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November 12, 1993

Preconditioned for Blessing

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“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?” JOB 1:9-10
From start to finish, the story of Job uncovers the feet that, deep inside, most of us are preconditioned to think that every downturn has an upturn, that every stormy day is followed by weeks of sunshine, and that every flood eventually subsides.
In other words, we are preconditioned to believe that although we will experience difficulty from time to time, we will be blessed again. Much of our thinking is built around an “if/then” philosophy. If I live a righteous life, then my life will be trouble-free. If I make right ethical decisions, I won’t lose my job. If I tithe, I will recover from this financial disaster. If I have enough faith, I will be healed. If I pray hard enough, God will answer my prayer the way I want Him to. And on it goes.
Unfortunately for us, the Book of Job blows the “if/then” theory right out of the water. The text reiterates several times that Job did nothing to deserve the trials that came his way. Job lived a righteous life, and a significant portion of his life was anything but trouble-free.
Although correct attitudes, habits, and actions often do result in blessing, such blessing is not guaranteed. The storm may never blow over. The sun may stay behind the clouds for a very long time.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have hope in the midst of trouble. Nor does it mean that God doesn’t hear our prayers or that we shouldn’t trust Him. It simply means that we shouldn’t expect to receive blessings from God in exchange for good living. He owes us nothing.
Satan expected Job to crumble in the face of adversity, because he thought the ancient patriarch was faithful only because God had placed a hedge of protection around him and everything he had. He quickly found out Job’s faith was much deeper than that.
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job asked his wife (Job 2:10). It’s a question we would all do well to ask ourselves when a stormy day comes or when we’re in the middle of a downturn.

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