Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it." The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing? "Have You not made a hedge about 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 put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.
Job 1:6-12 (NASB)
Hymn: "Speak, My Lord" George Bennard
One thing the Bible is very big on reminding its readers is that more of the story is happening behind the scenes than on the worldly stage. Today's reading included parts of Daniel 11, where King Darius is informed by Daniel that God has a great deal of the future planned in detail and knows who will be doing what; as well as the encounter between Zacharias and Gabriel, where the former is told about the coming birth of John the Baptist. Both of these sections highlight that God has a plan, and that what we see of this life relies on actions taken where we cannot see. But few books can match Job, a chapter of which was also in today's reading, for making our physical reality seem like a very small part of a much larger story.
Job spends the first couple chapters flipping back and forth between the spiritual conversations that govern what will happen in Job's life and Job's actual experiences. Then the book zooms in on just Job and his friends and briefly his wife, which seems very important and the focus of the whole story until God shows up at the end and reminds everyone involved that they have only a small fraction of the information about what is going on. And we, the readers, can get very comfortable with the idea that we really do know what was going on, because we got some glimpses at the scenes in Heaven. But we really have little more than Job did, if we're honest. We never get any more of an answer to Job's suffering than Job himself received, and even the brief glimpses at causes are only brief glimpses and we get nothing of that sort for most of the book.
Do we think this was only true back then? We so often look at our lives as if the answers will be apparent some time soon or that we have basically all the information about what is happening. We see something successful at a church and break down all the details on their programming and their personalities and the spiritual gifts and think we have a pretty decent idea on what made it work. We read book after book on how God is moving in our age on the assumption that anyone except God really knows much about it. We have no idea what God is up to, and how much of it will become visible in our lifetimes. How much do we rest in the knowledge that God knows far more than we do, and has a much larger plan than we can see? How often do we recognize His authority and control over circumstances without expecting an explanation?
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation