And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
The ability to meet affliction with an uncompromising endurance and an unflinching respect for God is one of the marks of true Christian character. Certainly Job is the classic example of a man who met affliction in such a way.
The author begins the book of Job by describing a beautiful pastoral scene in which Job, a respected and honored oriental sheik, or prince, was residing in the land of Uz. Job was a man of extreme wealth, possessing a flock of 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, large tracts of land and an affectionate family of seven sons and three daughters.
But more than this, Job was a man of extreme piety. The first verse of the book describes him as "perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." So concerned was this man about keeping himself and his family right before his God that he "rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually" (Job 1:5). Day after day he met God early, bringing sacrifices to the Almighty in the event that he or any of his family had secretly sinned against God.
The rest of this chapter's verses, comprising scene two in the first act of Job's life, read like a horror story. Here Satan entered this beautiful country scene and disrupted the simple pastoral life of Job and his family. Notice these features of scene two.
1. Satan's report (verse 6). The day came when the sons of God, presumably the angels, were to bring a report of their activities to Jehovah. Satan also came among them.
2. Satan's activity (verse 7). When Jehovah asked Satan why he had come and from where he had come, Lucifer answered the Lord, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." Satan's activity was a never-ending search for opportunities to disrupt the program of God.
3. Satan's problem (verse 8). It was Jehovah who suggested to Satan, "Hast thou considered My servant Job?" Here Satan would encounter a man who was perfect and upright, one who hated every kind of evil that Satan had placed in his path.
4. Satan's accusation (verses 10-11). The devil had a ready answer for why Job had remained upright. God had put a hedge around him so that everything Job did prospered. Surely if God would remove that hedge, Satan reasoned, Job certainly would curse God to His face.
5. Satan's restriction (verse 12). Jehovah permitted Lucifer to touch all that Job possessed but placed one restriction upon him, "Only upon himself put not forth shine hand." Although God does not always make this temporal restriction with regard to us today, he certainly makes it an eternal restriction.
6. Satan's attacks (verses 13-19). The devil came to menace Job. Like waves of enemy soldiers the reports kept coming to Job until he learned that he had lost all.
7. Satan's failure (verses 20-22). Job arose and reacted with characteristic remorse. And yet, rather than sin and foolishly charge God, Job stood tall and simply stated, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21).
Do not be discouraged when you face the attacks of the wicked one. These attacks are only temporal, and our loving God will have the final word. You may not always understand the ways of God, but you must always trust them, as did Job.
MORNING HYMN Why should I feel discouraged, Why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely And long for Heav'n and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He; His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me.
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