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I didn’t plan to start the new year by reading the Book of Job, but after asking what lesson we were on in a Bible study, the leader’s reply was, “Ironically, Job.” It was ironic because the book of Job is based on a man’s suffering, and the reason I was behind in my Bible studies was because we’ve had suffering of our own. I’ll be honest. At first I dreaded the thought of reading the Book of Job. I wanted something positive! But you know what? As I began reading, I was reminded of the many positive lessons it teaches. Reading Job ended up being a great way to start the year. Following are some of the positive lessons I found in the Book of Job:
- God is in control. Even when things were as bad as they could get for Job. God maintained control. God is in control of the struggles in our lives, too. Deuteronomy 31:6 promises that God will never leave us or forsake us. I believe God is especially with us when we’re struggling, even though we don’t always realize it at the time.
- God had authority over Satan. God had authority over Satan during the time of Job, and God shares that authority with Jesus, our Victor, who has authority over Satan now. Yes, we live in a fallen world, which means that sometimes Satan wins a battle, but it is Jesus who wins the war. As long as we’re on Christ’s team, we can claim authority over Satan, too, in Jesus’ name.
- How to be a good friend for someone who is suffering. For seven days, Jobs friends just sat in silence with him. Their presence was was a comfort to him. ( 2:11-13)
- When someone is suffering or struggling, unless they ask for an opinion or advice, the best words to offer are those of love and encouragement. Too often, when friends or loved ones are struggling, we want to “fix” things and impose with unsolicited opinions, analysis, and advice, often telling the other person what they should do. We speak to address our feelings, not the feelings of the one who is suffering. (I’m very guilty of this!) Jobs friends show that isn’t always best. Often what others need most is someone to just listen patiently and respond with love, encouragement, and support.
- I’m reminded what an awesome Creator our God is, and how powerful! In chapters 38 – 41 God responds to Job’s cries of anguish by reminding Job of who He is, a God who did amazing things when creating us and this world. Yes, God is rebuking Job, but as I read these things I’m reminded of God’s power and authority. I’m humbled by God’s awesomeness, and this encourages me when I realize this is who our God is! The same God who did all these amazing things is the same God who is there for us now. If God is capable of creating the world and tending to all the details, surely He is capable of taking care of needs and details of our lives!
- Regardless of what is taken away in life, we can still maintain our faith.
- God is gracious, compassionate and merciful. God had mercy on Job when he humbled himself before God. (Chapter 42)
- God is just. God sought justice from Job’s friends who were wrong in their assertions about God. (42:7-9)
- We are to pray for our offenders. (42:8-9)
- We are blessed when we obey God and seek to live in righteousness. (42:10-17)
These were encouragements for me. I hope they will be encouraging for you, too! I also hope you’ll set aside time to read the Book of Job and be open to God so that He can speak messages of hope and encouragement to you, too!
Happy New Year! God bless you.