Delivered By
C.C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
March 26, 2017
Central Passage
Job 1:1-2:10
Attached Document
Open Document
Description

Job 1:6-10 tells us, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where have you come?’ Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ 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?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.’ And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:6-10).

 

Four theological truths and three personal implications can be derived from these Scriptures. There are…obviously…so many theological truths and personal implications in these verses that I probably couldn’t present them all in a lifetime of sermons. Let’s face it…by God’s grace we know what we need to know in order to accept or reject eternal life with Him…but our knowledge of God and heaven is definitely limited by our carnal finite minds.

 

One of the theological truths in these verses is that it’s Satan's aim is to destroy our joy in God. To do that he uses two weapons…pain and pleasure. He uses pain to make us feel that God is powerless or hostile. And he uses pleasure to make us feel that God is superfluous…or unnecessary.

 

On the pleasure end of the spectrum…let’s get real honest and truthful…which is one of the hardest things we can do. For example, if a person who says they’re a Christian gets more joy out of watching a movie or ballgame…or going shopping or playing golf…than they do in worshipping God and reading His Word…they have a problem that needs fixing. They should do an assessment of what’s important in their life…which definitely includes how important…or unimportant…God is to them. And if they discover something that’s more important to them than worshipping God…they have a serious spiritual problem.

 

I’m not trying to put a guilt trip on anyone…just trying to be as truthful as the Bible is…which, obviously, is impossible for a sinner like me. But when we come to the church house…or even when we don’t…we need to be honest with ourselves…because even if other people aren’t reading or minds…God is. That’s a scary thought…isn’t it…that we can’t even hide a thought from God.

 

So since God knows our every thought…He knows if our possessions are more important to us than He is. He knows if our money is more important to us than He is…whether we have only a dollar or a million dollars. He knows if we care about those dying in sin without Him…and He knows if we’re willing to help fulfill His Great Commission…or whether we’re just all talk and no action.

 

Now I’ll grant you…it’s hard to be joyful when you have a debilitating illness…or when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. But illness and hunger doesn’t exempt a Christian from worshipping and praising God…no matter what their physical condition. The truth is that nothing exempts a Christian from worshipping and praising God and…if it does there’s cause to be alarmed about his or her spiritual condition.

 

Let’s take a real close look at Job. After Satan failed to turn Job away from God by destroying his prosperity…he attacked Job's God-centered joy through pain.

 

And, of course, he failed again. You see, Satan may take everything away from you…wealth, family and health…but if you’re a Christian there’s one thing that he can’t take away…and that’s your faith in God…or the joy you have in that faith.

 

There’s no doubt as to what Satan is after in each of our lives. His aim is to destroy our joy in God and to replace our most important treasure…which is God…with the earthly treasures of wealth, family or health. Things, family and health are where most people are vulnerable. But if you’re a Christian…just remember that you’re smarter than Satan. You’ve chosen God…whereas Satan has chosen himself as his god…something that a lot of really stupid people do.

 

The second theological truth of our text is that God’s aim is to magnify His worth in the lives of His people. The great aim of God in creation and redemption is to preserve and display the infinite worth of His glory. The way He does that is by redeeming a people who love Him…and who cleave to Him…and who cherish Him above all earthly treasures and pleasures. And the mirror He has chosen for the reflection of His worth is the indestructible joy of His people. If you’re one of God’s people you won’t trade Him for anything in this world.

 

Of course, Satan offers people a lot of earthly stuff that he has no right to offer. He doesn’t own anything...and neither do we. Everything we use here on earth…and everything that’s in this universe belongs to God. He created it. We use it…build and make stuff with it…but everything ultimately belongs to Him. That deed to what you’re calling your property may be accepted as valid by people here…but it’s meaningless in heaven. When you leave this old earth…you can’t take a grain of sand from the earth with you.

 

A third theological truth is that God grants to Satan limited power to cause pain. In chapter one, verse 12, God said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth your hand.” And in chapter two, verse six, God said, “Behold, he is in your power; only spare his life.”

 

God sets limits on Satan's power to cause pain. God isn’t frustrated by the power and subtlety of Satan. Satan cannot make a move without the permission of God Almighty. He may rage on earth like a roaring lion…but he’s a lion on a leash. God reins him in…or cuts him some slack…according to His own sovereign purposes.

