Summary: Let's face it - sometimes life just plain sucks. It is, as little Annie sang, a hard knock life.
“Getting Into Shape: When Life Sucks”
Job 1:1-2:10; 38:1-3; 42:1-5
Let’s face it – sometimes life just plain sucks; it draws all the energy and strength out of us as we work hard at just trying to survive. Little Annie was right: “It’s a hard knock life.” Just ask Job.
By all accounts, Job was as righteous as they come – blameless and upright, fearing God and shunning evil, the greatest man among the people of the East. His life and family would not be the subject of reality TV – too boring and uneventful. They might, however, be pictured in Guideposts, or Money Magazine, as the model way to live life. Life was good, grand, and picture perfect.
Then came the great encounter. Satan and God made Job the pawn in their battle for supremacy and Job suffered and searched. And in his searching he was put on hold and asked to wait. From his life we can gain some valuable insight.
First of all, when life sucks remember THE ROLE AND IMPACT OF SATAN in our lives. He is called here, “the Satan.” He is the one who represents the power at work against God; he is the antagonist, the accuser of the people of God. Satan is incapable of defeating God in a head to head encounter. All he can do is go after God’s people on earth. He is the chief mischief-maker, an ambassador at large for the kingdom of evil. Just consider the names given to him throughout the Bible: Satan, devil, prince, god of this world, liar and the father of lies, dragon, destroyer, adversary, murderer, evil one, tempter, accuser, and thief. His works includes tempting godly people, perverting Scripture, opposing God’s works, hindering the gospel, defiling good works, blinding multitudes to the truth, endeavoring to promote damage or destroy faith, and creating doubt and denial.
When it comes to Job’s life, we are told Satan comes to God after roaming the earth, going back and forth, searching for someone to test and trip. AS THE TEMPTER HE SEEKS TO ALIENATE HUMANS FROM GOD. AS THE ACCUSER AND LIAR HE SEEKS TO ALIENATE GOD FROM HUMANS. His all consuming passion is to drive and irreparable wedge between them, one that cannot be reconciled.
So it’s not surprising to hear his charge in 1:9: “Does Job fear God for nothing?” He wants the opportunity to prove his theory that no one has faith for nothing. People have faith in God because they want or expect something in return. No one has faith simply to have faith.
Think about it. Why do you have faith? Why do you believe in God and Jesus Christ? Why do you try to live a Christian life? Is it for material reward? For approval? Prestige? Standing in the community or workplace? Are you good so God will be good to you in return? After all, even Ps. 1 says that if we plant ourselves in God we will be rewarded. The real question is, DO WE LOVE AND SERVE GOD FOR HIS SAKE?
The late George Burns was full of funny stories from life. He once told about growing up in a Jewish family in New York. In this Jewish neighborhood there was one small Presbyterian Church. When George was 7 years old, a big department store in the city sponsored a talent show. The Presbyterian Church recruited George and three other Jewish boys to form a quartet to represent the church in the talent show. They were called the Peewee Quartet. They won first prize and the church received a purple, velvet altar cloth and each of the boys received an Ingersoll watch, which was worth, for them, a tidy sum. George was so excited he ran all the way home and said, “Mama, I don’t want to be a Jew anymore.” His mother said, “Do you mind me asking why?” George replied, “Well, I’ve been a Jew for seven years and never got anything. I was a Presbyterian for one day and I got a watch!” Do we, perhaps, in a more adult way, feel similarly? Do we live virtuously so we think we’re indispensable to God? Satan tempts us to think that being a Christian has not done for us what we expected, nor gotten us what we wanted. So is your faith a means to and end or is God himself the end? Do you have faith for nothing?