America & The Book of Job

Listen to the news on just about any given day, and you’ll most likely hear another disturbing story of some kind. Violence, riots and lawlessness both domestically and abroad seem to be unrestrained while assaults on long-held values and godliness are unrelenting and even publicly praised. It’s as if traditional thought, reason, and decency between people seems to have suddenly evaporated as wickedness and open rebellion push relentlessly forward at an alarming rate. It’s impossible to make sense of a world that appears intent on declaring good to be evil and lauding evil as good.

As our country prepares to celebrate its Independence Day, I’d like to take a minute to juxtapose today’s trends with the Old Testament story of Job. As I read the first couple of chapters, I can’t help but see a possible parallel that might benefit and challenge faithful believers today.

The biblical account of this righteous man gives us a unique audience into the heavenly realms by allowing us to be a ‘fly on the wall’ to listen in on a discussion between God and Satan.

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:8-11)

As I think about what lies ahead for the church, our nation and our world, I can’t help but wonder… Could there have been a similar discussion between God and Satan concerning the righteous and faithful believers in our country? Might it have sounded something like this:

 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered the Christians in America? There are none on earth like them; They gather by the millions to worship Me. They give generously of their time and treasure to support My work in the world. They faithfully attend to the sick, care for the destitute, encourage the broken, and hold fast to righteousness.”
“Do they honor You for nothing?” Satan might have replied. “Have You not protected them and caused them to thrive? You have blessed the work of their hands, so that their prosperity is the envy of the world. But now stretch out Your hand and strike everything they have. Take away their liberty, make it costly to serve You, threaten their vain pursuit of happiness, and they will surely curse You to Your face.”

In the real story of Job, we know that he went on to suffer the cataclysmic loss of all his possessions, family, livelihood and health. However, his response to such sorrow and agony was not filled with curses, but with praise! “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!” he proclaimed.  (Job 1:21)

bible-501969_1280Whether a contemporary discussion like this happened in the throne room of God or not, it’s clear that hard and confusing times lie ahead for believers as we see the world plunging headlong into deeper and deeper darkness. In America, we may yet see tax exempt status for churches and ministries removed, legislation enacted in an attempt to control what pastors can and cannot preach, limitations put on what even Christian schools can teach the children, and other developments that were unfathomable only a decade ago. If such scenarios unfold, some professing believers will no doubt break under the demonic pressure and indeed ‘curse God to His face’ or deny the name of Christ as Peter once did to dodge guilt by association. (Luke 22:54-62)

But remember that Jesus warned us evil days would come, and lovingly counseled us to be prepared for them in advance. “In the world you have tribulation,” (John 16:33a) He promised. But without taking a breath, He reminded us that the end is already determined and to “take courage;” (because) “I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)

So as you ponder the direction the world is headed and the potential fall-out for believers, I encourage you to honestly plumb the depth of your own faith. Ask yourself, why you follow God. If all God’s material blessings were removed, and it became very difficult and even painful to follow the Lord, would you still choose a life of faithfulness? Would you be dedicated to follow Him, not because of what He gives, but because of who He IS?

Job’s story is complete. Through all his agony, suffering and bewilderment, the scriptures plainly tell us that “Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” (Job 1:22)

Will that be the epitaph that is written about your life?

Don’t wait till adversity comes to decide the content of your faith. Make that determination today, and be moved to take personally Joshua’s challenge to the Israelites. “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.”

May God’s people in America and around the world respond now to boldly say…

… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:15)

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15 thoughts on “America & The Book of Job

  1. Ariëlla says:

    Let’s choose every day to live with Christ. Every early morning a silent prayer for help. Because it is sometimes so difficult to live in a society that is far away from God.

    Netherlands is more deeply sunk in sin and lawlessness than America. So few Christians. New paganism. So many young people close their Bible and opt for a life without God. But Jesus is alive. So let’s raise our heads to Him in heaven. Let’s say : “Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come quickly.”

    Thanks you so much for this writing.

    Reply
  2. Chari says:

    *Applause!* This is a great post and reminder to live by faith! Thanks so much! God bless!

    Reply
    1. Karen says:

      Thanks for reading Chari! When we cannot see what’s ahead, faith is all we have!

      Reply
  3. Ozor Emeka says:

    Well am not an American but I believe this post cuts across all nations of the world. god bless you for this post.

    Reply
    1. Karen says:

      I agree. I was primarily thinking about Independence Day in America, but you are completely right. There’s a rising tide that’s swelling against God’s people all over the world. We must be committed to righteousness and lean hard into God to be our defender! Thanks Ozor!

      Reply
  4. Kathleen says:

    Another excellent message, Karen! In all Job’s tribulations, he did not sin nor did he blame God.. (Job 1:22) Will that be the epitaph that is written about my life? I hope so. I hope so!

    Reply
  5. Walter Kahler says:

    Thanks for sharing and speaking the truth Karen. I love the Book of Job and the message of hope, trust and faith it lays out. As for your truth about the world and the USA you hit the nail on the head. Our nation decisions concerning governing us are headed for some troubles. Over the last 3-4 decades it has come clear the US has taken a stance against Religion. Your conclusion about centering ourselves completely in Christ is our only salvation in a world riddled with evilness. Have a great day.

    Reply
    1. Karen says:

      As you said, Christ is our only hope. The irony is, that regardless of whether the government is for or against religion, He has always been the only hope mankind has! Thanks Walter!

      Reply
  6. Steve Swyer says:

    Karen,
    What an awesome, heartfelt message and challenge. Like you, I can’t help believe that a day is coming when authentic followers will face critical, life-altering challenges to our faith. What I need to remember about Job’s story is how it ended. With blessings and bounty many times more than when Satan attacked him. To me, in one way, our story is complete as well. Many blessings, an unbelievable inheritance and treasures far beyond what we could ever think or imagine await those who remain faithful, especially in and through the times you mention in your post. I want to be in that number. Great post, my friend. And God bless. Keep these wonderful posts coming.

    Reply
    1. Karen says:

      Yes, Steve. The story is already complete. And thank you for reminding us of that ultimate hope! Regardless of what happens in the near or far future, God was, is and always shall be the ruling King! Amen and amen!

      Reply

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