Friday, February 20, 2015

Why the Mighty Have Fallen: A Sequel

Last September, I was reading through the book of Job and wrote a couple of blog posts based off the lessons that my reading of the book brought me through. One of them expressed a little on how the mighty man named Job, who was "a perfect and upright man, one who feareth God and escheweth evil," fell from grace to the point of accusing God of prying into his life.

While I decently well articulated some of the ways in which Job fell from grace as it were, I spent no time explaining specifically why Job struggled with this suffering. Job was a pure man, why when suffering came, did he suddenly fall into disarray? 

The opening dialogue between Satan and God probably provides us our answer. In this dialogue, we hear God proclaim the purity of Job. To respond, Satan doesn't deny Job's character - that apparently is undeniable. Instead, he asks God a simple question
"Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face."

Apparently, Satan is convinced that Job serves the Lord for the material gain and blessings that the Lord places upon him, rather than for the relationship itself. In other words, Satan is convinced that Job is more interested in serving Gd as a matter of a sort of economic contract - Job serves God, God serves Job - than out of a pure and true relationship or love for God.

Satan is convinced that Job loves God because Job loves Job, because Job receives a benefit.

So how would you test Satan's theory? That would be the entire book of Job, where Satan is given the opportunity to take away the "hedge" that the Lord had made around him. That indeed is what we see Satan suggesting in the passage quoted above.

So why did Job fall? It would appear obvious from the very first chapter that the book is testing Job's motivations. If Job fails that test (and he eventually does), that's probably an indication that his motivations were not where they should have been.

Which then leads to the all-important question - why do you love God? Because of your own gain, or because of God? Do you have a relationship or do you have an economic contract? Why do you serve the Lord today?

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