Worship in the Ashes

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Question… is it easier to sing when you are happy or sad? Happy of course! When I’m sad, or when I’m worried, there’s a lump that’s stuck in my throat. How could I sing when I feel like crying? But yes, I did. I sing when I’m glad but I also sing when I’m sad. Sometimes singing makes me cry just as crying makes me sing. And I’m not alone.
Job more than cried and sang… he worshipped..

The two sides of the coin…
Job 1
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.
Background of the story: Job just lost everything he had: his possessions (sheep, camels, oxen’s, donkeys, servants) and his family (sons and daughters). Job 1:1-3, 13-19

What was Job’s reaction? He mourned. In olden times, people tore their clothing’s and shaved their heads when they grieved. It is a natural response for man to be sad when there is a loss. In his grief, falling to the ground and lying in the ground, he worshiped. Job showed us the ultimate worship – worship in the ground, down in the pit of life.

Satan challenged God: Does Job fear God for nothing? Of course, he’s loyal to you because you have blessed his life. Let’s see how he fares when you take everything from him. We learn from Job that it is possible to be sad and worship at the same time. Worship is not about state of total bliss – everything fine, rosy and cheery.

How did Job worship? What enabled him to worship? Job didn’t know anything about Satan’s challenge. His response: worship from the ashes, is based on two truths he held on to:
He uttered two realities of life in worship.

He said,
Truth 1: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there.
Job remembered where he came from. He started with nothing. All the rich and famous people, people with wealth, name and status, they all came into the world butt naked. What is there to lose when you have nothing in the first place.
Job knew where he would end. In the grave, he could take nothing with him. All the animals, money and possessions he had, he would leave behind when he dies.

Coming from and going to – these are two sides of the coin of life. The start and the end. Seeing the start and the end changes our lens of life.

Truth 2: The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Job believed that all he had came from the hand of the Lord. It is the Lord, it is not about what Job did or who he is. Job knew the two sides of the coin. Given and taken – his life was given him and his life can also be taken from him. Everything is from the Lord.

Between these two truths lie a relationship. Job had such intimate relationship with God. He knew himself (his beginning and end). He knew his God (His giving and taking). He viewed his loss and worshipped through this dual lens – who he is and who God is.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.
To bless the name of the Lord is to praise God because all things come from Him and go back to Him. Job kneel in the ashes before the Lord to praise His name.

Is it easier to praise God when all is well? It might be easier but reality is that when life is easy and all is well, people tend to be self-sufficient, complacent and put God to one side. Christians shine best in the world when they praise God in the ashes. The world gets to witness how they overcome life’s obstacles and hardships in faith as they sing and bless the name of the Lord. What kind of God deserves such a worship?

A worth-ship so great that only sufferings open our eyes to see. At the end of all his sufferings,
Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”

Through it all, God did not explain to Job why he went through such sufferings and pain. Job never knew the scenes behind God allowing all the things to happen to him. Yet at the end of it all, Job fully experienced and saw God in all His wonder. He repented of his demand for God to explain himself and vindicate him for the sufferings that he experienced.
In the ashes, Job experienced God! You can too.

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