Jeff Long: Testing your faith, or getting your attention?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2016

While studying the book of Job, I was illuminated with how it correlates with the creation story.

In the story of Job, he was portrayed as having it all: family, wealth, respect. (Job 1:1) “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. (3) His substance also was 7,000 sheep, and 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 she-asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the East.”

Then Satan suggested to God that the reason for Job’s obedience was because God had given or allowed Job to possess all these things.

So God allowed Satan to take everything from Job except his life.  (Job 1:12) “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thy hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. (Job 2:6), And the Lord said unto Satan, behold he (Job) is in thine hand but save his life.”

Job lost his family, wealth and his health was even challenged, but he never lost his faith in God.

He had three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (Job 2:11), that came to him and offered advice and council (Job chapters 3-37). Was this really advice? Most seem to be personal opinion without much truth about Job’s situation. However, Job maintained his integrity and in the end received double the blessing he had before these trials were allowed of God and carried out by Satan. (Job 42:12) “To the lord blessed the latter end of job more than his beginning for he had 14,000 sheep, and 6,000 camels, and 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 she-asses.”

You see, Job did not understand why God was doing or allowing these trials to be done to him. Through this he questioned many things — including his life’s purpose — but never lost his faith in God.

This seems to be a parallel to the creation story. The earth was perfect in all ways. (Gen 1:31) “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good.…” And Adam was in possession of it all. (Gen 2:15) “And the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

I see Adam as the first “Job” — he had it all. Then because God allowed Satan to tempt Eve and him with the forbidden fruit, he lost it all. He lost his possessions, his status (respect), and even his eternal health, due to sin. You see, there was a tree of life in the garden of Eden that could have sustained him for eternity without any knowledge of sin (Gen. 3).

If we continue to follow the story of God’s people, (Adam’s descendants), through the whole Bible, we learn that there were many offering advice just as Job’s friends did. Prophets, kings and ordinary people tried to give advice to all God’s children.

The ones that maintain the faith through all the trials are getting a blessing many times greater than they had before these trials were allowed to take place in their lives by God. (Rev. 2:10) “Fear none of those thing which thou shalt suffer: Behold the Devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation 10 days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Don’t misunderstand me, God didn’t administer these trials — but rather allowed them, in order to test the validity of each individual’s faith. (Ps 31:23) “O love the Lord, all ye His saints: for the Lord preserveth the faith and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.”

God could have created His desired final outcome for humanity, which is heaven filled with all of His creations. Instead, He created Earth and allowed His creations to have a choice: eternal life or eternal death. Life comes from God and death comes from earthly desires or from Satan. This in Solomon’s words, (Prov 11:19), “As righteousness tendeth to life; so he that pursueth evil persueth it to his own death.”

So when you feel bad things are happening to or around you, ask yourself this: is God testing my faith, or is He trying to get my attention? Either way, maintain your faith or come back to your faith if you’ve lost it. God will then once again guide you through these trials the same way He guided Job. He will guide all of His children to our final reward, heaven.

Believe in Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, admit to God and to yourself that you are a sinner and need his forgiveness to follow your faith to an everlasting life with Him. Turn your test and trials into a rewarding conclusion.

God Bless All.

Jeff Long lives in Salisbury.


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