Thanks to The Lockman Foundation you can listen to the audio version of the book of Job in it's entirety for free at any given time; all one needs is access to the internet and a computer. This takes about four long, and at times, painful hours. And I don't mean painful in a boring sense, oh no. This book is full of human ridiculousness in all it's glory. If you can open yourself up to the thought, there are times while studying this book I find myself cringing as I would if I were watching a second rate reality TV show like The Real Housewives of [fillintheblank]. Times in the book I want to close my ears to our blatant disregard, not because I'm any better, but rather because my assumptions and questions about life and God far too often mimic those of Job's friends. But the book is so much more than just a life lesson in how small our minds really are. . .it is a large picture window giving us a glimpse into the Holiness of God. And listen, I would take a keyhole glimpse at His Holiness if that was all I was offered.
The story is of a man who loves God, who is righteous, who follows the law. God gives Satan the go ahead of sorts to take everything from Job in order to prove Job's love is deeper than the blessings God has bestowed upon him. And so Satan has at it; takes Job's children, his wealth, his health, and leaves him with nothing. I can't help but wonder what moves God is making in order to make my life worthy of glorifying His name. What is going on within The Kingdom that is changing each and everyone of our lives/paths, all so we can find covenant living and make disciples as He wants us to. And acknowledge it or not, like it or not, but believe me when I tell you your life is already under the authority of Kingdom Living. So, do you think God and Satan had a lazy Sunday afternoon bet over your life? What a crazy and clarifying idea to imagine a hardship or suffering in this light. To watch as we respond to the path God places us on, taking each step carefully not to selfishly act entitled to something better, but rather to praise Him still.
So after Job grieves, and after his friends offer up some skewed observations and some not so hot advice God shows up. I mean it, He shows up with a few choice words for this small group of His chosen people. After you've read through it once, I think part of the cringe-worthy factor of the story of Job is knowing that while we sit on Earth contemplating, doubting, questioning there is this chance that God will show up and tell it to us just like it is. And apparently telling it like it is, is to 'gird up our loins like a man'. I just can't quite wrap my head around the almighty asking me to gird up my loins, but it does makes me giggle just a little if I was to be honest. And then God reminds us of something beautiful. Chapters 38-41 are a must read. He reminds us that we weren't here when He got this whole thing rolling. And likely, we won't be here when He wraps it up. We don't know how intricate, and beautiful His plans and movements are. We don't understand how every last thing going on around us is part of that plan. We can't get the plan, but we can adore the creator for the beauty of what comes forth from that.
My favorite verse in Job comes from Chapter 23:10 and 11. "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside." Mmmm Hmmm. . .I want to follow closely, Lord, I want to come forth as gold. . .seems appropriate when I consider my love of all things that shine;)
We can take what God has given us in this life (good or bad), we can feel what the Spirit is imprinting on our hearts in regards to our path, and we can look to Job [to the Bible] to see just what message He is trying to give to us. I tell myself daily to remember. . .bitterness, anger, resentment, revenge; those are all the easy way out, and that is not what I want. What I want is to come forth as gold, to follow closely and shine.
I like how the book of Job doesn't leave us hanging. No, it gives us a follow up just like a true reality series should do. A snippet at the end that flashes by so we know that God went on to provide for Job. We learn that Job lived a full and happy life. Regardless of the pain that overtook him at one point, Job persevered. And in the end? He came forth as gold.