Does it matter to God if you love Him? He's God, He doesn't actually need your love. Yet He does command us to love Him, and surely that's for our joy but can it also be for His? God says He loves us, even tells us He gets jealous. Again, our Lord doesn't need our love, but He sure seems to desire it.
Another question, does our love for God matter to Satan? Yes, he hates it and he'll do anything to keep us from loving God.
Is God lovable for who He is, or primarily for what He does for us?
The question is raised, then, is God lovable for who He is or mainly for what He does for us? If our love doesn't grow beyond loving Him for what He does for us, what if He doesn't do what we hope, what if He allows horrible things to happen? Does it still makes sense to love God even if He allows misery or grief in our lives?
Let's read the first chapter of Job.
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. 2 Seven sons and three daughters were born to him.
We're also told that he's exorbitantly wealthy and a good, loving father.
So Job was blameless, even when he sinned he resolved it with God. He's righteous; he used his wealth to help others, his influence to fight oppression.
Job "feared God and turned away from evil," which means he loved God. Job feared God in that his heart was devoted to honor God in how he lived.
In the next scene, we're given a surprising glimpse into the heavens with the angels assembed before God.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
Although Satan was once at home in heaven before God, he no longer has a home there, he's an enemy of God, yet God is unafraid and he is allowed access to God.
In Jesus' day, the devil requested permission to sift Peter like wheat, yet Jesus requested that Peter's faith wouldn't fail. In Revelation 12 the devil frequently appears before God's throne accusing believers, believers night and day.
That's disturbing! But rather than fear the devil, we trust Jesus Christ,
Romans 8:34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
So, Satan is before God, with a chip on his shoulder. And from His throne…
Job 1:7 The LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it."
He's been roaming the earth, with boots on the ground, he's looking for trouble. We're wise to heed Peter's warning which is still in play today,
1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Well it seems like this has been all too easy for him, he's bored with the hunt.
Job 1:8 The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."
God starts something here. He points out Job and affirms everything that was said about him in verse 1. He's blameless, righteous, he turns away from evil. And He fears the LORD his God, Job honors me, Job loves me…
Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? [Of course he is faithful to You, You've protected him all his life.] You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. [Job "fears" You, he "loves" You, but it's a sham, it's quid pro quo!] 11 But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; [then he'll show what he really thinks, how little he loves You!] he will surely curse You to Your face."
Hear Satan's accusation, "They don't love you, God. You're like the filthy rich grandfather, Your family only pretends to love You for Your money. But stop writing checks, take back what You gave; they'll curse You."
God accepts the challenge, which He by the way first initiated.
Job 1:12 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.
Satan would destroy us all if he could but God puts a limit on Satan's blood lust.
And God is not being baited, Satan is. God started this. "Have you considered My servant Job?" Does our love matter to God? You bet it does. God stakes the supremacy of His Name on Job's devotion to Him. Satan certainly does.
It's like the devil is saying, "You aren't so such a much to them. What, you think Job serves you for nothing?! Let me exchange all of your blessings for suffering, and those whom You love so much will curse You to Your face."
But God trusts Job's love for Him, that Job truly loves God and not just God's blessings. Sure, we love God because He first loved us. God loved us and sent His Son. But like Job, we receive God's blessings as an act of God's love, God's goodness to us. Job trusts God's love for him, but what's really cool is that God trusts Job's love for Him. He's got this type of relationship with Job.
Job trusts God's love for him, but what's really cool is that God trusts Job's love for Him. This is a relationship God is proud of, and a relationship He wants with us.
Then it happened. It's just another wonderful day in Job's life. Until a servant frantically approached him, "The Sabeans attacked, they rustled your 1000 oxen and 500 donkeys and they slew all of your servants there except me."
Job 1:14 The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.
Before he could take that in, another of his servants rode up and told him,
"The fire of God fire fell from heaven and consumed all of your 7000 sheep and all of your hired servants except for me."
Job 1:16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
Satan was able to manipulate people—the Sabeans, and nature—a great fire.
Then another servant rode in and told him, "The Chaldeans raided your 3000 camels and slew all of your servants there except for me."
Job 1:17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
Poor Job has lost everything except for his health and his family.
Job 1:18 While he was still speaking, another also came [O no] and said, "Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and [a tornado] struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Job's life went from joy to grief and poverty in a day! And God allowed this. Some won't admit that; it shakes their faith in God. If you are a good person, if you serve the Lord, your life should be blessed, right? Yet Job is the most righteous man of his day and the Lord apparently ruined his life anyway.
While Satan would have us say God is not worth loving, the book of Job goes on to prove quite the opposite.
God loves a whole world that doesn't love Him. God continues to love those of us who love Him as Job did, and those of us who aren't as strong as Job, who even turn our backs on Him when pain overtakes us.
Job 1:20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said, "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. [I brought nothing into the world, I came into the world naked. Everything I've ever had—my wealth, my possessions, my children—everything was grace, gifts from the God who loves me!] The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." 22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
You and I are not Job, you may question God, curse him, scream at Him, but He's going to love you through it.
However, know this, for the hurt and grieving believer to run toward Jesus in your pain, and to jump into His arms and let the Holy Spirit comfort and reassure you, for you to confidently trust the Father's sovereign goodness and love even in your pain, you too will bless and not curse God.
Many of you can attest to that. You've suffered great loss, endured great grief, but rather than curse God you trusted Him and in time—no nothing ever takes all of the pain away—but your faith and love of God became more personal, your joy was renewed in new ways, and the future filled with hope.
Does it makes sense to still love God if He allows misery to ruin our lives?
It depends on what you truly believe about God? Job learned throughout his life that God is good.
Job believed God loved him, that everything was a gift of God's grace. So if for some reason, God chose to take these away, He is still good, He still loves me, and He's still worthy of my honor.
When life is really difficult it may be easy to doubt God is love or that God even cares if you love Him. But God loves you so much that He exchanged His Son's life for yours. Jesus Christ the Son of God suffered to have you.
Millennia before Jesus came, Job tells us what the cross proves—that God is worthy of our love regardless of our present adversity or grief.
And He cares about your love; love does that.
Satan cares too, but filled with hate he only wants you to curse the God who loves you and die alone. Yet God is committed to love you even through tragedy, even if your love fails.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, [emotional grief, physical loss, suffering,] may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.