Does God only send good things our way? If you listen to a lot of the Prosperity Ministers, you come out this impression: Christians should not suffer, that there are ‘faith tools’ , so that every thing that occurs in your life is just rosy and pretty. I feel the book of Job provides a framework to understand this issue. Jesus told his disciples that he beheld Satan fall like lightening (Luke 10:18). What dispensation was he referring to? We know that at some point the devil orchestrated a rebellion, wherein he tried to exalt himself to the level of the most high. But, the book of revelation speaks about a future event, where the devil is to be cast out from heaven, down to the earth.
Revelation 12:7 ‘And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.’
To accuse someone implies there have to be at least three parties. The one doing the accusing, the one being accussed and the one hearing the accusations being made. So, between now and the above event we can conclude Satan has been very busy. As you can see he has been accusing the brethren and will continue to do so until this event unfolds
Job is presented in the scriptures as a man who was perfect in heart and despised evil. Something also worth noticing, is his spiritual policy of trying to atone for the transgression of his children.
Job1:4 ‘And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.’
There is actually no provision for this under the old covenant, to atone for others just in case they had sinned inwardly. Job was meticulous when it came to sin: knowing the havoc it could wreck, he did not want to leave any stone unturned.
Now we are told that the devil came amongst the other angels to present himself to God. Any prudent disciple should be stunned to read this. After all, what is the devil doing talking to God? What fellowship does light have with darkness? The ‘Candy Store’ evangelists of today never account for this in their treatment of the Job book or in delivering their sermons. I remained convinced this is because it impinges on their overarching and insincere prosperity message, crafted to appeal commercially to the masses. If you heard that mafia boss John Gotti and President Obama were in the Lincoln room having tea, wouldn’t you demand an explanation? I am certain that you would.
Most of us have at the very best-case scenario, Sunday School understanding of God. We would be shocked to find out some of his inner workings, that may change our perspective of him.
Isaiah 45:7 ‘I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.’
Does this sound like the God that you know or think you know.There are many more instances in the bible, but for now it suffices to say he uses both evil and good to accomplish his eternal purpose. He uses even the cursed one, the devil, to accomplish it. Remember how Jesus chose Judas as one of his apostles, gave him sod and urged him to betray him quickly? Satan entered and moved Judas immediately! He is the only wise God. Even when the wicked think they are getting away with something, he is still in control.
God and not Satan brings up the subject of Job. He praises the man for his virtues and the devil’s response is that Job only serves God for the wonderful things that he does in his life. God has blessed Job and this is why he honors God.
Job 1:8 ‘And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.’
It is agreed that Job is to be tested and so the devil is off, causing havoc in the life of Job. Although he has been given one caveat: he is not to touch Job’s life at all. Satan destroys the property of Job, and kills his sons and daughters, but still this man holds fast to his integrity and reverence for God.
Job1:19 ‘And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.’
The scripture tells us that Job did not sin or foolishly accuse God. So clearly his allegation that God had given and taken away his blessings is in order!
Again the angels of God attend another general meeting. Again the devil is present. God brings up the issue of Job, and Satan makes a more compelling reason as to why this man of God has held to his faith; it is beacuse he still has his health. So, it is agreed that Satan may compromise the health of Job. He inflicts him with horrible boils. But Job still clings to his faith in God.
What follows is a sequence of soliloquies, where his friend parade their knowledge in the things of God and foolishly accuse him of doing something to bring about these events in his life. It is a big enough challenge to fully comprehend what is going on in your life. How much more that of another Christian. There are times when it is right to just hold our peace at what we see happening to another brother or sister. You will have Christians who will insist on showing you how much of God they know and try to chime in on your ‘situation.’
Eventually God comes through for Job and restores back a double portion of all that the devil has taken away. This is evidently to compensate him for everything he has endured. Furthermore to demonstrate his favor and close relationship with his Job, he has asked him to pray and intercede for his friends who have transgressed by speaking inadvisedly about his trial.
Job relatives came and consoled him over all the ‘…evil that the Lord had brought upon him’ The word of God speaks for itself.
Job42:11 ‘Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him:every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. 12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.’
The Job incident is not printed in the bible to entertain, but rather to edify and let us see gain valuable insight into the spiritual dimension of the tests we go through in this life. Every time the devil goes before God, God brags about us to him. Satan presents his excuses as to why we serve God: If sister so and so loses her house she will not serve God anymore. If brother so and so loses his high paying job, he will backslide. If family so and so’s child falls sick and dies, they will question God. While the devil wants to crush our spirit and faith with trials and temptation, God wants to use these to strengthen and perfect the very same things.
Be exhorted. Don’t let anyone tell you that the reason why you are going through your storm, is because you have no faith or because you are living in sin. That is not always the case. Furthermore, God has promised he will not “…suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able.” You can pass your test in flying colors like Job did his.
Prov 27:11 ‘My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.’