How do you know if you love the gift more than the Gift-Giver? Check your heart-response when you start losing the gift! When the sky is blue, the clouds fleecy, and the sun is shining brightly, it’s easy to love the Lord. But what about those times in life when the storm winds blow and waves of challenge crash over you? Satan told God Job loved the gift more than the Gift-Giver. God told Satan Job loved the Gift-Giver-more than the gift.
Job had just been told that he had lost all of his considerable wealth and all ten of his children had been killed in one horrific day. This was Job’s immediate, instinctive response:
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 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.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Was Job happy to enjoy great wealth? Did he love his children? Of course he did. But he did not love either more than he loved his God. Satan was basically betting that Job’s obedience and love for God was rooted in his self-love. Satan believed that Job loved God because God had showered so many blessings upon him. “Remove the blessings,” Satan thought, “and you will remove his love for God.”
Throughout much of the biblical account, Job wrestled with God and asked some very penetrating questions. But in the end, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing and God blessed Job with even greater blessings than he had before. Job knew that everything he had was simply a gift he had received from God. And as much as Job loved the gifts God had given, not one of those gifts ever sat upon the throne of his life. God was always his first priority in life.
I wonder if you and I would be able to say along with Job, “Naked I came into this world and naked I shall depart” after having suffered such unimaginable loss? To lose his wealth and later his health was undoubtedly very difficult; but to lose all of his children in one day seems a loss too great for any man to bear. And it would have been if Job had loved the good gifts God had given to him more than he had loved the Gift-Giver Himself.
So . . . how do we get in the same frame of mind as Job’s? Surely it will only be by the grace of God! But in that grace, we must see the gracious hand that provides everything we enjoy in this life. “For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
You and I reading the book of Job understand the whole story. We see the activity in the heavenly realms as well as the man’s struggle on earth. But Job, who was living it out at the time, did not. He did not understand all that was going on behind the scenes. And that is what makes it all the more remarkable that Job really did love God more than any of the gifts he had received from His hand. Job’s friends were convinced that his suffering was a result of some sin in Job’s life. They believed his suffering was both punitive and corrective, dealt to Job by the hand of God. We know that it was not. What all God had in mind we cannot know. But one thing we do know: part of God’s purpose for Job’s suffering was to deepen his relationship with God.
Elisabeth Elliot, wife of murdered missionary Jim Elliot, penned these profound words, which will close this word of encouragement for loving the Gift-Giver more than His gifts better than I ever could:
“God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!