Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gone in Sixty Seconds

I am a number, a growing statistic.  One year ago this month I was laid off work like so many others in North America.  My vocation?  Pastor.  This fact is made even stranger in that I gave up a thriving secular career to follow God’s leading into a vocation ministry.  Things become even more surreal with the knowledge that I raised my own support for the first three years of ministry so I worked for the church for free.  Therefore, on this anniversary month, it seemed like a good day to reflect on the past year. 

Today, the house is strangely and wonderfully quiet.  The morning begins with a hunger to dive into His Word.  I open the Holy Bible to the book of Job . . . His timing is perfect.  It is one of my favorite books of the Bible and yet this morning chapter one seems so fresh, vibrant and new.  In lieu of the last twelve months, chapter one has new meaning, I can relate to Job like never before.

Read Job 1
Job is blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil (1:1, 8; 2:3).  He loves his children and consecrates them in case they have cursed God in their hearts.  He acts as priest for his family offering sacrifices to God. 

Timing is everything
Job receives the news of his demise in a way that is intentionally delivered by Satan to provoke Job to sin.  The first messenger might leave Job wondering but the second one leaves no room for doubt.  The “fire of God from heaven” consumes 7,000 sheep and all the servants (save one).  The third messenger completes the financial bankruptcy of Job and the fourth just adds fuel to a fire of brokenness.  By all appearances, God has turned on Job and made him his enemy.  Everyone will ask, “why?”  Satan doesn’t want to just hurt Job, he wants to devastate him to the point of maximum suffering to tempt Job to curse God. 

Job prepares to worship
I have read verses 20-22 hundreds of times and I never thought about the time required for Job to shave his head.  I always pictured Job falling to his knees and worshiping but never thought about the time it would take to prepare for worship.  They didn’t have modern instruments to shave, because men rarely did.  Secondly, the hair of a Middle-Eastern man is not like a blond hair blue eyed man.  It will require some effort and time to shave his head.  After shaving his head and tearing his clothes he probably goes to the place where he normally worships. 


Prostrate and Praying
Job acknowledges that everything he has/had is a gift from God.  Job is the steward of these gifts but they do not belong to him.  He is grateful for the time the Owner has allowed him to use these gifts but he does not curse God for removing them from his life.

Clinging to those precious gifts of God is one of the hardest temptations in life.  Life is good when we have them, we love God and proclaim His praises.  But when those gifts evaporate, that’s when our faith will be tested.  Are you ready?  Are you holding those gifts too tightly?  Can you honestly pray verse 21 to God?  The book of Job is a wonderful book to prepare you for just such a time.  Start today by reading and meditating on chapter 1.  Spend the rest of the month studying and applying Job to your life.

Quotes:
"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."

"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open."

— Corrie Ten Boom   

Resource:
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God,  by John Piper (www.desiringgod.org)

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