20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 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.”
So as Luke mentioned in the last "Verse" post, we have started a new chronological Bible reading plan. We've been doing it for just over a month, and I've already read Genesis and Job. I know, I know - reading the Bible isn't just about "get through it", but it's a nice little accomplishment since my last "read the Bible in a year plan" began at the start of 2009 and finished, well, just over a month ago. Forgive me if I'm a little prideful at having already knocking down two books. If you're interested in doing the same thing, I'm using a plan written by Skip Andrews (I'm sorry, I just didn't realise people were called that - I'm sure he suits it to a T). You can check out this plan here. Anyway, it's a totally amazing way to read the Bible; you end up jumping around all over the place, which is great because you really can't predict what tomorrow's reading is going to be. Plus the Bible is written like that - it's so interconnected! And I love how this reading plan really brings that out.
I've also started reading the Bible on our Kindle. Am I the only person who doesn't like reading in columns? Just me? Okay. Well, I digress. On to today's verse.
So, as you may have guessed, I have recently been reading the book of Job. To be honest, this book has always been something of a mystery to me. No one knows who it was written by; some say Moses, while others think Solomon. Job is thought to have lived around 2000 BC, after Babel but before or around the time of Abraham. The book begins with a scene in heaven where Satan challenges God that that there is no one righteous on the earth. God protests and points out Job, who is "upright and blameless" (verse 8). However, Satan argues that this is only because Job has been blessed, whereas if God were to curse Job and take away his blessings, then he would surely turn against God. So God says to Satan that he can do what he likes to Job, apart from attacking him physically.
Satan takes away all of Job's oxen, donkey, sheep, and camels (his livelihood), destroys his house, kills all his sons and daughters, and kills all of his servants except the ones who escape to tell him of each individual catastrophe.
What does Job do in response? Verse 20 tells us:
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
This really blows me away, and I think it can also show us how to respond in times of hardship. Job doesn't push aside his feelings; as the text says, he demonstrated his grief by shaving his head and tearing his robes, as was the custom. However, he also worshipped God. Let's recap: he had just lost everything, except his own life and his wife's life, and he worshipped God. How difficult we find it to worship and give thanks to God for the blessings and grace he gives us every day - yet Job did it even when God took everything away. Job obviously understood that he could respond in two ways; he could worship God or curse Him. Job's response confirmed that God was right about Job's heart as it says in verse 21: In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Then Job says in verse 21: “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.”
How often do we remember that everything God has given us belongs to Him anyway: life, breath, health, shelter, food, clothing, work, money, possessions, family, friends, safety, children, EVERYTHING. Yet how little we thank Him for it. This passage challenges me with the question: if God took every good thing in my life away, would I still be able to praise Him? My honest answer is that I don't know. But I hope and pray that God would give the strength and grace to do so. After all, He doesn't love us conditionally; He doesn't say, "I will only love Hannah as long as she keeps all My commandments all the time." And I thank God for that! Then why should I be conditional with my love for God? After all, He is everything that I need. He has given me salvation, the hope of eternal life, and grace every day. All He asks from us is to love Him and trust in Him. What an amazing God!