He was stripped of all that he had; his health had started to become impaired and suddenly Job begins to come to that reality of the mishaps. Hope after hope had disappeared; all the encomium had vanished into thin air and the man was beginning to feel the weight of persecution, pain and trial. He was beginning to come to himself. Here, we are reminded of the prodigal son who after he had lost all, the Book recorded that “he came to himself” after which he made the decision to go back to his father. Can this be the same with Job? Is Job about to discover what he has never known about himself?
To have an idea of how excruciating the pain was, one could only revert back to what Job uttered from his heart; for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth will always speak. What did he say? Please read on!
“Oh, how I long for the good old days, when God took such very good care of me. He always held a lamp before me and I walked through the dark by its light. Oh, how I miss those golden years when God’s friendship graced my home, when the Mighty One was still by my side and my children were all around me, when everything was going my way, and nothing seemed too difficult.” He continued!
“When I walked downtown and sat with my friends in the public square, young and old greeted me with respect; I was honored by everyone in town. When I spoke, everyone listened; they hung on my every word. People who knew me spoke well of me; my reputation went ahead of me. I was known for helping people in trouble and standing up for those who were down on their luck. The dying blessed me, and the bereaved were cheered by my visits. All my dealings with people were good. I was known for being fair to everyone I met. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame, father to the needy, and champion of abused aliens.” And again, he said!
“I grabbed street thieves by the scruff of the neck and made them give back what they’d stolen. I thought, ‘I’ll die peacefully in my own bed, grateful for a long and full life, a life deep-rooted and well-watered, a life limber and dew-fresh, my soul suffused with glory and my body robust until the day I die.’ Men and women listened when I spoke, hung expectantly on my every word. After I spoke, they’d be quiet, taking it all in. They welcomed my counsel like spring rain, drinking it all in. When I smiled at them, they could hardly believe it; their faces lit up, their troubles took wing! I was their leader, establishing the mood and setting the pace by which they lived. Where I led, they followed.” His heart was indeed shattered, no doubt about that. If he could turn back the hands of time, he would without hesitation.
It was all about him and no one else. He was occupied with himself. Imagine Job was not setup by God, he wouldn’t have discovered the underlying and the fundamental problem he had and would probably have continued with life in the emptiness and the vanity life has filled itself with. Job didn’t know that the life he lived in was an empty one. Jesus puts it in a better way when he said, “what profit do we get after we have gained the whole world and all that’s in it and eventually loose our souls” (obviously, there isn’t any profit in that). Job had to learn this simple but important message through the pain, trial and persecution.
We live in a world where selfishness, self-centeredness, egoism, narcissism and self-absorption is the order of the day. Almost no one cares about God or Nation building but self. “If there is nothing in it for ME, why must I get involved in it” is the underlying slogan and mantra being sang everywhere, mostly indirectly. Job did not know how deeply occupied he was with SELF, until he was shrouded in the disaster (he had lost all; his children, his money and his stocks).
Satan’s seduction of Eve was the original appeal to SELF. “You can be like god” was the seductive promise. Something inside her responded to that, SELF had its awful birth and eventually its throne was established. Eve simply learnt the great importance of looking out for number one. Her motivation was SELF-INTEREST and SELF-SATISFACTION and it took a lot of SELF-ASSERTION – a quality that is honored today as essential for “getting ahead” and been one’s own person.
To be pre-occupied with SELF has become the root of all evil but it’s now being glorified as the answer to our problems due to the strong influence of psychology.
The whole trouble in our government establishments, the Church (Body of Christ), family et al, is ultimately a concern about SELF. Our biggest enemy is SELF and it is very unfortunate that the influence of psychology, especially in the Church has further led us down the road of SELF-GLORIFICATION. We are pre-occupied with SELF, no more, no less just as Job was.
This was the fundamental problem Job had. It was all about him, he didn’t look back for one second to check. “Myself” insinuates and refers to “ME” in contradistinction to others. To be SELFISH then is to put ME ahead of YOU. Jesus said if we don’t hate SELF, we are not fit to be His disciples. Jesus defined SELF as a human being cut off from God; another word for this is independence.
Cut off by his own self-will from God, mankind is therefore described like the fish out of water, gasping for air, struggling for life and dying. He madly grasps at any straw that promises an escape from God’s judgment finding a self-satisfied life instead.
Jesus also stressed that He came from Heaven not to carry out an agenda of His own but the agenda of the one who sent Him to planet earth.
This was the case with Job. Is this the reason why some are going through? Something seems fundamentally wrong with us today and all we can do is to call on God for help and succor, even in this time of need.
C S Lewis puts it in a better perspective when he said, “Do I think well of myself, think myself a nice person? I am afraid I sometimes do and those ARE, NO DOUBT, MY WORST MOMENTS.”