 

Satan hates God…and he hates God’s people…but he can’t emancipate himself from God’s sovereign control. In all his blasphemous work he is…in spite of himself…doing the work of God. In his rebellious efforts to dethrone God…he is actually paying Him submissive homage. And that has to chap him.

 

Satan is devious and evil…but as I’ve often said…he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer…or the smartest bear in the woods. Although he moves heaven and earth in an effort to accomplish the perdition of those of us whom Christ has ransomed with His blood…Satan is actually fitting us for glory. Fiend that he is…an evil angel filled with bitterness and malignity who is intent on every form of mischief…he is constrained to be that which he most abhors. And that which he abhors is being an instrument for God’s designs of grace…which is the furthest thing from his intentions and desires.

 

Satan…without wanting to be...or thinking that he is…is in a sense like one of the sons of God who assemble in the infinite presence God’s majesty to do His bidding and to execute His will. God allows Satan to launch insidious attacks against some of His people…and when like Job they steadfastly resist these insidious assaults…despite all his evil intent…Satan reluctantly becomes like a ministering spirit to those who are heirs of salvation.

 

A fourth theological truth is that Satan's work is ultimately the work of God. This is hard for us to understand…but it should be obvious from the two heavenly scenes where God handed Job over to Satan's power.

 

Even when Satan had done his work of taking Job's wealth and family, he was still able to say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

 

Job himself said that it was ultimately the Lord who took away his family and wealth. Then the inspired writer of the book makes a comment to avoid any misunderstanding. Lest anyone think that Job shouldn’t have attributed Satan's work to God, he wrote in verse 22, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” So it is not sin to say that what Satan did…God ultimately did…because God rules Satan.

 

One of the many problems we have in understanding God is that with our finite minds we can’t comprehend just how all powerful He is…or how much He is in control of the world and all that is in it. He has given us free will to choose Him and eternity in heaven…or to choose Satan and eternity in hell. But God’s willingness to give us this freedom is actually evidence of how much He is in control.

 

In the second heavenly scene God said (2:6) to Satan, “Behold, he (Job) is in your power, only spare his life.” Then verse 7 makes it very explicit that

 

Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord, and afflicted Job with loathsome sores.”

 

But again in verse 10 Job said, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” In other words, Job again goes all the way up to the sovereignty of God over Satan by saying that his sickness was from God. Satan may have been the nearer cause…but ultimately God allowed it.

 

And again the inspired writer warns us not to criticize Job. He wrote at the end of verse 10, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Again, it is not a sin to say that a sickness that Satan causes is “from the Lord.”

 

The absolute sovereignty of God was Job's rock of refuge and hope when everything else seemed to be crumbling. He never wavered from his faith in God…nor did he ever blame God for his troubles. He, instead, worshipped and praised God.

 

There are many personal implications in these verses from the book of Job…verses that tell us how we should approach whatever difficulties we face in life.

 

First, we need to join with Job and affirm with all our hearts the absolute sovereignty of God. We need to accept what Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.” And we need to affirm the inspired words about God in Daniel 4:35: “He does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, 'What doest thou?'

 

We must make the absolute sovereignty of God the rock on which we build our lives and our church. If we can do that…nothing Satan can do to us will ever throw us off course.

 

Second, we must let our tears flow freely when our calamity comes. Scripture tells us that “Job arose, rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell upon his face.”

 

When was the last time you fell on your face before God…physically or figuratively? Whatever your answer…it has probably been too long.

 

Just remember that sobs of grief and pain don’t have to be signs of unbelief. Job didn’t have a flippant, insensitive, superficial "Praise God anyhow" response to his suffering. The magnificence of Job’s worship is because it was in grief…not because it replaced grief. So let your tears flow freely when your calamity comes. And allow the rest of us to weep with you.

 

Third, we need to trust in the goodness of God and let Him be our treasure and our joy. Even if God had let Satan take Job's life…I think he would have said with his last breath what is written in Psalm 63:3: “The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life.”

 

When our calamity comes…whether to us individually or to this church…and it will surely come…I pray that the Lord will give us the grace to affirm the sovereignty of God…that we will allow our tears to flow freely…and that we will let God be our treasure and our joy…now and forever more.

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