We all can learn that trials and tribulations that we experience in our lives cannot be blamed for sinning. Job, in the Holy Bible, gives us an example of how things can go so bad but we must not turn away from God but must press forward and know that God is with us!
(Please take the time to read the entire book of Job.)
We live in a world full of trouble and problems, there are problems after problems. Not many of us can truly say “I don’t have any problems” Job even said it himself, “Man born of a woman but for a few days and full of trouble.” But Job goes on to reason that since his days on earth are already determined, and the number of his months are already with God, and God has set a limit, the limit that God has already set cannot bypass any of us. God has set a day for all of us; Scientist cannot develop a pill that will give us some added years on earth, because God is in control of our time on this earth.
The Psalmist said, “Teach us to number our days” and what this actually means is that our days are numbered.
And since our days are numbered, it stands to reason that the trials and tribulations are just temporary Trials and tribulations are not new to us, the very moment you exit the comfort of your mother’s wound, and entered into this world, the doctor took you up by your ankles and slapped you on your hindside. It was as if you were being told, welcome to this mean ol’ world.
The doctor hits you, and you haven’t done anything, you’re just a baby. But from that day on, people, situations; and circumstances will keep on hitting you and you haven’t done anything to deserve it. As we journey through this life, we know that there is a constant enemy against the children of God. Namely the devil, he is a busy creature; we also know that he is referred to as a thief. But he is much more that just your average run of the mill thief, most thieves are satisfied with taking something that does not belong to them, but this thief wants to do more than that, he wants to kill and destroy.
We need to understand that only God can write a period, the most man can do is writing a comma, because there’s always something coming afterwards. What do you do when you face one problem after another? What do you do when the dust starts flying? When the smoke gets thick and the fire is too hot? Do you reason with yourself and say well I’m trying to believe? The devil is very interested in just how much you believe. We must be patient, have faith in God, just as Job did.
Job was a man who actually lived on this earth (he was not a mythical character), he was a man of great devotion to God; he had patience, he was also a very rich man. He was a man who tried his best to avoid evil, Job was a family man, and he had seven sons and three daughters. He had land, and cattle, and servants. Job had everything a man could ever want, he was successful, but he didn’t let his success go to his head. He knew that whatever he had and whatever he achieved was only because of God’s grace and mercy.
Job was handed some bad news. Job too had to face hard times. But Job said, “…but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” I will “KEEP DOING WHAT I BEEN DOING.” Now then, there will come a time when you will be faced with the question;
1. “Do I Give up?” “Do I Quit?”
2. “Or do I, KEEP DOING WHAT I BEEN DOING?”
In the end we find where Job had his best days yet ahead of him. Why? Because Job simply “KEPT DOING WHAT HE HAD BEEN DOING.” Even though we can’t see it or undestand it, Romans 8:28 promises us that our burdens are our friends. “All things work for the good.”
Learn Lessons in Life from Job
Life is hard
By the time this story took place, Job had already experienced quite a bit of life. He had ten children, had amassed a great amount of property, and was the greatest man among all the people of the East (1:3). In other words, Job wasn’t a blow hard who would give advice to everyone and tell everyone what to do, and have no one listen. He was a well experienced and respected father and business man who had earned the respect of the people. As such, his words would carry good weight among the people. As an experienced man, Job gave us our first lesson on life as he asked two questions.
“Does not man have hard service on earth? First of all, life is hard service. That word is used throughout the Bible to often denote service in an army. When you join the army, the last thing you expect is a summer vacation. You’ll have to go through a boot camp and get in shape – pass the test to be a full bore serviceman. The Bible illustrates this basic fact throughout – life is work. Do you think it was easy for Abraham to travel hundreds of miles and live in a tent his whole life? Do you think it was easy for him to raise a child at one hundred years old? To live among foreign people? Even though God had granted him with riches, life was tough. He didn’t have an air conditioned tent or cruise controlled camel to go around on. Or think about David. Long before he ever became king of Israel, he had to fight bears and wild animals while he was watching sheep. Saul chased him throughout the countryside trying to kill him for a long time. Even after he was king he still had to deal with rebellious sons immoral generals. Life was not easy. And what did Jesus say? “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20) Life was not easy for Jesus – as he would often heal people late into the night. It was not easy for him to go to the cross – but with a resolution he set his course for Jerusalem and was ultimately crucified.
