Cross Words: An unlikely time to worship


By Isaiah Pauley



I don’t always feel like worshiping God. But worship is more than a feeling. Just ask Job.

“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1 ESV).

The Bible describes Job’s righteousness. But Satan takes notice.

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them” (v. 6 ESV). There was a conversation between God and Satan. Before long, God mentioned His faithful servant named Job.

“Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face’” (v. 9-11 ESV).

God permits Satan to bring suffering into Job’s life. But why? That’s the question one cannot help but ask when reading this book. Theologians call it the problem of evil. Why does a good God allow bad things to happen to good people? Well, I don’t have the answer to that question. But there’s something about the book of Job that resonates deeply with the human soul.

The text takes a drastic shift after Satan leaves the presence of God. The story spirals downward, and Job basically loses everything he has. Let’s take a look.

“Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, ‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you’” (v. 13-15 ESV).

Okay, that’s bad. But there’s more.

“While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you’” (v. 16 ESV).

Yep. It’s a bad day.

“While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you’” (v. 17 ESV).

Goodness gracious. Can this get any worse?

“While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you’” (v. 18-19 ESV).

Yep. Worst day ever. In the words of Judith Viorst, “It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

So, now what? I mean, is Job going to tell God off? Run away? File his complaint? Nope. He’s going to worship.

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD’” (Job 1:20-21 ESV).

I mean, think about this. In verse 11, Satan had said to God, “‘But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face’” (ESV). But Job does the exact opposite. He blesses the name of Yahweh.

Although the rest of the book describes Job’s doubt and wrestling, the first chapter ends in worship. It’s Job’s first response. And that says a lot. After all, it’s an unlikely time to worship.

But Job makes it clear that he recognizes both who he is and who God is. He realizes that God is sovereign. He realizes that God gives and takes away. And he realizes that, at the end of the day, all of us will die with nothing to show for ourselves. Job fixes his eyes on God despite his circumstances. And I think we should do the same.

So, yeah. I don’t always feel like worshiping God. I don’t always want to get out of bed early on a Sunday morning. I don’t always want to sing. My stomach growls when the service goes past noon. But man, I want to worship like Job. Even when it’s an unlikely time to worship.

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By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com