#1 of 5- In a series of Sunday Sermons 11.27.21
#1 – Job – a target
Have you ever wondered if you are in the right place doing the right thing? Or had the opposite occur, when things synced up so perfectly and everything felt just as it should, with that, “WOW, this is amazing!” moment? Then again, how ’bout that heavy sense that “things just blew up”, and something is not right?
We all want to be in the right place at the right time, don’t we? We want it all to line up, sync up and to feel that “WOW!” moment.
That is what we will be addressing for the next five weeks (in our Sunday Sermons) – “The right place and time“. We will take a look a five different characters and see what insights we can gain from them on this topic. Our focus will be on Job, Elihu, Esther, Daniel and Mary and Joseph; we will let them teach us from their experiences. I hope you will follow along and check back each week.
Today, our first example is Job.
Job a target.
Job – success, suffering, & surprises
Was Job in the right place at the right time? Let’s see.
We find Job in the oldest book in the Bible, the one that bears his name – Job. He lived in Uz, which is in the Middle East between Damascus and the Euphrates River. He probably lived the same time as Genesis chapters 12-50 are happening, about the the time of the Patriarchs.
He is a noteworthy man of character. The biblical description says of him,
” … that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.”Job 1:1 ESV
It then goes on to ennumerate his family and wealth. He had seven sons, three daughters, and thousands of sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys. Plus shifts of workers to care for them all. He is described as the greatest man of all the people of the East. Job 1:2-3
He dearly loved his family and was 100% devoted to them. He even made sacrifices for them.
In spite of all this SUCCESS that he had, his name, the name Job means, ” the hated or persecuted one; (object of enmity).”
Was he in the right time and right place? His name sure didn’t match up with his fame. Things were good for him, but they sure weren’t adding up.
Job was a target.
He was successful. He was God-fearing. His family was his priority. He was the greatest in the East. Does that sound like you? (Well, three out of four, maybe?) And he was a target. (you?)
Satan was roaming and looking through the Earth. Job 1:7; 2:2
God targeted Job. Job 1:8; 2:36
Job was in the right place at the right time.
Job was successful.
He was prosperous in land, herds, wealth and family. Spiritually, he was God-fearing, blameless and sacrificed for his children as a priest. He was respected in the surrounding region as an influencial leader.
What parrallels can we draw? You’re doing ok with possessions, family. Maybe even involved in community affairs of civic leadership. You’re maybe also God-fearing. Perhaps your portfolio, stocks or investment properties are flourishing. You, too are successful.
Or perhaps you have found happiness and success in a less “wealthy” lifestyle, because you have wealth of another kind. You see yourself however by these measures as successful.
Job, in his success, was a target. God said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” God was about to help Job get in sync with his name. Job was about to understand the impact of his name.
In one day, Job lost his family and fortune. Oxen, donkeys, workers, sheep, workers, camels, workers, sons and daughters. Within hours it was all gone! He was a target. AND, he was in the right place at the right time.
His response to his excruciating losses – he tore his clothes. shaved his head, fell to the ground and worshipped God, as he said,
” Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.”Job 1:21 ESV
On another day, he lost his health and the support of his wife. Job 2:1-9
” Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?”Job 2:10 ESV
Somewhere deep in Job was the deepest of resolves that God is good, no matter what it looks like. God is good, all the time! And in all of this, Job didn’t sin with hip lips, by bad talking God and His ways.
Was he in the right place at the right time? You betcha! He was right on target.
Are there parrallels to your life? You tell me…
Truth is, bad things happen to good people. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. (Matther 5:45)
Suffering is not meant to punish us, but to correct us, restore us and keep us on the right path. Suffering is helpful when we turn to God for understanding and even ask important questions. Suffering is harmful if we harden our heart and reject God, or refuse to ask Him questions and miss His lessons.
Satan does nothing without God’s authorization. So when God authroizes Satan to unleash suffering on us it is to:
” …humble us and test what’s in our hearts.”Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV
This isn’t because God doesn’t know what is in our hearts, but so that we will see what really lies in our heart.
Satan comes only to destroy everything about you. John 10:10 God’s plan is to purify our heart, by turning up the heat of suffering in our life, and to produce precious gold. 1 Peter 1:7; Job 23:10
Peter even understood this, he wrote,
“Don’t be surprised at suffering that comes on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you…” 1 Peter 4:12
God knew that suffering would produce steadfastness in Job. (James 1:2) Just like it will in you and me. James also goes on to say, “That he who remains steadfast will receive a crown of life.” James 1:12 Then James repeats what Job has just stated,
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.”James 1:16
God is good. He only gives good gifts. Whether or not it looks like my definition of good, God is good and this gift is good.
Jesus told us that God, as our Father knows how to give good gifts to his kids. Matthew 7:9-12
Job was a target for the gift of God’s refinning.
Job was in the exact right place at the exact right time to be targeted by God for success and suffering. Job, God and Satan were all on target. But the best was yet to come.
Next week we will address Job’s friends and the part they play. In fact, for the next 35 chapters in his book, the friends’ dialogue with Job is the focus. But that’s for next week.
Job was a target and in the right place at the right time! Through his success and suffering he had remained steadfast and now he was ready for surprises.
Job received surprises!
God actually shows up and talks to Job (that makes it pretty clear Job was in the right place at the right time). God revealed himself to Job in chapters 38-42 and 42:5. (I personally think that THIS is the greatest surprise – to receive God’s presence and hear His voice.) God tells Job to pray for his three friends. And when he does, God restores Job’s fortune. All of it, and his wealth was doubled.
Job winds up getthing double the sheep, camels, oxen, and female donkeys. PLUS, another seven sons and three daughters. And this time, his daughters are included in the family inheritance and ancestry! His daughters are inheritors alongside of their brothers. Everyone in Job’s family was targeted by God’s surprises!
Job was on target, in the right place at the right time. Through his success, and suffering he received the surprises of a loving Heavenly Father, because God is a good God.
Whether you are in success or suffering right now, remain steadfast and see the good and surprising gifts from your Father in heaven. God is good, all the time!
You are in the right place at the right time. Please rest assured. Please be encouraged that God IS at work on your behalf and that a surprise is just around the corner.
Up next week, Elihu – a spokesman. The tender truth-teller.
God with God,