Monday, April 9, 2012

The goodness of God

Job Chapter 1:20-21
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 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.”

Job Chapter 19:20-27
 20 I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me. 22 Why do you pursue me as God does? Will you never get enough of my flesh?23 “Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, 24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! 25 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.  How my heart yearns within me!

I have never read the Book of Job before.  Never.  It's one of those books that is in that awkward category.  I think you know what I am referring to.  It's not the Gospels for sure, not a praise book like Psalms, not a wisdom book like Proverbs, not a prophetic book for sure.  Not a historic book, such as one of the first five, or the books that tell the story of Israel and their kings.  No, its kind of it's own entity.  Which leaves it in the awkward category, because it doesn't seem to have any obvious application.  Or so I thought.  So I hadn't really ever read it.  I had skimmed it some, but it seemed to be long monotonous dialogue, and my ADD brain couldn't, or more likely wouldn't, pay attention long enough to find out what was going on.

But I started reading it last week.  And I have found it to be fascinating.  And a very real and applicable book of the Bible.  If you're not aware, Job was a very pious man who was devoted to God. However, through a series of trials allowed by God, everything that could go wrong to a person had happened to him.  He lost everything.  All his possessions, all his children, even his health. Everything. 

So what you see is a broken man.  Everything stripped away, and totally broken.  His wife tells him to "curse God and die!" (2:9)  His friends accuse him of getting punished for being wicked.  So here is a man, left sitting in ashes, no family, no health, no hope.  Nothing. Just a man you would expect to wait to die.  

Yet, the most facinating thing to me was the dialogue.  The words he used, the emotions he expressed to God. I totally get Job.  I felt a similar response when Abigail died.  Not to make this a teaching moment about grief, but here is where a parent is when they lose a child.  Read the first 20 books of Job.  See how Job is so angry, so depressed, so "why me?"  and then talk to a parent that buried their child.  I can speak to those feelings just the same. Job is angry, is hurt, is broken so deep.  He yearns for death.  He embraces it.  Not in a suicidal way, but in a "this is how broken I am" way.  That is where Job is.  He is broken, hurting, saying "why me?" 
However, the most facinating thing happens.  As you can see in the 2 passages above, Job praises God.  Really praises Him- gives Him glory and honor.  A man with no hope, no future- praises God.  That is fascinating to me. 

It's so easy to say "God is good" when good stuff happens.  It really is.  You see it on facebook, or in print everywhere.  "God is good.  The cancer is in remission!  Praise Jesus!"  Always something good has to happen to say God is good.  You see it in sports, always some accomplishment followed up by a "I want to thank God", blah, blah, blah.   And that really makes me mad.  Because God is good irregardless of what happens to you. God was good the day Abigail died.  God was good on 9/11/2001.  God was good when the Israelites were taken into captivity, when the Romans came and took over rule of their land.  God was good the day Jesus was beaten and died.  God is good. Period.  No qualifications.

I find it funny that we base God on how our individual lives are going.  As if you have some control over whether or not God is good. That, to me, is completely laughable. When I speak of us having "pocket Gods" that is exactly what I am talking about.  A god that is good when good stuff happens.  A god that is good when we get the job, the girl, the child, the raise, the new car, etc...  You get the picture. 

It is just the opposite when your world is thrown upside down.  When you are sitting in the same place as Job.  Broken.  No hope, no future.  Because it's at that moment when God is best.  When your life gets tough, how willing are you to say "God is good."? Because He is.  And He and He alone is worthy of the praise and honor Job offered. 


  1. I love this so much and agree. What kind of God would He be if His goodness and power are dependent on our circumstances? Thank you from writing from your heart, and sharing such wisdom.

    1. one more thing, one of my favorite, deep singer/songwriters is Michael Card. if you haven't ever heard his Job Suite, it is powerful and i highly recommend it. you can youtube it i'm sure.