Have you ever, like Job, felt abandoned by God? Would Job have achieved the level of righteousness that God later praised without that experience? In Ezekiel 14:14 his name is mentioned together with Noah and Daniel as three giants of righteousness. Even Jesus felt abandoned by God as He hung on the cross, quoting Psalm 22, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” At the moment when God seemed most absent, He had never been more present. At that moment He was “in Christ… reconciling the world to himself”.
Does it matter to God whether one person accepts or rejects him? Elihu raised that question in Job 35:6-8. The book of Job reveals to us that this decision is of vital importance to him. What value that places on your life and mine! My small story of faith takes place against the background of the drama of the history of the universe. For Job, the battle involved the loss of possessions, family and health. We may not see our struggles as making a difference to God, but Job reveals to us a different message. Eliphaz had taunted Job, “Can a man be of benefit to God? What would He gain if your ways were blameless?” Job 22:1-3. At the end he had to offer sacrifices through Job to ask for God’s forgiveness! By hanging on to the thinnest thread of faith, Job won a crucial victory in God’s grand plan to redeem the earth. In his grace, God has given ordinary people the privilege of participating in the redemption of the cosmos. Through our obedience to him we are helping to reverse the pain and unfairness of this world.
To conclude our thinking about this, we need to turn to the New Testament to see a further step. Peter and Paul seem to expect suffering as they follow Jesus. “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” 1 Peter 2:21. After watching Jesus die on the cross for them, it seems they were willing to die for him, and most of them did die as martyrs for their faith. The fact that Job continued to trust God, against all odds, mattered – for him, for us and for God. Yes, our lives matter to Him. And Job, through his undeserved suffering, gave us a preview of Jesus Christ, who would live a perfect life, yet endure pain and death in order to win a great victory.
And tomorrow is Sunday, when we celebrate that victory with those all over the world who acknowledge Him as Lord. Join us for worship then using the link Roger has sent.
Today we are praying for:
Roger & Sue