Saturday, October 10, 2015

Times Of Testing

Most people’s personal insights come to them while thinking about certain events that occurred at earlier times in their lives. Those who gain nothing are to be most pitied as the human phase of our eternal existence is intended by the Creator to be a time of instruction and learning. There are multiple times that I have been tested and in retrospect admit to having failed many of those tests miserably, the reason for that is because as members of a humanity flawed at birth by the fall of man in Eden, we are egocentric by nature and put ourselves above everything around us, rather than being creator centric and maintaining a continual awareness of the presence of God in our daily lives. 

(Job 1: 1 - 22) There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and very many servants; so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each on his day; and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “Whence have you come?” Satan answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth your hand.” So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house; and there came a messenger to Job, and said, “The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside them; and the Sabe′ans fell upon them and took them, and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said, “The Chalde′ans formed three companies, and made a raid upon the camels and took them, and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house; and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
Then Job arose, and rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell upon the ground, and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Not one of us would have responded like Job did, and it continued. Shortly after that he became covered with oozing pustular sores and his body began wasting away. A handful of friends showed up to offer condolences and solace, each one recounting what a righteous man he is and eventually suggesting that since God had obviously abandoned him that he would be better off to just curse God and die to end his misery. Job then lapsed into self pity and began to loathe his life and rue the day he was born, up until then he had been relying on his own self-righteousness to justify himself not unlike what most people tend to do at times. His friends unwittingly were in essence being used by Satan to taunt him mercilessly. Job finally entered into a lengthy conversation with God and recognized how insufficient his own righteousness really was, but in spite of all that had befallen him he refused to blame his Creator and continued to acknowledge Him above all else. Then God blessed him and restored his health, family and fortunes multifold. 

Upon reading the entire lengthy story of Job, one comes away with a sense of their own insignificance which becomes helpful in maintaining a right prospective of one’s self in God’s scheme of things. Job had passed an incredibly difficult test, the likes of which none of us will ever be faced with. However we are tested in smaller ways multiple times throughout our lives. I can attest to going through years of resistance to acknowledging my insufficiency which often resulted in personal failures, and have come to the conclusion that the answer to being an overcomer and a winner is in starting each day with time for God. A quiet time of study, introspection and prayer will eventually turn the toughest bone head into becoming conscious of God’s presence throughout the day, placing thoughts concerning God’s will over one’s self and in time a foul mouth, evil thinking and nasty comments will give way to the things that are honoring to God and no longer self defiling.
That welcome morning coffee goes well with time for God, the stress of daily news and the outside world can wait, it will still be there but can be faced more victoriously afterward.

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