I just finished reading through 1 Timothy to Philemon in the Bible in what are called the Pastoral Epistles. Fancy words meaning the letters about being a pastor and being pastoral. That only has a limited connection to this post actually. I ran out of things to read to tell the truth. And so, this morning, I was inspired to read the book of Job. It’s a big long book. It’s a book that many consider boring. It’s a book of the Bible, I’ll admit I haven’t read in years.
And so, I picked it up and started reading it. At first it got me thinking how mean God is. He allows Satan to be destructive to the life of Job. How arrogant of God to do that. Yet at the same time, God knew what would happen. He was confident in his servant Job because he knew the end of it. And Job suffers. He suffers from the very beginning. All that he has is gone in a day. All that belongs to him is gone and it is all the work of the enemy, Satan.
“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Satan, the enemy, wants to devour. He wants to destroy. He wants all that God has done to be gone. He wants it all gone. He knows how it all ends and he’s fighting tooth and nail to not let that happen. And so, he tests God’s will. He tests God’s sovereignty through Job. God knows Job’s heart. He knows what Job will do. He knows that Job will live and survive.
Now, we don’t fully know why God allowed Satan to do this. We don’t fully know the heart of God in this manner. The text doesn’t give us the internal dialogue of God. But what we do have is the dialogue of Job.
When all things go to pot, when all things collapse upon him, when he looses everything, he does something interesting. He doesn’t blame God. He tears his shirt and shaved his head. This is a sign of mourning. It is a sign of coming before God in tears. And he comes before God and says something truly awesome
“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 2:21
What words of faith. I don’t know if I could ever utter those words like that. I don’t know if I could ever speak like he did. What travesty. What horror. Yet he still had faith. He still clung to God. He still came before God and prayed to Him, mourned before Him.
When things happen in life, we don’t always know what’s going on. We don’t know why they happen. The enemy, the devil, Satan, wants to harm us. For those who belong to Jesus, he wants us to go down. And he uses things in order to make it happen.
He uses our own bad decisions to try to bring us down. We’ve all made a bad decision here or there form time to time. And he uses those to bring us down. He uses those to attack us. And we must stay strong. We must turn to God. We must say “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
He also uses the bad decisions of other people. Other people make bad decisions which affect us. And he uses those to hurt us. He uses those to try to drive us away from God. He tries to use those to lead us down the road to temptation. We must say “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” We must trust in God and know that other people’s bad decisions are just that, something that belongs to someone else. We trust in God and know he’s in control.
And then there are times, like for Job, we just don’t know why it is all happening. Job gets hit with a hat trick of horror. And yet he still praises God. He doesn’t know why it is happening but it is. And there are times when we just don’t know why it happens, just that it does. And so we must say “Blessed be the name of the Lord,” and trust in Him during these harder times.
I don’t know if I could ever be like Job. He goes through a lot in that blasted long book. I’m going to see where it goes. I haven’t read it in years. Let’s see how it has changed over the last while.
But I do know this. I can say with all my heart, in good times and bad “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”