Ways That God Blesses: A Look at Job…
So many people hear/speak the word “blessings” and often connect it with money, finances, career promotion, getting/receiving stuff, etc.
And yet is seems that God in the Bible has a much broader definition of “blessing”; looking at Job chapter 42 specifically, we see that God DID in fact bless Job with material wealth but He also blessed Job with so much more than stuff…
We ALWAYS need to be careful about comparing one kind of suffering with another; to say that a particular kind of suffering is “not as bad” as another kind is often unhelpful at best and brutally harmful at worst.
Thus, though I will not say that the Biblical Job suffered “worse” than most other humans, his sufferings as revealed in chapter 1 of the Biblical book named after him are breathtakingly mind-numbing when considered:
IN A COUPLE DAYS
-Job’s extensive business empire was destroyed;
-he lost his vibrant health to painful sores;
-ALL TEN of his children died at the same time;
-his wife ridiculed him to simply “curse God and die.”
ALL WITHIN A FEW DAYS!
Most of us will not experience what Job did, and yet it is powerful for us to look to the end of the Biblical book of Job and see how God blessed Job after such terrible suffering, to see the ways that God soothed Job’s misery, pain, and anguish.
After such horrific suffering, God later blessed Job in the following ways (Job 42):
1. RELATIONSHIPS–SERVING/FORGIVING OTHERS: God gave Job an opportunity to show grace and mercy and forgiveness to Job’s friends who had brutally insulted him throughout his suffering (Job 42:7-10a). God gave Job an opportunity to participate in restoring the relationships (reconciliation) of those who wronged him. May we ask God to help us to do the same with those who have wronged us.
2. MORE RELATIONSHIPS–BEING SERVED BY OTHERS: God surrounded Job with compassionate people who would love, comfort, and encourage him (Job 42:11-12). What a blessing–but oh how difficult for many of us!–to allow others to serve/comfort us. Some of us are quick to comfort and serve others, and that is awesome! But some of us have a difficult time being humble and vulnerable and secure enough to allow others to comfort and serve us. May we ask for God to help us allow others to help us…
3. MATERIAL WEALTH/CAREER SUCCESS: This is clearly a part of the way that God blessed Job, but it is only one part (Job 42:12). May we have the courage to ask God to help us desire the full spectrum of His blessings, not just the monetary/materialistic aspect of His blessings.
4. EVEN MORE RELATIONSHIPS–CHILDREN: God blessed Job with more children (Job 42:13). Those parents who have suffered the death of a child know that you cannot ever replace a deceased child. And yet, if we could talk with Job today, my guess is that he would say that God’s blessing him with ten more children softened and soothed the sting/burn of the death of his first children.
5. HEALTH/LONG LIFE: God blessed Job to live a long time…presumably to enjoy the wealth of relationships in Job’s life (Job 42:16)! Furthermore, what a reminder this is to us that it is A BLESSING to grow old on earth, even with the aches and pains and deterioration that come with it. So many today view growing old as something to be avoided, as something to be pitied, as something to be put out of sight and out of reach in our communities. But let us not forget what a blessing it is to grow old on earth because, even with the pain that undoubtedly accompanies aging, growing old is an opportunity from God to love others everyday, to point others to the Savior Jesus through our thoughts, words, actions, and plans. Even though the Apostle Paul stated that he would rather be with Jesus in heaven, as long as God allowed (BLESSED!) Paul to be on earth he toiled (“poured himself out”) by serving others sacrificially so that they could see how much Jesus loves them. Wow. Staggering.
6. EVEN STILL MORE RELATIONSHIPS–EXTENDED FAMILY: God blessed Job to be actively involved in the lives of his children, their children, their children, and THEIR children (Job 42:16). He didn’t just produce family, he raised family and was actively involved in their lives.
7. THE MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP–GOD: Though Job suffered deeply, God blessed Job to have a friendship with HIM! God spoke to Job, and Job spoke to God (Job 38-42:6). Wow. Through faith in Jesus Christ, God offers us a personal friendship as well. As Pastor Tony Evans said so well, “Jesus is God’s selfie.” To accept Jesus as our Savior and Forgiver and Friend is the most important decision we will ever make.
If this doesn’t convince us of the importance of healthy relationships in our lives (ESPECIALLY after suffering, trials, challenges, and tests), I’m not sure what will.
If this doesn’t convince us that God views healthy relationships as an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT part of His plan for our lives, I’m not sure what will.
If this doesn’t convince us that God wants to bless us with relationships (knowing HIM and knowing others) more than He wants to bless us with STUFF, I’m not sure what will.
If this doesn’t convince us to start investing more of our limited time in eternal things (friendship with God and others) instead of earthly things (golf handicaps, hobbies, external appearance, etc.), I’m not sure what will.
May we consistently ask God in prayer to:
-change what we ask Him to give us!
-teach us to be the kind of friend to others that we want others to be to us!
-help us receive His only Son Jesus’ free offer of forgiveness and forever-friendship today…
“And so Job died, an old man and full of years” (Job 42:17 NIV).