When All Is Gone

I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward. – Genesis 15:1c.

The Lord is my Shepherd…Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. – Psalm 23 :1a; 4a.

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. – John 6:68.

Job, who lived in the land of Uz, was a man who had it made in worldly terms. He had a large family and was blessed with an abundance of worldly goods. However, in a very short period of time it was all tragically taken away from him. The bad news came, and then more bad news came, and more and more; it must have seemed like it would never end. The Sabeans raided, killing servants, and taking away his oxen and donkeys. Then, another messenger came to report that the fire of God had fallen from heaven, burning up his sheep and servants. Then, the Chaldeans came, killing more servants and taking Job’s camels. Finally, it was reported to Job that his sons, and daughters had been killed when a great wind hit their home. On top of all of this bad news, Job became horribly, terribly ill; with sores over his entire body, and he was in much pain.

All had been taken away from Job except for a few miserable friends, and his wife, who urged him to just curse God and die. Job was about as low as you can go, and still be breathing. On top of it all, his friends accused him of being a sinner, and urged him to confess his sins. His friends believed all the bad things had happened because Job had committed some terrible sin. However, Job was innocent so there was not anything to confess.

In the United States, we have a great tradition of pausing once a year to give thanks to God for His blessings during the past year. The tradition of thanksgiving was begun over three hundred years ago. We are thankful for all the things, and worldly blessings that we have been allowed to have, and to enjoy. We should express our thanks to God, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day for all He has blessed us.

Job and David, both point us to a deeper level of Thanksgiving. When all has been taken away. When all our worldly goods, and even our families are gone. When our health has broken, and we are in pain, what can we be thankful for then? David expresses it in this way, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” When we have reached the lowest of low, even in the “valley of the shadow of death” then, there is only the most important of all left, for which to be thankful. What is that? God. Underlying everything, every blessing, every day we should be thankful for God. As God told Abraham, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” As Peter said to Jesus when asked if he too was going to leave, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

When all is gone, when we are walking in the valley of the shadow of death, we still have the most important, wonderful, One of all, to be thankful for – God! He is our “exceedingly great reward.”

(As God told Abraham, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”)

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