Love’s Love: What We Learn from Job

If you were going to explain love to somebody what would you say? Where would you start? Love is very hard to explain. When I first told Mandi that I loved her, I thought I knew what love was.

Not really.

When we got married, I thought I knew what love was then.

Not really.

Now, 23 years and three kids later, I can say with certainty that while I knew something of what love was then, I have a much different understanding of what love is now.

What I have been learning about love is that I am always going to be learning what it means to love.

If I were going to try and explain what love is, knowing what I know, what would I say? Let me take a first crack at that by saying what I hope is obvious. Love is an attraction to something we find beautiful. It may be a whole lot more than that, but it is certainly not less than that, right?

Whenever we say we love something, we are expressing a strong delight for, joy in, or attraction to, that something. Whatever else you might add to a definition of love you have to start with this: that love is a strong attraction to something we find desirable or beautiful. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about God, family, TV shows, behavior, politics, or Chinese food, when we say we love something we are saying there is something about that person or thing or behavior that we find attractive.

So the question I want to think about this week is this: What does Christian love find lovely? What is it that distinguishes a love that is born out of the Holy Spirit living in a person that makes it distinct from the love of the world? What is love’s love?

A passage that gives a very clear the answer to this question may, at the outset, seem to have nothing to say about love at all; but trust me, I am a trained professional! I want to look at the first chapter of Job.

Here is a summary of what I see this passage teaching about love’s love.

Job’s love for God was shown in his desire to pursue personal holiness and in looking to pass on that desire in his children. Notice how this plays out in his relationships with others. Job shows it by being gracious and compassionate with his children by offering sacrifices on their behalf (verse 5). He shows it in living a life guided by God’s truth in how he conducts himself in his relationships; both in his family and in his business. He is twice described as being blameless and upright; a man who feared God and shunned evil (verses 1 and 8). His character and purity before God and that of his family were extremely important to him. This is what God loves in Job, God sees His holiness mirrored in Job’s life. God’s love and approval of job is seen in His exclaiming there is one else like him on the face of the earth (verse 8).

Satan questions the ground, the foundation of Job’s love for God. He believed Job’s love was based on the blessings and wealth that God had given him. “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” (verses 9-11).

How does God respond? The “Pastor Dan Official Paraphrase” for verse 12 is, God leaned forward in His throne and smiled, took a long puff on his cigar, and in front of all the heavenly assembly said, “Prove it.” Satan sets right out to prove his point. And in a single day he destroys all Job’s wealth and kills all of his children (verses 13-19).

How does Job respond to this sudden unexplained turn of providence?
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” (verses 20-21). He responded with worship! He responded by expressing his continued love for God. His love for God was not based on God’s blessings, or gifts, or wealth, but on something else. Job’s love for God was not based in God’s gifts but in Him.

Tuesday’s post will unpack what that means.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s