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by Ron Rose
Testing Man's Integrity
    Sometime during these years, God and Satan had a conversation concerning Job, a wealthy and wise man of God who lived in the region east of Canaan. Satan asked to shatter Job’s world, believing he would curse God, and God allowed Satan to do so. In a single day this influential man lost everything — his wealth, his servants, and all ten of his children. Then ugly boils covered his body, and this once highly respected man found himself confined to the local ash heap. His wife suggested he curse God and die. His friends explained that since God is just, bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people. They believed must have done something terrible and he had to confess and repent. But was incensed at their assumptions and judgments. He was innocent and still suffering.

On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you comefrom?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”...
[Job’s] wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!’
He replied, “...Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, did not sin in what he said.

JOB 2:1-10, NIV

    Job recounted how close he and God used to be, and he was angry and bewildered by the changes. In his pain Job cried out for God. He prayed to die. He wished he had never been born. He asked God to give him an answer.

    Finally, God spoke for himself, and Job was hushed by God’s litany of questions and overwhelmed by God’s greatness. Job’s view of God had been myopic. All the suffering, all the losses, and all the speculation faded into the background. Job felt insignificant but confirmed, unworthy but blessed. After all, he had seen and heard God himself. God had shown himself to be the Almighty God, and that was enough.

    Job’s integrity was intact — although he questioned, he never cursed God. In the spiritual world Job was unaware of, he had provided God with a victory over Satan, and God blessed Job more than ever. His health and wealth returned. His wife gave birth to ten more children, and they had children, and they had children, and they had children. He lived to see four generations and died 140 years later.

Reflection: In this unjust world, a life of integrity depends on trusting God even when we don’t understand him. Fact is, we won’t make a single promise or hold a single conviction that won’t be tested; Satan sees to that. The question is, will our courage match our commitment? The secret of maintaining our integrity is to keep our eyes focused beyond our suffering, failures, and pain on the dazzling, glorious greatness of our God, who remains constant and trustworthy. When we can say with all our heart, “God, if I suffer or die, I will suffer or die giving glory to you. If I live, I will live giving glory to you. Either way I’m trusting you,” then we are a tiny step closer to the Almighty.


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