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$150 AUD ($160 USD), Watercolor Pencil and Acrylic on Matboard, 29 cm x 44 cm (11.5″ x 17.5″), Cards Available
“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’
Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming the earth and going back and forth in it.’
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.’
‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’
The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has in in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’
While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
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 come from?’
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 reason.’
‘Skin for skin!’ Satan replied. ‘A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.’
The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.’
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, ‘Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!’
He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”
This drawing is the third of three drawings which illustrate a progressive journey with God through Gethsemane, Crucifixion and Resurrection. God’s purpose in taking me through this journey has been to teach me how to worship as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). The first drawing is “Gethsemane: Not My Will, But Your Will Be Done” (Believer’s Road Series). The second is “Sacrifice: The Fragrance of Worship” (Praise and Worship Series 2). I did a fourth drawing also relating to the three, which, so far as the chronology of the journey goes, fits in between the second and third drawings. It is “Crucifixion was The Only Way Worship Could Be Released (Believer’s Road Series 2).
Job is perhaps the most profound example of a true worshiper in the entire Bible.
Before Job was tested he was commended by God as a true worshiper, for he was blameless. When everything that constituted Job’s life and brought joy to his soul was completely taken away all at once, Job consistently remained that same worshiper. Job was proven to be a living sacrifice before, during and after his trial.
“Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen
Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 11:33-12:2)
God desires that all his children worship him as surrendered, living sacrifices, just like Job did. But as Satan said, it is easy for a person to worship God when he or she is in a place of stable, abundant blessing (Job 1:9-11). It is when the fiery trials hit us and the precious things in our lives are taken away that the true purity of our worship and the true quality of our character is revealed.
Jesus once said, “…Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance…” (Luke 12:15 AMP)
Jesus’ statement is a priceless revelation from heaven to us. It is the golden key to understanding where our life, as Christians, is not derived from. It is also essential to understanding the true nature of worship.
If we were to ask an unbeliever, “What makes up (constitutes) your life?”, we would probably get an answer like the following: “I have a wife, a family of three children, a career in management and a nice home. I play golf and go fishing on the weekends in my boat with a couple of my friends”.
The unbeliever would most likely list a number of earthly things which constitute his life here. This is because his entire orientation is not spiritual but primarily earthly. Most likely, if we take away his recreational activities, he will feel like he’s losing part of his life. If we take away all three of his children, he’ll definitely feel like he’s lost a huge part of his life. If we take away absolutely everything which he listed as constituting his life, including his own health, he would feel like there is nothing left to his life anymore and may even be suicidal.
If we derive our life from earthly things (or more precisely, the joy and satisfaction earthly things bring us), to whatever measure we feel we are missing something, the “life power” within us diminishes. When many things or big things which constitute our life are missing, suicide often becomes the natural tendency. This is because all of us have a voraciously strong desire to be alive. Death is horror and torment to the living, and when we lack enough of what constitutes our “life”, the agony of death fills the place of that which is missing. When that pain and agony becomes too much for us to take, we want to die. Being in the painful, agonizing throes of death is worse than being dead, and so this drives some people to suicide. This is precisely what Job’s wife suggested that he do after he lost everything.
Because our desire to be alive is so strong, our natural tendency is to become covetous of earthly things. We do this because we erroneously think that our life is constituted of the abundance of our possessions. We reason that the more we fill our lives with earthly things that bring happiness to our souls, the fuller “life” we will have. These aren’t necessarily material possessions but can also be things such as achievements, positions of power, the approval of man, etc.
But this is where Jesus says to us, “…Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance…” (Luke 12:15 AMP)
According to the Bible, as believers there are only two different kinds of lifestyles we can live (Romans 6). Either we worship Self, or we worship God. Each lifestyle is mutually exclusive, for Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13). (Money is the universal means through which we worship and serve Self, thus making ourselves happy.) We can only be dead to one and alive to the other. Either we are alive to God and dead to Self, or we are dead to God and alive to Self.
(As a side comment, this is the root error of the prosperity doctrine, which presumes we can simultaneously possess “abundant life” IN both God and Self. It is a false form of “christianity” that denies the cross, contradicts the Scriptures and the pattern Jesus gave us (Philippians 2:3-12, 3:7-4:1.) We can either worship God by seeking his pleasure or we can worship ourselves by seeking our own pleasure, but we cannot, according to the Scriptures, do both (regardless of whether we are poor or wealthy Christians).)
