Poor Job! When his friends looked at him they wanted to cry. All they saw were his losses, his loneliness, and his pitiful condition. When his name arose in conversation, it was in connection with his problems. When people prayed for him, it was due to his disasters. In the streets, people sadly shook their heads from side to side and clicked their tongues and said, “How awful.”
Job was on the verge of being defined by his problems.
But even at his lowest moment, this man wasn’t about to let that happen. Job never lost faith in God, and he never totally faltered in his determination to let the Lord redefine his life by the touch of sovereignty. The book of Job teaches us a powerful lesson: We must never allow our problems to define us. We must let God define us by how we handle our issues—and by how we let Him deliver us.
Problems Should Not Define Us
The story of Job opens with a volley of satanic attacks. In the span of a few hours, Job lost all his possessions, his flocks, his herds, his livelihood. His employees were slain. His children perished in a weather-related disaster. Then his health broke, and his whole body erupted in boils. When he began that day, his sun was shining brightly, but by sunset of the next day his life was shattered and as dark as a cave without a candle.
Without God’s hedge around us, we’re defenseless against Satan. The devil prowls around, seeking to destroy us. We have a God who shields us, for Christ prayed for our protection from the evil one (John 17:15). Yet we do face problems.
Job’s problems are so dramatic because his prior days had been so idyllic. There are two fascinating chapters in this book—Job 29 and 31—in which Job grew reflective and recounted what his life was like before his disasters. His life had been watched over by God (29:2), and God’s intimate friendship blessed his home (29:4). Job spoke of the respect given him by city leaders, both young and old; who stood when he entered their presence (29:7-9). He spoke of helping the poor and the fatherless (29:12). When someone in his town died, he was at their bedside, giving words of comfort and spreading reassurance to the mourners (29:13). Job was burdened to help the blind and lame, to provide for strangers, and to rescue victims (29:15-17). People sought out his advice and followed his counsel (29:21-25).
Job had also cultivated a reputation for personal purity and upright morality (31:1, 9). He had a strong sense of social justice (31:13-14), and he was generous in providing for those in need (31:16-19). Though he was wealthy, he didn’t want his money to define him. He said he had never put his trust in gold or rejoiced over his fortune (31:24-25).
Job had spent his entire life seeking to live a life defined by grace; but now when people thought of him, they remembered none of those things. They thought only of his mountainous misery, and he was in danger of being forever defined that way.
Job could have been defeated by his problems. His wife encouraged him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). As low as he was, he refused to do that, knowing it would lead to his total emotional and spiritual collapse. Job responded, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)
If Job had given up in disillusionment, his legacy would have been cursed with the stain of calamity, like a Shakespearean tragedy, such as Hamlet or Othello or Macbeth, or like an old black-and-white film noir.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, David Jeremiah