The last half of chapter 1 of the book of Job. Poor Job is minding his own personal business, unaware of the testing he is about to go through. One thing we need to know about the life we live – it is only practice for what comes after. Think about this – best case scenario, how long do we live? 80 years? The longest recorded lives we know of in the modern era run about 120 years. What do scientists tell us about the world we live in? They tell us it’s been here for hundreds of millions of years. I would guess it’ll be here for hundreds of millions more. My point is that what we consider to be forever (and that’s a mighty long time) here in this life is nothing compared to the forever we will have in the next. Everything we do on this side of eternity is nothing but practice. That’s right – I’m talking about practice! All we do here is simply practice for what we will be doing for eternity.
Another way of saying it is this – this world is only a test. The entire thing. So as we look at the testing of Job, and wonder how God could let such horrible things happen to the most upright, righteous man on the planet, this book shows the truth of the platitudes we say everyday. It puts it all right there, what it really means. When we see the truth before our eyes, we don’t like it. “It all belongs to God.” “Thanks be to God.” “The Lord Giveth, and the Lord take the away.” We don’t like to think about this book, because it displays how insignificant every worldly pursuit we have really is. We tell ourselves that we understand that all we have can be taken away at the blink of an eye, but we don’t like to see it actually happen. That means it could happen to us. Because look at all you have. Your wife. Your husband. Your children. Your house. Your cars. You tell yourself that you understand it’s all a gift of God. You tell yourself you understand that this life is only temporary, and you won’t be taking any of it with you. But we read the book of Job (or for most of us, simply hear about it through others). We read this book, and apply it to our lives, and we get defensive. Very defensive. After all, you’ve worked hard for your house. Your cars. You love your children and family. The book of Job, like this life in general, is a test.
It was a test for Job, which he ultimately passed. Think about this – Job probably lived in the time of the patriarchs. He lived about 200 years (Abraham lived to be 175). How does Job look at his testing now? It’s been about 3000+- years since he lived through it. Is he traumatized? Is he angry with God because of it. I don’t think so. He lived through his tests, his practice, and is now enjoying his just desserts on the right side of eternity. God allowed Satan to test his theory about all people on Job. Satan was wrong. Job did not curse God, he passed his test.
This is a test for us too. One of the themes in Job is the blame game. Jobs friends begin to blame and scapegoat him for all he went through. How long does it take us, as we read, to begin to look for blame and scapegoat Job as well. Look at the death of Jesus. Jesus became the scapegoat for all mankind, but he was specifically scapegoated as the man, Jesus of Nazareth, for the powder keg that was Jerusalem at the time. There were so many different problems there, Jerusalem was on the verge of falling apart. But the powers in control – ie Caiaphas, Pilate, Nero, were all able to scapegoat Jesus and blame Him for their problems. Why does the bible tell us Pilate and Nero became friends the day Jesus was crucified. Because they had placed the blame for all their problems and tensions on Jesus. He was their scapegoat.
So that is our test, how long before we forget verse 1 – that Job was blameless? Look at verse 22 here – “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” And yes, this is only a test.
“Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “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.” “In All this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.””
Job 1:13-22 ESV