Posted by: ritagone | November 1, 2017

What I Learned From the Book of Job

 

I’m teaching the book of Job on Thursday morning to a bunch of lovely ladies at my church.

I don’t believe I’ve ever enjoyed teaching a book of the Bible as much as I’ve enjoyed teaching Job, as heavy as that book can be, because of its topics: suffering, losing everything, sorrow, sadness.

Why am I enjoying it so much?  Well, to paraphrase from the hit song “New York, New York”: “If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere,” if you can learn how to live by reading the book of Job, you can literally survive anything.  Job did.  He’s become my hero.  I’ve watched him lose everything of any importance both physically and emotionally in his life, and then endure the badgering of four friends who got it all wrong and couldn’t shut up, who felt it necessary to tell him everything they thought he did wrong and that they thought they knew was right in their own eyes.  You know people like that: smug and sure of themselves, sure of how God works in everyone else’s life.  Really annoying under the best of circumstances, bu

 

t when you’ve lost everything the way Job had, it’s the very thing you don’t want or need in your situation.

And yet, he moved through their diatribes, and the ghost-like monologue of Elihu, who went on and on for six chapters and then faded away into oblivion, and wound up seeing God more clearly than he ever had before.  “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.”  I have come to believe that Job 42:5 is one of the greatest statements of faith in the entire Bible.  I had heard about you, but now I’ve seen you face to face.  I liken it to a place you have always wanted to see in person – the Grand Canyon, the Great Wall of China, or, for me, Red Square in Moscow – a place you’ve dreamed about and seen pictures of, and then, all of a sudden, there you are, standing there seeing it in person, and it’s every bit as awesome as you th

 

ought it would be.  No, more!!!  Job’s relationship with God will never be the same again.  True, nothing will make up for the loss of the 10 children he dearly loved.  But his relationship with the God of the universe will be deeper and stronger than it ever was before.  And that counts for quite a bit!

And when he died, after God had blessed him more than he had ever been blessed before he lost everything, the last verse of the book of Job says this: “And so he died, old and full of years” (Job 42:17).  I don’t know about you, but I’d settle for that epitaph any day.

So I went in reading and studying and learning about the book of Job the first of this year with low expectations, or maybe I should say no expectations at all.  I read almost a dozen commentaries, from Charles Swindoll to Tim Keller to Elisabeth Eliott to Ray Stedman, I took notes, I thought and I processed and I prayed.  And I prayed some more.   And God has done what He is so good at: He has turned my world upside down and blessed me more than I could ever have imagined.  And in turn I am seeing that this book is a blessing to those ladies who are attending the class.  I know this because they are telling me so.  And it’s not me, truly; it’s how God is speaking to them through what Job endured, what he learned, how he grew and stretched and touched the heart of his Savior.

 

If you are looking for a great blessing, might I suggest you spend some time before the end of 2017 reading the book of Job.  Ask God to bless you, to open your eyes to the richness in the words and thoughts contained in it, and tell Him that you want to come away from it a changed person.  Tell Him that you want to see Him, not just hear about Him, and I bet you anything you won’t be disappointed!!!

 

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Responses

  1. Thanks Rita. Appreciated this. I’ve always loved Job, but haven’t read it in yonks, so I’m taking this as a prod to read it again. Which commentary would you recommend the most?

    • Hey, Sally, so good to hear from you!! I think the commentary I enjoyed the most was Tim Keller’s “Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering,” but anything you check on on Amazon (if that’s where you buy books) would be great: Swindoll’s is good, and Ray Stedman’s too. Are you familiar with these guys? Hope you’re doing well. Did you know the Hirsches are coming back to live with us the first of the year? We’re very excited!!

  2. Reading your post was a beautiful way to start my day. I’m going to read it.
    Thank you my friend.xo

  3. I really enjoyed reading this, Rita! Thanks!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  4. Really good, Rita. I also resonate with God having Job pray for his 3 “friends” (called that in 42:10) and then God blessing him. Perhaps this ia akin to praying for our enemies.

    Grace

    Len

    Len Sunukjian

    FishBowl Ministries

    64 La Cumbre Circle

    Santa Barbara, CA 93105-4442

    Cell: 805.390.0993

    Email: lsunuk@verizon.net


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