Satan takes on his mission to break Job and make him curse God. This is most probably the worst day ever in the life of Job. So, how does he react?
This day starts like any other day in Job’s life. He gets up in the morning. Most likely offers morning prayers to the Lord and then going about his usual business. His herds are in the fields being tended by his servants. His children have chosen this day to meet together for one of their feasts. All is as it should be in the world of Job. He is completely unaware of what is about to happen.
Reading over the list of calamities that befall Job, I notice that nothing happens to his land. Does he have vineyards? Does he have fields of wheat or other crops? Judging by the sweeping attack orchestrated by Satan, I would say that Job’s wealth was in his livestock, not in crops or fields. I can’t see Satan allowing Job to continue with his vineyard when Satan took Job’s children.
Something to note about the flocks are that they are spread out. They are separated by species onto different properties he owns. They are not even within sight of one another. When calamity befalls one group the other is not there to render aid or to encounter it along with one another. Each is on its own. And the raiding parties and disasters don’t seem to have happened to the flocks nearby. Or at least we don’t hear of it happening to anyone else.
I cannot imagine being Job when the reports come flooding in. ‘Flooding’ is exactly what they were doing. Before one report even had time to be digested by Job another was being delivered. As a mother, I would say the last one is the one that meant the most. I am saddened by the death of the servants tending the animals but animals can be replaced. Granted, it would take quite a bit of money to replace herds the size Job had but his family was safe… until the last messenger.
“That ‘punch’ should have been the one to lay him out” Satan thinks. It rocked his world but it didn’t have the effect Satan was expecting. Satan thought Job would break down in despair and become angry at God. He was probably expecting a reaction something like the one we see from King David after learning of Absalom’s death.
When David heard of the death of Absalom he went into a room and wept. He cried out for his son and wished he had died instead. His cries were so loud that the men who had come back from battle heard him. His cries were turning their victory into defeat.
Job mourned but not like David. Job tore his clothes and shaved his head. Then he fell on his face and praised the Lord. Jaw drop moment for Satan there. Job PRAISED the Lord instead of cursed Him. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (verse 21).
No shaking his fist at God. No yelling, screaming, cursing, or even blaming God for all his losses. Job accepted the changes in his ‘fortune’ without question. He didn’t ask “Why me?” Nor did he say “How could You?!” He accepted what happened as part of the life God had for him. A God he trusted completely. A God he was certain that He knew what He was doing.
Thinking about Job’s reaction brought to my mind the time when Elijah cried out ‘Not fair!’ to God. Actually, what he said was; “I have had enough, Lord,” he prayed. “Let me die. I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4b). After Elijah said this, God took him on a special journey where he met God in a new way. It was also the beginning of the end of Elijah’s ministry. God did NOT strip Elijah of his anointing or take His presence from him. Instead, God gave him some HARD answers and provided him with support. God still loved Elijah and He still used him to minister to Israel. Elijah’s ‘fit’ didn’t make God mad at him. But it also didn’t get him held up as an example of the ‘gold standard’ God touted Job as being.
I am CERTAIN that I don’t make the ‘gold standard’ cut. I have a tendency to look for reasons when something goes wrong. “What did I do to bring this about” reasoning.
As I was thinking this, I realized that, in Job’s shoes, that would have been my first thought. Job didn’t even entertain this thought. I have had a picture of a piece of wood floating down the river in my mind the whole time I have been writing. Now it makes sense to me. Job is the wood. He sees himself as being carried along in the river of God’s moving in his life without and control or direction of destination. He goes where the river takes him without complaint. But when it came to his children’s lives he tried to be an oar. He prayed for them and made sacrifices on their behalf, just in case they had sinned. It feels like he is saying, “If you don’t sin, you don’t have to worry about where the ‘river’ will take you. Sit back and accept the ride. But if you do sin, start ‘paddling in prayer’ so you don’t get swept away.”
I have news for Job. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people too. Job is definitely an example of the first part of this. I applaud Job for not getting angry with God or crying out against him. I too accept what He has for my life but I am a little more ‘vocal’ about the hard parts. I don’t yell and curse God but I sure ask “why” and “what can I do to fix it”.
Father God, I’m SO glad Satan can’t still walk into Heaven and ask to ‘sift’ someone. Peter didn’t pass the ‘gold standard test’ either. I’m NOT saying that Satan doesn’t have power any longer because that is TOTALLY false, but he doesn’t have Your ear like he used to. Heaven has been cleansed and he is no longer allowed in. Maybe he has to use ‘Facetime’ or ‘Zoom’ instead when he accuses Your children.
I KNOW I have failed the ‘gold standard test’ on numerous occasions. NOT that I cursed You but I didn’t surrender to wherever the river was taking me either. I FURRIOUSLY paddle in prayer because I’m pretty sure I messed things up for myself. I also know that my mistakes have brought me some valuable lessons. I’m MORE than grateful for Your hand in my life, no matter where it takes me. Please forgive me when my ‘log’ bumps into a rock or goes over a waterfall and I don’t immediately fall down in praise. I LOVE YOU even in the middle of the storm!