Despite the fact that Job likely lived in the time of the patriarchs, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his story appears in the Bible right before the book of Psalms. Chuck Swindoll gives us some good reasons to believe that Job lived around the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (source here). Chronologically, the book could be placed after Deuteronomy. I think God divinely directed those who assembled the canon of scripture.
Job struggled with understanding why God allowed such suffering in his life, but He never questioned God’s right to do so, and he never lost his faith in God. However, God wanted to give him a bigger, more accurate picture of Himself. The story wraps up with three chapters of God essentially “putting Job in his place” as He described just how big He is and how small we are in comparison. God can do whatever He wants. Job repented of his lack of humility in questioning God’s purposes and was restored to his former wealth and blessed with ten more children. Incidentally, God rebuked Job’s three friends for giving him bad advice!
The book of Psalms is refreshing to read after Job. In Job, we see God’s mighty power and authority. The Psalms also describe these same attributes, but they are made more personal by the glimpses that David and the other psalmists give us into God’s heart for His people and His intentional, personal intimacy and care for the individual. David was a “man after God’s heart” both in his life and in his writing.
One recurring theme in the psalms I have read so far is God is paying attention to us. He sees us. He is watching us. He sees the hearts of all men, both those who have believed in Him, repented of their sin, and put their faith in Him, but also the hearts of those who are wicked and ungodly and have chosen not to believe in Him.
The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works. (Psalm 33:13-15)
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness. (Psalm 33:18)
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. (Psalm 34:15)
The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes see, His eyelids test the sons of mankind. (Psalm 11:4)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will advise you with My eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8)
How does it make you feel that God sees you? If you know and love Him, it should comfort you and give you confidence that nothing can happen to you unless God allows it. It also makes us a bit uncomfortable as we realize that God not only sees what we do (outwardly) but sees right into our thoughts, attitudes, and feelings. Perhaps that is why David wrote these words:
Let the words of my mouth AND the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD my rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14). David realized that God is not only concerned with the words that make it out of our mouths but also the words formed in our heads and hearts that we wisely keep hidden.
God saw into Job’s heart and knew that He needed a bigger view of God. God saw into David’s heart as well, and over the course of his life, He refined Him into the king He needed him to be. Both Job and David suffered greatly, in their eyes often unfairly, yet God never took His eyes off of them. God doesn’t blink.
God sees us.
His heart is for us.
He is worthy of our full attention as well.
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