THE SERVANT GENERAL
LESSONS OF JOB
MARY, HANNAH AND JOB
1 Samuel 1:24-28
1 Samuel 2:1-8
is the common denominator in today’s readings, as they
relate to Mary, Hannah and Job? Both Hannah and Mary exult
in the Lord who reverses fortunes, while Job experienced such
a reversal of fortunes, twice over.
says God lays low the mighty, the well-fed and the mother
of many, while lifting up the weak, the hungry and the barren
wife (1 Sm 2:4-5). Mary says God lays low the rulers and the
rich, while lifting up the lowly and the hungry (Lk 1:52-53).
This is what happened to Job. From his lofty position he was
laid low, and then he was restored to an even loftier position.
is the mystery of a God who acts as He simply does, moving
from one extreme to another. “The Lord puts to death
and gives life; he casts down to the nether world; he raises
up again. The Lord makes poor and makes rich, he humbles,
he also exalts.” (1 Sm 2:6-7). Who can figure God out?
“The Almighty! we cannot discover him” (Job 37:23a).
God however has constantly revealed Himself in the scriptures
as one who loves the poor. He has “lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things” (Lk 1:52b-53a).
“He raises the needy from the dust; from the ash heap
he lifts up the poor” (1 Sm 2:7). Even in the case of
Job, who was a rich man, God lifted him up from his affliction
only after he had lost everything and became poor, and only
after he had been sitting “among the ashes” (Job
raises the poor and needy, not just out of poverty, but to
glorious heights. His intent is “to seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.” (1 Sm 2:8b).
Thus, from severe affliction, God raised Job to double what
his wealth and prestige had been. Thus, as Mary exulted, God
“looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold,
from now on will all ages call me blessed.” (Lk 1:48a).
Why is this? This is the way of God Himself. This is the way
of Jesus. Though he was God, he allowed himself to be emptied
and humbled, and then he returned to eternal glory as Lord
and King (Phil 2:6-11). From the heights to the depths and
then back to the heights. Just like Job.
is what we call the way of the cross. It is the way of discipleship.
Just like Jesus who suffered “death on a cross”
(Phil 2:8), we are called to die to self (deny self), take
up our cross, and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23).
is why suffering is redemptive. God chose to suffer, in order
that Jesus might win for us our salvation. God allows us to
suffer, so that, after gaining the purification that He intends
for us, He might reverse our situation. Is it any wonder then
that God allows us to suffer? Even when we are upright and
blameless like Job?
is this not unjust? In a way, yes. Just as it was unjust for
a righteous Jesus to be crucified as a criminal. But “his
great justice owes no one an accounting” (Job 37:23c).
In the end, we just rest in the knowledge that our God is
just and righteous. In His justice and righteousness, He reverses
people’s fortunes. He favors the poor and lowly. He
raises the afflicted to great heights of glory.
since He is Savior, God brings us to heaven.
then Mary’s canticle be ours as well. “My soul
proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in
God my savior.” (Lk 1:46). Let us join Hannah in singing
praise to God. “My heart exults in the Lord, my horn
is exalted in my God. I have swallowed up my enemies; I rejoice
in my victory.” (1 Sm 2:1).
Job? “Thus the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more
than his earlier ones.” (Job 42:12a). “Then Job
died, old and full of years.” (Job 42:17). In his latter
days, Job simply rejoiced in the victorious life God had given
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of Job - Part 40[PDF]