Pastor Miles began the message today holding three unidentified tea bags in hand. None had any marking or tag to indicate the flavor, so the only way to know what kind of tea each one contains is to put it in hot water. Many Christians are this way, coming to church, reading their Bibles, and following along so they look like dedicated followers of Christ, but it is not until they experience the hot water of trials in their lives that their real measure of faithfulness will be revealed.
Todays passage concerns a man named Job, blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1), who experienced outrageous hardship beyond what any of us has probably experienced. Everyone has pain and hardship in his life, which is simply part of living in a broken world, as we learned last week. We dont have control over the suffering we experience, but we do have control over our response to that pain. Job shows us that even in the face of terrible adversity, it is possible to respond with faith and worship.
Beginning in verse 6, Satan comes before the Lord and claims that Job only worships God because of all the blessing in his life. He proposes that if all of this is taken away, Job will curse God to His face (v. 11). But is this true? More importantly, is this true for you in your relationship with God? Are you only following Him because of what you expect in return?
1) To what blessings do you feel entitled because of your relationship with God?
Does God owe you something for your godliness? Quick answers to prayer? Financial blessing? Optimal health? If you think you dont expect anything, try gauging your expectations by how you react when you dont get what you want.
God doesnt owe us anything! This is difficult to process because we often attach strings to our faithfulness, but the truth is that we should be faithful to God simply because of who He is, regardless of what happens in our lives here on earth. God does bless us for our faithfulness, but these blessings dont often look the way we think they should. They are heavenly blessings, spiritual growth, and His conforming us into the image of Christ.
2) What attitude toward God resulted from your last trial?
How did you respond to God the last time you faced a challenge? Did you throw a tantrum or stop going to church because you blamed your situation on God?
Gods grace is undeserved favor. We dont deserve all of the miraculous blessing in our lives, such as eyesight, the use of our hands, or the ability to walk. God doesnt owe these things to us and more than He owes us a promotion at work, a fancy car, or a full head of hair!
In Job 1:13, Jobs world begins to fall apart. Simultaneously he loses his servants, his livestock, and all ten of his children. Have you ever felt that when it rains, it pours? Satan is very calculating and strategic. He piles on misery to try and get us to our breaking point, just as he did to Job.
Remember, the Bible said Job was a godly man and he seemingly had it all, even a humble reverence of the Lord. He could feel entitled to all that he has and renounced his allegiance to the Lord when it disappears. But instead, he tears his clothes, falls on ground and worships. Why? Because he understands that our good God is not the source of his pain.
And he said: Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. Job 1:21-22
Jobs attitude reveals that he didnt view his family, servants, and wealth as his possessions. His example shows us that we arent entitled to anything we have. It also shows us that we can respond with worship in the face of crisis, knowing that God is bigger than our problems and has a faithful and good plan for us. Pain can be stifling at times, but if we cling to Christ, He will carry us through and is faithful to complete a good work in us.
3) In what ways can u better praise God for your pain?
One reason we experience pain is so we will remember to fun to our Heavenly Father for help, just as a little child runs to her parents when she is injured.
Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters . . . After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days. Job 42:12-17
God doesnt owe this to Job, but His heart is full of compassion and love for His faithful servant. He desires to fill Jobs life with blessing once more.
God doesnt promise us happiness, but He does promise to work in us to make us holy if we let Him. We can cling to the knowledge that Christ is returning someday; there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Regardless of our circumstances here on earth, this life is short and eternity with Christ is promised to be amazing.