Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thank God for what you have, don't dwell on your have not.

We should thank God daily for what He has provided us. This is the time of year that many families are struggling financially not only because of the economy, but because we feel we must spend crazily on family and loved ones. This causes some serious emotional conflict in most people as well. We feel the joy of doing for those we love, but we also feel the stress of other obligations that we have trouble meeting because of the additional expenses of these gifts. This gives us both joy and sadness at the same time, talk about an emotional conflict. God does not want us to be conflicted like this. We should appreciate what God has provided us, as well as, what he is going to do for us in the future. Everything we have is a gift from God that we could lose at any time either as a result of our action or as a tool by God to mold us into what we need to become to fit his plan for us.

Job is the perfect example of this. Job was very righteous and very blessed by God. You can tell he was special to God because while multiple times in the book of Job when God was talking with Satan He stated "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil." Job lived a life for the glory of God and he was greatly blessed because of this.

Job had seven sons, three daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants. Job 1:2 states"...this man was the greatest of all the people of the east."

Based on a rough estimate of current prices Job would be worth approximately $12,275,000 plus the his blessed family that, I am sure, was priceless to him. The Lord took very good care of Job since he was so dedicated. Job was so dedicated that he would daily offer burnt offerings, even in the name of his children in case they sinned. (Job 1:5) His level of dedication and blessing brought him to the attention of Satan. In response to God's question to Satan regarding seeing Job, Satan told God that Job was so faithful only because of the protection and blessing of God. If God would lift His hand of protection and take away His blessings that Job would begin to curse the name of God. God, knowing the Job's heart agreed to allow Satan to test Job. The first testing had one condition, Satan was not allowed to harm Job's person.

Job 1:12 "And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord."

In one day Job lost the following, in order of occurrence:
  • All his oxen, donkeys, and the servants that were with them. Except for one servant to tell Job. (Job 1:14-15)
  • All his sheep and the servants with them. Except for one servant to tell Job. (Job 1:16)
  • His camels and the servants with them. Except for one servant to tell Job. (Job 1:17)
  • His sons, daughters, and the servants that were in the house with them. Except for on servant to tell Job.(Job 1:18-19)
This news did not come to Job over the course of an entire day either, once the first servant arrived telling Job about what occurred there was another one interrupting with the next loss. I think it would be safe to say Job went from being having everything to having nothing in a matter of minutes, including the loss of ALL of his children.

Job's response to this life shattering loss was not to curse or even ask God why, he tore off his robe, shaved his head and fell to the ground worshipping God. He did not question or doubt God at the complete loss of all his livestock, his servants, and most importantly his children. He acknowledged it was all a gift from God that He had taken away.

Job 1:21-22 "And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong."

This was not the end of it for Job. He went through this test proclaiming God's glory and caring. This was not enough damage for Satan. He approached God again,(Job 2:1-6) and God again professed of Job's dedication to Satan.

 Job 2:3-4 "And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although yo incited me against him to destroy him without reason"

Satan's rebuttal was that God had spared his person. If God would allow sickness to befall his body he would curse God. Again, God permitted Satan to impact Job's life, but Satan was not allowed to take his life.

Satan then cursed Job with sores and boils from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. Job was covered with boils so badly that he was unrecognizable to even his friends until they were close to him. Job took broken pottery and scraped the boils off his skin. Can you imagine the pain that was involved in blisters covering all of his body and having to remove them with broken pottery. After just losing all of his livestock, servants, and children the physical pain was minor in comparison to the emotional stress, I am sure.
His wife then said to him "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die." Job 1:9 He refused. In Job 1:10 "But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips."

The next chapters discuss Job's conversations with his friends where they are questioning God's decisions, Job is question his entire life, and his faith is beginning to weaken. Job 42 is where Job realizes the error of his ways and repents asking God's forgiveness for his doubting and despair. God then rebukes Job's friends for not standing more firmly on the word of God when they were counseling Job and Job's fortune is returned twofold. Job was given 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, 1,000 female donkeys, seven sons, and three daughters.

In the beginning Job was worth $12,275,000 and in the end he was worth  $24,550,000 and his family was completely restored. 

Think about what the initial losses and struggles must have done to him emotionally and mentally. Think about how we handle things when our lives become hard. How many of us have a hard time holding onto the faith of knowing God has a perfect end result goal for us, even in bad?  How many of us have a hard time remaining faithful over something so simple as car trouble or being behind on a bill? I know I have, but we are not perfect and God knows this. If we find ourselves doubting God's love or protecting hand we should read Job and we will realize how well we still have it. God uses adversity to strengthen us and turn into a tool that will be used to promote His power and glory. As long as we do not doubt and cast our cares on Him, as we are told to do, He will take care of us. We need to thank Him for everything we have because it is provided by His power and love.

If you are having a tough time in life examine your relationship with God, I bet you will find some areas to improve on. Then begin to make time for studying, praying, and rebuilding that relationship. You will find if you will make time in your life for God, as hard as it may seem, the other things that you considered priority will work themselves out accordingly.

And above all thank God often for the blessings He has bestowed upon you and give Him the glory for them and you will not need to worry about what you don't have.