So far in this series on Job, we have seen that the opening chapters of Job show how God is right in heaven. He is completely sovereign, and His purposes of salvation are resilient and do not fail. He is right.
However, there is an important lesson within these first chapters that we should not ignore: the power of suffering. Indeed, this lesson actually drives the reality that God is right. After all, as we noted, God sets up the trial to demonstrate that His purposes will withstand any test. So Job’s suffering is weighty because it inherently has a greater purpose, one that reaches heaven.
Since Job’s suffering plays such a role in God’s plan, we should examine it to see how God is glorified in our trials. After all, God declares that Job’s response is what vindicates Him in heaven (cf. Job 2:1-2). Based upon this, we might assume that there is something uniquely noble about Job’s suffering.
What makes Job’s suffering so powerful? The answer may surprise us.
Job’s response is seen in Job 1:20-21:
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.He said, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Every word of this matters. The context establishes that. Satan has launched a series of God-permitted tests to break Job, to cause him to fall. We are waiting to see how Job will respond. Furthermore, Job himself is deliberate in each of his words and deeds. The text says that “Job arose” which signals his intentionality in all that he is about to do. Every detail of these verses matter.
With this in mind, we can go through these verses phrase by phrase, and the first phrases may surprise us. The first thing Job does is tear his robe. This is an act of intense distress. Ripping a piece of cloth from a garment externally shows what one feels on the inside. At the loss of his possession and the death of his family, Job feels though he was stabbed in the heart. Job is not a stoic sufferer. He shows that his suffering has pierced deep into his soul.
Next, Job shaves his head. There is a way to do this that is pagan (cf. Deut 14:1) but Job does not do this. He does not have pagan grief. Nevertheless, Job shaves his head to resemble a decaying corpse. He shows that he feels more dead than alive. He feels like life has nothing to offer him. He is not only in distress but also devastated.
Perhaps these responses surprise us. Perhaps we feel like that kind of internal anguish and despair are inappropriate. What, though, should cause us pause is the next phrase. Job falls. That may seem insignificant compared to the previous two actions; however, it is shocking. Throughout the trials, Satan had one agenda: to cause Job to fall. The word “fall” is repeated throughout Job’s suffering. Satan believes that if Job falls, he wins. And here, Job has fallen. He appears to be vanquished.
And then, at this moment when it looks like Satan has won, Job bursts into worship. The Hebrew word denotes recognizing and honoring the supremacy of God. With this act Job demonstrates that Satan has not won. He is wrong. Job did not break. Job did not disown God. Rather, even in the deepest pain, Job staunchly declares the worthiness of God.
Job does not merely show this in action but in word. Each assertion shows that Satan is wrong. Satan argued that Job was consumed with the wealth he accumulated (Job 1:10). But Job says naked he came out of the womb and naked he will return. Satan argued that Job had a low view of God (Job 1:9). But Job states that God gives and takes away. He knows God graciously gives everything to him and has the right then to take away. Job has the highest view not only of God’s sovereignty but God’s goodness. Finally, Satan argued that Job would curse God to His face (Job 1:11). But Job blesses God. Job’s words show Satan is wrong in every way, even down to the level of the words he spoke.
What do we learn from this? Initially, to be sure, God is right and Satan is wrong. More specifically, God used Job to prove His rightness, and for God to accomplish this, Job did not have to hide his anguish. Rather, by being honest about his turmoil, Job shows that God’s salvation cannot be broken even in the worst onslaught. Authenticity about suffering puts God’s glory on display.
Sometimes as Christians we feel that the godly response to trouble is to mask our pain because that somehow shows we are mighty for God. However, this passage, along with many others (cf. Lam 1-3; Ps 89), depict a far different picture. God did not use an emotionless Job. Rather, he used Job’s honesty about suffering. Thus, like Job, you can feel the deep pain of loss, express intense struggle with this life, and even look like you are defeated. But if you, even still, worship God, and confess that He is right and good, then heaven wins. The honest perseverance of the saints displays God’s glory (cf. 2 Cor 4:7-12).
May we remember that the true power of suffering is not that we have the strength to keep our turmoil bottled up. Rather, the power of suffering is that God uses our worship in our pain to demonstrate His power and the power of His salvation. For when we are weak, He is strong (2 Cor 12:10).
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|