As a young believer I spent a lot of time studying the New Testament to learn about the Jesus I was following. Now, years later, I find myself spending time in the Old Testament. The stories and themes of the Old Testament are the same stories that Jesus heard as a young child and man. He drew from the Old Testament again and again as he taught those who gathered around Him. While we have some of the stories Jesus shared in the New Testament, I wonder if there were others and did they include Job or Solomon?
Job is often looked to as the long suffering man, losing all of his children and possessions (Job 1:13-22). Sure he is held up as a man of honor and faithfulness, but no one wants to step into his shoes to receive the blessing on the other side of the suffering. Job starts his story with great wealth and blessing, too (Job 1:1-3) but Job also had a faith in God that was celebrated by God Himself (Job 1:8). Even when God allowed the enemy to test Job, Job remained faithful (Job 1:20-22).
Solomon, however, was blessed beyond belief by God, having more than anyone before him, including his father, David (1 Chronicles 29:25). But, what many don’t realize is that eventually Solomon’s heart turned away from God and turned toward the gods and idols brought into Israel by his concubines. After all that God had blessed him with (2 Chronicles 1:11-12, 14-17), he forgot the Giver of the blessings.
When I look at these two men, often held up as pillars of the Faith, I admit to being drawn to Solomon. Who wouldn’t be? He’s blessed, handsome, wise, and a leader. Job on the other hand, sits in the dust, robe torn, head shaved, and has no possessions. If someone made a pros/cons list, Job would definitely be in the wrong column.
Jesus made it clear that what we follow must have substance, it isn’t about the shiny things. He was described as not being a good-looking man (Isaiah 53:2b-3). Why not? When we follow Him we aren’t choosing a good looking man, we are choosing the Son of God. It is who He is, not how He looks that matters (1 Samuel 16:7).
My faith is here for the marathon, the long term. Job endured struggle, sorrow, loss, and yet, he never denied God and His goodness, His perfection, or Sovereignty. These are the things that Solomon forgot. My prayer is that I will live a life that leaves a legacy of faith like that of Job. No matter the struggle, the strain, the battle, the loss, the sorrow, the triumph, the restoration– no matter what I pray my children and grandchildren will recognize that I chose to follow God.
May I be like Job who said, My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you (Job 42:5). I pray the same for you.