Lessons learned from the Land of Uz. (No, not Oz) When (not, if) life goes South on us, when relationships strain or disappoint, when expectations remain unmet, when we are crushed by disaster, we can struggle greatly to keep our balance and exercise right thinking, can’t we? At times we may experience collateral damage from circumstances happening within our sphere of life. Sometimes unfavorable consequences befall us as a result of something we actually had a hand in. Either way, these are hard times and people of faith have them like everyone else.
Scripture gives us a model for “setting our minds” in times like these. In the land of Uz there was a man who scripture says was respected by everyone. God considered him to be blameless, upright and God-fearing . From the Hebrew etymology we discover that his name meant persecuted or hated, but one sees from Job’s lifestyle that he was a synonym for integrity and godliness. God was much pleased with Job. If they had poster boys back then, Job would be one. The devil hated his example and requested permission from God to see if Job would hold fast to his integrity and faith if the blessings of his wealth, land and family were “touched.”
When an avalanche of adversity befell Job, he was put to a test far greater than you or I will ever experience. (And I’ll concede, at least for myself, that Job is a much nobler person than I am). Within hours he lost his livestock, crops, land, servants and ALL ten children. What was Job’s immediate response? Was it anger? Bewilderment? Disillusionment with God? When news of the final calamity came to Job, verse 1:20 tells us exactly what he did: “Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship.” These are all signs of contrition, sorrow and mourning, not a first response of anger, bewilderment or disillusionment.
What Job spoke next illustrates his understanding of the sovereignty of God. “The Lord gave and the Lord took away. May the name of the Lord be praised.” (v.1:21). God took note of Job’s response and adds “Through all this Job did not sin or blame God.” (v.1:22) How did this man hold up to such misfortune and demonstrate such remarkable character? What kept him from responding as you or I might respond? We hear nothing of bitterness or thoughts of suicide from such an account of ruin.
First, and we too must grasp this truth, Job claimed God’s sovereignty and believed that everything he had was from God, belonged to God, and that it was in God’s right to take it away. A tough pill to swallow, acknowledging the Lord’s right to rule over our lives. Would that conviction be yours? Second, and we have to look ahead to Job 19:25+ to see this, Job looked ahead, counting on God’s promise of life beyond and declares solid trust in his future with God. Pretty remarkable. Lastly, and this can be a challenge for us in small issues and the BIG ones, Job confessed his own lack of understanding. This is something that can bring us great relief from the start if we will truly believe God not only knows what’s best but God puts events together which are ultimately for the best. He trusted God to put the chaos of his situation together. If your life today is upside down in some way, would you trust God to restore it?
If you read this amazing account for yourself, you will notice that Job was never the one to ask God, why? Job sets an example that is very foreign to us much of the time. A God who is sovereign rules absolutely and answers to no-one. A God such as ours can be trusted to do the ultimate good, for He is Good. In our trials, which may pale compared to Job’s but are painful and real to us, we will do well to strive to apply the principles we see from Job’s relationship and understanding of who God is and who he is in relationship to God. Think About It.