Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. Job 1:20-22 (NKJV)
Satan had accused Job of is worshipping God because of the things that God has done for him (Job 1:9-10, 2:4-5). Since this is how Satan assumes Job to be he tells God that if God were to take away all He had given to Job would stop worshipping Him. I guess you could say that Satan’s accusation is that God isn’t worthy of worship but that He has to bribe us to get our worship. I think what Satan is doing is transferring his own attitude onto Job and really all humanity. Satan cannot imagine worshipping God without God doing something to “earn” his worship. Therefore, he cannot imagine that anyone else would either. So Satan tells God, “If you take away Job’s stuff or harm his life, he will not worship you any more than I will.”
What is Job’s response after the first trial? Well he fell to the ground and worshiped God. Job does not blame God for his suffering. His remarkable response is worship. What an extraordinary lack of self-pity! I once listened to a sermon from a pastor in Washington DC and he said that self-pity, like boasting, was a form of pride. He said that boasting says, “Look at me because of what I’ve accomplished.” While self-pity says, “Look at me because of what I’ve suffered.” In the end, both are “me” centered and come from pride. . Job shows the absence of pride in His life by refusing to pity himself because of his suffering and chooses instead to worship God.
Job recognized that he didn’t have anything when he came into the world and he won’t take anything with him when he leaves the world. His understanding here is pretty fascinating for an Old Testament Saint. In saying this, Job recognizes that the things of this life are temporary. Since they are temporary they are not the ultimate focus of his life, God is. He recognizes that God is greater and far more important than anything He will ever collect in this life.
He also says that the Lord gives and the Lord has taken away. In saying this, Job recognizes that everything he has is a gift from God. Really, I guess you could say that Job understands that nothing he acquires in this life is really his. Instead, everything is God’s and God graciously allows us to enjoy them for a period of time. Since God is the one who has given us these things, He is the one who determines how long we are allowed to enjoy them.
After making these two statements, Job blesses the name of the Lord. In doing this, Job proves Satan wrong. Satan assured God that Job would curse Him if he lost everything. Instead of cursing God, Job falls on his face and blesses God. By far this is one of the most amazing responses to suffering ever. Job can respond this way because he is certain that God is greater than any earthly thing and He is inherently worthy of our worship even in the midst of suffering.
Why do you worship God?
Do you worship God because He is great and inherently worthy of your worship?
Or do you worship God so that He will continue to give you physical blessings?
If God took away all your physical blessings, would you still worship Him?
Would God, just God all by Himself, be enough for you?
That’s a hard question isn’t it? I mean, we all know how we are supposed to answer, but is that really our answer?
Let me make three observations about this that might be brutally hard for some but they are critical to our understanding of who God is.
First, if you worship God for the stuff He gives you and not for God Himself, you do not worship God but stuff and you are therefore an idolater. This is true whether you worship God so that He will give you physical blessings or keep your life free of suffering. If you worship God for the physical blessings He can give you, then you are an idolater that worships stuff. If you worship God so that He will keep your life free from suffering, then you are an idolater that worships comfort. Either way you are an idolater.
Secondly, idolatry will not sustain you through the sufferings that will surely come into your life. The life of Job teaches us that devotion to God doesn’t necessarily free us from suffering. We will all suffer in various ways. If you worship God for the stuff He can give you and not for God Himself, then your devotion and faith will not sustain you through trials. It will crash and burn around you. Then you will find yourself in a crisis of faith that many do not survive.
Thirdly, God is greater than stuff and comfort. God is the greatest good there is. This is why the people of God have been able to rejoice in God despite suffering horrible persecution and suffering. God is worthy of our worship not because of the stuff He gives us, but because of who He is. Knowing and embracing this about God will enable you to trust Him no matter what kind of circumstances He allows in your life.
For further Study read Psalm 63.
How does David describe his desire for God?
What is the point of verse 3?
What does David mean in verse 5?
How could we apply this to God being worthy of our worship even in the midst of suffering?