When Job was tempted by Satan, he—the richest man in the East—became penniless overnight and was covered with boils. He was suffering from both illness and ridicule from his family and friends. But he said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Because of these words of Job, Satan was shamed and defeated, and from then on, Job was no longer tempted by Satan, but became a man blessed and approved of by God. The testimony and experience of Job is enviable and admirable.
Let us think about ourselves. We always resist and rebel against God when we encounter various difficulties.
When unpleasant things come to us in life, we will say, “Lord, why do you let this happen to me?”
When we encounter failure at work, we will say, “Lord, why don’t you help me?”
When we face problems in marriage, we will say, “Lord, why do you let me meet such a person?”
When we see others live a life better than us, we will say, “Lord, why do you bless others but not me?”
When illnesses or disasters come to us, we will say, “Lord, why don’t you protect me?”
God is the one true God, and He is supreme. We are only created beings before God, we are tiny human beings made of dust and our relationship with God is the relationship between created beings and the Creator. Our identity before God is forever that of created being, and no matter what God does to us, it is never wrong! However, we treat God as one whom we can make demands of, and never treat God as the Lord of creation, much less do we treat ourselves as created beings. It is written in the Bible, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a Father, where is My honor? and if I be a Master, where is My fear? said Jehovah of hosts to you, O priests, that despise My name. And you say, Wherein have we despised Your name?” (Malachi 1:6).
I feel that there is nowhere to hide from my shame in the face of God’s question. Let us look at Job’s experience again. When Job was faced with a series of things not in line with his notions—his property being taken away, his children being killed, and himself being covered with boils, he did not sin with his words or complain against God but acted rationally. He rent his mantle, and fell down on the ground, and prayed to God, which showed his obedience to God. He also said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). As a result, Job bore witness for God before Satan, and became a man blessed by God. Why was Job able to achieve this?
1. Standing in the Place of a Created Being and Treating God as God
In fact, when he was facing the trials, Job had no idea what God’s will was and why the trials came to him. However, from his behavior and words, we can see that he always stood in the place of a created being to experience God’s work. When he was experiencing things not in line with his notions, Job knew clearly in his heart: He was a created being, and God is the Lord of creation. God’s identity and essence will never change, God is God forever, and God will never do anything wrong. As human beings, we shouldn’t judge or complain about what God does. No matter how God does things, and no matter how He treats us, our rationality and duty are to worship the Creator and submit to God’s orchestrations. Because he understood this, when facing God’s deprivation of him, Job did not complain, nor did he reason with God and rail against God, much less did he sin with his words. Instead, what Job did was to prostrate, accept and obey God’s orchestration and arrangement, and even praise God’s name. He stood in the position of a created being and kept fast to his place and responsibility. This was one of the important reasons why Job could obey God and stand witness for God. Just as Job answered Jehovah God, “I know that You can do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from You. Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not” (Job 42:2–3). Thinking about ourselves, we believe in the Lord just for the sake of our personal interests. When the Lord is gracious to us, we follow Him gladly; when we fail to gain profit, we will complain against God. We behave the same way as the Israelites did when they came out of Egypt. They always made demands of God, and when they couldn’t enjoy good food and shelter in the wilderness, they complained against Moses and Jehovah God and even made a golden calf on the ground and worshipped it because their interests were not satisfied. Their rebellion against God aroused Jehovah God’s anger and as a result, they died in the wilderness. We were made of dust on the earth and are tiny creatures among all things created by the Creator, with no honorable position. No matter what God does, whether it is in accordance with our notions and imaginations and whether it meets our requirements, we should stand in the position of a creature, and entrust everything to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. In This way, our relationship with God will become normal.
2. Seeking God’s Will in All Things and Submitting to God’s Arrangement
Seeking God’s will is also a key practice when we encounter things that do not fit our notions. For example, when he was in trials, Job did not know that there was a spiritual battle, but he stood in the position of a created being and did not complain to God, nor did he sin with his words. Instead, he sought God’s will, and finally he realized that God both blesses and allows people to suffer, and that all things are in God’s hands, so he could say, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Finally, he became a perfect man who truly feared God and shunned evil. Therefore, in order to achieve true obedience, we should seek God’s heart in everything and only then can we stand firm and bear witness. For example, a sister worked hard and spent herself for God in comfortable environments, and always felt that she loved God and was a faithful believer. This lasted until misfortunes happened to her family and she misunderstood and complained about God in her heart, thinking that she had worked so hard and spent so much so why didn’t God protect her family. Afterward, through reflecting and seeking, she gained some knowledge of the adulteration of her faith in God and saw that her desires and motivation to be blessed while believing in God, were exposed. She realized that she was not a person who followed God and expended for Him with a true heart, and that her expending contained deception—she was making deals with God under the guise of expending for God. Realizing this, she was especially remorseful, and understood God’s good intentions, and then she was willing to remedy her wrong views on faith in God, and seek to purely love God.
Through the above fellowship, I believe we all understand that when we face environments that are at odds with our own notions, we should first of all stand in our position as creatures and submit to God’s orchestration and arrangement. In addition, we should seek God’s will to see what lessons we need to learn in these circumstances that God has set up for us. This way, we can achieve true obedience to God and stand witnesses for Him in all things!