We've been talking about how in life we encounter many troubles, trials, and testing times where we say or feel "It's Not Right!" We've learned, from the book of James chapter 1:2-12, when a believer experiences an "It's Not Right!" time, it's a test of their faith allowed by and used by God to mature us and bring us to a higher level of life.
The Bible tells us about a man named Job. If ever there was a man who seemed to have the right to say, "It's Not Right!" it was Job. Let's take a few weeks and look at Job's situation. What we will see is JOB BEGAN WELL trusting God, but after a while, Job began to question God. Today, let's look at how JOB BEGAN WELL.
Job 1:1-5 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was BLAMELESS and UPRIGHT; he FEARED GOD and SHUNNED EVIL. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom.
Job was a good man. He was blameless, not sinless (important). Job was upright - straight up. He was a man of honesty and integrity. If only evil mean people suffer trouble, Job would not be a candidate. Sadly, trouble doesn't work this way. Job was extremely successful, wealthy, and blessed by God. He was a great father with immediate concerns for his children's salvation and their relationship with God. Job was an impeccable man who feared God and loved his family.
The Book of Job is about a time in a man's life when he went through unbelievable trouble. Trouble was a test to reveal his faith in God. The scriptures tell us Job was a real person (Rom 11:35; 1Co 3:19; Eze 14:14, 20; Jam 5:11). If anyone ever seemed to have the right to say "It's Not Right!" it was Job.
Job 1:6-12 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But STRETCH OUT YOUR HAND AND STRIKE EVERYTHING HE HAS, AND HE WILL SURELY CURSE YOU TO YOUR FACE. "The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
There was a meeting with God, Satan, God's angels and Satan's demons all come to present themselves before the Lord. How phenomenal! How does this align with your theology? The word present is yatsab meaning to place; to station, offer, continue. To continue, Satan and his demons must place, offer, and station themselves before the Lord.
The book begins with a scene in heaven - the throne room of God - explaining what is happening to the reader, but what is unknown to Job. Job's trouble will seem to come from out of nowhere, but did they really? This is vital to grasp. Our troubles often begin in heaven, not on earth. We are totally unaware we're involved in heavens discussions and debates. We ask, "Why?" Unknown to us, the "why" is for heavenly reasons. We learn matters going on in heaven at this moment do affect our lives.
God was contesting and debating with Satan about the blamelessness and uprightness of God's servant Job. Interestingly, the entire debate was instigated by God, not Satan. God asked Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? Satan said God's claims about Job were untested and therefore impure. Satan said the righteous of God only serve God for what they get from God. Our faith is not genuine and pure until tested.
Here a most interesting and enlightening statement is made by Satan. Satan said, "Stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." Who, or what in this context, would be the "hand"used to strike? Would it be Satan? We will see this stated again in 2:5. Is Satan the hand of God? He is in this context. The statement is vital to a proper theology and understanding. Satan is not God's adversary as contemporary theology attempts to project. Satan's our adversary (1Pe 5:8). Satan is God's hand and can only do what God allows.
Please do not miss Satan's goal in our times of trouble. It is to get us to a place where we curse God to God's face. Satan desires to crush and shatter our faith. God desires to prove us.
Satan said take your protection down (hedge), allow me to test Job, and you will see Job is no more than a sham. Satan believed he could destroy Job's faith in God by inflicting trouble. God released Satan to test Job. Satan believes he can shatter your faith and my faith. Could God release Satan to test us?
Job had no idea about the debate between God and Satan. Neither do you or I. Neither did anyone else in Job's life. What happened?
Job 1:13-22 One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" WHILE HE WAS STILL SPEAKING, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" WHILE HE WAS STILL SPEAKING, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" WHILE HE WAS STILL SPEAKING, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the GROUND IN WORSHIP and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. THE LORD GAVE AND THE LORD HAS TAKEN AWAY; may the name of the LORD be praised." IN ALL THIS, JOB DID NOT SIN BY CHARGING GOD WITH WRONGDOING.
Please notice, Job did not say, "The Lord gave and Satan has taken away." He said, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away." Correct Biblical theology is not good things from God and bad things from Satan. Satan's work is ultimately God's work. Job knowing this said, "…may the name of the Lord be praised!"
It's Not Right! But, Job's faith was not shattered. Instead, he fell to the ground in worship! Satan cannot shatter genuine pure saving faith. Job didn't understand, but neither did he shake his fist at God and curse God. He didn't charge God with wrongdoing. He didn't understand, but he didn't say God was wrong. Satan was wrong. Job did not curse God. Instead, Job worshiped God.
You and I will experience trouble we cannot understand. Don't say God is wrong. We must realize something is happening in the heavens we are incapable of understanding. Don't abandon your faith. Don't curse God. Why? More trouble is always coming.
Job 2:1-10 On ANOTHER DAY the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. AND HE STILL MAINTAINS HIS INTEGRITY, THOUGH YOU INCITED ME AGAINST HIM TO RUIN HIM WITHOUT ANY REASON." "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. But STRETCH OUT YOUR HAND and STRIKE HIS FLESH AND BONES, and HE WILL SURELY CURSE YOU TO YOUR FACE." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and AFFLICTED JOB WITH PAINFUL SORES FROM THE SOLES OF HIS FEET TO THE TOP OF HIS HEAD. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. SHALL WE ACCEPT GOOD FROM GOD, AND NOT TROUBLE?" IN ALL THIS, JOB DID NOT SIN IN WHAT HE SAID.
Again we see Satan's goal is to cause us through trouble and suffering to curse God, say God is wrong, and be angry with God. Job had proved his faith and love for God was greater than financial disaster or family disaster, but what about his health? Nothing is more faith shattering than health problems.
Preachers blast Job's wife for her comment, but we must realize she'd lost ten children and all her security. She was obviously angry with God. How many wouldn't be? She'd fallen to Satan's schemes. "Curse God and die!" she said. It's as though Job was saying, "That's not how you talk. That's how foolish women talk, but not you. Don't turn on God now." She was also a test for Job. When your spouse is down, you get down, but we can't allow it to shatter our faith.
Job 2:10 He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. SHALL WE ACCEPT GOOD FROM GOD, AND NOT TROUBLE?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job had an uncanny understanding superseding ours. He hadn't heard our contemporary theology of a big Satan and a tiny God. Job realized good came from God, but he also realized trouble came from God. What a provocative thought! Is this how we think?
Job began well. Most teachings about Job end here, but it's not where God ends the teaching. Often we begin well, but when trouble continues, especially in sickness, it hammers our faith, and our test continues. We'll look at how it hammered Job next time.
Trouble and suffering come upon the blameless, the upright, those who fear God, and those who shun evil. God does not reserve trouble for only the evil. You are a candidate for trouble. We will face trouble and often our troubles begin in heaven, not earth. Faith is impure until tested. We are unaware of the debates and discussions going on in the throne room of God this moment affecting our lives. Satan can only do what God allows him to do, but God does use Satan as the hand of God. Satan's job is to test and shatter our faith and cause us to curse God. God desires to prove us. When we don't understand the trouble we should worship. "Blessed be the name of the Lord!"
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