Job: More Than A Conclusion part I
Job 1:6-8 (New International Version)
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 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.”
Looking at the story of Job, satan’s desire is to present us as being a liar like him. God uses this opportunity to draw us even closer to Himself, giving Himself glory in the process. So this season of brokenness is to measure our character. In the heat of battle do you run to sin or God? Here sin can not only be those things that are against God but also not God himself. Because to not trust God is to be disobedient. How do we let stress control us? What do we do to release pressure? The outcome depends on if we trust God enough to see us through without us trying to run things. The removal of the “good blessings” in Job’s life wasn’t so he could get more but to get rid of objects of worship or idols.
Job 1: 9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “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. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
The “good things” in life can rob God of his glory, love and worship. These things are intended to draw us toward God but they can also pull us away. This was apart of Satan’s reasoning to God.Everytime we have to point back to our things in order to worship, we push those very “blessings” onto God’s garbage list. The more dependent we become on the provisions of God the more readily we become a canidate for brokenness. Even when our dependency is on people and not Christ. Especially if our dependency becomes idolatry and they take on the form of savior.
17 Beware lest you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Satan is making the point that the only reason why Job is worshiping God, loving God and revering God is because of material things that God has given him. I can’t tell you how many times I have said “God forgive me” after I have willingly done my sinful deeds. I would do so in order to not “block a blessing”. We make the same wrong assumptions that Satan makes all the time. We assume that our material blessings are earned by our righteousness. This is why Satan thought that if the goods were taken, Job would forsake God like we do all the time. Yet, God had a much bigger purpose planned than what Satan and Job could have imagined. This wicked association of material things and rigtheousness is so wrong.
15 ” I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Luke 18:9-14, 18-30
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get. 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner! 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Rich Ruler
18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother. ” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow m e.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
In applying the testimony of Job there are certain areas that are affected. These areas serve as locks on the door to Job’s heart. God uses Satan to unlock each aspect of life to reveal Job’s character not to God but to Job himself. Our character or soul is anchored by something like the core of a planet. When the core is removed the planet is destroyed.
The first lock we will explore in this series is material things. I have heard cases made about prosperity and God wanting us prosperous. Because of such beliefs, entire “movements” have been started. I have heard all my life that if you are blessed with things than that means God is with you. This translates in the area of ministry as having huge congregations, multiple churchs, etc. In general that would be the big house, great job, two cars, a dog, big bank account, and everything else in apple dreams. There is some much danger that lays in this thinking as it can mask our true relationship with Christ. There is a reason why the bible speaks a lot about wealth. The reason has nothing to do with our glory and the prosperity gospel. But to warn us of the folly of it because our focus as well as goals are geared to prove righteousness by having stuff. Our salvation is in Christ and evidence of it is regenerated heart and the Holy Spirit. We are so good at masking our selfish desires for wealth behind “kingdom building”. We don’t seek the kingdom or God but seek the treasures as the gentiles do…
We foolishly equate righteousness and approval from God with success in projects, foundations, buildings, positions, money gains, external displays and etc. Satan plan was to remove Job’s external reasons for praise. Job is now going through a recession like many of us.
We can all talk that talk but can we walk it? Some would be encouraged by Job’s conclusion but what if God decided to not restore him? Could we respond like the Apostle Paul?
So many flock to churches to hear how God is going to restore them a 100 times over if they do this or that. We flood the alter praying to the Lord to give it back our stuff so we can worship again. We don’t fall inline with Job’s response to losing his possessions but desire his final outcome.
All because we see the lost as a curse from God as we have fallen out of favor. If we look at Romans 1:28, maybe we were never in favor and we are under judgement by way of losing all or indifference from God. Or we could have received the word of God and was filled with joy like in the parable of the sower and when calamity strikes we abandon God. Maybe we think we have made it and like Uzizah became self reliant feeling we can go around God. The removal of an idol of wealth will reveal our true character everytime.
God warned Israel in the book of Deuteronomy many times as they began to enter into the promise land to focus their worship on the provider not the provisions. God knows the heart of men will easily take comfort in possessions thinking they were okay because or their wealth.
Now if our joy is not found in His presence then we do not know him as to know the Lord is love, peace, joy. You never know how will trained a solider is until, he is out of resources.
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
So how are we to respond to calimity in a gospel-centric, Christ-exalting, God glorifying way? Just like Paul does and the only way to even be able to do so is to be sold out. You have to be all the way in or nothing. On fire and not lukewarm or God will spit you out. You have to be the seed that fell on good ground and none of the others. Christ has to be our complete, absolute and first source. He has to be the uncompromising vine that we are abiding in. It has to be His commandments alone, having faith in Him alone not mixed with another god’s or traditions. Yet we cannot begin to submit without the power of God the Holy Spirit. He instills in us a love of Christ and His truth which causes us to pursue Him fully. A person doesn’t seek to fully know someone they don’t truly love. So let them call you a bigot because it is not our own truth that we proclaim but the Lord God Jesus Christ’s truth. It is the true bread of life that will substain us in the season of plenty and lack.