Job, a severly tested servant of the Lord

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The Book of Job touches the hearts of those who suffer. Job had to endure almost all of the trials that can possibly come to people. His suffering, however, was not just general human suffering. It was rather the discipline that is given to God's children.

Job was "blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil" (Job 1:1). He had seven sons and three daughters, many servants and large herds of sheep, camels and oxen. At that time everything was fine.

Then God permitted the devil to attack Job. Job lost his children, his servants and his property. All this Job accepted in faith from the hand of God. "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away" (Job 1:21), he said.

Job's losses did not come about because God was angry with him, but rather because the devil attacked him on account of his true faith.

It is true that God gives vent to His anger by punishing the hardened. There may be times of terrible punishment for the hardened when their time of grace is over.

The sufferings of believers may outwardly be identical to the sufferings of unbelievers, but faith, grasping the Word of God, sees them as manifestations of God's love.

We see only the external. God sees the heart. For this reason He alone has the authority to punish.

If God tests His children we must not therefore on the basis of external suffering or the tribulations of the heart decide whether or not He loves us, but we must rather firmly rely on God's Word and trust in Christ.

Job's tribulations continued to increase. He was afflicted with boils. His wife urged him to curse God. But Job said: "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10).

Job's friends came to comfort him, but were so shocked by his outward appearance that they did not speak for seven days. Job was no longer able to keep his composure. He cursed his day of birth. His friends tried to comfort him, but did not succeed.

Then a certain Elihu began speaking to Job, who had felt in his heart that he had been treated unfairly. But Elihu said: "Surely, God will not act wickedly" (Job 34:12).

Job heard God's Law proclaimed in its severity. As a sinful human being he had no right to argue with God. All his sufferings had been deserved. God demands a completely pure heart, and Job did not have such an heart.

If only we too had such a conviction of sin that we would admit that we have not deserved even one moment of happiness, but only suffering. Our only refuge is God's grace in Christ. That the time of grace still continues is due solely to God's goodness and longsuffering. He does not give us what we deserve, but rather gives us both spiritual and temporal blessings. The suffering of believers will one day come to an end, but the sufferings of unbelievers will continue without abatement.