One of the singular marvels of Scripture is Job’s response when he learned that he had lost everything. After a series of messengers bring him a string of devastating messages, piling tragedy upon tragedy in mind-numbing and soul-rending repetition, “Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and. . .” what? What does he do? Rend the heavens with his wails of grief? Fall into a state of catatonic shock? Scream until he has neither breath nor voice?

He worships.

From Theology to Doxology

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Job may very well have wailed and screamed in shock. To grieve deeply is no sin, as the rest of his story  bears out. But how, in that moment of devastation, can he worship? Job can worship the LORD because he knows something about him, and what he knows at that horrible moment is enough. Job knew that everything he possessed was an undeserved gift from the hands of a gracious God. When God determined the time had come to take the gifts away, Job “fell on the ground and. . . blessed the name of the LORD” (1:20–21). Later, when his friends accused him of hidden sin, Job knew with the certainty of a conscience washed in faith that his sin had been forgiven. He may have been perplexed at the will of the LORD to permit these horrors in his life, and he may have staggered under his repeated questions of “Why?” but he held fast his confession of faith; he knew that his Redeemer lived, and at the last he will stand upon the earth (19:25). Job’s theology led to doxology; what he believed about God fueled his worship.

As believers, like Job, we naturally want to know why our gracious heavenly Father sends trials our way. But even when lacking specific answers, we can still rest on what we know to be true. Hence, it is important to learn what we can about our God who has revealed himself in the words of Scripture and in the person of Christ. I don’t know how Job knew what he knew about God, since he lived before the writing of the Pentateuch, but from the time of Moses God has graciously given us his holy, inspired, and inerrant Word as a guide not only to life and holiness, but to knowing him.

Knowing God Leads to Worshipping God

Another Old Testament saint was perplexed by the ways of the LORD, and he wrote his perplexity into a song. Psalm 73 traces the questions of Asaph, a man who knows God is holy and just, but when he saw the wicked prospering and the righteous suffering it made no sense to him. In his calculations it simply didn’t add up.

But then he goes into the temple, and sees there the altar of sacrifice. “Then [he] discerned their end” (Ps. 73:17). For in the altar he sees the promise that God’s justice will not fail, it is only waiting. Asaph knew from the promises given in the Law that the altar represented a substitutionary atonement through the death of another (Lev. 16). And though the blood of an animal could never pay for human sins, the sacrifices pointed forward to One whose death would be the perfect propitiation for sins. Though he didn’t know the whole story of redemption would culminate on a cross outside of Jerusalem hundreds of years later, he did know that “the Lord [his] God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments . . . and repays to their face those who hate him (Deut. 7:9–10). As his theology reminds him of the truth of God’s faithfulness and justice, Asaph is moved to worship:

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25–26)

Worship Your Highest Value

The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” and the answer follows, “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” The writers were careful to cite supporting Scriptures as they summarized the points of faith throughout the catechisms and confession. For the word “enjoy” in the answer above, they cited just one verse, Psalm 73:25. Robert Godfrey explains their choice as follows:

“At the time that the catechism was written in the seventeenth century, enjoy had a much stronger meaning to it. It came from a tradition where . . . to enjoy something was to make it your highest value. To make it supreme in your life. To say: ‘this is what is most important for me. This is why I live. This is the direction of my living. I want to enjoy God. I want him to be all-in-all for me.’”[1]

Job believed this. So when Satan struck, rather than cursing God to his face (Job 1:11; 2:5), he gathered up his theology and bowed in worship, glorifying God and proving to all the watching universe that the LORD is worthy of worship not for the gifts he gives, but for who he is. Job knew that that the most important thing in the universe is the glory of God.[2] Asaph believed this. His song of worship calls us to remember our theology in the face of the perplexities of the world. Christian, remember and worship—enjoying God is more desirable than anything in heaven and earth!

[1] W. Robert Godfrey, Enjoying God, preached March 16, 2003, at First Presbyterian Church of Coral Springs/Margate, FL, transcribed at Sermon – Grateful (

[2] Christopher Ash, Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014), p. 44–45, Job may not have fully understood this at the beginning of his trial, but he had thoroughly learned it by the end. Reading this chapter (2) was worth the cost of the entire book for me.

Barbaranne Kelly

Barbaranne Kelly is a reader, writer, retreat speaker, and hospitality enthusiast. She and her husband Jim are members of Christ Presbyterian Church in New Braunfels, Texas where she serves on the women’s ministry team and leads women’s Bible studies. She has been blogging ever since she accidentally registered for a blog while attempting to comment on a friend’s post and figured, “Why not?” She now writes for her own blog, Grateful, and for Women of Purpose, the women’s ministry blog of CPC. God has blessed Barbaranne and Jim with five fascinating children, two awesome sons-in-law, two amazing daughters-in-law, and four delightful grandsons. In all her roles it is Barbaranne’s sincere hope that she and those to whom she ministers may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.