Job’s bad news headlines tested his faith
We begin in the book of Job (pronounced Jobe), depicting a series of events that occurred in the early days of Genesis. We meet a man who's in the local news as a leader, giver, philanthropist, family man, business owner, and man of faith. His front-page status even grabbed God's attention. God was so impressed that He bragged about Job in heaven. "Have you considered My servant Job?" He said during one of these bragging sessions. A debate ensued in Heaven between good and evil. God‟s Adversary doubted Job's devotion. Evil contended that no one helps others unless they "get something out of it." So a debate ensued between God, the loving generous One, and Evil, the selfish taker. What‟s at the center of the universe: selfishness or love? To test this question, good and evil staged an experiment on Job. God allowed Job to be tested, but not harmed physically.
In one day, Job received more bad news than any human could imagine. Like a newspaper delivered every hour, Job received a parade of shocking, horrific news. In page after page he learned that his cattle and farms had been taken. He found out that his family had been killed. Everything Job held dear fell apart in one dreadful day.
As this cosmic play built to a climax, the audience watched Job's reaction. Will he thank God for the time he had with his riches and children, or curse God for not giving him more time? Will he curse God, or cling to Him? Job refused to curse God. He fell to his knees in tears, trying to cope with the deep darkness that had come upon him. In the midst of the pain, he worshipped. He clung to God as his source of comfort. He realized that only God could help him make sense of this tragedy. He relied on God as the only one who could make good out of bad. As we listen in, we hear Job say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord. He gives and takes away." The Evil One was not impressed.
Evil restated his assertion that everyone is inherently selfish. Evil suggested that Job was clinging to God in the midst of tragedy because "at least he had his health." God allowed Evil to affect Job's health, but not to kill him. Job was again on the receiving end of pain and difficulty. How would he respond? Would he curse God? This time Job came close: he cursed the day he was born. The long-term health problems combined with the emotional distress of losing his family, business, and riches was too much to bear. Job's wife, who was also suffering great pain, finally cried out in exasperation, "Job, curse God and die." But Job refused, clinging tirelessly to his God instead.