April 26, 2019
The Bible teaches that the human heart/soul is naturally selfish. People most often seek to do things to gratify self or someone else, not God. If not for the supernatural intervention of God by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, people would continue to live for self rather than worship God, and continually offend Him as a result. Thankfully, the Lord is aware of our issue. Thankfully, the Lord is merciful to help us recognize the superiority of His goodness and provoke us to worship him rather than ourselves and others. Thankfully, the Lord did the work that needed to be done in order to provide forgiveness of our sins through Jesus so that the Holy Spirit can teach us what is really worthy of our affection, focus, and worship. The Bible shows that God stirs up the hearts of His people to see things differently. While God’s people should worship God, the worship of the Lord takes place through how we treat one another. The scriptures teach that our service unto the Lord is practically done by the work we do to nurture relationships that have a spiritual basis for God’s glory. Thus, the true believer doesn’t look for relationships that will help gratify personal ambitions and wants, but instead, looks for relationships that spiritually benefit others unto the glory of God.
This means that our relationships with one another are extremely important. Why do we engage with the people that we do? Why do we spend time with the people that we do? Is our time spent with others for our own comfort and entertainment sake, or do we desire to spend time with others to fulfill our spiritual purpose? Do we find more value in the work God does through us for the benefits of others most? The Bible uses the testimony of Job to provide a good standard for all of God’s people to follow. As Job remembered the days before tragedy entered his life, he reflected on how God provided fruitful relationships in his life. The testimony of Job 29:18-25 shows that God poured into Job and made him prosper, but Job realized that his personal prosperity was simply a means to enable his service unto others as ministry for the Lord. Job recognized that the revelation he received from God was meant to be shared with others. Job recognized that the wisdom he received from God was meant to be shared with others. Job recognized that the health and ability he received from God was meant to be shared with others. Job recognized that his influence and circumstances was not for the sake of self-indulgence or personal comfort. Job knew that God wanted him to leverage his increase for the sake of others, and Job remembered how the days when he was able to do so was most satisfying.
However, Job made a great error during those days. The testimony of Job 29:18-25 shows that Job figured those days would last forever. Job admitted that he thought his prosperity would never run dry. He assumed that he would die as a man that enjoyed the comforts of God because he used the resources he had for God’s glory. Job figured that God would continue to multiply him because he was using his gain to increase others. Job recognized that his roots were well established bearing good fruit. Why would God cut such a tree down? Job understood that his glory was fresh and renewed daily. At the time, it seemed like God was going to build Job up in that way forever. Job didn’t feel entitled to the comforts he was enjoying. Job wasn’t prideful about the increase and prosperity that he had. Job wasn’t arrogant about the manner in which God was using him. Instead, Job saw all the good that God was provoking from Job, and figured that such goodness would continue because it was pleasing to God, pleasing to those around him, and satisfying to his own soul. Why would God change such circumstances?
This is when Job recognized how much goodness the Lord was providing through the relationships that he had with others. Job remembered the good days when people valued his words, his company, and his wisdom. People would listen to Job speak. Job reflected on the days when people respected his words and waited for him to finish his thoughts, whereas his friends now continually interrupted him and mocked his words. Job remembered the days when people considered the weight of Job’s words and waited on them as a valuable resource. At the time Job reflected, Job’s friends continued to cut him off, despise Job’s words, and accused Job of speaking falsely as a hypocrite. Job remembered that there was once a time where people valued his words as if they were the oracles of God. Job valued the days when people cherished his words like Job cherished God’s Word. As God filled Job with wisdom, Job spoke, and his relationships were based on the mutual care people had for the Word of God. People wanted to hear Job speak, not because Job was good at tickling ears; but because Job spoke with honesty and integrity according to the wisdom that God provided.
Job delighted in the opportunity to share that which God had given. Job valued the relationships he used to have, which were once based on the desire for God’s wisdom. The people highly esteemed Job because he spoke to them as one who comforts mourners. In other words, Job spoke with the motivation to build people up with the Word of God. He wanted to offer comfort to people by the wisdom of God. Job didn’t speak just to have friends. Job didn’t speak just to be funny or seem smart. Job didn’t speak to others for the sake of sharing his personal opinions in order to gain influence. The desire of Job’s heart was to comfort the hearts of others with the Word of God as it had been revealed to him. Job missed having those opportunities, figuring they would last forever.
Thus, the testimony of Job shows that we must all cherish the opportunities that we have while we have them. That which seemed good to Job and good to God was indeed taken away. God exercised His sovereign control to change the circumstances of Job’s life that seemed so pure, righteous, and good. God knew that there were other things that He wanted to teach of Himself that could only be learned through suffering. God wants to teach the full lesson, not just the points that are learnable in prosperity. Yet, while Job figured that God’s goodness was supremely public during the days of his prosperity, it is the days of his suffering that are documented in the holy and eternal scriptures, teaching us the deeper and weightier things of God. It is good to recognize God as the cause of our prosperity and goodness when it comes, and make sure we leverage His increase for God’s glory by serving the spiritual needs of others. However, we must always remember that God can change things at any time He pleases, knowing that there are other ways to learn important lessons about Him that are equally as good, glorious, and satisfying to our souls.