Read Job 1:1-3
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.
• Where is your focus when life is peaceful?
• The peaceful times in life are a blessing to enjoy with the understanding that things will not always be so. Do you believe this? (Why or why not?)
• Do you believe that staying focused on our relationship with the Lord during the peaceful times of life prepares us to face the coming storms?
In just a few short verses, we learn much about Job. He lived in the land of Uz, part of modern-day Saudi Arabia. And, in short, he had it all: family, material goods, and prestige. He was father of ten, a landowner, and an employer. His fields were teeming with thousands and thousands of livestock, from sheep and camels to oxen and donkeys. Job, in fact, was the wealthiest man in his region.
Such bounty often comes with a heavy dose of temptation, and Job likely faced his share. Perhaps he was tempted to amass more wealth. Overlooking his vast land and flocks, Job could have congratulated himself on his success. He could have fixed his thoughts and energies on how to grow his riches even more.
Perhaps the siren song of pride rang in his ears. As the richest man in town, he must have received much flattery and many compliments from his friends and neighbors. These words brought the temptation to believe that he alone had created his peaceful and rich life.
Yet Job remained a devout man of faith, with his eyes fixed firmly on his Lord. He lived with integrity, dealing honestly in all his affairs. He deliberately avoided evil. Job feared God, and this awe and reverence for his Creator fueled a life of obedience.
Jesus cautioned that it is very difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23). So then, are wealth and the peaceful life it brings inherently evil? Not necessarily. Rather, Jesus is cautioning us about how a comfortable life can lull us spiritually. We may become so focused on enjoying our family, home, and material things that our eyes stray from our Creator. We can, in essence, lose our bearings and compass.
Keeping our focus on God also helps us maintain an eternal perspective and hold the things we have with open hands. Surrounded by his family and his wealth, Job may have been tempted to believe that his life would always be that way. He could have thought that he had "achieved" this good life and thus it was his forever.
As a man of faith, though, he knew that his earthly life was only a small sliver compared to eternity. Similarly, we sometimes catch ourselves clinging to the good times in our lives, hoping that the seas will remain smooth. Yet in our heart we know better. Inevitably, a medical test comes back positive, a job ends, or some other storm enters our lives. Keeping the Lord as the center of our lives in peaceful times is critical to weathering these storms.
Through consistent nurturing of our relationship with our Lord, we come to know who He is. We develop a deep understanding of His character, that He is eternal, faithful, and loving. Daily encounters remind us that He is with us always (Matthew 28:20). Walking closely with God during the peaceful times of life provides an anchor for our soul, an anchor that is sorely needed because a storm could be just over the horizon.
Lord, help me focus on You during the peaceful times. Thank You for the many blessings in my life. Please give me the strength and perseverance to avoid the temptations that come with a peaceful life. Give me the strength to walk in obedience and remain focused on You in all seasons. Amen.