May 20

Job 1-3, Psalm 135

The other day a question was asked on this site: "Why would the Lord send a tormenting spirit?" The question referred to the spirit that tormented King Saul. In today's reading, the curtain is pulled back for us to get a glimpse of what happens and why this occurs not from an earthly perspective, but rather a heavenly one. Chuck Swindoll said, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." Satan is evil. He will torment us mercilessly. When God allows this by removing His hedge of protection from around us, how we respond is based on the condition of our heart. This is not some warped chess game being played in heaven. For those who are not for God, they will indeed be tormented. For those who belong to God, they will be refined through the process and come out stronger as a result, learning to lean on God more and more through the process. People make the mistake in what varies in the equation. Just like Satan will not vary, only the condition of our heart varies, in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 the beautiful and perfect seed being planted by Jesus does not vary. In the Parable of the Sower the thing that varies is the soil which represents the condition of our heart. Happiness is from the word happenstance which is based on circumstance. Joy is an inward expression independent from circumstances, but is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). The Bible is full of individuals who expressed tremendous joy despite their circumstances.

We get an accurate view of the character of Job from God Himself in Job 1:8, "Then 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, one who fears God and shuns evil?" In essence God tells Satan how pure Job's heart is for Him. Satan acknowledges God's protection of Job and issues his challenge in 1:10-12, "Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." Notice that Satan's power is limited by God and Satan's power against us is limited. We read in James 1:13, "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone." After Job lost all of his possessions along with all of his children, we see Job's response in Job 1:20-22, "Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong." A little later after Satan now attacks Job physically with boils from head to foot and his wife tells Job to curse God, we see his response in 2:10, "...Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?"

We who are all called by God will go through various trials. The question is only how will we respond. How we respond is predicated on the condition of our heart and whether or not we seek to get through these trials on our own strength or whether we will lean on God through the process. We read in Colossians 1:16, "...All things were created through Him and for Him." This is a major lesson for all of us in life. God does not exist for us. We exist for Him. If we decide to roll up our sleeves, dig in, and fight we will be confused and beaten up in the process. If we remember John's words in 1 John 4:4, then we will overcome the attacks by the enemy, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." When King Saul was attacked by the demonic horde in 1 Samuel 16:14, he was tormented and sought out relief by earthly solutions. As we go through the book of Job, he leans more and more on God throughout and comes out stronger, being refined through the process. When we are attacked, may we all learn to lean on God, our Rock through these trials.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster