Saturday, November 22, 2008

From Captivity to Blessing!

"And the L-rd turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the L-RD gave Job twice as much as he had before." Job 42:10

We're familiar with the story of Job, how the L-rd allowed Satan to plague Job by devouring the things with which the L-rd had blessed him: his ten children, his livestock, his health. We all know how the friends of Job tried to "help" him with their advice, which, except for one, only added to Job's sorrows. And, we know in the end, that the L-rd restored to Job his blessings, even twice what he had before.

But have you ever noticed what turned the tide for Job?

Years ago, our family was ministering in a very difficult place. We were finding it a challenge to find a place to live, as well as a means of support. We had other friends in the area struggling in the same regard. Much like the situation many people are finding themselves in during these days of economic crisis. A friend of mine shared this verse from Job with me. It totally changed my perspective!

Don't we all tend to get myopic when dealing with our problems? We get so focused on our own situation, and all the negative, often seemingly insurmountable factors we find ourselves up against. All our praying centers on "our problem"! What are we going to do, we fret! We find ourselves asking everyone to pray for us and our situation. We pray. We plead with the L-rd. We stress. But you know what----we forget that others may very well be in the same boat, or have other more serious dilemmas. Is their situation no less important a concern than our own?

Consider Job. Here he was in dire straights while his friends still had their health, their possessions, their families. Indeed, that's why they felt they could look down their noses at Job and conclude that surely, he must have sinned in order to find himself in the mess he was in. It was obviously G-d's chastisement!

So, why did Job feel he needed to pray for them?! Welllllll.......perhaps because as Job said earlier in chapter 19, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand in the latter day upon the earth: and though, after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see G-d." Job had assurance of his stand before G-d. But he was concerned for his friends. On the surface, it looked like they were in good shape. They certainly seemed very blessed. After all, they weren't in Job's shoes!

In becoming concerned and burdened for his friends, Job set aside his problems. When the L-rd saw Job's unselfishness, and that Job was no longer obsessed with his own plight, enough to bring his friends before the throne of G-d, G-d moved to turn the captivity of Job from the bondage he was in, and blessed him with twice what he had before!

You know the long-used acronym: JOY = JESUS, OTHERS, YOU. The L-rd sees our hearts, and His compassion towards us is moved to work on our behalf when we care about and pray for the needs of others. Can you imagine the blessings we will reap if we follow Job's example?

Next time the enemy, the devourer and destroyer of the L-rd's blessings, tries to defeat and discourage us, and trap us into the bondage and captivity of self-centeredness, remember Job's remedy!

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