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Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:20-22)

The final words of the first chapter of Job are extremely powerful, but they are particularly so when considered in light of the entire chapter. It is clear that Job is a very blessed man and a very godly man. In the midst of this God permits an onslaught of affliction. In a brief period of time Job’s family and property were raided by marauders, fire, and a windstorm. His kids were dead and his business destroyed. Here at the end of the chapter he is mourning this tragic day.

And yet, not only does he not sin or charge God with wrong, he persists in blessing God.

How and why does this happen?

I think the answer is in the opening words of the book:

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.” (Job 1:1)

What did he do?

And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.” (Job 1:5)

The writer makes a point to say that Job continually offered sacrifice on behalf of his children. His life was characterized by living close to the embers of sacrifice. The burnt offering (Lev. 1) was offered as a life of consecration to the Lord. The offering was to be completely consumed on the altar. Thus the person likewise would be completely consumed with living for and unto God (many think this is what Paul had in mind with Romans 12.1-2).

My point here is simply this: Job lived without a sense of entitlement but rather a state of grace. God gives. Job is needy. This is how it works. Job lived clinging to the sacrifice and depending upon the God who accepts the offering. Since God was his greatest gift, everything else could be taken away from him and he could still bless God.

This is the weightiness of this chapter upon us. The only way you can bless God amid any circumstance is to understand that God is to be treasured more than anything or anyone. When we realize that circumstances, people, and things are opportunities to praise God we will not turn them inside-out and curse him when things go “bad”. Further, we too must understand that our lives are meant to be lived by the embers, burning as a sacrifice to God in response to God’s supreme sacrifice for us. Once we, like Job, settle the issue of God’s benevolence and our sinfulness, then everything else falls into place. The apostle Paul argued along from the same logic:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

Because of our great need and God’s great gifts, we can bless him amid any circumstance. The key to remembering this is to live close to the sacrifice, that is close to the cross, remembering God’s benevolence and our neediness. This puts everything into focus while simultaneously providing strength for today.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! (Great is Thy Faithfulness)

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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