was a wealthy Arab sheik. His 10 children were his delight, and he enjoyed the respect of a community that appreciated his wise judgment and kindness to the poor. Job reveled in the knowledge that God was good to him. His possessions were gifts, and he knew where they came from. He was at peace with the world and the God who made it, a man of great integrity who revered the Lord and hated evil.
And then Job’s circumstances changed stupendously. His vast possessions were stolen or destroyed. His children died in a storm. He was terribly sick. Satan had predicted that Job would curse God if everything went badly wrong, but he was mistaken. Even in his despair, Job worshiped God: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
Sometimes, things go terribly wrong in our lives too. A two-year-old daughter dies from leukemia. A cherished spouse commits adultery with a coworker and files for divorce so that she can “be happy again.” Staggering medical bills force foreclosure on a home almost paid for. Why should Job or anyone else bless God in horribly painful circumstances?
Because he is worthy. When the Lord draws attention to his upright servant, Satan replies,
“Does Job fear God for no reason?” (Job 1:9). The Adversary insinuates that God isn’t worthy of untainted devotion. Job honors God only for the rich rewards worship brings. This Lord-serving man is, in fact, a self-serving leech. No one reveres God “for no reason.”
“For no reason” is a key element in Job’s story. It is the senselessness of bitter suffering that compels us either to accept or reject God’s true character. Wilhelm Vischer explains that “the ground and meaning of the whole creation is that God wills to have man face to face with him as a creature who lives by his goodness and for his goodness, and who loves not some abstract good, but God himself, as God loves him” (“God’s Truth and Man’s Lie: A Study of the Message of the Book of Job,” Interpretation 15.2 (1961), p. 132).