Learn from Job to Worship God in Your Suffering (Part 2)

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There are two truths for sustaining you in your suffering that I want to bring to your attention here: (1) God gives to Satan limited power and allows him to cause suffering to you.  Look at what the Bible says in Job 1:12 and Job 2:6

12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." 

Job 2:6 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life." 

1. God determines exactly what Satan can do and what he can't do. 
God tells Satan, "You can go this far and only that far". He tells him, "You can do this much and no more!" You see we need to be reminded all the time, that Satan is God's Satan.  Satan is actually God's servant. Satan can do nothing apart from the permission and the ordaining and the government of God.  God is not frustrated or confused by Satan.  Yes, 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, 

... Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  

Yes, it is true that Satan is a roaring lion; but never forget this: Satan is a lion on a leash.  He is on a chain.  He is confined. He cannot go beyong the boundaries that God has ordained, permitted, allowed or determined and defined for him.  And so Satan is bound by the unbreakable chain of God's sovereignity.  That is why Paul could say in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that there is no trial that has overtaken you that is not common to man and God is faithful and determined that he is not going to let you be overwhelmed by the trial; but is also going to provide a way of escape. Why? Because Satan is on a leash! And that should be confort to you in the midst of suffering.

2. Satan's work is ultimately God's work
Truth number (2) for sustaining you when you suffer is that Satan's work is ultImatEly God's work.  Here is what Job says after God has given to Satan power to destroy Job's wealth and family:
"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord".  Why doesn't Job say, "The Lord gave and SATAN has taken away"?  Wouldn't that be the logical thing to say? Wouldn't that be the accurate thing to say? Wouldnt that be the existential thing to say? In other words wouldn't that have been an appropriate to say in view of his experience? But interestingly, Job doesn't say that!

Now to illustrate this point further, let us consider the second scene in heaven where God gives to Satan the power to touch Job's health. Job 2:6-7 says:

6 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life."
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores all over his body.

But what does Job 2:10 say?

... Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?"

Why doesn't Job say, "Shall we not recieve good from God and shall we not accept adversity from Satan?" Didn't Job's adversity come from Satan? Well to understand why Job is speaking in this manner, you need to analyze the root of Job's worship.  The root of Job's worship is built on the foundation of the the sovereignity of God. Job's faith is established on the unshakable conviction of the kingship of God over Satan.  Satan is just a secondary cause.  He is not primary cause.  He is not the ultimate cause in anything.  God has priority in everything. God is ultimate and sovereign in everything. God is the primary cause. He reigns.  He is the king. 

Let us read Job 2:10 again. In this verse, Job says: " ... Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips."

You know my friend, it is not a sin to say that what Satan does, God ultimately does.  It is not a sin to say that the sickness that Satan causes is from the Lord. Now, why is that not wrong?  Why is it not sinfull to use that kind of language? Because this is what the Bible teaches! 

You see, some people come to these truths and these truths just bluedoze their minds.  They say, "I don't understand this! How can it be? My little brain and imagination can't grab it" And of course they are right. And if your aggree with them, you are also right. It is absolutely truth that there are several truths about God that your little brain cannot grasp or comprehend because you little brain is designed to worship God, not to understand him.   

And so, what we read in the Westminster confession of faith is so helpful. "God from all eternity did by his most wise and holy counsel and of his own will freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet thereby neither is God the author of sin nor is violent offered to the wills of his creatures including Satan, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."  This is God's universe.  And we are God's creatures, and so is Satan.  And the reality is that God is the only sovereign.

There is something about true theology and true worship and true piety that we need to learn from Job.  You know there is a popular piety and a popular theology that goes this way: "Good things are from God.  Bad things are from Satan." Have you ever heard this kind of theology? It is very common these days.  In addition to teaching that "Good things are from God and bad things are from Satan; it is also usually taught in this theology that  God wants you to be healthy, wealth and prosperous but Satan has gotten on the way and is hindering this from happening". This claim misrepressents God and leaves the impression that Satan is so strong to such an extent that he can hinder God's plans. It also gives the impression that Satan can frustrate God's plans.  Consequently, this allusion ends up painting a false picture of a poor God vs a powerful Satan; a weak God vs. a great Satan; and a frustrated God vs a fulfilled Satan.

But what is Job's theology, and what is Job's piety? Job's theology and Job's piety is much deeper, much stronger, much wiser, much better, much more accurate and much more fulfilling than this popular theology. So what is Job's theology then? 

Job's theology is portrayed in this statement, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord."  What Job is saying here is tha: "The Lord has taken away my livestock, the Lord has taken away my servants, the Lord has taken away my 10 children, the Lord has taken away my wealth and health; treasured be the name of the Lord" You see Job's rock of confort and hope and security in the midst of calamity is the sovereignty of God. His theology is deeply rooted in the absolute, perfect, comprehensive, all-controlling soverein, goodness and holiness of God.

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