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Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. (21) 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.” (22) In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
– Job 1:20-22 ESV
Christians are called to be a worshipping people, a people who “worship God in the beauty of holiness,” a people who raise our voices and our hearts boldly before His Eternal Majesty, offering the sacrifice of praise, which is the “fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.” When all of life seems like it is coming together for us, praise rolls easily off of the tongue. How quickly even the reprobate offer their empty words of praise to God following a sports victory or after winning a major award. In the end, the popular southern Gospel song rings so very true. Writing of the bright seasons of human life, the writer pens these words, “Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain.” What a high time is had by all when everything works out, everyone is happy, and everything is going our way.
But life, like nature, experiences change of seasons. I am preaching this message at the beginning of Autumn in southern Ohio. The leaves are changing color and falling from the trees, the days grow shorter, the night lingers on. Soon, the foothill forests, once bustling with activity, will stand a hollowed-out shadow of their former Summer glory. The biting cold will find us as well, as it does each year, forcing us to dawn large coats, gloves, and hats. Seasons change. Life changes as well.
What of those seasons of life that hit us squarely between the eyes, those dark times of trial and tribulation that seem to crowd out happiness and joy only to replace them with darkness and despair? What is a man or woman supposed to do when all that seems good and right is choked from our lives? How does a Christian respond to the dark times of life?
Job is an ancient account of a man who through no immediate fault of his own suffered the loss everything. Everything. His livestock stolen or destroyed, his children killed as well, Job was left with nothing save his own life. And it is what Job does in response to all of this tragedy that makes a child of God perk up and take notice. Though Job lost everything, all of his livestock and all of his precious family, He replied as a man who understood the sovereignty of Almighty God.
Job did not curse God as Satan thought he would. No! Much to the contrary, Job arose in the midst of his own pain and torment, ripped his own clothes, shaved his head, fell on the ground, and worshipped the God of Heaven and Earth. He knew God was completely sovereign over the affairs of men, both the good times as well as the dark times. It was the Lord, after all, “who gave.” And it was the Lord who “takes away.” And no matter the situation, Job cried out, “blessed be the name of the Lord.”
As we come to better understand the Sovereignty of God, great peace and security are afforded to us. There is much we can learn from Job concerning worshipping God in the dark times.