“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. (Job 1:9)
It was a poor and pitiful question that Satan posed to our God regarding the good and righteous man from the land of Uz. But for many Christians, this question must not only be asked, it must be answered—not with words, but with our witness. There are far too many in the church today who love the good gifts of God far more than they love God Himself. Oh, they say they love God, but they live for the “stuff” He has given to them. How do we know that? Because when the storm winds blow and their stuff is taken away, they walk away from God.
In the Parable of the Sower, these folks are represented by the rocky soil. The Word of God sprang up for a while, but when the time of testing came, they withered and walked away because they had no root (Matthew 13:20-21). They invited Jesus into their kingdom, and as long as the sky was blue, the clouds were fleecy, and the sun was shining, they were filled with great joy. But when dark clouds obscured the sun, the wind began to howl, and they found themselves buffeted by affliction, they rebelled and turned away from God.
Job was not one of these. Job’s witness gave a resounding rebuttal to Satan’s wicked question. In the midst of his season of suffering, Job never wavered in his devotion and love for God. Job did not love God because of the good gifts God had given him—gifts of health, wealth, and family; Job loved God and was completely devoted to Him simply because He is God and fully worthy of our love and devotion.
Can the same be said about you today, right where this finds you? Here is a question to ask yourself: “Is there anything in my life that, if it was to be taken away from me, would cause me to feel like life was no longer worth living?” If there is something, that thing (or person) is more important to you than the One who has given it to you. That thing has become your idol.
Never forget that the Christian is not called to a life of ease and comfort. Rather, it is a life of trial and tribulation; it is a life of storms and suffering; it is a life of experiencing one painful providence after another. This is the promise of our Lord. If we are His, should we not expect to live the kind of life He lived? Why would we expect a crown of glory when our Lord was given a crown of thorns—a crown He wore on our behalf? You see, the purpose in our pain is to purge us from the temporal pleasures of this life and ready us for the eternal pleasures of the next.
The apostle Paul said it beautifully:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
The greatest gift you have been given is the gift of God Himself. He is your prized possession, your first love, and He can never be taken away from you. Fix your eyes on Him.
Remember, it is not wrong to love the good gifts God has given to you; just don’t love any of them more than the good God who gave them to you. For, as Job said, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of our Lord!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!