Summary: Job was bewildered by suffering that seemed undeserved. Here we see a good man suffering, not as punishment for past sins but as proof that he would not waver in the faith. Job was on the Devils hit list, and that was a compliment to his faith. Satan tri
Why do good people sometimes suffer greatly and evil people seem to prosper? Does it pay to be good? Does it pay to serve the Lord?
We sometimes say about a very fine person who is having a hard time “ He doesn't deserve this! Or, she doesn't deserve this!” It is not so much the suffering that troubles us, it is the undeserved trial. This is a kind that bewildered Job in the Scripture we just read. Because Job was doing everything right, when suddenly everything went wrong.
Perhaps, this has been your experience also. As a Christian you are seeking to live the best you can but instead of receiving a reward you are blindsided and face even more trials and tribulations.
The Bible does not give us a long list of philosophical or theological reasons why bad things sometimes happen to good people. Or why life doesn't always seem fair. Rather it gives us stories of real people, in real life situations, and one of these is the story of Job. I believe that the book of Job is very helpful because it covers the whole range of human emotions and experiences. We find here joy and sorrow, blessing and tragedy, God and the devil, truth and falsehood.
As the book opens we are introduced to a good man named Job. Verses 1-12. Job was a spiritually minded man, upright and honest. He knew how to pray. It seems that he was a good husband and father.
Job 1:6 – Then along comes Satan and God graciously asks, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is honest and upright.” The devil replies, “the reason why Job is so faithful it because you are so good to him. He knows it pays to be on your side. He knows that if he does right, you will protect him and reward him. So take away some of these blessings, strip him of his possessions, and I guarantee he will leave you and deny the faith.”
Did you ever stop to think what kind of a world this would be like if at the very moment you became a Christian, all your problems were solved, all your worries were over. Suppose all Christians lived on easy street, with sunshine all the way, lives full of joy and blessing continually. And suppose that all the godless unbelievers lived lives that were full of trouble and calamity and faced a miserable existence every day.
Why in that case everyone would want to be a Christian for what they could get out of it. Everyone would want to embrace Christianity just for the blessings alone. And in the end we would all end up acting like a bunch of spoiled children.
Now, this is not to deny that there are tremendous blessings in the Christian life. Abundant life now and eternal life forever. As the hymn writer exclaims:
“Pardon from sin and a peace that endureth; God's own dear presence, to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow; blessing all ours and 10,000 beside.”
But to serve the Lord for the blessings alone would certainly be the wrong motive. When we look at Job we see a man pretty well fixed in terms of this world's goods. He was on top of the pile, on cloud nine. Then a short time later (verses 13 to 22), he lost virtually everything – his cattle, his, processions, his home and even his children. They were all swept away.
Perhaps you can identify with Job in some of these areas of loss. You have faced sickness, sorrow and disappointment in life. You may have even wondered if adversity and trouble is a kind of punishment for past sins. The book of Job makes it clear that this is not necessarily so. Here we see a good man suffering, not as a punishment for past sins but as proof that he would not waver in the faith, that he would remain true, no matter what!
We see that Jobs life and testimony was a threat, an embarrassment to the devil. Job was such a good role model for God's people to follow that Satan tried to break down Jobs faith and destroy his testimony by giving him a hard time. Satan tried to drive a wedge between job and God by suggesting that God did not really love Job or want the best for him.
This has been one the devils chief tactics from Genesis chapter 3 until now. in other words, Job was on the devil's hit list, and that was a compliment to his faith. I've asked myself that question many times, am I on the devils hit list or is my Christian testimony so weak that I'm no threat to him at all?