Thursday, December 09, 2004

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?"

Now my question is, "Have YOU considered Job?"
Undoubtedy you have heard sermons concerning Job and maybe even read the book of Job, but have you really stopped to consider Job?

Job suffered greatly at the hands of Satan with but one instruction from God, that Satan could not take his life. Job lost everything, his children, his flocks, his harvests, everything that he had spent his life building and everything that God had given him. His body was plagued by boils and open sores; his friends and even his own wife thought he was a fool for hanging onto the hope that God would save him. Job never lost his trust in God and never turned his back on Him.

Many Theologians and Biblical Scholars believe that God does in fact turn His back on us from time to time in order to strenghten us in our faith.

And we rejoice in the hope and the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
(Romans 5:2-5 NIV)

Consider for a moment a mother and her newborn baby. I have seen shows on television that show by a mother blowing in her babys face and then dunking him under water the baby can hold its breath and swim for a period of time. Of course the mother would not leave the child under for to long because eventually the baby would run out of air and drown, but she leaves the child down long enough that he may learn to swim. I like to attribute this to how God is with us sometimes. He lets us go on our own until he sees that we need picking up. It is during these times in our lives that Satan will attack us the most, trying to convince us that God has abandoned us, that we are not worthy of God so He has left us. Satan is right about one thing; we are NOT worthy of God, but God has justified us through faith in His son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. These times of suffering can be difficult for anyone, even your most steadfast Christian, but if we persevere we will be that much stronger for going through it. It is during these times we need to run to God with open arms and praise Him for all that He has given us and all that He does for us in our lives and if our faith comes through our sufferings, God will reward us just as He did Job.

And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)

Because Job never turned his back on God throughout all his sufferings and temptations, God gave back double to Job. Job's faithfulness brought him through his sufferings and he was greatly rewarded.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11) ( I encourage everyone to read Hebrews 12:1-13)

As Paul states in Hebrews, suffering is not something that anyone likes. At the time you feel as if you can never make it through and all hope seems lost, but we have one promise that we can take comfort in and that is; God will never put us in a situation that He knows we cannot bear. He is faithful to us to protect us and to watch over us just as a loving father should do. He will never let us be tempted beyond which we can handle and cause us undue suffering.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (I Cor 10:13)

Much of the New Testament is about suffering and temptation, and there is much more suffering and many more temptations to come in our walk with the Lord. Our growth as Christians depends heavily on how we deal with the trials and tribulations in our lives. Do we turn to God, or do we turn to our own understanding?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Paul states in these simple words in Thessalonians how to overcome all obstacles in our lives and with this I will end.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

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