Most of us who have been raised in the church or Church are no strangers to the concept of being tested by God. But until January 1st 2009, it was more of a “Just Say No” kind of test. You know; Sunday church service with the family or Yankee game with the friends. I know that every single one of my true God-fearing friends in the Liberty Movement will agree 100% when I say the Book of Job became much, much more than a story for us on January 1st 2009! It became our story! Good Sunday Morning Dear Friend!
“Those I love have turned against me.”
Four or five years ago I had a local acquaintance inform me that he would have no more to do with me because “my politics were askew.” I can’t say I was hurt because he wasn’t much of a friend. And I can’t say I was surprised because I knew his politics. The truth of the matter is I was amused…
Life in America to me was no different than High School up until 2009. There were good people, bad people, cool people, nerdy people, smart people and stupid people. There were tests, there was judgment, there was politics. If you worked hard you got ahead. If you goofed off you got left behind. And if you broke the rules you went to the Principal’s office and did time in detention. There was love and romance…there was peace and war!
Wherever you were in the mix, it all made sense then…
The world was right and then it wasn’t for Job, who we read was a solid man of faith and integrity. He understood the world and was successful in it…until North became South and he woke up one day as the one “gone astray” in a world of trespassers with everything stripped away, unaware of the Devil’s bet. The Devil, you see, was granted power by God over all aspects of Job’s life except for Job himself. He turned it all upside down and stripped him of everything but the flesh on his bones and the enamel on his teeth, convinced he could turn Job against God and actually get him to curse God for his suffering…which of course he could not.
It is so clear to see the Devil at play…over all aspects of Job’s life today! He is the wicked sandblaster stripping those of us who refuse to play down to our raw metal. He is Xerxes asking only for the token of “earth and water”…and our bended knee. How much easier our lives could be, if only…Just as Job’s own friends lectured him, “You’ve brought this on yourself!”
It’s hard to see the happy ending we know from the Book of Job, which is exactly the point. It’s about holding gratitude for the very source of all our blessings especially at the times of our greatest sufferings. From here there is a window in the stillness of the letting go which reveals the flimsy veneer of life’s vanity…a complete apparition…as it slips away to reveal…OOPS, giving that away might spoil the cake! Love them back!
Then Job replied:
2 “How long will you torment me
and crush me with words?
3 Ten times now you have reproached me;
shamelessly you attack me.
4 If it is true that I have gone astray,
my error remains my concern alone.
5 If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me
and use my humiliation against me,
6 then know that God has wronged me
and drawn his net around me.
7 “Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response;
though I call for help, there is no justice.
8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass;
he has shrouded my paths in darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone;
he uproots my hope like a tree.
11 His anger burns against me;
he counts me among his enemies.
12 His troops advance in force;
they build a siege ramp against me
and encamp around my tent.
13 “He has alienated my family from me;
my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
14 My relatives have gone away;
my closest friends have forgotten me.
15 My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner;
they look on me as on a stranger.
16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer,
though I beg him with my own mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife;
I am loathsome to my own family.
18 Even the little boys scorn me;
when I appear, they ridicule me.
19 All my intimate friends detest me;
those I love have turned against me.
20 I am nothing but skin and bones;
I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.[a]
21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity,
for the hand of God has struck me.
22 Why do you pursue me as God does?
Will you never get enough of my flesh?
23 “Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on[b] lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
25 I know that my redeemer[c] lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.[d]
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet[e] in[f] my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
28 “If you say, ‘How we will hound him,
since the root of the trouble lies in him,[g]’
29 you should fear the sword yourselves;
for wrath will bring punishment by the sword,
and then you will know that there is judgment.[h]”