"Have you considered My servant, Job," God asked Satan one day. What an incredible thing that God would say this about any human being. Yet, there He was staring Satan down, and confidently bragging on this man, Job.
I picture Satan sauntering into the throne room of heaven, walking right up to the Lord and pointing his long, boney finger right in the face of God. The mocker accuses God of having no real friends – just pretenders – hangers on who use God for what they can get from Him, period. No real affection or devotion or loyalty. Just Users, eternally manipulating God for what they can get from Him.
Says Satan to God: "You have to be kidding! There is not one of them that loves you – not one. I can prove it. Watch me...” Knowing the truth and speaking it to Satan, God responds with the amazing and heart rending statement – "Have you considered My servant, Job?"
Poor Job had no idea what was happening in the spiritual realm. He wasn't part of the conversation that took place that day that was destined to be a life changing marker for Job and his family. Neither did Job know the tender pride that God held in His heart for His servant, Job. Job would endure countless hours of heartache and loss, even coming to the brink of despair, at the hands of His tormentor, Satan, the liar, the thief, the destroyer, the mocker of God. Job did not know that, while God had allowed the testing of Job, God Himself was counting on, confident of, and pulling for, the overcoming strength of Job's love for Him. God, in an incredible switching of the tables with his creation, put His money on Job. He believed in Job. He knew that the depth of Job's love for Him would be tested to the brink.
Job loses everything. Beloved children, all of his wealth and livelihood, his health and his reputation. His best friends, coming to comfort him in his pain, turn on him and decide he must be a great sinner to have brought all of this on himself. You can hear the tempter's voice as Job's wife advises him to 'curse God and die.' The beautiful, loving testimony of Job to his wife is heartbreaking - “But, he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we not indeed accept good from God, and shall we not also accept adversity? In all of this, Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:10
What an incredible testimony to Job's relationship with His God. He is miserable, hanging on by a thread, abandoned by everyone he might have turned to for help, and yet he stands fast in his devotion to His God. Even later in the story, when Job cries out to God, demanding an explanation of it all, God comes to him and soundly rebukes Job. What does Job do? He repents! He falls on his knees and declares that he didn't know what he was talking about. He had “heard about God,” but, now, he had seen him and he was undone. God receives Job's repentance and restores all he has lost many times over. He turns his wrath on Job's friends, telling them that He is not pleased with them for “You have not spoken right of me, as did My servant, Job.”Job 42:7 God humbles Job's friends, ordering them to seek Job's prayers, which find favor with God because of his unfailing love for His Redeemer, again referring to Job as “My servant, Job”. How incredible this is to me. I wonder how God refers to me? Is He certain of my love for Him? Does He call me 'His servant'?
Do you sometimes wonder, as I do, would God hold me up to brag upon in front of Satan? Does He have confidence in the depth of my love for Him? I wonder, would He have to make excuses to Satan for me? Would He tell Satan, “Well, yes she loves Me, but, you know it's Christmas. Don't mess with her now - She's shopping!” Or, “Well, yes, she loves Me, but, she lives in America. We have to make allowances for them. They're just not very good at this suffering thing..."
When I'm going through a trial, am I closer to Job's wife, or to Job in his all out love for His God? When the 'good things' that God has given me are withdrawn – family, health, the trappings of wealth in our culture, I am so often tempted to 'curse God' for what He has done to me.
How revealing are our prayers sometimes! So often, in America, we look at life through the lens of material things. Our prayers are often, Lord, please keep me healthy, my children safe and happy, be sure to give me a good job, a good home and money for a nice vacation. I so much NEED all of this, Lord. Oh, yes, and thank you for Jesus. Amen! Sometimes, God must wonder if we have him mixed up with Santa Claus.
What happens if I lose my job, my house, my loved one develops a terminal illness – or worse, yet, I do? Do I wonder, in the pain of my loss, why has God withdrawn His favor from my life? If we could peel back the curtain of heaven, what would we find? Is God watching, pointing to us with obvious pride and confidently telling Satan, "Have you considered My servant ….?" What if He has a blessing in store for us at the end of the trial that can only come to us by going through the fire? Why do we judge God's blessings to only come in soft, pretty packages? What if the real blessing is in the trial?
Scripture Reference: Job 19:25, 26
“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh, I shall see God...”