Friday, August 21, 2009

Lessons from Job

My annual Bible reading schedule has me in the book of Job right now. This is one of the great things about reading through the Bible on a slow schedule like this. You read parts of the Bible you might be tempted to skip and you have the time to read them slowly - to meditate on them.

Job is a tough book. Job is righteous, but he gets flattened by one disaster after another. Job complains that he would rather be dead. His friends say that God wouldn't do this to a righteous man, so Job must in fact be a terrible sinner. They say, in effect, "It is simple - repent and God will restore you." Job says that as far as he knows he has nothing specific to repent for. He says that he wishes he could just bring his case directly to God. He points out that many overtly unrighteous people are terrible violent sinners, yet have relatively trouble free lives - so it doesn't necessarily follow that suffering is the result of sin.

So, what is the point?
  1. God is not giving us our just rewards in this life.
  2. God is not going to be manipulated by men.
  3. God's chastening is to refine the faith of His people.
  4. God is merciful and longsuffering toward His enemies.
(1Peter 1:3-7) ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 ¶ In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
Don't worry. God has everything in hand, and He will not drop you.

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