Reading Time: 4 minutesTake, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. James 5:10-11).
Many scholars have explained how that they feel Job is the oldest book in the Bible. If this is true then it is really a curious thing that this very first scripture ever given to us is not about blessings! It is about afflictions, and pain that became so unbearable that Job’s own wife told Job to just curse God and die! (Job 2:9). But Job refused to do this; he did however, curse the day he was born, and said that he was wishing that he had never lived but throughout the whole story, Job refused to curse God and die.Job’s experience is a wonderful testimony for Christians living in today’s “modern world.”
Some people with “I” trouble, or “me trouble” will start from their own perspectives, rather than God’s and will stoically repeat things like “”But Job was blessed later on.” While this might be very true, simply because God is gracious, we must concede that during the absolute worst times of his suffering and his faithfulness, Job did not have a clue that he would be so blessed in the end. Apparently, Job trusted God, not really because he expected that God would ultimately give back more than He would take; but more because Job knew the whole time that God was truly God. In all his suffering and misery, Job never once stopped believing in God.
Job did not even have half of what we have today to go on; for he did not have the example of any previous Job!
Job would likely have had to face his life without such a Biblical example to help him through those tough times. But because Job did trust in God, even when he didn’t know what was going on, we today have the example of Job who chose to remain faithful which does help us by example today. Whatever we face, whatever trials come our way, we can know what faithfulness is, because we can watch Job and the trials he had to endure. I had a friend who recently told me that they thought “it was almost like Job had Psalms 23 to look forward to,” because the book of Job was just before the Psalms; and by this we can realize the many powerful lessons we can glean from Job’s experiences.
The first and only reason we can need for obedience is simply because God is God. There can be no secret agendas when we throw ourselves upon the altar, as a living sacrifice. (Rom 12:1). God is not our Cosmic Bellboy. We cannot make demands upon God, and just give Him a list of orders for things we want. If we could do this, , then I think it stands to reason that God would just be too small. God would then be our size. But Jesus is the God above us all, yet He also identifies with us to become totally involved with us in every aspect of our daily living. Jesus has an intimate understanding of our today’s, that goes far beyond our own understanding. Jesus, with His knowledge of our tomorrows, which are already in His Hands, Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15)
Joseph is another strong example. When he was sold as a slave into Egypt, how could Joseph have possibly known exactly what God had planned for the future? There was definitely no way that Joseph could know; yet in his faithfulness, Joseph had worked as hard as he possibly could at becoming the very best man he could be. And God honoured Joseph’s faith and works. Although others had intended Joseph’s slavery for evil, God had used it for good, for His larger plan. And Joseph was faithful to God long before anything very good had happened in his life. And since Joseph did not know what we know today about that latter part of his life, we can assume that Joseph would have remained faithful, even if he had died without really knowing God’s ultimate purpose or plans for him. I am sure this might sound a bit far-fetched for some people, but hear me out.
Consider also, Stephen the Evangelist who had died, without realizing his influence on Saul Of Tarsus. Stephen didn’t demand “tell me God just how on earth will my death benefit the Church?” Stephen had endured a terrible stoning for his faith, and He died a horrible death. Just exactly how Stephen’s death was used to glorify God and His Church was seen later in Scripture; and we are all very blessed today, because of Stephen’s faithfulness then.
Consider what Moses and his people had to face at the hands of Pharoh. Their suffering was exactly what the people of Israel out of Egypt to produce a great nation, a people from who the great Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ would come. But did Moses know all that at the time? Did Moses understand Pharoh’s role then, in his life?
I wonder. What about the pharohs in my own life? What about the people who make my life difficult as I strive to be obedient to Jesus, the ones who are always trying to make my commitment to Jesus, an excuse to crush me even more? I can suffer as a disciplined follower of Jesus; and I know that I have often asked why. I sometimes screamed at God: “WHY?” But I notice that sometimes God does not answer me, maybe just because He is God, and He doesn’t really have to answer me? I now understand that what is happening to me these days may be for a far greater reason that I could ever have imagined. (Isa 64:4,`1 Cor 2:9). I am starting to realize that my troubles with a Pharoh or with my wilderness wandering, might just be a prelude to some great act of God. (Rom 8:28).
It is my personal responsibility to be as obedient as possible to what I do know. To keep doing what I know is right, and to travel on my road to heaven, with Jesus at every step of my way.