[June 03]--When It Rains. . .

Job 1:13-22

Well, no one ever accused Satan of being the model of restraint and self-control, and he never does anything halfway. For years he hated this man, watching him as he did good in the community, gave to the poor, prayed for his children, and generally lived a godly lifestyle. When the Almighty gave him permission to take away the man’s possessions, he went all-out.

But notice the intense cruelty of the Enemy’s strategy. When several tragedies happen in our life, most of the time they come at different times. Someone might lose a family member and also their job and their car, but usually not all at the same time. Even when we experience several losses, we can handle them better if we have some time to mourn and to process them mentally and emotionally.

Not so with Job. The Enemy struck on many fronts at once, so that as one messenger was telling him one piece of terrible news, another one came racing in. Also notice that in each circumstance there was only one survivor, one person to tell Job.

In one stroke the Enemy reduced him to utter poverty. I’m sure that almost every parent would give up their fortunes in an instant rather than lose their children, but there was more at stake here. In that time, much more than today, children were considered a blessing from the Lord because they were the way to carry on the family name and traditions. So this was not merely the loss of his children, but the loss of his future.

So what was Job’s response to all this? He shaved himself and tore his robe, common signs of mourning in his day. But note his verbal response. He recognized two very important things about our possessions, which we desperately need to emulate, both in good times and in bad. The first thing he acknowledged was that all his material blessings (including children) came from God. He had come “naked” into this world, and the Most High had chosen to give him a lot of material wealth and children, and the Lord didn't owe Job anything he'd received. Since the Almighty had given them, it was his absolute prerogative to take them back anytime he wished.

The other thing Job realized about his wealth was that it was all temporary anyway. I know it’s a cliché that “You can’t take it with you,” but clichés are repeated and common because they’re largely true. He was eventually going “naked” back into the realm from which he had come, and all his wealth would be dust and ashes one way or another.

This is another place where Job’s character shines through, because his attitude towards material blessings (by which I mean anything the Lord gives us in this life) is exactly what I need, both in times of prosperity and in times of hardship. It’s not just that he refused to curse God (as Satan had predicted). Why did he not fall into the Enemy’s trap? Because of good theology and a right perspective on life. That's our key to preparing ourselves to suffer loss, to hold onto our possessions very lightly.

And now for your enjoyment and edification, here's "Blessed Be Your Name," which sets a lot of these concepts to music.

Lord Jesus, you've blessed me in so many ways. If I really counted my blessings, I'd be doing nothing else for the rest of my life. Help me to have the right attitude towards my blessings, and take away anything that takes my eyes off you. Yes, I mean that.

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