August 10, 2011

Do I Have Any Rights? Part 1

I am not going to lie...I often believe I have rights. I mean, be honest, don't you? If you are thinking, "No, I really don't." Than riddle me this: Why do you get hurt, angry, stressed, or depressed? think you are entitled to certain outcomes, and when you don't get those outcomes, all Hell breaks lose. You with me? Personally, this is precisely why I struggle to forgive, to extend grace, and to surrender to God. I feel like He owes me and so do people. How arrogant of me! No wonder there are times in my life when it feels like God is against me...James 4 explains He is directly opposed to the proud - but intimately close to the humble. Yikes.

I was reading in Job yesterday. Here's a dude that has it all...a big family, a lot of money, a huge tent (equivalent to house...haha...for some reason that cracked me up), and a loaded camel (car - funny to me too...sorry). In Job 1:6-12, God calls Satan into His Throne Room and basically challenges Satan to a duel. Let this sink in for a second...God is so confident in His character and sovereignty, that He gives Satan permission to utterly destroy Job's life. Wait a minute...come again? Yeah, God, in His confident sovereignty and immutability, believes enough in His own goodness to tell Satan to wreck Job. I am not sure if you are frightened or comforted by that thought. In a strange way, I am frighteningly comforted. Here is the crazy thing...God is also confident enough in Job's character to know that he will rely on God's fixed and stable character to define his circumstances and not to allow the circumstances to define God's character. Wow.

In verses 13-19, four servants inform Job, one after the other mind you, that everything he has was just destroyed. Everything. Gone. In a matter of minutes. What Job does next hit me hard yesterday..."He fell to the ground and worshipped." I just had to stop typing for a second and take a deep breath. Wow. He explains, "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."

We have heard that verse a thousand times, haven't we? But think about what Job is saying here. He realized he is entitled to nothing (he came into the world naked - with nothing - and would leave naked - with nothing), but that God is the Sovereign Creator and entitled to everything...even worship during a disastrous season.

Here's the crazy thing...Job admits in 2:10 that he and his wife have experienced "evil", which literally means "disaster", from God. However, Job questions, "Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" Job had a proper view of life because He had a proper view of God. God's character defined Job's circumstances. God's character defined how Job viewed himself. God's character kept Job alive when death looked more promising.

Job's view of God and of life was counter-cultural. In fact, in light of all that has just happened to Job, his wife questions God and Job's friends question his character...they think he sinned! What?! Job just clung to the truth: "I am allotted months of emptiness, and nights of misery are appointed to me..." God allowed this season, and Job accepted it as from His hand...pain and all...resting in His sovereign, good, character.

Amen and selah.