understanding, and He alone can reveal the mighty, hidden, and even unsearchable things to those who ask. James tells us to ask God if we lack wisdom and He will give it generously to all (Jas 1:5). James makes this statement following these words; My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have [its] perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. - Jas 1:2-4 NKJV Perfect, complete, and lacking nothing brings us back to what God said about Job, he was perfect in his moral ways, and his life was completely sanctified. God desires us to be the same way, perfect in Him.
I would say that Job’s patience in the fiery trials of life and death certainly proved his love of God, and when it was all over, he even interceded for his friends whom God became angry with. Job came through this trial with honor and integrity; he passed the test. He was a good man and righteous by all accounts and yet for some reason God allowed these terrible things to come to him, only God knows the full reasoning behind Jobs trials. It is quite possible that all Job’s religious activities brought him to a place of performance and works in his own ability and took him away from the truth of God’s righteousness causing him to rely on his own righteousness. Job was tested and in the end, was purified by the fire and came through refined and perfected in God and God restored all he had and in his later days, he had even more.
So the LORD blessed Job's latter days more than his first. He owned 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. Job 42:12 BSB
Bad things happen to good people, even the people of God because no one is exempt from the extremes of Satan’s hate-filled agenda. As a matter of fact, God’s children are the number one target of destruction for the devil. So, how do we handle devastation when it comes our way? We believe in God’s sovereignty and loving ability to see us through, and we search Him for any areas we need to repent in, forgive, or ask for forgiveness. After we stand, we continue to stand until the trial relents. It is not going to be easy, life never is, but it is always worth it on the other side. Passing a test when all of heaven and the world is watching is a challenge, but if we saturate ourselves with God, His word, His Spirit, His love, and His people we will get through it and the rewards will be brought forth.
Heavenly Father, I come before You with fear and trembling that I might have sinned against You and yet I also come with faith that in Your love for me I am forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. Thank You for the trials that have come my way as I have walked with You, the trials that have allowed me to grow into the person You desire me to be. Thank You for believing in my faith in You to pull me through the dark nights of the soul. God, I ask to be strengthened in You as I go forward, knowing that there is more I must go through in this life. Help me to be prepared in You to go through any challenge that may come my way, knowing that my faith will produce fruit. In Jesus name, Amen.