The name of Job in the Old Testament immediately brings to mind thoughts of pain, suffering, rejection and torment. The Bible seems to suggest that God singled him out as a target for the enemy, and allowed Satan free access to harass him. ‘The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?”’(Job 1:8). “Everything he has is in your hands” (Job 1:12). We sometimes struggle to come to terms with this, and wonder why God would do such a thing.
So great was Job’s torment that he came to regret the day he was ever born. ‘Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?’ (Job 3:11). Eventually he was at the limit of his resistance: ‘My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me’ (Job 17:1).
Why did God allow such pain and suffering? Was God punishing Job, or testing his endurance? If it was God’s will that Job should be so afflicted, would He not also do the same with us? - No, I don’t believe He would.
We are told that Job was unique among the people of the earth; God-fearing, righteous and above reproach. ‘There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright; a man who fears God and shuns evil’ (Job 2:3).
Satan accused God of giving Job special protection. ‘Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household and … all that he has?’ (Job 1:10). But God was so confident of His servant’s faithfulness that Satan was given freedom to test him. Job was a man of integrity and God knew he would stand firm and not succumb; an example of righteousness triumphing over evil. Job came through his trials victorious, and ‘the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part’ (Job 42:12).
We’re not called by God to go through such testing. We don’t measure up to the righteousness of Job. Our righteousness is in Jesus, who ‘took up our pain and bore our suffering’ (Isaiah 53:4), ‘so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
However, as we know, ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). And we must resist him (James 4:7). But our victory is in Jesus, and God will never again turn man over to the enemy for testing.
We can stand firm and put our trust in Him. ‘For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe’ (Psalm 27:5).
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You bore my pain and suffering on the cross. Help me to be aware of Your Presence, so I may know Your love, strength and support, especially during difficult times. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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