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‘Trust me,’ God told Job

March 22, 2017 Leave a comment

An acquaintance recently asked me, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Others will ask, “If God does exist, why is there so much suffering?”

If you’d asked me 20 years ago, my response would’ve been a series of “Uhs” and “Ums.” Thinking quickly on the spot was never my strong suit. Come to think of it now, it’s still not.

Ok, let’s try:

“Richard, why is there so much suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people?”

The collective questions won’t have a definitive answer in this lifetime. Finite minds can never understand an infinite mind.

But there is a definitive answer that should last us until we are cap.able to understanding God better in eternity.

Job 38-42.

Reading these five chapters, you’ll find God’s response to Job, who suffered financial loss and personal illness. This happened when God pointed Job out to Satan and explained he was a righteous guy, and that his loyalty to God had nothing to do with personal prosperity.

Satan gave Job everything he had, and Job spent much time in misery wondering “Why?” while his friends gave him mostly-bad advice.

And in those chapters, God speaks to Job and says, “You’re not God. I am. You can’t do any of the things I can do, and you can’t handle any of it. I can because I’m God. And because I am God, I know exactly what I’m doing. I have this. Trust me now, and later, when the time is right, you’ll understand.”

Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com. 

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Job never knew

February 13, 2013 Leave a comment

The Book of Job begins with God bragging about Job to Satan and assuring Satan that Job can withstand what is thrown at him. God first allows Satan to take away all of Job’s possessions and then to adversely affect his health. Even Job’s wife tells him to forsake God, which he refuses to do. He then talks to several friends, who tell him he’s obviously in sin. Job insists he isn’t.

The book ends with God asking Job why he (Job) would question God’s ways. God’s message to Job: I am God. I know what I am doing. I want you to trust me.

Job’s life was restored to him.

Interesting, isn’t it, that Job never knew during his time on earth why this happened? I suspect God felt that if Job knew, his ego would get inflated.

When I look at the many trials Christians go through, I suspect something similar happens. God tells Satan that one of us are wonderful servants and Satan insists we’d curse God if our circumstances became harsh. So, some get tested with bad health, others with financial loss, others with the end of a marriage and others with the death of a loved one.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Chronological adventures reading the Bible: Abe then Job

February 6, 2013 Leave a comment

This year I’m off to a slow start on my Bible reading–I blame it on myself–and am reading the Bible chronologically. I read Genesis up to the point where God commands Abram to “Go west, young man!” and am now reading the Book of Job. Currently, Job is in misery, wishes to die, wonders why God would allow this despite all the righteous stuff Job has done, and if alive today, would consider his friends’ advice as much of a help as, to quote that delicious simile of Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s, an air conditioner on the ice planet Hoth.

“Richard!” you gasp. “You’re not reading the Bible in order?!”

Nope.

While Job is listed right before Psalms and roughly in the middle of the Old Testament, it actually is considered the Old Testament’s oldest book. Whereas Genesis and the other four books of the Pentateuch were probably written by Moses around 1500 B.C. (a ballpark estimate, indeed), Job was probably written a millennia or two sooner.

I find this an interesting approach, to read the Bible as it takes place rather than reading it in traditional western order. We must realize, of course, that while the Word of God is divinely inspired, neither the book order nor the chapter stops are.

Not an easy read, but I find Job a fascinating book. A man does everything right and still suffers misery and wonders: Why?

Job was probably not written by Job, so it’s most likely that he never knew during his time on earth about the dialogue between God and Satan. How God bragged on him and how Satan challenged Job. And how God allowed all those terrible things to happen to Job, knowing he would bend, but not break.

More thoughts as I continue reading.

Richard is currently working on a blog posting (probably several parts) about his experiences in Baptist churches. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Reading the Bible, finishing Job, Psalms and Proverbs thoughts

January 18, 2012 1 comment

To paraphrase the famous Wolf Brand Chili commercial: How long has it been since I’ve updated this blog…[brief pause that’s not long enough for anyone to respond]…well, that’s too long.

2011 saw me do something I hadn’t done probably since graduating from Pensacola Christian College in 1995: I read the Bible completely through. About 66 percent of the time I read daily and the other 33 percent I either didn’t read or had to catch up and read several days’ worth.

It obviously is better to read every day so you can focus on quality rather than quantity.

I’ve read of some Christians who read 20 chapters a day and others who read the Bible cover to cover in a month. Perhaps someday I’ll try that, but at this stage, the more I read, the far less I retain and comprehend. After all, the Bible’s not a Archie comic book. When you read in Romans about faith and salvation, each chapter seems like it should broken down over a week’s time…

Today, I finished reading the Book of Job as, in 2012, I’m reading the Bible chronologically. Fascinating book. Job was a godly man who lost everything, wrestled with the question “Why?” while his friends accused him of having unconfessed sin and pride. After all, God never punishes the righteous, does He?

Wrong.

I think of one godly friend, Terry, who while in his early 30s died of cancer. He left behind a wife and young daughter. I don’t know why and won’t know until eternity. Maybe this planet simply didn’t deserve him.

Job learns two things from a discussion with God: 1) Job isn’t not God and 2) Job is going to have to trust God. While the first two chapters indicate why Job went through what he did, nothing at the book’s end indicates Job knew why. It’s possible he did, but it’s also possible Job had to wait until heaven to find have his “Why?” question answered: Because God simply wanted to prove to Satan that humans serve God out of love for God and a desire to know Him rather than how much money and possessions He gives them…

A friend suggested I read Psalm 5 recently. It reminds me of that advice from PCC given to us from Pastor Jim Schettler about reading through a Psalm or Proverb every day. I figure through diligence you can read through both books twice in a single year. Granted, the Psalm 119 is long, but there are several Psalms that are shorter than I am (for the record, I’m about 5’8″).

