A daily devotion for December 1st
1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
4 His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom.
6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"
Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
13 One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face (Job 1:11).
This book will help us more than any other book in the Bible to catch a glimpse of the greatness and majesty of God. We will see what we desperately need to see—that God is not just another man, great in power and authority, whom we call, influence, and command. God is not a heavenly bellboy, ready to run at our command. No, God is in charge, and He will always be in charge. If we are going to deal realistically with life, this is the way we must see Him.
We sometimes hear that this book of Job is the record of a great battleground between God and Satan and that Job is caught in between. Though there are aspects of this in the book, is this not a strange war, in which one side must get permission from the other before it attacks? What kind of battle is that?
Can you imagine a German commander during World War II stepping up to General Patton, saluting him, and saying,
Here, General, we would like permission to bomb your troops, destroy your tanks, and wreck all your plans! I'm sure General Patton's reply would have been unprintable and unrepeatable!
And yet that is the situation in this book of Job. Satan comes to God and asks permission to do something against Job. Now that is not a battle; it is not warfare; it is a test. That is what we need to see. Job's faith is the subject of a very rigorous test. Satan is the one who brings it about, but God permits it.
You may be thinking,
I wonder what's going on behind the scenes about me? I wonder what Satan is saying about me now and if he's asking permission to get me! If that is what you are thinking, my advice is,
Do not worry; live one day at a time. For the thing this book tells us is that if Satan had his way, every one of us would always be in this kind of difficulty. Satan would tear us apart all the time if he could--not because he is angry with us but because he wants to get at God, whom we serve. But God's protecting hand has been over us. If we can sit here in any degree of peace and enjoyment, it is because the hand of God has been like a hedge about us, protecting us and giving us great and wonderful things. Therefore, the attitude of every human heart ought to be,
Thank God for what I've got! Thank God for where I am now. What the future may hold, only He knows.
And if it holds some kind of testing like this, it is only because, as Paul has reminded us in 1 Corinthians,
He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
He knows what you can bear, and He will not put you to the test so severely that it will destroy your faith. But there are implications in every test that go far beyond the superficial aspects of the situation. That is what we need to remember. And as this remarkable book unfolds, we will see some of the things that God brought to the attention of Job.
Lord, thank You that You have placed a hedge about me and that with every test comes the strength to endure.
Life Application: Our faith may be tested in many ways. When we are stretched by circumstances, do we give thanks and rest in the enduring strength from the indwelling life of Christ?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.