Random Thoughts on Job

Job…such an amazing man.   Can it be said of me that I am “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil”? Not exactly always, I’m afraid. Of course, his very amazingness led to some pretty horrible things. Losing all your children and all your wealth in one day is really beyond comprehension, and yet Job never blamed God for his troubles. And that is even more beyond comprehension… How did he not just get MAD at God? God could stop it—we all know that—and yet, for His own reasons, He didn’t. Am I ever “mad at God” in situations far less intense than that? Help me to remember that “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.   Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Reading this first chapter, and then reading the last chapter of Job show some interesting things.   Eventually, Job is cleared of any guilt, but notice that only after Job prays for his misguided, sinful friends, God restores his wealth. (42:10)   That’s curious, isn’t it? Kind of reminds me how we are supposed to pray for our enemies… After doing their best to pile guilt onto Job—those men needed more than just their own prayers. It turned out that God would only accept the prayer of *Job* for those men. (42:8)   And only when that is accomplished does God bring restoration of what was taken away.

Another thing that interests me in that last chapter is that when God did restore Job’s fortune, he doubled the number of all his livestock, but not the children. Job was given, at the last, the exact same number of each gender—seven sons and three daughters.

Ironically, I first became aware of this during a discussion of family planning. One person who was staunchly defending the use of birth control used this as an argument, saying that if children were an unmitigated blessing, never to be limited in any way, then surely God would have also doubled the number of children that Job was given. I remember the clinching sentence in this argument was, “Rain is a blessing, but too much rain is not a blessing!”

Looking back, I have to wonder if this person would agree that too many cattle, too much worldly riches, could ever be a problem rather than a blessing. I really think they would, because we all know what Jesus said about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter heaven! I have to assume that they didn’t consider that argument very carefully.:)

If you think about it, the fact that Job was given the exact same number of children actually means that Job DID have twenty children. Because unlike our cattle or other possessions, when we lose a child to death, that child is still ours. A child who dies doesn’t cease to exist—he or she is still very much a part of our hearts and God’s heart.  So I believe that God did indeed double Job’s children, just as He did the cattle.

Another little tidbit that fascinates me in the last chapter is the description of Job’s children.   The bare facts: He had seven sons and three daughters. But then it continues with the names of the daughters—Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-happuch—and the fact that they were the most beautiful women in the land, and that they received an inheritance along with their brothers. We hear nothing further about the sons, but all this about the daughters! In most early genealogies, only the sons are listed.   It is rare to see a woman’s name at all, yet somehow Lot’s daughters are important enough to rate naming and description even when their brothers don’t.

I have no idea why this is, although I have read several theories. Some of them seem fairly far-fetched to me, but the fact that both this passage and the one about Zelophehad’s daughters in Numbers 27 tell of daughters receiving an inheritance is a nice reminder that God cares about women, too.   Even though men are the ones commissioned to lead, God provides perfectly for His daughters as well as His sons. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

And there is a nice footnote embedded in the meanings of the names of those daughters, too—they all have to do with peace and beauty. Perhaps there is a sweet lesson in that. After remaining faithful to God through the storm, He then adds to our lives peace and beauty.

 

 

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Prodigal vs. Satisfied

I listened to a podcast yesterday that talked about the prodigal son, and it set me musing (again) on that word prodigal. Jesus told the story first, but the word prodigal never appears in the text—at least not in any translation I’ve seen. I have no idea who assigned that title to the parable, but that person ended up virtually changing the meaning of the word prodigal.

The speaker used the word, as is so very common, to mean wayward or rebellious. That bothers me, since I am a wee bit obsessive about words.   Prodigal actually means wasteful—spending recklessly or extravagantly—but hardly anyone uses it that way any more. In fact, no one seems to really use the word much at all except in reference to this particular story. We have several other words for wasteful, and somehow the word prodigal has gradually changed to a more specific usage.

Wastin’ Away Again…

That is interesting to me because it also shows that the emphasis of the story has changed over time.   Our main lesson from it today seems to be that the young man went away—went his own way. Rather than living with his father, he wanted to live the wild life. The person who assigned the title, however, obviously focused on the fact that he was profligate, a spendthrift. Not only did he go his own way, but he used up the resources that should have supported him all his life. Rather than investing and building his own business, he drank and partied until the money was gone.

