Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason?
A few weeks ago, I was at a workshop in Wisconsin.
It had been a long time since I was back there among people that I served the Church with. It was nice to see some familiar faces, friends I hadn’t seen in a long time.
We were there to learn about a sermon and Bible study series for the upcoming Lenten Season – which beings on March 1 with Ash Wednesday.
The series is based on the Old Testament Book of Job. We went through an introduction of the Bible study and then the sermons in the series.
It was fascinating! So much so that I came back home and was practically gushing to my colleague Tim about using this series at St. Matthew this year!
This morning (Saturday, February 18) I will be the lead participant in a Bible study on Job and will be using this material.
Ash Wednesday this year will begin the sermon series at St. Matthew that will culminate on Easter Sunday.
One of the interesting subjects in the Bible study was that of Theodicy. This is a study that was developed in order to attempt to answer the age-old question of evil in the world.
The Book of Job also deals with this question: If there is a God and he is all-powerful and loving, why do evil things happen.
Many people cannot overcome the seemingly illogical nature of the existence of a benevolent and all-powerful God at the same time as evil also existing.
And Job will be at a disadvantage because he doesn’t know why they are happening to him.
But that’s one of the main points of the Book of Job. How to act when evil happens. What to believe when terrible things happen. And what will our relationship be like with God after the terrible and evil things happen to us.
We have a great advantage over Job. We know why these things happened to Job.
What will happen to Job is all part of an elaborate and detailed answer to the question, “Why do people fear (believe in) God?”
That’s the question that I will be wrestling with for some time now.
Why do I believe in God? Is it because God gives me so many wonderful things?
I’m certainly tempted to believe that! I have a beautiful wife and loving children. I was raised in a Christian home by loving parents. I was able to travel, when I was younger, to Europe and the Caribbean. I have a comfortable place to live. I have a career that is fulfilling. I work with a ministry team that is encouraging and exciting.
Do I believe in God because he gave me all this?
It is tempting to think so, because it makes a certain sort of sense. Of course I believe in God because he’s given me an incredible life! That’s the temptation.
That’s also Satan’s accusation to God. Of course, Job fears God! God has given him everything he has! Take it all away and Job will curse God to his face!
God knows better. But in order for us to know this, God allows all that happens to Job. He knows how Job will react. God knows everything, after all!
But you and I need to know this. And to know how to act.
So, the story of Job plays out as it does.
Our faith in God transcends the things we have or have been given in this life. Or, at least true faith does.
But in order for us to really know this, we have to go through bad things. Sometimes terrible things.
Keep in mind that no matter what happens to you, God loves you. So much so that he sent Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Redeemer from sin and death.
And the power of the devil. Yes, Satan is given some power over Job. But that power is controlled by God. Satan can only go so far in what he can do to Job.
While the Book of Job doesn’t say this, here is a lesson that I’ve gotten out of my initial study of Job – it is a prayer that I have incorporated into my prayer life on a consistent basis:
Lord, help me to learn all that I need to know through this suffering the first time, so I don’t have to go through it again!
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