Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me.”
Today we look at Job, a wealthy, God-fearing man, for whom life had worked out very well. I too am God-fearing, but I’m not wealthy like Job, and my life holds together with shoestring and bubblegum. But Job, he was the real thing.
Job was so together that one day Satan said to God, “I suppose know that the only reason Job serves you is because you make him wealthy and comfortable.” God replied, “Not so. Let’s make a test. You can take away everything he has except his life, and we’ll see.”
So in one stroke, Satan arranged to have all Job’s wealth stolen, his sons and daughters killed in an accident (sucks to be them in this story), and his health taken away. Job ended up on an ash heap scraping his boils with broken pottery. Three friends came round to visit him. They sympathized with him for seven days, and then started a discussion about Job’s downfall. Since none of them had overheard the conversation between God and Satan, they were all guessing about how to make sense of his disaster.
Do you feel that way about your life sometimes? That God and Satan are both messing about in your life, and you think Satan’s winning, and you’re not sure why?
Job and his friends had a debate. The proposition was, “Job’s disaster is due to his sin.” Job argued against, insisting that he hadn’t sinned. Job’s friends argued that God always punishes evil and rewards good, so Job’s disaster was clearly God’s punishment for evil thoughts or actions. Job disagreed. He reaffirmed that he had kept God’s laws, so God couldn’t be punishing him. As the debate progressed through 28 chapters of Job, the arguments become more shrill, more fierce, more extreme. The friends launched personal attacks on Job’s character, and Job responded by tweeting that they were poor comforters. It was almost like modern political discourse, with mud slinging and character attacks and general unpleasantness.
Finally, a young man named Elihu stepped in and said, “They told me that wisdom comes with age, but the four of you have proved that it doesn’t. Here’s how I see it: Job is claiming he’s righteous and you friends are claiming that he’s evil. But none of that can be proved. Maybe there’s some mystery in the way God works. Maybe Job isn’t quite as righteous as he things. Maybe you friends are wrong about of God; maybe he’s doing something different than just punishing evil and rewarding good.. Maybe God is bigger than you imagine. Maybe his ways are not as simple as you think.”
After Elihu’s speech, God came in a storm of whirlwind and lightning. He said to Job, “Time out. You want to argue with me about how righteous you are, but that’s not a game I play. I’m the creator of heaven and earth, I made the seas and land and animals and seasons, and it all works together. Who are you to question my judgment?” And Job was humbled. He apologized for shouting about how poorly God treated him. He quit demanding an explanation for his disaster. He said to God,
“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand . . .
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
That’s the story of Job. Now what about his prayer life? Through the experience of disaster and arguing with his friends about about God, Job’s prayer life grew in an interesting way. He moved from from demanding that God explain things, to a quiet acceptance that he could not understand or explain God’s ways. Job learned to be satisfied that God was God and Job was human.
With Job we want you to explain the cause of our pain and tell us how to fix it.
With Job we rail against you and call you to account.
Like Job’s friends, our friends and churches often don’t understand how you work, and they give us bad advice.
Help us in the days of our trouble never to stop speaking to you, even when everything we say is complaining; and bring us through our troubles to a place where we worship and love you.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.