Richard Zowie is a Christian writer who feels it’s best to be a Christian first and a writer second. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Remember Job? His story probably isn’t that unique

I remember once during prayer group at PCC that my suitemate, Tony Ferguson, gave a devotion for that session. Tony spoke on the Book of Job.

For those who don’t remember Sunday School or who aren’t familiar with the Bible, let me summarize: Job is probably the oldest book in the Old Testament. He was a righteous man who feared God and sacrificed regularly. Satan was convinced that Job’s allegiance to God was because God did nothing but bless Job. God allowed Satan first to kill Job’s children and then to strike Job with physical infirmities. In spite of all the heartache and fierce persecution, Job refused to renounce God and wondered aloud why he was going through such torment. His friends were convinced he had unconfessed sin in his life. God finally tells Job’s friends they were wrong in their assessment, and He tells Job that He (God) is in control and it’s not up to Job to question God’s ways.

While God allows Job to heal and become more prosperous than before (in both material possessions and children), one thing I found odd about this story: God never tells Job of the conversation that took place between Satan and God. It’s safe to assume Job knows by now, since he has been in heaven for about 4,500 years, he probably knows by now.

“Job must have been a remarkable guy if God saw fit to brag about him to Satan,” Tony said.

Tony didn’t know it at the time, but over the next few days he gave me a lot to think about.

God placed Job to the challenge because God knew Job would prevail.

It makes me think that such exchanges and challenges between God and Satan occur regularly. Perhaps Satan might say these things:

“Let me move this man’s wife to fall in love with someone else and ask for a divorce, and he will curse you!”

“Allow me to take away this man’s millions, and he will curse you!”

“Allow me to ruin this man’s career through false accusations, and he will curse you!”

And perhaps the toughest of all:

“Allow me to let this man to be falsely sent to prison, and for him to be brutalized and raped, and he will curse you!”

Whenever we go through trials in our life, whether it’s the ending of a marriage, the losing of wealth, reputation, the endurance of a mountain of physical and emotional pain, maybe it all happened because God bragged about us to Satan and is putting us through a trial to show Satan His sovereignty.

Yes, it’s unpleasant, but as the Book of Job dictates, God puts us through nothing we can’t handle. To backslide and quit the Christian walk is foolish. To commit suicide is even more foolish. Both only will result in one sad accomplishment: a life wasted that could’ve been spent being an enormous blessing of evangelization and encouragement.

If you feel like you are enduring what Job went through, don’t quit.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Two poems: Bible, Church; God Never Said

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Some poems I hope will encourage a few readers:

2-6-2011 — Bible, Church

Bible, Church

Two things that are

Food and water

To a needy soul.

To avoid them

In times of

Trial and trouble

Is to needlessly

Die of

Hunger and thirst.

Truth is simple

Mankind through

Pride, stubbornness, a desire for control

Choose to overcomplicate.

Bible, Church:

It really is that simple.

2-6-2011 — God Never Said

God never said

Life would be

Satisfying sleep

On 800-thread count sheets.

God never said

Life would be

Sixty-eight degrees inside

While it’s

One hundred degrees outside,

A typical brutal Texas heat wave.

God never said

Life would be

A checkbook

That always balances.

God never said

Worry, anger, heartache, stress

Would never exist.

Life is hard.

Life sucks.

Life is unfair.

A celebrity with clownish hair

Drinks, parties, lives for himself,

Marvels he’s still alive.

A mother loses her newborn daughter

A premie born in a country hospital,

Wonders why she died.

Another mother cries endlessly

Her youngest son’s death

From willful irresponsibility by a stranger.

Marvels why he died.

The Old Testament’s Job taught me well

As he lamented

His children’s deaths

His livestocks’ thefts

His body’s sores and boils.

God never said life would be

Easy, care-free, no worries.

God did say

Life would be worth it.

Ten thousand sunrises

Might not contain the answer,

But eternity does.

Life is but a few puzzle pieces

Mere fragments

In eternity

The pieces will all be

Assembled together

Complete.

Solved.

Richard Zowie is dabbling into poetry. Like it? Despise it? Drop him a line here or by e-mailing richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

My Bible reading so far in 2011

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m currently reading through First Corinthians, recently finished Esther and am starting on Job. I also try to read a Psalm or Proverb each day.

A strange reading schedule for January, you ask?

I am actually starting my reading with what I did not finish from my old reading program. The reading crossed off that list will be completed once I do my current reading. My plan is, for the first time in far too long, to completely read through the Bible this year.

When I read, I usually do so out of either my hard-cover Zondervan King James Study Bible or my slimline New King James Bible. I have found it makes for better reading if you stick with the plan and don’t try to read too much in one day. Jack Chick once mentioned in one of his tracts or books of a friend who would read 20 chapters of the Bible every day. That’s fine if you are seasoned and disciplined enough, but for my current level, I would rather focus on quality than quantity. If you can read 20 chapters, understand what is read and get blessings, wonderful. But for me, I’d rather take it slow.

I also will get away from trying to post an exegesis each time I read. It takes a lot of time, and I’m not sure people will find it that interesting. Instead, I’ll just post brief thoughts…

First Corinthians: I just read the “love” chapter. If we as Christians have all the gifts in the world but not the applied love to showcase God’s love to the world, then all our gifts are worthless.

Esther: Fascinating book where God’s name is not mentioned a single time, but we still see His Hand working behind the scenes to protect His people. Interestingly, Haman was an Agagite, the people whom Saul centuries ago was ordered by God to kill–and did not.

Job: God must have really thought highly of Job to present him to Satan as a stellar example of a godly person.

Richard Zowie has been a Christian for 29 years. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.