Cherishing The Goodness Of God
April 24, 2019
When God provides, He does so with eternal and spiritual purposes. He intends for His provision to be used for purposes that result in His glory. Thus, while God is known as “the Lord Who Will Provide,” it is important that we recognize, honor, and cherish the hand of God that forms and delivers rather than getting stuck on the things which God gives. For example, in the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul wrote that the unrighteous and ungodly worship of the creation rather than the Creator. There is a tendency that we have as people to get fixated on the good things that God provides in place of the goodness of God Himself. We have a bad habit of honoring and valuing the gifts of God as if they are more valuable than God Himself who gives freely according to His mercy and grace. The Bible brings these things to our attention so that we can recognize our faults, and refocus on that which matters most – the Lord.
A great example of the proper perspective comes from the testimony of Job. In Job 29:1-6 the Bible explains that Job continued in his discourse to his friends, and reminisced about the good old days before tragedy overwhelmed his life. However, the things that Job mentioned as he remembered what his life was like before, had little to do with the abundant prosperity, worldly comfort, and influence that he had. Job cherished God and the quality of his relationship with God more than anything. While there were certain things that Job reflected on, Job’s focus was on how God used those things to reveal His attributes and glory. That is what Job valued the most.
Job began by acknowledging that he enjoyed better days when God watched over him. Here, Job expressed that he valued and cherished God’s providential protection, guidance, and the sovereign safety that He provided. It is important to recognize the time reference of Job’s recollection. Notice that Job acknowledged God’s protection before the devil was sent to torment him. Though Job lived in prosperity during that season of his life, he knew that it was only on account of God’s protection. Job knew that his life was comfortable for a time because God was the cause. Job didn’t take his comforts for granted. Job didn’t revel in the prosperity that God gave, but in the protection that God gave so that he could enjoy the increase God provided. It is true that God’s protection was exceptional for Job. Recall that when the devil approached God, even he knew about the exceptional hedge of protection that God had cast around Job. Job reflected on the days when he could clearly see the sovereign hand of God in his life; especially since, at that time, Job felt that God had departed from him for some reason, and felt abandoned. Job remembered when the comforts of God’s hand was clearer because He cherished being close to the Lord, not just the comfort that He provided.
Job remembered the days when God’s lamp was like a light shining upon his head, even during times of darkness. This shows that Job recognized, appreciated, and highly valued the revelation of God’s Word and wisdom. Apparently, God spoke to Job directly, much like He spoke to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, David, and others of this sort. Job cherished that quality of communication from God. Job loved the Word of God. Job had a hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness as it came from the breath of His mouth. To Job, God’s revelation was like a light to his life. Later in the psalms, David wrote, “Your Word is like a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” In other words, it was the Word of God that defined the boarders of David’s life, provided direction for his life, and wisdom to know which way was the right way to live. Job valued God’s Word for the same reasons, even during times of darkness. This is a key point to acknowledge. Though Job lived in exceptional prosperity for a time in his life, he still had moments of darkness. Job still had trials during his time of comfort. Though Job loved the light of God’s revelation, there were still times in Job’s life that seemed dark. He trusted God to provide direction, clarity, and comfort through those times. Job missed the days when God’s light seemed brighter than the way things were at the present time for him. Job missed the days when he could hear the Word of God more clearly; when the darkness of his difficulties wasn’t so intense that it made God’s Word and wisdom seem so distant and dim.
Job also remembered the days of his youth – the days of his prime. Still, Job didn’t reference the quality of health that he had. Job didn’t mention the freedoms and fun that he had. Instead, Job reflected on the quality of fellowship that he had with the Lord. Job referred to his relationship with God during the days of his prime, as days when God provided “friendly counsel.” God was like a friend to Job that provided proper insight and direction for Job’s life. Thus, while Job prospered, it was clearly because of the manner in which God led him. Job’s comforts were clearly the result of God’s leadership, providence, and sovereignty. Job delighted in God’s counsel. Job didn’t rebel against God to do his own thing. Job didn’t despise God’s counsel as if his commands were restrictive and oppressive regulations. Job trusted the goodness of God and valued Him as a best friend. Job remembered the days of his prime when his relationship with God was the most intimate, meaningful, and impactful. It is true that when Job was younger, he likely had more energy, more ambition, more strength, and more freedom, but that’s not what Job really cared about. The “good ol’ days” to Job were the days when he was closest to God through fellowship with Him on account of the revelation of God’s Word.
When Job began to remember the days of his prosperity, he wasn’t fixated on the things that God gave. Instead, Job was more appreciative of the usage of God’s provision. Job didn’t obsess over the riches that he lost. Job didn’t even dwell much on the family that he lost. Rather, Job was appreciative of God’s provision and the purpose He ordained for it. It was true that God provided great increase for Job and that he prospered a ton. However, Job recalled how God enabled him to share that increase with his family. Job missed the days when his family was around him and encircled him to partake of the increase that God provided. It was one thing to have abundance. It was another thing to take that abundance to serve the needs of others. To Job, he missed the days when he could serve the needs of his own family by the gracious hand of God. Job referred to the extent of increase that God had provided as if it were overflowing. Job remembered that his increase was so great that it was as if he could butter the steps of his house with the overflow of precious dairy. It was as if the rocks around him were spewing valuable oil. However, Job didn’t horde those things to himself. Job had an abundance of gold and silver too, but cherished the provision of nourishment that God provided, which was used to serve the needs of those he loved.
The scriptures show that Job cherished God Himself far more than the things God provided. If not for the goodness of God, there would be no good to enjoy. Job understood that clearly. With the extent of suffering that he had experienced, he missed the days when physical pain didn’t distract him from hearing the clear voice of God. Job missed the days when his fellowship with God was purer, clearer, and more fulfilling. Job’s sufferings had made him feel as if God was distant. Job felt as if he had become God’s enemy. Job longed for the days when he could be God’s beloved again. There are many that seek after God with bad intentions, desiring only that which they can have for selfish gain as if God is some sort of genie in a bottle. Job didn’t think that way. His desire was to be as close as possible to God, which was why he desired death, hoping that death to his body would bring restoration to the fellowship he had with God by his soul. This is the manner of true faith. This is what God’s children should long for. This is how God’s people should value and cherish God above all things, loving Him with all that we have.