The second thing Job asked was, Are not his days like those of a hired man? Job may have meant to repeat his same point up above – that life is hard, but the idea of the hired man has a couple other concepts that go along with it. If I’m working as a hired man, I don’t own any of the equipment that I work with, and I am only paid with money. My job consists of doing what my boss tells me to do. What lesson in life does this carry with it? The first one is echoed in Psalm 24:1 which says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”; Everything that we use is not ours but the Lord’s. The second lesson in life is that our life is not our own – we have been officially “hired” by the Lord – to do his will. God did not make us His children and call us His children so that we could be the parents in the relationship and tell HIM what to do. The very role of a child is to say, “What can I do for you, Lord?” We are here to serve the Lord by using the things He has given us to the glory of His name.
These lessons from the mouth of Job can go a long way in life. When you find yourself saying, “I wish I could go on vacation three weeks a year!” Or, “I wish I had that job. It must be nice to make two million a year. It must be nice being able to come home by five o’clock every night.” We probably spend half of our lives wishing that we had it “easier” and that we had more stuff. We want to live life in luxury and think that is what life is all about – how much I can relax and retire. We have a goal of doing nothing. So when we do have to work hard we get all hot and bothered and wonder why life is so hard.
This was one of the sins of Job’s friends – when they expected life in a sinful world to be painless and luxurious for the man of God. But Job says, “it doesn’t matter whether you’re Christian or not. Life is hard service. We are here to serve – like hired men.” God made us to work. Even before the fall God wanted Abraham to work the soil. If you’re living this life to amass a bunch of stuff so you can do nothing, you’re always going to be disappointed. The fact of life is that everything belongs to the Lord, and we’re here to serve him.
Job’s was harder
The next lesson in life we get from Job is by looking at his life – what happened to him. It seems that everyone today demands experience to be listened to. It doesn’t matter if the I know what the Bible says, if I haven’t been through what you’ve been through, then I will be shut off as not understanding. Job’s experiences in life go a long way – he experienced riches, theft, death, poverty, fame and rejection. He experienced it all. That’s what makes his LIFE such a great lesson.
The first chapter of Job tells us that the Sabeans carried off his oxen and donkeys and killed his servants, the fire of God came from the sky and burned up his sheep and servants, the Chaldeans took away his camels, and all of his sons and daughters were killed when a wind blew his house down – all in the same day. But that wasn’t the worst of it for Job. His wife turned on him and told him to curse God. Then, to make matters worse, Satan inflicted a terrible skin disease on him. So Job said (Job 7) “I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me.” “When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’” “The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.” “My body is clothed with worms and clouds of dust”, “my skin is broken and loathsome.” “Whereas those who work hard could rest at night,” Job couldn’t even do that. He mentioned later on that he was given terrifying visions at night that even kept him from getting a good night sleep. There were no pain killers for him. He looked awful. It was this futility and misery that started getting distraught.
For as much as we may complain about being so busy, I think Job’s life displays what is even more difficult when he talks about being allotted months of futility. When we’re able to work – busy as we may be – we still have the satisfaction of knowing we’re doing something. How much more difficult would life be for me. When you go into a nursing home and see the elderly – people who used to be able to fend for themselves just fine – now having to be pushed to and from dinner and fed and clothed and taken to the bathroom – and living in constant pain sometimes as well. Even for those who live at home yet, but can’t be as active because of cancer or arthritis – that’s got to be the most difficult thing of all.
After looking at Job’s life, what can we learn? When we look at Job, I think all of us realize that life could get worse – a lot worse. Our children could die. Our skin could break out in rashes. Our reputation could be put through the mud. Our friends and spouses could turn on us. Just because we’re Christians and even if we live righteous lives don’t mean that we’re immune from these things. It could happen to us.
It sometimes seems hopeless
But the main question is – how will you respond? When you hear the name of Job, you often think of a pillar of faith. We’ll often quote what he said in chapter 1:20-21 - “the Lord gave, and the Lord took away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” And so when someone goes through the loss of a child or a business, we like to quote Job to him or her and say – we need to accept good and bad from the Lord. But this doesn’t give a full picture of what happened to Job. Today’s text shows the result of months of suffering. He said, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope.” Remember that my life is but a breath; my eye will never see good again. Job felt that his busy life had gone by too fast – like a weaver’s shuttle going back and forth – and now he was absolutely sure that he was going to die in misery. He had no hope of survival.
