"There the wicked cease from raging, And there the weary are at rest.Job 3:17(NASB)
Job paints a picture of man's portion while on earth. Whether a saved saint or an unsaved sinner, man's destiny, from start to finish, is overshadowed by utmost sorrow in life and separation from our Creator due to sin... but results in the most glorious reconciliation of the lost sinner who knows that his Redeemer lives, and that in the end, He will take His stand on the earth.
The long and dramatic tale of woe experience by Job begins with the most shocking series of catastrophes, which take place in rapid succession. In one day, this man is not only stripped of all his wealth and standing in the community, but his ten adult children are all slain, when a tremendous gale caused the collapse of the place in which they were drinking wine together - the house of their oldest brother.
Job was unaware of the heavenly wager that had been allowed in heaven, and that Satan, that crooked serpent who deceived Eve and caused Adam to bring death and disease upon his fallen race... was being permitted to test Job's loyalty to the Lord God, by robbing this unsuspecting man of all that he had - whilst sparing his life.
Following a series of dreadful calamities where his vast herds of oxen, donkeys, sheep and camels were stolen away or consumed with fire; his many servants slain by the sword and his ten adult children killed in a horrific 'accident'... Job worshipped the Lord with his notable declaration, "naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord".
Job was unaware of the agreement in heaven, and although he did not deny the Lord, he questioned the reason for his terrible situation. However, he soon began to be scolded by a number of 'friends', whose words of consolation were neither helpful not comforting. They incorrectly assumed that Job was being punished for some terrible sin - while Job was anxious to plead his innocence.
And so began a prolonged debate between Job and his three 'comforters', which opened with a lengthy lamentation from this hurting man, where he cursed the day he was born; bemoaned the fact that he had not been miscarried or stillborn; questioned the misery all men have to experience in life and expressed his desire to be dead and buried, because, "in death the wicked cease from raging, and by departing this life the weary soul is at rest".
Job deeply regretted that death was not his portion, because his life was in turmoil. He lamented of his life and considered death would have been a welcome escape. In many ways those who go through prolonged and intense difficulties in life can empathise with Job's distress - but unlike him we have a peep behind the heavenly scenes and a real understanding of the spiritual war that is raging in the heavenly places.
Unlike Job we have an opportunity to participate in the spiritual battle against the enemy of our soul, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against great principalities and mighty powers. We are fighting the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.
Job in his ignorance of events did not denounce His Lord or curse His God, and yet we... who have the full council of God in the completed canon of Scripture can too often allow doubt and fear to shake our faith; influence our decisions and even cause us to deny our Lord.
Do we posses the faith of a man like Job, who refused to deny the Lord despite the evils that befell him. May we stand firm on the immutable world of God, which has graciously endowed us with greater illumination through completed revelation of Jesus Christ, Whom the Father sent to redeem the fallen race of man and make a new heaven and a new earth - which will be the resting-place of righteousness.
Heavenly Father, I am amazed at the wonderful way that Job refused to deny You... even when he was beset by the most terrible circumstance any man could have to face. Thank You that you ignore those times when we too have been foolish enough to regret our life or wish it away - because we are in the midst of great difficulty or depressed by the circumstances of life. Thank You that You know the end from the beginning and through Job's distress You brought him to a deeper knowledge and an exquisite understanding of Who You are. Forgive the times I have said things without thinking. Help me to keep the eyes of my heart on Jesus and keep me trusting You in every eventuality of life - knowing that You are dealing with me... and with all Your children, with eternity in view - just as You were with Your servant Job. Thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.