Introduction: Uniqueness & Enormity of Love God Project
Thus far in our “Love God” series, we saw why we are to love God: he deserves it and loving him is absolutely the best thing we could ever imagine. Then we looked at how to love God. We love God by first loving the compassionate and courageous Son of God and God the Son, Jesus, with nothing less than “all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.”
We now come to the most challenging part of our series. If we can love God in the way we are going to describe today, then all the practical ways we are to love him, which we will cover later on in the series, will be incredibly easier. Now, come with me to one of the most troubling stories in the Bible, “The job on Job.”
A Divine Wager
In the book that bears his name, Job is characterized as a blameless and righteous man who revers God and resists evil. He has 10 kids, massive wealth, and a reputation of being, “the greatest man in all of the East” (v3). In other words, he is religious, wealthy, prolific in procreation, and a great statesman. Does it get any better than that? However, his blessed position catches the eye of Satan. So one day, he traverses the dimensions of our three-tiered universe and comes before the throne of God. God asks Satan, “What do think about my main man Job?” Satan replies,
“Honestly God, he doesn’t really move the needle for me. He’s just like all those other dirt worms you created. He only loves you because you bless him and protect him from me. You don’t seem to get it, God, nobody on earth loves you for who you are. Stop blessing and protecting Job and his love for you will fold quicker than an overcaffeinated origami artist.” God replies, “Wanna bet?” Satan responds, “What did you have in mind?” God says, “Do your darndest against Job but do not take his life.” “You’ll see that he will love me for nothing.”
The job on Job
I don’t know how you feel about divine wagers but if this scenario doesn’t send shivers up your spine I am not sure what will. Satan leaves God and with demonic delight starts his systematic destruction of everything Job.
-v14: Job’s livestock are stolen by a rogue group called the Sabeans, who then kill some of his servants (watch out for them).
-v16: A lightning strike from heaven kills more of Job’s livestock and servants.
-v17: The Chaldeans send a raiding party that take Job’s camels and kill more of his servants (watch out for them).
-v18-19: A tornado kills all of his sons and daughters.
For Job, bad news doesn’t come in threes, but fours. After the last catastrophe, Job falls to the ground and laments (v21), “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” v22 tells us, however, that despite all that has befallen him he still loves God for nothing, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”
Double or Nothing: Health Crisis
Afterward, God tells Satan, “I told you Job loves me for nothing.” But Satan responds (2:4-5)
4 Skin for skin! A person will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.
God replies, “Double or nothing?” “Take his health but do not take his life.” Talk about double jeopardy! It’s been said, “If you have your health you have everything.” But what if your health is taken away? What do you have then? Job is about to find out.
The next time we see Job he’s boiling away. By that I mean he is infected with boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Twice I have had the misfortune of getting boils that had to be surgically lanced from my body. Let me just say, it’s horrible! In agony and anguish, Job sits down and starts scraping away at these ulcerating pulsations. They say that God never gives us more than we can handle. Do you think Job has had enough? Well, unfortunately, there’s more to go and it’s probably the most painful part of the job on Job.
Job’s wife, i.e., his companion and confidant, sees what’s going on with her husband. She rushes in to do her dead-level best to comfort and console him. “Give it up already! Curse God and die” (2:9). Either she skipped out on their pre-marital counseling or she suddenly forgot her wedding vows: “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death us do part.” Job, on the other hand, attended both his pre-marital counseling and basic theology class. Thus, he responds to his wife, not in anger, but with air-tight logic (2:10), “Shall we receive only good from God and not trouble?” Because most of us love God for something, that seems like a rather puzzling question. But 2:10 tells us, “In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” Amazingly, he still loves God for nothing.
The 3 Amigos: Eliphaz, Bilad, and Zophar
I wish I could say this was the merciful end of the job on Job, but it isn’t. His three amigos, Eliphaz, Bilad, and Zophar, make a visit to support and comfort Job. They do so by blaming him for all that he has suffered. “Job just confess that your secret sin is really ticking God off. You’re the culprit of your own suffering!” How many do you think that Job needs to find some new friends? Their piling on continues day and night for days until Job finally responds in 13:15 and 19:25
Though he slays me, yet will I hope in him…
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
These Scriptures tell us, that although Job lost it all: family and friends, health and wealth that he loves God for nothing! Because he does, God double restores back to him all that he lost.
Conclusion: Helping a Person-For Nothing
I don’t know if divine wagers still occur in heaven today but if God placed his bet on you, that no matter what you would love him for nothing, would he win? Or would the devil? He is so certain that we only love God for something, and once that something is taken away, we won’t love God any longer. Now obviously, God is very generous and loves lavishing all kinds of blessings and benefits upon us, amazingly, whether we love him or not. However, do we love blessings more than the Blessor? Or gifts more than the Giver? Or, if there were no gifts or blessings at all, would we love God just for who he is? Loving God for nothing is the how on how we love God (and everyone else). Everything else is gravy, temporary gravy, so let’s pray that we might love God in that way