As we suggested in the earlier post, piety, and prosperity are not usually seen together at the same time in an individual. Most commonly, it’s usually one or the other. I think of Joseph, who went from slave to a top man in Egypt, and Daniel, who went from captive slave to a top man in Babylon. They were able to enjoy prosperity while still remaining humble.
David, who went from being a shepherd to becoming King of Israel, and he did well, except for his failure in murdering one of his best soldiers, and then marrying the soldier's wife. He was faithful on the whole, with that one terrible exception.
Solomon started out humbly. As a new king, God came to him in a dream and basically, offered him a blank check - ask for anything and I’ll give it to you. Solomon asked only for wisdom to govern the people wisely. God liked his response a bunch and gave him that and great wealth and honor too! It seems God is eager to give us much more than we can imagine!
But Solomon was not able to handle riches, fame, and honor. He married a ton of wives and had plenty of concubines and apostatized from God. It seems great wealth and honor to not tend to feed our spiritual life. Solomon later repented and returned to God, but his example led many to wander from God.
Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to make it to heaven. Still, several rich people forsook their wealth and choose to follow Jesus. Remember Zacchaeus, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea? Some rich people do choose to follow Jesus.
It is interesting to note that Job’s family was large and very close. He had seven sons and three daughters. Apparently, on a regular basis, his children would host a feast in their homes and invite each other to join in the festivities. They liked each other!
After each event, it seems Job would offer sacrifices for each one of them thinking they might have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. This was his habit. Job had a full, rich life.
There came a time when the son's of God came to present themselves before the Lord (Job1:6), and Satan was with them. Here’s what God 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.” (Job 1:8)
I don’t know about you, but personally, I hope God never starts bragging about me. (This is not intended to suggest that He ever has cause to do such a thing.) But, should that day ever inexplicably appear, I hope He is mum about it.
So, Satan and God continue their conversation about Job. Satan says Job serves God because God protects and prospers him. God allows Satan to torment Job and disaster after disaster befalls him. First, foreigners steel his oxen and donkeys and kill the servants, then, fire from heaven comes and kills the sheep and servants. Next, foreigners steel his camels and kill the servants, and finally, a strong wind collapses the house where all of his children are celebrating and they are all killed.
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship” Job 1:20 Worshipped!
And then, the most amazing thing happened. Job responded by saying: I came into this world with nothing and I will leave this world with nothing. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Praise the name of the Lord (Job 1:21). When tough times hit me, my first, reflexive response it not to worship. Maybe I need to rethink that!
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:22)
This chapter leaves me stunned with amazement. The curtain is pulled back and we see what happens behind the veil. The evil one is Satan. He is the one that loves to bring disaster and pain upon us. He is the one that causes suffering and misery.
God is sovereign and God allows it, but suffering originates with Satan. Why does God allow suffering? I don’t have the full answer, but I believe I have a partial answer. It reminds us we are strangers here, and we should not get comfortable. Our home is above. A troubling experience is not necessarily evidence of God’s displeasure. It may just present an opportunity to demonstrate our love and devotion to God.
Difficult times present us with an opportunity to display God’s sustaining power even in the most troublesome and trying times. We have the opportunity to show the world how God can sustain us no matter what happens to us.
When these tragedies happened to Job, he was a senior. He was a grandfather, no doubt. He was no longer a young man, just as we are no longer in our youth. His wealth didn't happen overnight. He was about our same age.
This story is more evidence of God answering David's prayer of Psalm 71:18.
Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
In summary, Job chapter 1 offers abundant evidence of God’s watch-care and sustaining power for those who surrender their lives to Him. Have you surrendered your life to Him?