As I continued to read through Esther this week, I grew apprehensive. You see, I KNOW that Job comes after Esther. Esther is the last book in the “history” section of the Old Testament and Job starts the poetry section. I’ve never enjoyed poetry. I don’t like trying to read into what other people are trying to say…I mean, why write in some time of hidden code. JUST SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY, RIGHT?!? I even text my MIL and ask if she wanted to read Job or do a different book. She chose Job, so Job we started to read. But first, let’s finish Esther.
Last week, we left Esther after she had revealed Haman’s plan to kill the Jews and he was subsequently hanged on the gallows he had built with the intention of hanging Mordecai. In Esther 8, Esther continued to plead for her people and pleased King Xerxes with her actions and attitudes and he was favorable toward her request. Are my actions and attitudes pleasing to others, particularly to those in authority? Generally yes, although my motives need to be questioned often, especially by God. In verses 16-17, we see there being gladness and joy for the Jews. The fear of the Jews caused many people to became Jews. What things/events cause me to have gladness and joy? Do I display this to others? How have my actions and attitudes brought others to Christ?
Esther 9 tells how the Jew got deliverance from their enemies in God’s PERFECT timing and there was great celebration. I need to wait on God’s timing for deliverance from my “enemies” and then celebrate it and remember it. We learn in Esther 10 that Mordecai was second only to the king, much like Joseph (from Genesis) and Daniel. If God can use ordinary people like Moredcai, Joseph, and Daniel, He can use me in incredible ways too, I just need to let Him!
Now onto Job! (**Quick note: Job comes after Esther in the table of contents of the Bible but NOT CHRONOLOGICALLY. Job most likely lived around the time of Abraham…way before Esther.**)
The first chapter of Job is filled with good stuff…and I can easily comprehend it! We see great characteristics to aspire to in Job 1:1 (blameless, upright, fearing God, turning way from evil). These traits were even mentioned by God in verse 8 as He boasted to Satan about Job. We see in verse 5 that Job offered sacrifices continually. Do I serve God continually? There are some things that I sacrifice continually, but a lot of others that need work. One scary part in Job 1 is mentioned in verse 7: Satan is alive and well and roaming the earth. I need to be on the lookout for him and aware of his presence and influence. Verse 9 brought a question to my mind that I have to answer daily: Why do I fear God? Is it just so He blesses me? When Job is attacked in verses 15-19, the attacks come from every side and direction…physically enemies, environmental enemies, friends/neighbors, and seemingly God (fire of God), north/south/east/west. Satan can and will use ANY way to attack us! Lord, help me to be diligent about fighting the devil on ALL fronts and not become complacent in any way to him. Job 1:20 tells how Job responded to these attacks: he worshipped! What is my response to attacks? Do I worship? And if I do worship, is it genuine worship? Job 1:21b has a special spot in my heart. When my babies went to heaven and when I was diagnosed with cancer, I remember repeating this verse over and over…maybe to convince myself it was true or to try to comfort myself. But through the suffering in my life, I have learned that “the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Yet in all Job did, said, felt, and endured, we learn in verse 22 that he did not sin. ALL! WOW! Now THAT’S something to aspire to!
Job 2 tells about when Satan attacked Job’s personal physical health. Job 2:10b says “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” This verse is another one that has brought me comfort during hard times, knowing that growing roots can be painful yet yields great results. This phrase helps to keep me rooted and grounded in my faith. Verses 11-13 shows the important of friends and encouraging others, if only by simply being present. We aren’t meant to deal with hardship alone and sometimes it’s ok to just be there and do nothing. How can I do this better? I can just sit with someone. I can invite them over when they’re lonely and simply live life with them.
In Job 3, I see that Job is just like us. He didn’t want to experience the suffering he was enduring and he didn’t understand it. It’s often easier for me to accept something when I understand it. In Job 3:20-23, I was personally relating to Job when he just wanted to die. I’ve been there too. But Job poses a good question in verse 23 although there is no good answer. Maybe things happen in life for no other reason that “for God’s glory” like the man born blind in John 9. Do I use my hardships to bring glory to God? I love Job’s remark in verse 26: “I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, and I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.” When we feel this way, we need to go to God! To whom do I turn to instead? God already knows how I feel and what I think…I need to just go to HIM first and possibly Him ONLY.
In Job 4, Eliphaz confronts and comforts Job. He praises Job for the noble things he has done (v.2-4) but reminds Job that no one is innocent and everyone suffers in life (v.5-end), including Job. He also tells Job that God doesn’t depend on any part of His creation (v.17-21) but we are dependent on Him. How do I respond when others confront or comfort me? How do I receive it? I often overthink it and feel like they’re condemning, instead of looking at their heart and motives. I’m sure others receive my comfort and confrontation that was as well. This is an area I need to improve.
Eliphaz continues to speak in Job 5 and tries to point Job to God. Do I point my friends and family to God during hardships? I try, but often it comes off as being judgmental. I need to seek Godly advice when trying to do this. There were 3 verses that stuck out to me in this chapter because I’ve experienced it in my life:
- 2 – There is definitely power in anger and jealousy…DEADLY power.
- 8-9 – PRAISE GOD!!!
- 17 – Discipline is hard to accept during the time, but always produces growth!
Well friends, we will continue to read through Job, trying to discern how to apply these “hidden” Biblical truths to our everyday lives as we strive to grow deeper roots in Him. But I have a challenge for you: read through Job quickly, in one sitting. Read it as it was: a conversation between friends. It will give you a WHOLE NEW PERSPECTIVE on this daunting book.