There was a Man of Integrity... the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards; the state of being complete or undivided; being sound or undamaged; righteous, honorable, truthful, blameless, graceful, upright, disciplined, faithful, holy
When life throws you into despair, how do you react? Do you “Walk the walk,” “hold fast to integrity,” and “act as the same person when people are looking as when they are not”?
Job, a man God describes as blameless, upright, God-fearing, always turning away from evil, and praying for his children. He is the picture of integrity; but Satan questions Job’s motives for living such a righteous life. Satan believes that he can trip Job up and make him fall if God will remove the wall of protection about him. God grants the removal of the wall but stipulates that no physical harm come to Job’s body. And, so begins the week of terror...
In one day, Job’s 500 oxen and 500 donkeys, and the servants with them were slain by the Sabeans of Sheba. Fire destroys all of his 7000 sheep and the sheep herders watching them. The Chaldeans killed his 3000 camels and the servants in charge of them. And, then, Job’s seven sons and three daughters were killed when a great wind caused the house where they were dining together to fall upon them. (Job 1:1-22)
Job, the blameless, upright, God-fearing man, reacted by tearing his clothes, shaving his head, and falling to his knees in worship to God. He did not blame God or do anything that he would regret. Instead he declared, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In Job 2, Satan returns to God. Another conversation about Job ensues. Again God speaks of this man as blameless, upright, God-fearing, and sinless, only this time He interjects how Job held fast his integrity through all of the destruction allowed.
Now, Satan wants God to let him attack the man’s physical health because he is certain that then Job will drop this goody-two-shoes act!
God allows it, but sets the boundaries at not taking Job’s life.
Boils, from the bottom of his feet, to the top of his head, Job was covered with boils. He used a piece of broken pottery to scrape them as he sat forlorn in ashes.
(This is the scene in my mind.) His wife stands over him with her hands on her hips as she taps one foot stirring the ashes into Job’s face. “How can you just sit there, you old fool? Do something. How can you continue to worship a God that allows this to happen? Our children are all dead. Our livestock and livelihood is destroyed. Now, look at yourself; you’re a mess. Curse God and just die.”
Job looks up to her with his wet brown eyes. “Don’t talk so irrationally. Shall we only accept good from God and not accept adversity? We have been so blessed for so long, and now, like so many of our neighbors and friends, we have lost everything in a matter of days. God is still on the throne and will still care for our needs. We must trust Him.”
What about you and me?
When jobs are lost, loved ones die, and our world seems to collapse, do we behave like Job or his wife? Would we fall on our knees and worship God if we had lost everything? Would we be grateful for the blessings that God gave and then took away? Or would we blame Him, curse at Him, and just want to give up living?
Paul says it another way in his letter to the Philippi. “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Philippians 4:12)
That contentment is not only about financial circumstances but also the woes of this world; a wayward child, deceitful spouse, natural disasters (fire, tornado, etc.). Content, satisfied, gratified, at ease, peace of mind - holding tight to integrity - blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil
Prayer: Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, I do not know what the future holds for my life, but I do know that You still sit on The Throne, that you love me and will care for all my needs. I must place my trust and confidence in You, Lord. Help me to walk as Job walked everyday, as blameless, upright, God-fearing, and turning from evil, even when bad things happen... to choice what is right over what is convenient.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Grab your Bible and a notebook; then read, study, and meditate upon Philippians 4
- Break it down by sections in order to study and meditate upon what it says over the next few days.
- Look up unfamiliar words in a dictionary or other reliable source. (I like to read it from different translations. http://www.biblegateway.com/ is a great online resource.)
- Look up any cross references you may have and note what you find.
- Make a list of the words or phrases that you want to remember.
- Try your hand out paraphrasing, personalizing, or memorizing a few verses to “own it.”
- Compare Philippians 4 to Job 42.
- What do you sense God is saying to you? What action do you need to take in your life?