Worshiping in Tragedy and Loss


Our emotion about situations that we express toward God is normal and natural and received by God as such.  The way in which we attribute cause and responsibility, however, matters to the Lord.  When Job turned to God, it was in a posture of reverence…

13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 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!”

16 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!”

17 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!”

18 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, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept 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!”

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 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.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job 1:13-22

When God’s hedge of protection around Job and his family was let down, Satan attacked and brought calamity to Job’s life.  I am struck with the gap in our timeline in verse 20.  From the moment that Job heard all of these things to the time he worships God is long enough that he can tear his robe and cut off all his hair.  What was Job’s first response?  What would yours be?

Job just lost his oxen, donkeys, servants, sheep, camels, his sons, and his daughters.  Let that sink in.  This is his life falling apart around him.  I’m sure there was emotion – anger, sadness, rage – as Job considered all he had lost in the span of moments.  As we see in the psalms, our emotion toward situations and expressed toward God is normal and natural and received by God as such.  God himself has emotion.  We see him become angry, grieved, and pleased with his creation at different times.

As much as there is time and room for emotion and response to God, our response to God and the way in which we attribute cause in our circumstance matters to the Lord. This is why Job’s response to God is so important to us in the circumstances of our lives.  Let’s pick up the story at the end of verse 20.

Job responded to God, after losing nearly everything, with a heart of worship.  In our worst moments of disappointment, frustration, anger, or loss, how do we respond to God?  Do we express our emotions to God as our loving Father, or do we express those emotions at God as a target?  Big difference.

When Job turned to God, it was in a posture of reverence.

Job expressed truth about God’s sovereignty and power over everything in his response.  We enter the world naked and will leave the same way.  Our position before God is not based on the fortunes or power we amass.  Job was wealthy and established.  It didn’t matter.  Calamity is not a respecter of earthly stature.  Just ask refugees who are rebuilding their lives in new countries from nothing.  Many of them left lives of prestige and wealth and success in their home cities.  Their homes and belongings are gone.  With nothing they make their way to a safe place to start over.  We are in this same humble state before God.  Naked and poor.

Job’s reverence for God includes his acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty over his every situation.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  No one can touch Job apart from God’s direction or permission.  That’s Job’s perspective.  If we take such a perspective, and we respect and hold God in awe, we will submit to God’s sovereignty and praise him in all situations.

Notice that it is a sin to charge God with wrongdoing in our circumstances.  We can vent and cry out and ask why, yet God’s hand is never wrong.  Job did not fall into that trap.  I would think we are much more likely to slip in this manner. Be careful. God is not our buddy or someone we can blame when we don’t like our situation.  We are quick to act as victims and blame others for our lots in life.  This current generation especially.  Don’t do that.  Certainly do not do this with God… it’s sin.

God, we respect you and your mighty hand.  We acknowledge your sovereign power over our entire lives.  Blessed be your name…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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