Who hasn’t heard the story of Job?  The wealthy Old Testament man of God who lost everything, his animals, his servants, all his children, and even his health.  The Bible tells us that Job was such a godly man that God trusted him to not curse God when faced with terrible times.  God knew his heart…an advantage Satan didn’t have when he challenged God.  Job’s life is virtually destroyed in the first 2 chapters of the book.  Then his “friends” come to comfort him.  In order to do that they lecture him in one speech after another for the next 36 chapters!  Of course Job refutes them, but it is a lot of back and forth while they try to convince Job that he has sinned and that is why God is punishing him.  He is accused of being arrogant and self-righteous, and they are disgusted and angered when he declares his innocence and refuses to back down.  Job never does curse God.  He curses the day he was born.  He does, however, accuse God of doing wrong to him, declaring that he is right and God is wrong.  Finally, in the 38th chapter God makes Himself known…and boy, does He make Himself known!!  BOOM!  His voice thunders from the whirlwind (The Message calls it the eye of a violent storm).

The whole scene reminds me a little of one of my favorite scenes from the Disney movie The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Aslan, the great lion has just agreed to sacrifice himself in payment for the treachery of the boy Edmund.  The White Witch turns to Aslan, and before the great crowd of Aslan’s followers, boldly asks, “How do I know your promise will be kept?”  Alsan roars his great booming roar, and this evil, powerful enemy falls to her knees before him.  I’ll include a link to the scene on YouTube, just because it is fun:-)  ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgl4tqw2OKs).

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements?  Surely you know!  Or who stretched the line upon it?  To what were its foundations fastened?  Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”  God begins in Job 38:4-7 (NKJV).  Who put the seas in their place and put the barriers around them and told them to stay put?  In the next 105 verses God lets Job have it.  He declares, in no uncertain terms, exactly who He is.  He is the God who measured and designed the entire earth.  The God who put the waters where they belong and set the doors to keep them in place.  The God who has commanded the dawn since the beginning of time.  The God who holds the treasury of snow and hail for times of war.  The God who can pinpoint the exact location where lightening bolts and wind begin.  The same God who created the gentle deer and designed the number of days of her pregnancy, and the behemoth, and even greater, the Leviathan who could not be defeated by man.  And where was Job during all of that?  Was he present?   The point?  Job, do you really think you have the knowledge and insight to be able to accuse me, God Almighty, of doing wrong?

In chapter 38:2-3 (NCV) God begins by addressing Job, “Who is this that makes my purpose unclear by saying things that are not true?  Be strong like a man!  I will ask you questions, and you must answer me.”  This is where Job says, “gulp.”  After 2 chapters of God’s greatness and might, Job is hoping God has forgotten him, but God pauses in His questioning.  Chapter 40:1-2 – The Lord said to Job:  “Will the person who argues with the Almighty correct Him?  Let the person who accuses God answer Him.”  Here is the part, the roar that drops Job to his knees.  And Job’s response?  After going on and on defending himself in the bulk of the book, this is what he has to say (vs 4-5 NKJV):  “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You?  I lay my hand over my mouth.  Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”  Zip, button, lock and throw away the key…his mouth is shut tight.

What is the most common thing we hear about Job?  The patience of Job?  Don’t we often boil the story down to this poor man who lost everything, remained faithful to God, and then was blessed two-fold afterward?  Is that the real message though?  Was Job really all that patient?  Have you read the book lately?  He didn’t look patient to me.  I am by no means downplaying the terrible things he went through.  If I were in his shoes, I am pretty sure I would do some of my own questioning of God.  But why do we call Job patient when he wasn’t really all that patient?  I think the book of Job has some hard things in it that make it much easier to focus on Job’s suffering.  First of all, we get a behind-the-scenes look at God and Satan having a discussion about God’s people.  We see Satan asking for permission, and God giving it, to cause harm to one of His people.    That is not an easy picture to understand.  And anyone who is looking for an excuse to hate God could very easily find it there.  On the other hand, those who love God, and fear Him with reverence, will be comforted in knowing that even Satan must stop at the boundaries God sets up, because God is in control.  Then we have the middle of the book with all the drivel of Job’s friends.  Quite frankly, I did a lot of eye rolling when I read their lectures…and a lot of, “for heavens sake!  What kind of friends were these?!”  We have Job’s self defense and accusations of God’s “wrong-doing” that do not demonstrate the patience of Job, sorry.  I just don’t see it.  BUT THEN.  Then we have the omniscience, and omnipotence of God declared in a thunderous voice from the eye of a violent storm by God Himself!  And that declaration left a mouthy man dumbfounded, speechless, and feeling a millimeter tall.

The story of the book of Job is not the story of a man who went through hell on earth.  It is the story of the might and power of God.  It should leave us on our knees, hands over our mouths, in speechless awe of the God who rules from His thrown above…but who didn’t stay there!  In Job 9:32-35, Job cries out for a savior.  Someone who could make peace between him and God, remove his punishment, and allow him to speak without being afraid.  Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did for us?  This same awesome God, who caused Job to shut his mouth, and leaves us with eyes wide, mouths gaped open and incapable of uttering anything other than “wow,” loves us so much that He took on that millimeter-tall, frail, unworthy form in order to rescue us from our own filthy dust and ashes.  Take the time soon to read Job 38-41, and soak up some awe.  And while you are at it, take a gander at the crucifixion of Jesus in Matthew 26 and 27, Mark 14 and 15, Luke 22 and 23, or John 18 and 19 (must be an important story!).

1 John 4:9-10 – This is how God showed his love to us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him.  This is what real love is:  It is not our love for God, it is God’s love for us in sending his Son to be the way to take away our sins.