If we worship Self, then bringing happiness to our own souls is our core desire and goal. If we worship God, then bringing happiness to the heart of God is our core desire and goal. The fundamental way we worship God is through pouring out our earthly lives as living sacrifices.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1)
In order to be a living sacrifice and to enter into the worshipful, resurrection life of Jesus, we must first go through a figurative death to our Selves and our own lives (Philippians 3:10-11). Going through Gethsemane and Calvary is agony upon our souls (it is not the happiness Self so strongly desires and seeks), but when God brings us through by his grace, the resurrection life power and joy we have far outweighs all of the suffering we went through to get there! (Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 4:17). We would be total fools to hold onto that which is not life and, in so doing, forfeit that which is the true, abundant life!
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:23-24)
Therefore, as God’s dearly loved children, let us not follow after the erroneous pattern of the unbelieving world and seek to derive our lives from anything in this world. Indulging ourselves, though pleasurable for a moment (Hebrews 11:24-26), does not bring true happiness or life to our souls. Rather, seeing God worshiped and exalted to the utmost and bringing happiness to his heart by worshiping as a living sacrifice is what brings us the greatest happiness. Living as a living sacrifice is the true abundant life of Jesus.
When we choose to yield to the working of the cross upon us and to relinquish our Selves unto death, then we come through death into a glorious new resurrection life where Jesus himself is our life, for he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life…” (John 14:6) and “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Our life source is Jesus Christ alone. Our life consists of having a living, intimate relationship with him. “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19) and, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Just as Abraham offered his son, his most precious ‘possession’ and the source of his personal fulfillment (earthly and spiritual), as an act of worship to God, so we must also offer everything we have to God in worship. We must sacrifice all that we have and all that we are to him in worship if we are to truly be that living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
Our love for God is proved genuine as we worship through sacrifice. (See “Praise and Worship Series: Sacrifice: The Fragrance of Worship”.)
When God himself is the sole source of our life (Philippians 3:10-11), when we experience that vital, living union with him as we abide in the vine (John 15:1-8), then we no longer covet earthly things, for we know we do not derive any life from them. In fact, these very things that unbelievers derive their life from (spouse, family, job, hobbies, possessions, achievements, etc.), are the very things that believers must slaughter as burnt offerings on God’s altar of worship.
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)
Interestingly, Scripture says we can sacrifice and surrender all to God and yet not do so out of love or worship (1 Corinthians 13:3). Sacrifice in and of itself is not what God seeks (Isaiah 1:10-14); rather, he is seeking worshipful hearts that genuinely love him (John 4:23-24). However, when we do love God more than anyone or anything, and when we hate our own earthly lives in comparison to our love for God (John 12:23-26), when we ‘hate’ even the dearest people to us in comparison to our love for God (Luke 14:25-27), then sacrificial worship becomes an easy thing for us. Like Mary, we delight to pour out our most treasured, costly possessions upon the Lord in worship (John 12:1-8). Full, unblemished sacrifices offered in love is worship perfected.
Our perception of the Lord’s worth versus the worth of our own lives and possessions determines how costly of an offering we will sacrifice to him in worship.
Job knew worship and intimacy with God before his trial. Therefore, when the time of testing came, his worship was proven pure and true. Amazingly, his first response to losing everything was to fall to the ground and worship God. Job realized he came naked from his mother’s womb. He recognized God was the one who gave him life and God was the one who added every blessing to it.
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away, may the name of the LORD be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:20-22)
Like Job, we must keep the proper perspective that all of our ‘possessions’ in our earthly life, including our life itself, are not inherently ours but have been given to us from God. God is therefore at complete liberty to give us things and to take them away without being charged with any wrongdoing. Furthermore, the earthly blessings God gives us, through which we experience pleasure are only additions to the full, complete and abundant life we already possess through intimacy with Jesus.
Another profound secret we learn about Job the worshiper can be found after his second test. Nearly all of his earthly possessions had been taken away during his first test, but in his second test his health–in essence, part of his very own self or life–was taken away. Job’s wife, who apparently felt that Job’s life was constituted out of the abundance of his earthly possessions, could not see a purpose to his life anymore. Therefore, she reasoned, why not curse God and die (Job 2:9)?
However, Job makes a very profound statement at this point. He said, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10). As a living sacrifice, what Job desired more than anything was constant communion and intimacy with God. Despite all that he lost, what he longed for the most was not his possessions but his intimate friendship with God to be (apparently) restored.
