As we continue our discussion on the link between hearts of gratitude and authentic worship, I have been focusing our attention on three persons in the Scriptures who typify the “heart of gratitude”. In Part 2, I discussed David and now we turn to Job.
Job’s Heart of Gratitude
We are all aware of the quick succession of tragedies that came upon Job. We are told at the very beginning of Job chapter 1 that Job was “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.” This context is very important to our discussion. It is when we are walking in righteousness and trouble comes that we feel most confused and upset. This is when the spirit of entitlement is most likely to rise up and grab a hold of us. We ask the question, “Why me, Lord? I haven’t done anything to deserve this.”
It is important to refresh our minds on the course of events that took place with Job to get a deep understanding of the degree of suffering that he encountered.
1. He lost 500 yoke of oxen and 500 female donkeys together with all but one of his servants who were tending them.
2. He lost 7,000 sheep and all but one of the servants who were tending them.
3. He lost 3,000 camels and all but one of the servants who were tending them.
4. He lost his 7 sons and 3 daughters all at the same time and only 1 servant lived to come and recount the tragedy.
Recall, these all happened in quick succession. What was Job’s initial response?
And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:21-22, NKJV)
We see here the mindset that we must develop. Job acknowledged that all that he had was given to him by the Lord and the Lord was therefore free (well within His rights) to take away what He had given. All of his possessions and even his children Job recognized did not belong to him. He chose to continue worshipping the Lord in the midst of these dire circumstances.
“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deut 8:18)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)
These verses clearly support the fact that everything we have comes from the Lord. We are merely stewards over what He has given to us.
Not only did Job suffer loss of possessions and children but his health was also attacked. In chapter 2, we see him being “struck with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job 2:7b). Again, he holds his integrity intact even as his wife urges him to do otherwise.
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10)
To curse God, to blame God for our troubles is to sin with our lips. God is not against us questioning what is happening. In fact, He is the one who encourages us, “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord.’ (Isa 1:18a). However, we must be very careful to never lose our reverence and awe for the Lord. To step over the line, forgetting that He is the Creator and we are His created. Read Job chapters 38 – 41 if you are ever tempted to forget who we are in relation to Almighty God.
It is also important to note from Job’s story that these trials came at the request of Satan who wanted to show that it was only because of what God had provided for Job that Job worshipped and served Him. The Lord wanted to show Satan that even when these things are taken away Job would still worship Him. Could it be that there are seasons in our own lives when God allows Satan to buffet us so that He can show that our commitment to the Him is not based on what we have or do not have? What if we began to see our trials as an opportunity to bring glory and honour to the Lord by continuing to glorify the name of the Lord despite the loss and suffering that we may face in this life? To recognize that this brings glory to the Lord and shows our depth of maturity? It also is a measure of the confidence that God has in us that we are ready to withstand in the day and having done all to remain standing. Do we need to see hardships as a test of our belief in the faithfulness of our Father God and not allow the enemy any victory by being ungrateful to our Father? He has given us promises in His Word that we must use to sustain us through these trials. We must hold fast to them.
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5)
…………………………..and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mt 28:20b)
Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. (Isa 43: 19)
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (1 Cor 2:14)
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:57-58)
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore. (Ps 121:7-8)
I have given just a few verses from Psalms 121 but the whole Psalm is full of promises from the Lord and there are, of course, many more in the Scriptures. Neither time nor space would allow me to share all of them here. Just a little side note. The word “preserve” means to keep from being destroyed, from destruction, to be sustained. Therefore, the Lord preserving us from all evil is not to be interpreted as the Lord preventing evil from coming upon us but rather not allowing evil to utterly destroy us. In fact, the Lord set a limit on Satan in this regard.
And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” (Job 2:6)
We cannot avoid suffering, it is a part of “working out our salvation with fear and trembling”. But we can avoid responding to suffering in the wrong way. A way that brings the name of the Lord into disrepute rather than bringing to Him the glory He deserves, no matter what we are going through.
It is His Word that will keep us in perfect peace when the storms of life hit. It is His Word that will keep our minds on the Lord and not on the circumstances. To never feel as though God has forsaken us or turned His back on us. To know that He holds us in the palm of His hands, even when it doesn’t seem so. To live by faith and not by sight. To guard our hearts with all diligence because ultimately that is what the enemy is after. He wants our hearts to turn away from the Lord to believe that God doesn’t care about us anymore and we are no longer the apple of His eye. In all of this, we are instructed by the following verses regarding our posture towards Father God and the mindset He requires us to have as we go through suffering, which is as inevitable as night follows day.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess 5:18)
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Pet 4:12-13)
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed: we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed — always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Cor 4:8-11)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor 4:16-18)