Richard & Linda Mose Meadows

Richard & Linda Mose Meadows
Pastor, Pastoral Counselor and Chaplain

"What Would It Take?"

“What Would it Take?”
Job 2:1-10

2:1 One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. 2:2 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." 2:3 The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason." 2:4 Then Satan answered the LORD, "Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. 2:5 But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face." 2:6 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life." 2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 2:8 Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes. 2:9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die." 2:10 But he said to her, "You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

A series of misfortunes to some may be known as bad luck. My Uncle Grover would say that if it were not for bad luck you wouldn’t have luck at all. Some folk never seem to have good luck. I would agree with that statement of Uncle Grover’s if it were not for the fact that I do not believe in luck. When you win at the Dover Downs, that’s good luck, when you play the lottery and win, that’s good luck and when you grab a scratch off and win, that is also good luck. Vice versa when you lose that is bad luck. The world depends on luck to survive. When they have been in accidents and survive or get out by the skin of their teeth, they are said to be lucky.

The word-blessed in the Hebrew is barak (baw-rak) comes about to describe that as you would knell before God, God would bless you. God blesses and expresses adoration for you, through the act of blessing. All of us have times of blessings and times we are blessed and we are the only ones who do not know it. We suffer through the bad times and many times smile through them.

The smile on my face many times says I am blessed and not that I feel so well. I have learned to say as Paul would say “ …Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities…And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Susanne Cook Johnson coins the phrase “Too Blessed to be Stressed,” in her book talking about how many of us through the stages and steps of life, consider the blessings to outweigh the deficiencies or stressors of life.

Job is in its self-a book that stands out by itself. The reader of the book gets from it the lessons that they closely relate to. The book is a story or the genre of Hebrew literature and has critiques in several different forms including literary and historical criticisms. It leaves more questions than answers. Biblical Flaws? Biblical Absurdities? Biblical Atrocities? Biblical Inconsistencies? Biblical Precepts: Questionable Guidelines? Biblical Vulgarities & Obscenities.

The question whether the literature of the ancient Hebrews includes portions that may be called poetry is answered by the ancient Hebrews themselves. That the ancient Hebrews perceived there were poetical portions in their literature is shown by their entitling songs or chants. Job is a didactic poem appealing more to reason, being essentially educational in character.

The literature was based upon the lessons or the instructions that could be learned. The Lord your God is one. Thou shall not steal. YOU will not marry strangers or women from other lands. God has given you a land that flows with milk and honey. Goliath was a giant and David was a shepherd boy who slew the giant; therefore this small nation can conquer larger enemies. It is as though if Israel was to conquer anyone, any land or be confidant in God, they had to know who they were dealing with. A God who loved them and most of all could trust them that once they achieved the promise they would not forget who brought them over. They would not forget who cared for and nurtured them, God Almighty, Jehovah, El Shadai, Adoni. . The numerous exegeses of the Book of Job are classic attempts to reconcile the co-existence of evil and God (for which Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz coined the term theodicy). His purpose of his essay was to show that the evil in the world does not conflict with the goodness of God, and that notwithstanding its many evils, the world is the best of all possible worlds. (footnote)

Job appears ambiguously as an invocation to righteousness, as a cynical outlook on the idea of righteousness, and as a response to the problem of evil. Scholars are divided as to what the original intent of the poem was. But to the ones who have ever suffered or been tested or tried often empathize with Job and feel a kindred spirit as to the degree of suffering and the conversations held with self, Satan and God.

The lesson in Job is one that must be addressed no matter from what viewpoint you take. Job is a man, a servant of God. Job is an upright and just man, devout in worship, who strangely Satan’s stirs up God to allow some real trials into Job’s life. God the omnipotent and Satan agree on the terms and limits of what would happen to Job and then all hell breaks loose in Job’s life. Job is the archetype of the Christian who does everything right in their life and still finds themselves between a rock and a hard place. The church and the ones who come are not exempt from the tragedies and sufferings that other folk go through. We would like to think that if you are saved and sanctified you will not face what other folk face. Paul said himself that he faced severe beatings, persecutions, hunger, bring lost at sea, jailings and trials. To which he asks the lord to remove this thorn in his flesh and the reply is hang in there my grace is sufficient for you. How else can you sing the song your grace and mercy, brought me through, I’m living this moment because of you, I want to praise you and thank you to, your grace and mercy brought me through. In times we need to think of who it is who is with us in the storm,

