Wednesday

Tragedy and Worship
One of the greatest stumbling blocks of believers today is the belief that our faith is, at its core, man-centered.  We confess that it is all about God, but our actions and our reactions betray our true belief that we expect God to behave as though we are the most important thing to Him.  The reality is that we serve a God centered God who exalts Himself and His glory above all things, including us.

Where this false belief becomes most evident, and most damaging, is when tragedy or the possibility of tragedy comes upon us.  We cannot reconcile the idea of a me-centered God allowing such hardships to happen to me.  It doesn't make sense.  So when tragedy and hardships occur (and they are going to occur) we have no foundation on which to stand.

All this brings me to the story of Job.  Most of us know the basics of this story.  Satan is in heaven in the presence of God and the angels.  God points out Job to Satan as an example of an upright, righteous man.  Satan thinks Job worships God because God has blessed Job tremendously so God allows Satan to have his way with Job.  Satan immediately destroys Jobs wealth and kills his 10 children.

First, there is no way this fits into a man-centered view of following God.  If choosing to submit to Christ is ultimately about pursuing the gifts and blessings of God, then where in the world does this account of Job fit?  Job has received the blessings of God.  He has health, wealth, and a family.  Then God turns him over to Satan as some sort of test or experiment?  Without the proper understanding of God and our relationship to Him, we will never be able to reconcile this account of Job with our man-centered approach to following God.

How can God do this?  Because ultimately what God is about is His glory and seeing it displayed.  Our primary role as His followers is to be examples and displays of His glory, to sing His praise to the whole world.  God is going to use Job to demonstrate His greatness and His glory.

What is interesting is that Job understands all this.  Look at his first response to the tragedy that God has allowed to overtake him.

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.”  --Job 1:20-21--

Upon hearing of all his wealth being destroyed and the death of all his children, Job's first response is not to ask "Why?" or to blame God.

It is to worship!

He falls to the ground in his grief and praises his God.  Job understood that God is good no matter what circumstances we face.  Job understood that we live in a God centered universe and that the God we serve and obey, who loves us as His children, is above all else concerned with His glory.

I pray that God will help us to understand Him and His ways and that we will have a solid foundation as Job did.
When tragedy comes my way, I want my first response to be praising the name of my God.

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