Did you answer the question about what Job gave God?

What did God ask Job to give?  Nothing.  There really isn’t anything God needs from us, and He always waits for us to choose what we’ll give.  Then He waits some more for us to actually give it.

The fact that God receives from us should be more astounding than we make it.  We fuss about giving to God, and what He asks of us, and hardly ever think about how weird it is that He receives, freely, passionately, faithfully, eagerly, from puny little humans.

Job gave God his suffering.

Satan: What?! You’re nuts God!  What do you want that for?  Whatever are you going to do with that? (said like our suffering is a wet lump of turd. Which it is).

God: This, Little Mr. Pitchfork, is where you and I differ.  You are a top down kind of authority. You like to be exalted on high and lord it over people.  You like it when they obey your commands, that’s why you tempted Jesus the way you did.  I’m different.  I come in at the very lowest level.  Baby in a manger level.  Sobbing guts out level. Lost everything and suffering on the garbage heap level.  When Job gives Me his suffering, he is being My friend like no way else.

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15 thoughts on “New Insight into Job 2

  1. Interesting idea. That God receives from us. I need to look at scripture again with that lens on and see how it proves out and what the nuances are.

    Do you have particular scriptures that come together to paint that picture for you (besides the Job situation)?

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    • Thanks for the very astute question, Teddi! John 3:32, Romans 3:7, and 1 Peter 4:11 speak about God receiving glory. There are many verses about God giving us all that we are, and there are many verses about us receiving from God. The rarity of verses talking about God receiving from us is part of my argument. Those that exist talk about us giving thanks, praise and glory.
      Matthew 6:3-4 (among other verses) talks about giving money as giving to God. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” It is part of God’s economy, but the ‘goods’ that He receives from that is glory.

      Then we get to suffering, our lowest, most grievous form of existence. God takes it in, somehow. Romans 5:3 talks about glorying in our suffering, Isaiah 53:3 talks about Jesus suffering, Hebrews 5:8 talks about Jesus’ suffering making Him perfect. Psalm 22:24 talks about God answering us when we suffer.
      In Job, we have Satan accusing Job of being a mercenary. This is all about giving and receiving. To prove how Satan is wrong, and unimaginative, and unable to fathom God, Our Lord asks Job to suffer without cursing Him. “Out of your nothing, give to Me.”

      Thank you again for asking for specific verses. I still look at the whole book together and think, every verse says we have a loving relationship, and love is a dialogue of giving and receiving. We are responsible for backing up our claims with The Word unaltered. You made me think very hard and by that you have given me a blessing.
      If you have anything to add, please do! I’ll keep thinking too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oooh, I like that. “Satan accusing Job of being a mercenary.” Nailed it. Hadn’t thought of the book within the context of a relationship being all about giving and receiving.

        “Does Job fear [worship] you for nothing?” (Job 1:9)

        Wow. Satan basically says, “He only worships You because You paid him off.”

        I suppose I resist the phrasing you’ve used here (“Out of your nothing, give to Me”), because I don’t like the picture it paints of God sitting there and saying, “Give me this” or “Suffer for Me, it’s a gift that I’ve been wanting for a while.” It paints Him as demanding and sadistic. Maybe that’s not the way you intend it to come across, though?

        In my mind, it goes more like this:

        God points out Job, a man He knows inside and out. God knows that Job has a limited understanding of Himself, but also knows that Job is through-and-through unyielding in his integrity of heart towards God. God’s like, “Here’s one of my kids. Isn’t he great?”

        Satan tries to incite God against Job. “He only likes You because You’re nice to him. Hurt him, and he’ll abandon You.”

        God refuses to hurt Job. “No way. That’s not how I roll. But go ahead, give it your best shot, within these limits, and you’ll see that I’m right.”

        Satan takes away all Job’s wealth. Doesn’t work. He changes tactics. “I bet if You hurt his body, Job would change his tune!”

        Once again, God refuses to hurt Job. “Go ahead, if you think that will work. But I know my man. He can handle even this.”

        God had faith in Job’s faith. Even knowing that Job would wonder if God was behind the tragedies, even knowing that He Himself would be accused of being the thief, the murderer, the destroyer, God was confident that Job could handle it.

        He counted Job worthy, to put it in the terms the apostle Paul used.

        Not worthy, like, “You’ve earned it through holiness.” But worthy, like, “You’re qualified to handle this.”

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      • Continuing to think about this… you’re looking at the book of Job in the context of being all about giving and receiving. I just wrote a series of blog posts on giving and receiving (aka sowing and reaping), and this conversation finally jogged something in my memory.

        Everything in life operates within the spiritual physics of sowing and reaping. One of the things He showed me while writing that series was that when Jesus says, “Love those that hate you, pray for those that persecute and despise you”, He’s giving us the key to turning the situation around. The seeds we sow come back to us, right?