“‘How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness! Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.” (Job 29:2-6)
Job’s statement demonstrates that what he truly wanted was intimacy with God. He had walked with God in blessing, and he still earnestly wanted intimacy with God even when he had ‘given him trouble’. Notice Job did NOT say, “I don’t want to walk with God anymore because he gave me trouble.” Instead, Job essentially said, “I want God more than anything. I want God if he gives me blessing, and I want God if he gives me trouble. Whatever comes to me from the hand of God–whether blessing or trouble–I will receive because it comes from the hand of the God I love. I cannot reject what God has sovereignly given me without rejecting God himself; therefore, I accept him and everything that comes from his hand, pleasurable or painful.”
I see a similar attitude in Jesus. “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). Jesus wanted communion with the Father more than anything. To remain in communion with the Father, Jesus could not deviate from his perfect will. Jesus’ desire for God and his desire to do God’s will was severely tested in the Garden of Gethsemane. There Jesus’ actions essentially said, “More than anything I want you, Father. I desire to do your will because I love you. Therefore, I desire to drink the cup you have given me. Though the cup is bitter, you are precious to me; therefore, I will drink it because it is the cup of your perfect will that comes from your precious hand.”
Job’s attitude was similar to Jesus, and ours should be also. Whether painful or pleasurable on the earthly plane, the cup of God’s perfect will for our lives is always sweet on the spiritual plane because it is from the hand of our precious God. As Christians, God is our delight and we delight to do his perfect will. Though we may not understand why God would give us a bitter cup with pain and suffering in it, because we love him and trust him we drink it.
In the Bible, glory and suffering are almost always linked together; out of suffering comes God’s glory. God must bring us to the place where we desire his will and his glory more than our own life. He must bring us to the place where we love him and desire to tell the whole world how exceedingly beautiful our Beloved is more than our own life (Song of Songs 5:10-16). Oftentimes the way God chooses to do this is through suffering.
Whenever we contemplate suffering, the crucifixion should be the centerpiece of our focus. It is a mystery why God sovereignly planned the way of salvation to be so painful and costly for himself. Why did God not choose for himself an easy, comfortable plan devoid of suffering through which to redeem us? While I cannot possibly explain the deep mysteries of God, Jesus did say, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Scripture also says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
Just as darkness amplifies the brightness of light, so also the great sacrifice of the cross demonstrates God’s love to be all the more greater. It is the same principle in our worship, for the essence of worship (the demonstration of our love for God) is sacrifice. Out of love for God and for us, Jesus drank a bitter cup of suffering and death. Whenever we suffer we are given the opportunity to mutually demonstrate how deeply we love God and worship him.
By the grace and power of God may our love and worship be found pure, genuine and abundant through even our darkest trials and greatest losses.
My drawing depicts Job the worshiper. He has fallen to the ground in worship in the same position as Jesus in my drawing, “Gethsemane: Not My Will, But Your Will Be Done” (Believer’s Road Series). I established this link because both of them worship the Lord as living sacrifices. Also, “Gethsemane” was the first of three drawings in my journey of learning what it means to be a living sacrifice, so I have chosen to relate this work back to it.
Job’s entire earthly horizon is bleak. Smoke rises from the wreckage of his four great losses during his first test (Job 1:13-19). Smoke also rises from Job, but it is not the smoke of destruction but of worship. Job is a living sacrifice, a burnt offering, and the fragrant smoke of his worshipful sacrifice rises as a sweet aroma to God. This relates to the second of my three drawings in this series: “Sacrifice: The Fragrance of Worship” (Praise and Worship Series 2).
Despite “all” being lost on the earthly plane, Job’s worship rises above all of the earthly destruction. In fact, his colorful worship widens the higher it goes until it fills his entire horizon above and displaces the horizon of smoke. If one looks horizontally–on the earthly plane–all is only bleak devastation. If one looks vertically–on the spiritual plane and horizon–all is colorful, lively praise and worship.
(See also “Above All Else, Guard Your Heart, For It is The Wellspring of Life (Proverbs 4:23)” (Believer’s Road Series 2) and “Through Fire and Water Praise Comes Forth (Praise and Worship Series)”. For the other drawings inspired directly out of this Job experience, please see: “Gethsemane: Not My Will, But Your Will Be Done” (Believer’s Road Series), “Sacrifice: The Fragrance of Worship” (Praise and Worship Series 2) and “Crucifixion was The Only Way Worship Could Be Released” (Believer’s Road Series 2).)