That is the challenge today, that you see this story of Job and find ways to connect with his sufferings and also find courage and strength as Job does. Our text tells of a man who does not deserve what it is that he goes through, and how is it God chooses him. Job is illogical, irrational, not of sound mind, he is as the world would view him a miserable man with no one to turn to. His calamity finds him all alone, lost in his dark world, without the children he loves and now his possessions are gone. The natural response to tragedy and the loss of humans such as children and/or the loss of possessions should bring about profound grief. Job grieves, but does not hang there, he has lost his children and possessions and his responses are New Testament in and Old Testament setting. It includes Job not cursing God but demonstrating strength beyond human understanding. His suffering reaches deeper than the mental state and into his very soul. To handle suffering and stand in the face of adversity, to decide and make the choices Job makes, is to allow ones soul and not one’s mind to control the reality.

It is for one to decide if this behavior is a coping mechanism or true relationship with the one who made Job. So true that even in time of deepest physical and emotional pain, he follows the advice of his soul. His words and thoughts become the anima in terms of Jung or the face of his soul. Augustine says I wanted my soul to get angry and it would not.
The question is “What would it take?” And you could complete the question in many ways; two that come to mind are What would it take for you to break or for you to hang on?In hanging on Job shows us in the text how to do that. That is what today is about. What does it take for me to hang on? It takes connection, trust and strength.

1. The connection comes in the soul. Beyond the human mind and psyche, there is a connection that can not be forgotten, even though at times it is not recognized as a vital life line, but more as a place to feel depressed and lost, wounded and defeated. That is the agony of the soul. There is agony in Job’s body, yet he has this profound connection, that he knows so well but God speaks of in chapter 2 verse 3: the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, God views the faithful as he does Job. It is no difference between you and Job. Only difference is that Job is this wonderful example in the scripture and you become this wonderful, breathing living testimony that humans can see, feel and touch. You become the breast plate of righteousness that extends beyond human fact that says suffering is not to be tolerated. We must find ways to prove that the Lord is my light and my salvation, the strength of my life, whom shall I fear, when the wicked even my enemies and foes came upon me to eat of my flesh they stumble and fall.

When you are connected and your ways please God, even your enemies are at peace with you. What ever it is that came to harm you and make you suffer must now take a back seat to his sovereignty and majesty.

2. You must trust God. That same verse says that about Job: He still persists in his integrity. This is the second part of the persecution, family and possessions, yet God announces in this portion that Job still persists. Job is persistent in his faith, his trust and integrity. His veracity to trust outweighs his depressive acts. Yes Job did sit and take the position of a mourner, but remember he made daily sacrifice just in case his children or he sinned against God, he was used to working out with God the issues he felt that would save him from this very moment. He returns to his love of God even in his suffering.

His children and then all that he owned is gone, yet he clings to the one thing that now makes a difference, Not his children or possessions but his trust in God. The psalmist says I will trust in God Wherever I may be, on the road or on the angry sea, come what may, my heavenly Father watches over me. I trust in God, for I know He cares for me. Job trusts God. He is allowing us now to journey into our own days of darkness pass, present or future and to decide at this very moment what state we would choose in times of great distress. Job trusts, Adam trusts, Abraham trusts, Moses trusts, Joshua trusts, Samuel trusts, David trusts, Solomon trusts, Nehemiah trusts. Job shows that trust is a distinction between living and dying, for if he did not trust God, he has nothing to live for. His wife says die, Job chooses to live at this moment in time.

3. Strength is the third factor. Job garners strength from his life before he began this journey of suffering. He has his past spiritual experiences to guide him through the process. The experience of having a life, devout, comes before God, God know him and he knows God.

Job 1:1-5 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. 2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Continually, daily, constantly. God is his refuge, his strength, he trusted and now he is his strength. You can praise God in the good times and the bad, it is designed that way. That in time of trouble He shall hide me. The Lord know us and when Satan ain’t got nothing better to do, than on the days when the sons of men present themselves before God, when you pray and petition God, and your prayers go up before God, remember, Satan is somewhere. He stands as your adversary, day and night accusing you before God, telling God, you ain’t gonna make it, and if you let me at them, they will curse you (God) before they die. Only thing Satan does not understand is the connection between you and God, the trust that has developed over the years of adversity and the confidence you now have in him. It was God that brought you out of the miry clay, placed you feet on a rock to stay. He (God) brought you out alright.
Courtney Dion Meadows Born 5/9/1983 - Heaven Date 5/2/2005 "My Friend Lives" I desired Peace in the Process and I arrived at Justice. I pray for his shooter...May God give him peace.

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