Who Wants to Play?
Soul Survivor Part 1
When we began thoughts of this series I asked myself a few preliminary questions….
• Who in the Bible best captures the essence of “survivor” skills in the face of great adversity?
• Who readily comes to mind when you think of victory over grave circumstances?
• Who in all of scripture challenges our perception of personal faith in the face of potentially crushing struggle?
I suppose that in a diverse audience several names might rise to the surface, but one in particular takes the spotlight in my assessment. That man is Job.
The story of Job and the biblical text in particular conjures a variety of responses in Christian circles.
• Some schools of thought teach that Job was a real person experiencing exactly what the biblical story tells.
• Others teach that the book of Job is a compilation of struggles known to man, brought together to produce the single conclusion that no matter what the situation, struggle or tragedy, God is always faithful.
• Still others see the book as nothing more than a piece of comic literature with tragedy nestled between a happy beginning and a happy ending.
For the sake of biblical apologetic, allow me to share my own theological view on the man, Job, and the book that bears his name.
I see that there is strong biblical evidence that the character introduced and chronicled in the 18th book of the Old Testament was, in fact, a real man.
Many believe that this great Patriarch of Perseverance is one of four son’s of Issachar, - grandchildren of Jacob also known as Israel. (Genesis 46:13)
We know, from the opening verse of the book that bears his name that Job lived in Uz, the land from which God called his Great-great grandfather, Abraham.
In Ezekiel 14 God tells the prophet that even men like Noah, Daniel and Job could escape national judgment only by their individual righteousness toward God.
James also makes reference to Job as an example to all of us of God’s compassion and mercy .
Job is the first of the five books of poetry or the How To books of the Old Testament.
Job How to Overcome
Psalm How to Pray
Proverbs How to Act
Ecclesiastes How to Enjoy
Song of Solomon How to Love
But, as not to get lost in the justification of this man’s physical existence, go with me to a higher level of prospective of this great man of faith to consider that the story of Job is not as much a historical event as it is about a man’s relationship with God. The details of his life, his family, possessions and relationships serve only to expose the depth of his faith in God and, in turn, God’s faithfulness to Job.
I think that in looking for examples of true Soul Survivors, we could do little better than to look at the man, Job.
Text: Job 1:6-12
There are few of us that would personally declare our ability to relate to Job as God described him…. “There’s no one on earth like him”…. “Blameless”… “Upright”… “Fearing God and shunning evil”. But hands would raise everywhere of men and woman who, in some way or another, feel’s a kindred connection to the hellish assault he was soon to encounter.
The story of Job certainly addresses the perplexity of the question, “why do bad things happen to good (even righteous) people? Yet I think a deeper consideration of the whole of this biography reveals the overcoming power of integrity in the face of adversity and triumph through the extreme weight of personal tragedy.
A better question: How should the righteous handle suffering?
We look at the story of Job and summarize it as a testimony of patience and perseverance. In fact, many a Christian purposely neglect study of the Book of Job and recoil at the thought of uttering the most meager prayer for patience for fear that they will be required to, in some form, experience his plight in order to be seen as a man or woman of spiritual fortitude.
But what relevant lessons can you and I come away with from considering, as God suggested, His “servant Job”?
To the Church at Rome, Paul wrote:
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience (unlike our thought of ‘waiting, it means steadfastness, constancy, endurance) and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
If you and I are going to become Soul Survivors we must establish a few foundational beliefs. (beyond pat “Christianese” platitudes)
Need to move those beliefs about 18 inches (from the head to the heart) Get these scriptures down and make them part of your survival kit…
Belief # 1 All things do work for my good.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
#2 What Satan means for my destruction…. Like Joseph…
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
Belief #3 When the enemy comes at you like a flood….
So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
Belief #4 The Greater One lives in you!
1 John 4:4
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Belief #5 Anything is possible with God
But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible
Belief #6 Many are the afflictions of the righteous…
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Belief #7 I can do all things through Christ
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
In Christ we have all it takes to be a Soul Survivor – the path is narrow, the way often rugged, “Life’s hard!” but the prize is worth it! So, are you ready to play??
A note from Pastor Terry,
Thanks so much for looking over this message. I trust that, in some way, you were blessed, encouraged and empowered on your own walk with Christ. Every message I prepare is bathed in prayer that God will draw, inspire, and challenge my listeners (or readers) into a more meaningful and power-filled walk with Him.
Pastors, how we need one another! We need to be encouraged, strengthened and built up in order to encourage, strengthen and build up. It’s my personal prayer that the message you’ve just reviewed has done that for you in a personal way. Use what you can of this message, toss what you can’t and above all, let God’s Spirit inspire it all!
Sometimes I feel like Peter and John at the Temple steps…”Silver and gold; I don’t have but what I do – I give to you”
Grace and peace to you, your family and the Flock you tend.