Monday, July 20, 2015

Study of Job: Eternal Perspective

In chapter 3 of the Book of Job, the man himself finally speaks.  Until this point, through all of the adversity and tragedy that has befallen him, Job has remained mostly silent. This silence is something we can learn from.

I am not good at silence. I know. Stunning.

I like talking. I like action. I want to speak out about things right away. I want to comment, post, talk, and share immediately.

But, I am learning there is much value in silence-maybe more than there is in speaking. I am also learning to truly consider what I am saying (or typing) before I actually let it loose. My words are becoming more and more thoughtful and in that process, they are becoming fewer.

So when Job speaks, we should listen. He has carefully considered his words and held them for all this time, waiting for the right time and right way to let them loose.

Years ago, when I wrote my paper on Job for my English class in high school, chapter 3 seemed to be further evidence that we (humans) are simply playthings for a master puppeteer rather than cherished children of a Holy God. In this chapter, Job curses the day he was born and I interpreted that as a desire to never have lived.

But, as I study this chapter more, I see that Job is saying he would rather be with God in heaven rather than suffering on this earth. It's not that he wishes he had never existed, he just would rather be able to put the suffering and heartache of this world behind him.

"For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; then I would have been at rest." -Job 3:13

Job is longing for a place of peace and rest. He has struggled through tragedy after tragedy and is ready to find peaceful rest, and he knows that eternal peace is not something we can find on this earth.
"The small and great are there, and the servant is free from his master." -Job 3:19

In verse 3:19, I believe Job is not only stating that there is rest and peace in heaven, but he is recognizing that the things of this world-material possessions, social standing, financial gain-are truly meaningless when you have an eternal perspective.

The sermon at church this week was on finding contentment regardless of our circumstances. One of the most significant truths I took away from the sermon is that if our joy and happiness is tied to our circumstances, we will continually ride a roller-coaster of joyous "highs" and devastating "lows". But, if we bind our joy up in the truth of Jesus Christ and the promises our Heavenly Father, we are no longer slaves to the roller-coaster ride of our circumstances. We are all dependent on something, it's the "something" we are dependent upon that matters, and I choose to be dependent on God. 

Job had an eternal perspective. His joy was not dependent on his circumstances, but rather on the covenant promises of God. In spite of that, Job still experienced the human emotions that accompany such tragic losses. He felt grief, pain, and sadness; however, he kept his eyes on the Lord. He remained focused on the end game, eternal rest in heaven with the Lord.

"I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes." -Job 3:26