The Endurance of Job
Saturday - March 20th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 5:7-12
We count as blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of Job's perseverance
and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
The Book of Job overwhelms most casual readers. This Old Testament poetic book is forty-two chapters in length. Chapters one and two tell the first part of the narrative, while chapters thirty-eight through forty-two tell the latter part of the story. Chapters three through thirty-seven provide us the dialogue between Job and his three friends who come to comfort him.
In the first part of the story, we discover the complete financial collapse of Job's great wealth, the tragic death of his children and grandchildren, and the horrific plight of boils covering his entire body. He does not know why this has all happened to him. He finds himself on a pile of ashes trying to find relief from his boils while grieving all that was taken from him. Three friends show up to be with him and help him in his time of pain. They sit with him for a week before saying a word.
After their week of silence, they accuse, blame, confront, and badger Job when they finally speak. They believe he has some hidden sin that caused his suffering. He argues that while he is undoubtedly a fragile, sinful human being, he knows of no deep or secret sin in his life that would cause such suffering. The center thirty-six chapters of the book's forty-two chapters contain the back and forth between Job and his so-called "friends." The reader gets weary just reading through these chapters. I can only imagine how frustrating and exhausting the conversation would have been for Job!
God ultimately confronts Job's friends and reminds Job that as God, He completes His sovereign purposes even when they make no sense from the human experience. God commends Job for not listening to his friends. He ultimately rewards Job with more wealth and a bigger family at the conclusion of the narrative than he had before his suffering.
God allowed Job to go through so much suffering. Job stood up to the test of his faith in light of the challenges he experienced. A blessed man before his trials was more blessed after them. A good man became a great man after he went through the fires of affliction. No one would have wished upon Job the suffering he experienced. But, God. . . but, God had a plan! Even though Job struggled with the pain and the unanswered questions, he never abandoned his simple trust in his God.
James chapter five is the only place in the New Testament that mentions the Old Testament character, Job. When discussing how we need to endure when oppressed, persecuted, or overwhelmed in life, James makes Job a key example. He calls us to learn from the endurance (or perseverance) of Job.
How much patience do you show to others when you are stressed? How easily do you throw in the towel when things get rough? Patience with our eyes fixed on Jesus is essential to thriving in seasons of suffering! Ask God to give you patience today!
When suffering in life, we need to be patient and persistent. God will ultimately reward our endurance.