Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Shift of Focus

"After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job's prayer. 10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before." Job 42:7-10

I've been reading the book of Job the last few days. I love reading Job- there is so much encouragement in there for someone going through a rough time. But even better- there are some fantastic words from God about his character and nature directly. If you have a chance- I highly recommend reading chapters 38-41. WOW! There is a boost if you ever needed one. God truly is amazing and does amazing things!

But what really has struck me in the last few days is the very end of Job. I have more thoughts on this particular passage of scripture- many thoughts, actually. But today, I want to focus on the actions that Job takes here at the end of all his misery. All throughout the book of Job we read about the rough time Job is going through- and indeed, it is very rough! He was once so prosperous, and has lost it all- even his health. All the while he's trying to maintain his faith in his God, and here his wife and his closest friends keep telling him that he should go ahead and curse God, because he's already lost everything and he'd be justified in doing it. Yet he stands firm. He keeps his faith, and while he does complain, he never curses God- he still loves God with all his heart.

And here he is, at the end of it all, and God shows up. God tells Job all about Himself, and then he turns to these three friends of Job and tells them that they are worms. That they have spoken lies of Him, but that He will forgive them, if only their good and righteous friend Job will pray for them.

Now think about being Job for a minute here. He has nothing. He has lost absolutely everything, except for his relationship with God. His relationship with his friends is surely mucked up because of their bad counsel- and yet, Job should pray for these men? Job should pray for these men to become restored in the eyes of God, and Job does this very thing. And after Job prays for his friends to be redeemed, Job himself is redeemed. God restores everything that Job has lost- to the point of giving him double blessings.

And this is where the shift of focus takes place.

Being where I am, being where we are, in this place where we are looking for a new home, it is very easy to take time every day to pray and talk to God and ask Him for a new home. And yet... I know exactly where we are, and how it feels, and there are others in our lives in similar or worse situations. Actually, even people I don't know. I have the empathy and the compassion to know exactly what it feels like to look at my growing children and know we don't have enough room in our home or yard for them. I know what it feels like to be staring at a deadline on the calendar and knowing that we have until that day to find a place, pack up and move. And while I have great peace that God is going to move mountains for us, maybe these other people don't have that same peace.

And so, instead of taking that knee time every day talking to God about MY home, instead, I am taking that knee time and interceding on behalf of the loved ones who also need a home. I've been doing that for a while now, but these verses in Job just really confirmed to me that these actions are correct and not in vain. Because look what God did when Job prayed! When Job prayed for these men, God listened to Job and forgave the men for their transgressions. It is my hope that now when I pray, that God will listen and will take care of these loved ones who need homes. Because you know what? When God answers their needs, my faith will zoom right through the roof. What an amazing testimony that will be there! Now, I can still pray and talk to God about our needs- our desire for a new home, but it just seems like God put us in this situation, in this time so that we could help others more than ourselves.

Job was restored after he obeyed God and prayed for his friends. So I think I will obey and pray for my friends, and family, and the beloved of God. My heart is with them in their time of need, and honestly, if God does something great for us that will be wonderful- and a great testimony to give Him glory for. But think about it. Think about if we are praying for four families to get a new home- and all four families find this new home in just a short while. That is an even greater testimony than if we found a home for our one family. I just know in my heart that God has great things planned for His children- and that doesn't just mean me. Because you know what happened with Job?

"The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first." Job 42:12

I choose to believe that- and I believe that the Body of Christ is coming to the latter days, where the blessings will be abundant and will be so much better than the former days.

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