Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”
8 Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”
9 Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. 10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! 11 But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”
If you love chewing on deep theological topics and points, then the book of Job has plenty of meat on the bone for you. I implore you to take your time with Holy Spirit as we read through this book in our Life Journal. The book of Job, although very lengthy and complex at times, is just as full of life and value as any other canon of the Bible. Resist the temptation to zone out, or not go deep into this wonderful book of Scripture.
Speaking of theological points, I want us to examine two important questions that the storyline of Job raises.
Is God worthy of praise even when He is not actively blessing our lives?
Are people capable of praising and honoring God, even when they are not experiencing His blessing?
These two questions really serve as foundation points for how we begin to know and then continue to grow in our relationship with God.
The short answer to both of these questions is YES! Though still, we need to take time to answer these questions completely and understand why.
The book of Job begins with these two questions in the form of a challenge that satan is presenting toward God. After watching every corner of the earth, satan probably recognized that people who were visibly blessed by God were more prone to worship Him. While on the other hand, people who did not walk in God’s blessing probably kept God’s name far from their lips thus discovering a prime opportunity to diminish God and His worth.
Is God good? Always. Is He worthy of our praise? Again, always. No matter the level of blessing that you are or are not experiencing, God’s worth does not change.
If God’s worthiness, sovereignty, and glory were dependent on our praise, then we could argue otherwise. Fortunately for us, He does not need us. He, according to His will, chooses to love and sustain us. We, as His creation, are totally dependent on Him. Praise and worship is recognition not only of who He is, but also acknowledgement that we are created by Him and need Him to sustain life. It’s also a response to His love for us and the choice He has made to give us life. Why is this important to understand? You don't want to worship a God whose glory is dependent on your attitude toward Him. If that were the case He wouldnt be glorious at all. His goodness and sovereignty would be restrained by how we felt. We can’t quantify God’s goodness and glory based on whether or not we feel God is adequately blessing us or not. If that were the case we would be god, not Him.
Which leads us into the second question, and satan's second attack on God’s sovereignty. “Well big deal. The only reason your creation worships you in the first place is because you bless them. The moment you stop blessing, is the moment they stop worshiping.” God rebukes this, by presenting Job’s life without his hedge of blessing. When Job is stripped to the studs and has nothing left to depend on, we discover the true content of his heart. Turns out Job did not worship to be blessed. Job was blessed because he knew how to truly worship and honor his Creator. Job had not used the blessing of God to build His life. God’s blessing built Job’s life, because Job had a foundational understanding that God is good and worthy of praise no matter how we feel or what we are experiencing.
Job in his misery and suffering, outside of God’s blessing, becomes a pinnacle of a redeemed life. Acting as a foreshadow of our Lord and Savior Jesus. At our core, because of the fall, we are all helplessly selfish. All of our responses and actions within our relationship to God are affected by our selfishness. Humanity is so selfish that no one can come to Father God and truly see who He is on their own. We are so blinded and consumed by ourselves, we have to first be wooed by Him. No one comes to Jesus solely because of who He is. Most of our salvation stories start with us coming to salvation because of what Jesus did for us. This is ok and certainly not something to be ashamed of, although we cannot not expect to finish the race where we started. Genuine faith and growing in God is learning to overcome our fallen human nature. Deciding to teach ourselves we will worship God simply because of who He is, no matter how we feel about what He is doing.
This is what Job does despite the temptation of those around him and the loss of all he has. Job uses what little strength he has left in his sick, frail body, to do what He is created to do. Honor and glorify God (Job 2:10). Unfortunately, he does not keep himself from complaining, he learns that lesson a few chapters later. Regardless, Job’s heart position is to bless and worship God, despite the lack of God’s blessing being evident in his own life. So again, the answer to question number 2 is yes, but it is a choice. Like Job, we have to choose to lay our hearts down at Jesus’s feet not just because of what He has done for us, but ultimately because of who He is. We have to, at some point, confront our selfish fallen nature that demands God's blessing in exchange for our worship to Him. We have to teach our perverted human will to submit to God’s perfect will without any transactional expectations. This is truly how we go from glory to glory.
We can be thankful that Jesus, like Job, had everything stripped from Him as He went to the cross. Jesus also had God’s blessing and hedge of protection removed from Him as the weight of all humanities sin and iniquity came upon His broken and pierced human body. We can be thankful, because unlike Job He did this on our behalf. Again, unlike Job, Jesus chose the cross in His own will and understanding. In turn, He could demonstrate, as Job did, honor and worship to God despite what He was feeling or experiencing. Like Jesus and Job, the choice remains the same for us today. We can choose to worship God because of who He is, walk in His blessing and redemption, or we can agree with the accuser and withhold our worship for the times we feel like God is doing what we want. In reality, this first option is how we begin to live a full and satisfied life. Laying down our own desires and personal kingdoms to allow Jesus to build His own Kingdom through us.
Let me ask one more question? Is asking God for good things and His blessing bad? Absolutely not. In fact, one of the core beliefs Jesus presents in the New Testament, is that we should expect blessings and good things from our perfect loving Father in heaven. If your prayer time is consumed with asking for what you need from God, you may have fallen into a trap of self-focused worship. Instead of coming to God with your needs and desires, try first worshiping Him solely for who He is. Then watch as He builds His Kingdom through you, and His blessings build a life in you, that you could have never dreamed to ask for.