Happy Thursday, friends! For this week’s Thursday Thoughts, I want to jump right back into Job. I am about half way through this book y’all, and God is really teaching me how to dig in. I feel like I have always been a surface studier, if that makes sense. I have always read the chapters and verses and even underlined a few, but to be 100% honest, I have never dug into context, connections in scripture, and searched out other people’s understanding of what it truly means until this study.
I say that definitely not to brag in anyway. More like to show you that I am still figuring all this out, so if you are too, then that’s okay! But what I am seeing is that when you ask God directly to teach you what you need to know for this season, He will. And I know that later on down the road when I revisit and study Job again, I will have new perspectives on all of this. That’s why it is really neat to journal in my Bible because I can look back and remember what God was speaking to me at this point or season in my life. But if I ask God, He will answer. And that’s what I am doing with Job.
Job is just this guy that feels pretty unattainable to be frank. He has really gone through the worst of the worst. If you haven’t been keeping up with my posts on Job, check them out here:
We have talked and talked about Job’s integrity, but time and time again, I am in awe of Job’s tenacity despite his circumstances. Look at chapter 17 verse 6-9:
So it took me a few times of reading this chapter to understand what Job was really saying.
Job is saying all the way from verse 1 through verse 8 that he feels completely isolated, like we talked about last week. He is frustrated by his friends because they a) don’t believe him. And b) he says they are “taunting” him, meaning they aren’t supporting, encouraging, or grieving with him as friends should do, but instead berating him and criticizing him.
By verse 8, he says that good people are “horrified” when they see him. He knows that people see his skin disease and entire situation and look down upon him, wondering how terrible he must have been to have all these things happen to him. This is the way many people back then (and let’s be honest, even today) thought. They believed your righteousness directly related to the amount of suffering in your life. You can even see that in Bildad’s second speech to Job in chapter 18 where he says that the wicked people will have all these terrible things happen to them, all of which are completely inaccurate because we know that it is not our integrity and good life that saves us from heartache. Hence, what is happening to Job…
But then we get down to verse 9, and he says,
“The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.”
And at first I thought that he was still talking about people who were looking down on him. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized he was talking about himself!
Job is saying that in spite of everything terrible that has happened, he (“the righteous”) will keep on going and become “stronger and stronger.” He is pledging to continue living the right way even though these things have happened to him.
How many of us can say that we would be in that mindset if we were really in Job’s shoes? How many of us have been, not even in a shoe compared to Job’s suffering, but maybe just a sock in our own problem, and yet we look at God and say, why are you doing this to me? Aren’t I a good enough person? If you truly loved me, this wouldn’t be happening to me.
Job is completely unwavering. Despite the anger, despite the frustration, despite the utter sadness, Job continues time and time again to look to God and follow Him even though he doesn’t understand.
And this made me realize even more…can you imagine how completely and totally pissed Satan was by this point?? There have been 17 chapters of suffering, death, betrayal by friends, and mockery, and yet Job stands there and says, I will keep moving forward, becoming stronger and stronger. He knows that he has lived a good life. That he is righteous. He doesn’t understand why this is happening. He is grieving his loss, angry at his circumstance, and honestly just ready to die. But he still determined to move forward in a righteous life to honor God. Satan just can’t get him to waver!
Is he crazy? How does he do it??
As I have studied this man, I keep asking myself this question! How is he able to stay faithful to God through all of this?
My answer comes all the way back in chapter 1, where it talks about Job waking up early, a continual habit it says, to pray for his children. God calls Job a man of complete integrity, and I talked in my first post about just how wonderful it would feel to have God say that about me!
But God cannot say that about us if we are not in direct relationship with him. If we don’t get up early to talk to him, before we begin our day, as a continual habit.
My good friend once told me a story of a woman who went through immense tragedy and suffering, yet through it all stuck close to Jesus. She said that the only way she could have stuck with him through that was because she had dug a well in the good times that brought her the water she needed in the bad times. Had she not dug the well before she needed it, she wouldn’t have made it through.
We have to dig our well, friends. We have to carve out that time with our Creator to talk and to listen. And I am speaking to myself, you betcha. But Job did that. And when it came time for the suffering he had to go through, he had his well to lean upon. He had a direct relationship with God to where he could say, I know who God is. I will continue to walk in Him even though I don’t understand.
And I think that Job’s integrity that God mentions in the first chapter may be incredibly impressive, but it is his dedication to God that brings him the ability to stand firm in the hardest of hard times that is the most powerful lesson of it all.
If you are in a season of highs, I encourage you to dig your well with God. Because we all have lows. And when the lows come, we can either turn from God or cling to Him. I want to make sure I have a well to get water from. To know God so completely that I can say with confidence: I know my God no matter the situation. Just like the way Job does in chapter 19 verse 25-27:
And to be honest, I wanna piss off the devil a little too. 😉 I want to be unwavering. I want to have a well dug so that when hard times come, I can go to God for the living water to sustain me through.
And I want that for you too. So let’s take a lesson from Job and make continual habits of spending time with God. Grab your shovel, friends, and start digging.