There are aspects of the Prodigal story that I have never heard discussed. For instance, there is the fact that the father actually gave his son his inheritance early. Have you ever considered what an enormous thing that was? If the man had only two sons, that means that he sold half of the family farm in order to satisfy his youngest son’s whims! As a child, when I first heard the story, I had no comprehension of what a huge amount of money this young man must have squandered.

Come on, Take the Money and Run

If we put ourselves in the father’s place now, we suddenly become aware that not only does he have a wayward, sinful child, but he has reduced his holdings by half—the family is suddenly not nearly as wealthy as it once was. This father had great possessions and had apparently taught at least his older son to work and care for them. The younger son, though, had no appreciation for the wealth that was his.   We tend to focus on the young man’s wandering off to a distant country, but think for a moment about his incredible contempt and disregard for his father’s hard work and provision.  How sad that must have been for the father.

Which leads to another facet of the story…this young man’s dissatisfaction.

I Can’t Get No…Sat-is-fac-tion

Humans tend to appreciate more the things that they work to achieve. Over and over, we watch as people who acquire wealth without effort spend it in foolish ways and amazingly quickly. Why is it that something freely given is so often under-appreciated? The younger son in the parable had probably never lacked for anything in his life, but in his eyes life on the farm was boring, and he wanted to experience more.

Maybe that is really one of the most important parts of the story. How often do we just get bored and dissatisfied? And rather than dwelling on how grateful we are for all that God has given, we wish for …more! We don’t realize that the nebulous more…out there…somewhere…may actually lead to the loss of everything we treasure.

I think I need to focus more on being satisfied in Christ.  Much to think about there.

 

Keep your lives free from the love of money; and be satisfied with what you have;
for God himself has said, “I will never fail you or abandon you.”
Hebrews 13:5 Complete Jewish Bible

 

Disclaimer:  Bits of songs ramble through my mind on a regular basis, and today I just decided to include them.   So if you now have some random old song stuck in your head…you’re welcome.😉

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Being An Older Woman

Meditating today on this new phase of life…

Titus 2:3-5 and 1 Tim 3:11

Are there other scriptures I should be including in this study?

Older Women muted

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Truth Sets You Free 5

Enjoy this chapter about priorities, ladies!  Replace those lies with truth!  Truth will set you free 5

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Never Eclipse

I just read an inspiring little instagram snip about being the moon that reflects the Son, and it made me think of something really important.

Eclipses.

It’s an amazing fact that the moon has absolutely no light of its own and only sheds light by reflecting what it receives from the sun. Some nights when the moon is full and it’s bright and warm and beautiful outdoors, that’s almost hard to believe, but it’s true. And when we take that natural phenomenon and apply it spiritually, it makes our place in the cosmos so glaringly obvious.

I need to be a reflector.   I am put here, with no light of my own, only to reflect the light provided by my maker, the One who is LIGHT!

And then I thought about eclipses. There are times, rare and rather amazing, when the earth gets in the way, directly between the sun and the moon, and that light is blocked. For just a few moments, the mass of our Earth is able to block the sun’s rays and cast a shadow on the moon. When you consider the fact that our Sun is over 100 times as large as the earth, that is quite an incredible thing, isn’t it? Did you ever think how awesome it really is? How amazing that these three heavenly bodies were created the proper size and exact distance apart for the earth’s shadow to perfectly cover the moon’s light!

Since I believe that all of nature tells God’s story, my mind wandered on to what eclipses show us of Him. The signs and wonders that He gives are enlightening in many ways, sometimes marking important events, and sometimes warning us. So is there a warning in the eclipse?

When the light from the moon is blocked, what gets in the way?

Us.
This earth we live on.
Me.

*I* get in the way.

And when I get in the way, what is blocked?

God’s light.

And the result?

Darkness.

 

Lord, help me to walk in Your light. Keep my –self- out of the way so that your light continues to reflect to the entire world.

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Truth Sets You Free 4

I actually made two graphics for this chapter.  Somehow I just needed more space!  :)  Maybe that says something about my attitude toward sin?  I don’t know.
Anway…

Blessings to you as we study this together.
Hope you print these and enjoy filling your mind with the truth of God!

Truth will set you free 4

Truth will set you free 4b

 

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Truth Sets You Free 3

Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free
Key verses for the study of chapter 3
You are welcome to print for your own use.

Truth will set you free 3

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