        So if we’re experiencing hardship (persecution) and we sow love, it’s a way of bringing good out of evil. If we responded in kind, sowing seeds of anger in return, we would only be perpetuating the problem.

        So when God asks us for “the sacrifice of praise” in the midst of a trial, He’s not necessarily asking us for something because it has value to Him (as if giving out of our nothing makes Him happier than giving out of our abundance)… but because He loves us and it will turn things around for us.

        HOWEVER… I think I’m coming at this from a basic assumption or idea that if God is truly and purely Love, and Love is always about giving to others, then everything God teaches us (however demanding it may appear) is actually for our benefit. Not His.

        From that perspective, my theology (my understanding or view of God) is one in which He needs and wants nothing from us for His own sake, because He is completely self-sustained. He has no needs that we could fulfill. There’s probably a scholarly technical term for this kind of theology.

        After a quick search, I found this term: https://www.allaboutgod.com/self-sufficient-god.htm

        How do you feel about the concept that God doesn’t need us at all?

        I mean, it’s a romantic notion that God enjoys us, values us, and desires relationship with us. And I do think that’s stated in scripture. But I guess my conclusion was that because “God is love”, his desire for us and love for us springs out of the fact that He is love / He is loving, not that He needs our love.

        Of course, you never said God *needed* Job’s suffering (or his trust or allegiance). Only that there was an exchange that took place in the context of giving and receiving, and that Job gave God something.

        Whew. Well, I’ve spent most of the day pondering all this and writing it out. Thanks for the iron sharpening iron, and I look forward to your replies, though I may not get around to commenting on them until tomorrow. There’s laundry and other chores to be done! 🙂

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      • Sigh, ditto on the laundry. I love discussing this with you. Your insights are profound and challenging, even while I agree with you.
        God does not need us. He is self-sustaining, even in relationship. The Trinity provides within that circle all the love that is possible. Father worships Son and Spirit, Spirit worships Father and Son, Son worships Spirit and Father. etc.
        God reaches out and draws us into that relationship. We are one in Him. When we worship, give glory, thanks and honour, rail in honest suffering, we join in the mystery. We are lifted to a place of honour beyond our capacity.
        I believe all relationship involves give and take. I look forward to reading your posts about this! The kind of relationship God is after with us is loving friendship. The greatest honour in the bible is to be called God’s friend. Friendship is a two way street. The proof of friendship is giving AND receiving on both sides.
        I’ll reread your comments and pray through the night. God is here with us, He will speak further.

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  2. When I read your first post about Job, and the question of what he gave God, I discussed it with my hubby. One of the things we discussed was that Job misunderstood a lot about what was happening to him and who was doing it, and he had a distorted view of God (as did his companions). I have a whole different, long comment (that I probably won’t post) about the unreliability of taking passages from the book of Job at face value and thinking they are accurate portrayals of God.

    Regarding the question from your previous post: Job remained firm in his resolve to honor God and endure whatever happened to him as given from the hand of God. So we were thinking that Job gave God his respect. I’m glad you followed up your previous post with this one so we could hear your thoughts.

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    • I agree 100%. Job misunderstood just about everything. He had things to learn. When God sets out to bless, He splatters the blessing in many directions! The miracle is, God was with him throughout the misunderstanding. Our wrong conceptions don’t scare Him off. He doesn’t get angry when we rail against Him. This alone makes me fall to my face in awe before Him.
      Also, I never quote passages from Job’s friends, rarely from Job, even when they hit the nail on the head. One exception is Job 19:25. Job prophesies by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I know that my Redeemer lives! and that in the end He will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
      I love, love love the last chapters when God speaks. His correction is firm, and oh so merciful.

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      • Yes! (re: “My redeemer lives”)

        It’s such a good example of how truth and error can come out of the same mouth (and a humbling lesson for those of us who believe in and practice the gifts of the Spirit, including speaking the prophetic).

        Job at one point says “Oh, I wish there was a mediator between us, but there’s not” and then later says there is! I agree, I think he had a Spirit-inspired revelation along the way about that. 🙂

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      • I’ve read through your comments, and I’ve read your posts about sowing and reaping. Thoughts came to me that I think I’ll put in a full post! Thank you for your ‘iron’ stimulation, and I hope you continue to react to this subject.

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      • Looking forward to seeing your post when it comes!

        I’ve continued reading Job and noticed another thing of interest to me. In Job 31, Job talks about being aware that God’s always watching and how that motivates him to do the right thing (verses 1-4) and in verse 23 he says that “destruction from God is a terror to me”. In fact, he said something similar in Job 3:25, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me…”

        From these and other verses, it paints a picture of Job obeying God all his life in every little detail because of his fear of what would happen if he disobeyed. So he knew God existed and he was convinced God was watching him closely and would punish him for wickedness and reward him for obedience.

