“And the LORD said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?'” (Job 1:8 ESV).
Job, the sufferer. Christians shudder when they pick up his tale. A man at ease, and then the ease evaporated. Pain and misery flooded in. A human tested.
However, before it all began, consider the boast of the Lord. "There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil" (1:8). God saw Job and loved what he saw, a person who lived in the shadow of reverence for the divine. Job was righteous, rejecting the temptations of evil and walking in the blameless path God and his conscience had put before him.
Recently, upon reading God's description of Job, I was encouraged by all that was lacking. As a believer, and as a pastor, I crave fruitfulness unto God. I want to make a difference in the world, to help humanity, to be everything Christ has rebirthed me to be.
But something struck me as I read of God boasting over Job. Fruitfulness and impact were not mentioned, at least not directly. Instead, God loved Job's inner compass of righteousness and goodness. He loved how Job was a different kind of man in a broken and hurting world. He loved Job's fear of the Lord.
In a world filled with metrics, God is looking at the heart. We try to measure everything these days, including the difference we make in others' lives, but it refreshes me to consider what God finds attractive. He had Job, and Job was enough. Fruitfulness flowed from Job's love for God, absolutely, but God was most interested in Job. And he wants you, too, and he finds your reverence for him delightful. He loves your prayers and worship and delight. He savors your walk in awe of him, for he loves you and your fear of him leads to your highest good.
Before the fruitfulness, there is fear. God saw it in Job and celebrated it. May he find it in me. May he find it in you.