IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS
Job and Joseph
From Part 2a we learn that 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. Verses13-15 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…”
As he is telling Job of the news of his sheep and servants, another messenger comes along in verse 17. Scripture says the same thing, “while he was still speaking…” Job then learns of the fate of his camels and more servants. Finally, verses 18 and 19 utters those words again, “while he was still speaking…” as he learns of the loss of his beloved children and home.
Two things jump out at me here. First, Scripture says three times “while he was still speaking.” Job received, one after the other, the news of his loss. In each time he never had a chance to cry out to God in pain and agony or mourn over his loss because Satan’s attacks were constant. He lost everything in just moments, except for his wife and three arrogant friends who Satan later used for his next set of attacks.
I can’t help but wonder just how many people know of this type of pain all too well as their name is uttered from the platform of a Kingdom Hall announcing that they are disfellowshipped. Literally in moments everything and everyone they know and love are cut off from them and they are left with nothing but loneliness and incredibly deep pain.
The second thing that jumps out at me is the fact that the first thing that Satan took away from Job was his livestock. Job’s livestock was not only a measure of his wealth, but also his blessing from God in that his livestock was a means of coming before The Lord to offer atonement. It signified a hedge of protection for Job and his family as he made sacrifices to be made right with God.
“Atonement” in Hebrew is kaphar and means “to cover.” The English word for atonement (at-one-ment), I think, explains the theology behind such restoration well as it suggests that God and humanity can relationally be “at one” again.
Animals in the Old Testament served as a provisional sacrifice for human sins. Job 1:5 talks about how Job had a regular custom to offer burnt sacrifices for his children. We see here his desire, deep concern, and love for God to have him and his family made right with The Lord. Because there was no priest to instruct Job in God’s laws, Job acted as a priest and offered sacrifices to God to ask for forgiveness on the behalf of him and his family.
Imagine the deep pain Job must have felt as this hedge of protection was stripped away from him. I wonder just how many also experience this type of pain and possibly even fear over loosing their “hedge” as they are cut off from the Watchtower organization. These two points are significant to remember as we cover Job’s story…
Stay tuned for Part 2c…