        Then later, he basically says, “What’s the point of obedience if destruction is still going to hit me?” He declares that God has denied him justice. Elihu paraphrases back Job’s conclusion: “It profits a man nothing That he should delight in God” (Job 34:9) and “What profit shall I have, more than if I had sinned?” (Job 35:3)

        If Job was obeying all this time out of fear of punishment, then it wasn’t because he knew and loved God for who God actually is. At the root of it, his obedience was self-serving. In other words, he *was* a mercenary at heart. (Not that I’m casting any stones here. I’m taking this to heart, because too often I choose obedience because I, too, know that it’s in my own best interest to do so.)

        Which makes it all the more poignant that Satan accused him of exactly that. The accuser of God’s people often has a good case for his accusations. What’s beautiful to me (in this moment) is that even before the cross, God was so full of grace and mercy that He loved Job and called him blameless despite this. And He knew that once this last crutch was knocked away, and Job’s primary motivation for obedience was gone, Job would still choose his Maker.

        And once God showed up and spoke, Job had an encounter that no doubt transformed his motivation for worship and obedience for the rest of his life. Instead of honoring God out of fear of punishment, now he would do it out of reverence for who God is, and how worthy He is of respect / honor / obedience.

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      • Yes! I am ecstatic to meet a fellow citizen of God’s Mercy! The cross did not change God into a gracious and merciful being, it is only proof of what He is from the beginning.
        I have heard ‘blamelessness’ described, not as sinlessness, but as having the sins covered by repentance and Jesus’s blood. Job obeyed all the sacrificial laws to be blameless, as you said, out of fear. He played the ‘what if’ game. As you so eloquently wrote, “Instead of honoring God out of fear of punishment, now he would do it out of reverence for who God is, and how worthy He is of respect / honor / obedience.” May we all be moving in that direction!

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  3. I like your idea that Job gave God his suffering, but I don’t think that it’s the suffering itself that had value to God. The suffering was a byproduct of the situation, a byproduct of a heart in right relationship, but not a virtue itself.

    I think that if Job gave God anything of value it was his submission and his trust. We know that God values faith (Hebrews 11:6) and responds to it (Mark 5:30, 34). He endured the suffering because he believed that God was in charge (Job 9:4, 12, etc) and because he thought if he could hold on long enough he’d get through it and come out the better for it (Job 23:10). And even if he didn’t come out of it alive, he’d still trust God (Job 13:15).

    In re-reading it again, maybe there’s another thing that God found of value in Job: he pursued relationship with God. Even in the midst of thinking God was behind the suffering he’d experienced, Job wanted conversation with Him. “Only two things do not do to me, Then I will not hide myself from You: [Don’t] withdraw Your hand far from me, And let not the dread of You make me afraid. Then call, and I will answer; Or let me speak, then You respond to me.” [Job 13:20-22 NKJV]

    The Bible states several times this principle of relationship: when we pursue Him, He will be found (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 7:7, James 4:8, etc). We usually think of this as a promise, but I don’t often hear anyone talk about why God responds to our diligent seeking. Could it be that it’s because it blesses Him? Because it touches His heart?

    The book of James says something interesting about Job’s example: “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” [Jas 5:10-11 NKJV]

    It doesn’t say “we count them blessed who suffer” even though suffering is mentioned. The virtue is the endurance. The motivation for endurance is our trust in Him.

    James makes it clear that God’s blessing (compassion and mercy) are in evidence at the end (not in the suffering), when He restores Job. Job was blessed not in being assigned / allowed suffering, but in the restoration. The endurance is a virtue because it enables us to reach the point of blessing, not because the suffering has value unto itself.

    At least that’s how I see it at the moment… 🙂

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  4. When I do a word search for “suffer” and “suffering”, I can see that the New Testament church embraced the newfound idea that one could suffer hardship and it wasn’t because of sin but because of righteousness (Acts 5:41, 1 Peter 2:20, 3:14). The apostle Paul related it very directly with being “worthy” of the Kingdom (Romans 8:17, Philippians 1:29).

    But I don’t see God ever saying or portrayed as valuing the suffering itself — what He values is that we don’t allow suffering to sway us from our allegiance to Him. Does that make sense?

    Links to word search:
    https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/search.cfm?Criteria=suffer&t=NKJV#s=s_primary_0_1
    https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/search.cfm?Criteria=suffering&t=NKJV#s=s_primary_0_1

    I do word searches like this just to get a feel for how a concept is mentioned throughout the Word. It’s not conclusive, and you have to be careful not to take the individual verses out of their full context. But it’s still helpful to me to get an overview of something.

    Suffering isn’t a simple topic. There’s a lot of nuance to it. And there’s a lot of emotional baggage we all carry. Suffering is one of the things that can distort our view of the world, ourselves, and God. It’s so personal and painful. Truly a crucible from which we either emerge refined or further broken. Worth wrestling with the topic and continuing to seek His heart in the midst of it.

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