Do these sound like words of a man of a blameless and upright man – one who feared God? At first glance and second glance, it’s hard to see much faith at all in them. It appears that the months of suffering not only affected Job physically, but also spiritually. It’s sad to see someone who was a pillar of faith be turned to such despair. Paul warned in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” When an ongoing temptation or trial continues to hit against us – it’s hard to stand firm. I know when I get the flu, just after one night of weakness and no sleep – I quickly break down – get very emotional and question God as to why He is allowing this. There are many young Christians who even have suicidal thoughts over a person of the opposite sex not liking them. Isn’t it embarrassing to think about how easily the devil can get us to crack from our faith – to blurt out things that we know we shouldn’t be saying – and to question God’s love for us after a trial or two? It’s sad to think about how easily we are driven to despair – to look at this life like Job – as hopeless and no good at all.
Yet Job did reflect a glimmer of faith – in that short phrase – “remember that my life is but a breath.”(Job 7:7) He wanted the Lord to remember that his life was very brief – like a breath that comes and goes. If God would remember that Job was just a fragile human who comes and goes, perhaps he would have mercy on him and extend his life. Job reflected this faith in Job 19:25-27 as he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes-I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” When Job remembered that God was sending a Savior to die for his sins and to rise from the dead – it assured him that his breath would be extended into eternity. At this point he was struggling with that faith – but still holding to God in faith that he would remember him into eternity.
There are times in our lives that we sometimes do think it is the end of the world. In high school, young men and women are truly affected by their popularity and whether someone likes them or not. In our older years we can be really affected over the loss of a job or the inability to pay bills or find a job. When we retire, it is devastating sometimes to go through serious health problems that hinder our ability to do what we used to do. It’s hard for older people to sympathize with younger, and younger with older. But these thoughts of despair are real. God’s Word for you today is REMEMBER. No matter how many times you have blamed God for your problems or gotten angry with God; remember that Jesus died for those sins. When the thief was on the cross – he seemingly had no hope – no future. He was dying as a criminal – he deserved it. But he said to Jesus – “remember me when you go into your kingdom.” Jesus answered his prayer, and said to him, “I tell you the truth, TODAY you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus provided a bright light for him at the end of the tunnel. My friends, God wants you to remember that Jesus also died for you – he is the light of the world. He promises you that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. Remember that light. No matter how hopeless your life seems – how guilty you feel – don’t give up. Ask God to remember you – to remember Jesus’ sacrifice – to remember how weak you are – and he will show you the Light of the world.
It’s interesting that Job compared his life to a weaver’s shuttle (Job 7:6). When a weaver does his or her weaving, one side looks like a jumbled mess, with loose threads and random meaningless colors. But when you turn the cloth over, the other side shows a beautiful masterpiece. In the end, God did remember Job. In mercy, he forgave him and re-established him. Job ended up with twice as many animals and ten more children. He lived a hundred and forty more years after this incident! God’s message to us is clear. He knows what He is doing! We must be patient and allow God work. On this side of life it seems like there are only ugly knots, loose threads, and meaningless colors. Everything seems to make no sense! Yet on the other side appears the beginning of a beautiful masterpiece that will not be realized until God wants it to be – maybe into eternity. As for now, you and I are still on the loom, so just wait for the Weaver to be finished (Be Patient)!
When Satan tempted Adam and Eve, he told them, “When you eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, your eyes will be opened, knowing good and evil!” His lie to them was that they had to EXPERIENCE evil to know evil. God knew evil by NOT experiencing it – and Adam and Eve would have had the same knowledge by NOT doing it. It’s sad that we often fall for that same temptation – by learning from experience instead of someone telling us.
Today we’ve learned about how life is from listening to Job’s words and seeing what he experienced. Although we only retain 20 percent of what we see and hear, I hope that you can retain these truths of life without having to experience all of it. Life is hard work. It goes quickly. Sometimes it can get pretty bad. But in the end – the main lesson is to remember. Remember that God loves you. Remember that Christ died for you. Remember that heaven is waiting for you. And ask God to remember how fragile you are – for it is only by His power and grace that we can survive our short, difficult, and painful lives.