IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS
Job and Joseph
In Parts 1a through 1e, we learned that Joseph knew and understood God’s sovereignty and providence. He trusted God no matter what he went through and in the end God worked everything out for His glory and Joseph’s faithfulness to the Lord was blessed. Joseph declared to his brothers:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20, NIV)
Joseph was given the worst circumstances and yet received many blessings in the end. He showed what it meant in Proverbs 3:5-6 when it says to
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him…”
If we trust the Lord and seek His will through our hard times, He will lead us out of our valley and into His blessings. And let me tell you His blessings are beyond our comprehension! But what about Job?
God, Maker of heaven and earth, Creator of both the visible and invisible, the One Who sustains (Psalm 146:6; Colossians 1:16; Psalm 54:4). Everything belongs to Him and because of this He is sovereign. And in His sovereignty there is providence. Providence is the subset of God’s sovereignty.
But what happens when we don’t understand why we are going through trials and hardships? When what happens to us is not through what we can physically see or understand as being brought on by our actions or the actions of others? What happens when there is never any explanation given to us? Is God even there in the midst of it? We will find the answers to these questions as we look at Job’s story.
The story of Job begins talking about his character. Job 1:1 says he was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” It goes on in verses 2 and 3 talking about all he had been blessed with. The only problem was that Job lacked complete realization of God’s nature and did not understand God’s providence. He did not understand that there is nothing and no event that sits outside of God’s sovereignty and rule; not even the horrific trials that he was about to suffer.
Job’s trials begin when Satan presents himself before the Lord (Job 1:6). Satan’s goal, not just with Job but everyone, is to attack and tempt people in such a way that it causes God’s work in them to be hindered and people turn against God and perhaps even hate Him. Because of this, Job, a righteous man, is a perfect target for Satan. He attacks the reasons for Job’s trust and obedience in God by accusing Job of serving God for the wrong motives. He attacks his integrity.
“’Does Job fear God for nothing? … Have you not put a hedge of protection around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’” (Job 1:9-11, NIV)
God permits Satan’s attack on Job; it is harsh and it is quick. He is permitted to destroy everything he has, yet Satan is not allowed to lay a hand on Job (v. 12).
In just moments Job is stripped away of his livestock and herdsman, his servants, his children and his home. Job 1:13-19 tells of how each of these were taken from him. Verses 13-15 tell of a messenger who relayed the horrible news of his oxen and donkeys and how he was the only one to escape to tell Job. Verse 16 picks up by saying “while he was still speaking, another messenger came…”
Stay tuned for next week when we hear from this messenger in Part 2b…