The Test

William A. Lawer
The Test

Scripture: Job 1:13-22, 19:4, Matthew 10:29-31, Romans 5:8, Acts 16:31

How would you handle a test from God? If God was to require a test of your faith and loyalty, how would you fare? If God allowed you to have nothing but the clothes on your back, no family, no friends, no electronics, no job, and no place to live, would you still worship God or would you run and hide from the world?

One thing we know it is easy for us to say "God would never ask that of me". On the other hand it is also easy to say that we would do whatever was required and have no problem with it. Some people will also say that they would die for their faith if it is required. But I want you to think about that, there are people every day around the world that are being killed for their faith. Would you really die for yours?

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty windswept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;

may the name of the Lord be praised.”

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrong doing.

God decided that there was none more holy or ready, than Job, to represent Him in all of His creation.

Now for just a minute think about what this really means . . . Job, a mere creature of creation, was chosen by God to be His champion. For either good or bad Job was to be God's only representative in the world. Remember that prior to God choosing Job, as the Bible tells us, God did not talk to or ask Job what he thought of this great responsibility being given to him.

Think about this, who was Job. The Bible tells us that Job was a good and upright man. He feared God and avoided any kind of evil. God had rewarded Job and gave him 7 sons and 3 daughters. God also gave him 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 1000 oxen, and 500 donkeys. According to chapter 1 verse 3 Job was the greatest of all the men of the East.

So, after giving Job all of this, God gave Satan full reign over Job's life. Satan was allowed to do whatever he wanted but, he could not take Job's life. God did not give Satan any other restriction for this test. Keep this in mind as we walk through this.

In one day Satan took all of Job's personal wealth. His money, oxen, donkeys, sheep, and camels. At the same time he killed all of Job's servants, except for the messengers, and then killed all of his sons and daughters and all the young ones. The only person that was left in Job's life was his wife. Satan had taken everything from Job in just one day. As far as Satan was concerned, he thought, he had won.

But through all of this Job mourned his loss. . . The thing that should stand out the most is that Job still worshipped God. Job did not lose his faith in God. Job said "blessed be the name of the Lord". Job did not sin by blaming God for something that He did not do.

When we look at this story some will say that it is just a story or a fable and no one would have reacted like that. Anyone who is that wealthy and in such a good standing would not have just sat there and praised God. The question at this point would be: Are you saying this because you could not or would not have reacted like this?

You have to remember that in the time of Job, which is around the 2nd or 3rd century B.C., the common way of looking at things was, whether for good or bad, the god's were to blame for everything that happened. The gods either gave, as a reward, for good or punished you for any evil that you did. This was at the god's pleasure, they could do either, with no regard to the person or the circumstance.

In everything that happened to Job he did not change his belief in God. How many of us can say that? If we have the smallest thing happen to us like having to work late, losing our wallet, or purse, we react by staying home from church and not keeping our commitments. On top of that we either neglect or blame God for what has happened to us. Then, as friends, we give each other a reasons like "Bill has a lot going on" so we don't expect him to show up until he is ready.

We have a bad day at work or someone says something we consider an attack on us personally and our whole world falls apart. We can't function. We stay at home and sulk or stay angry to the point that we won't do what we know God wants us to.

I have listened to people tell me that they don't know how to pray or praise God when something has gone wrong. Like all of a sudden there is nothing to praise God about. Our emotions take over and we have no room for God anymore.

If we, as Christians, cannot pray or praise God when the small things go wrong, how are you going to pray to God when something really goes wrong like the death of a loved one. Is our faith so small that the only time we can pray is when everything is going good or when we need something from God?

How many times have we gone through something that is very difficult for us, like the loss of a close friend or a child you felt that you should have saved, and then you have to deal with the people that also blame you for the loss of their child.

Then you have your friends, or co-workers, who feel they can help you through it. Those people that are supposed to be friends but cannot just leave it or you alone. They have their opinion and they know that you need to hear it because it will get you through the guilt, hurt and pain that is now part of your everyday life. Job had the same problem. . . he had friends that thought they knew how to help him get through this.

At this point most people would say that the test was over. Some would even say that Job had made it through the hardest part of the test and now it was going to be smooth sailing. Both sides of this statement would be wrong. The thing we all forget as part of the test is the friends.

Remember, they had the best of intentions when they confronted Job. There must be something that he had done or forgot the he had done. If they could get to what that was and get him to confess it, then everything would be okay.

Job takes the time to explain the situation to his friends. He listens to each one but their common theme is that somehow Job has sinned, or done something wrong, and that is the reason for all that has happened to him. They do not understand how Job could still only have praise for God, that he still held God above the outcome. Job did not falter or blame God in his worship of God.

We take this one step further when it is concerning us. We may acknowledge that we have done something wrong but we know how to fix it and we feel we cannot pray to God if it is not fixed. Then again, we sometime decide that we are not going to fix it because of personal reasons. We are like Job to his friends, "If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone." (19:4) If they do, or do not, understand our story, or if we do not agree with them, we tell them it's none of their business, it's our life not theirs.

We may not curse God or blame Him outwardly but inside we have a problem with God. God allowed this to happen to me. If God is LOVE than he would never have let this happen to me. We are supposed to look on God as our Heavenly Father but, He is no different than anyone else that we have grown up with or that we deal with now.

Someone in our past or present has hurt us, a co-worker, our father, our mother, a relative or a friend and God allowed it. We have lost someone that we felt should still be alive and God let it happen. If God cannot control what happens here then how great could He be?

Who else in your life has given so much to you?

As a Father, in John 3:16, "For God (our Father) so LOVED the world that HE gave His only Son...".

Who in your life has given up someone so precious to them for you. Would you be willing to give up your one and only child for someone you will never know or meet?

Why would God give His Son up for me? Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned...".

That includes me and you. There is no single person that is an exception to this.

You mean that much to God. Who else in your life do you mean that much to?

So, Why should God care about me? Christ says in Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV) "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Who do you know that knows everything about you? Your thoughts, your doubts, your fears (all of them), and even knows the things that give you pause and at the same time will not intrude where he is not asked or give advise?

Remember, God is a "Gentleman". He will never intrude on anything in your life that you do not invite Him into. God will never force you to take, or to listen to, His advise even though it is the best advise that you could receive and it is given by the person that only has LOVE for you.

How many of your friends are that conscious of your feelings? How many people, that you know, would listen to you about everything that makes you hurt or angry and not have advise for you without you asking for it.

In Romans 5 Paul says "... God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

There is more than just emotions that God was demonstrating. Emotions will change over time but a true desire or passion will not change. This Love that God has is not just an emotion it is a well thought out pursuit of an end goal. The love and redemption of every person no matter who they are or what they have done.

God does not want us to come to Him with just our emotions because emotions change. God wants us to understand exactly who He is, what Love truly is, what Grace is, what redemption is and what our lives could be if we choose. God wants us to know and understand His Love, Grace and Redemption not just feel them.

How do you receive all of what God has for you? Paul tells us in Acts "... Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved..." (NIV).

In the Greek this is not just an emotional belief. Paul was using the command form of the word. This phrase should read "... You MUST Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved...". You must believe not just with your heart (emotionally) but also with your mind (intellectually) to be saved. God wants all of you not just your emotions which change.

Is your life where you want it to be?

Is your heart where you want it to be?

What is it that you cannot give to God?

Is it so important to you that you would die without it?