The Case Against God’s Righteous
by Pr. Paddick Van Zyl
How real is the spiritual realm actually? Just because we can not see into the realm of the spiritual does it mean it is not important what happens behind the scenes of our lives?
Let us look at the life and times of Job to get a better perspective on this question.
Text: Job 1:1-12,22, NIV
A. Prologue & Challenge No. 1
B. Challenge No 2 Job 2:3-10 NIV
C. The End Job 42:7-16 NIV
Shortened due to space
A large part of the book of Job actually plays off in the spiritual realm – type of ‘showdown’ if you like between God and satan. Satan started it. He accused Job of being a goodie-too-shoe, who is serving God and being ‘good’ only because of the ‘fringe benefits that he gets to enjoy from God being: protection, prosperity and health.
‘Here in this chapter we are given a viewpoint of Job and his suffering, one that Job himself is not permitted to have. We are given this because we too are not permitted this viewpoint in times of trial. We do not know what is going on behind the scenes in our lives, with our pressures and trials. We do not know what has transpired between Satan and God about us, but we are given this reassurance that something does happen, and that we are being subjected to a test. This is very revealing and very important.’*
God explains to satan that this accusation is totally untrue since Job serves Him because he loves God (v22.) And so the challenge is put forth by satan, just like in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-5)
And he challenges God , just like he did Jesus (Matt 4:6) to stop the ‘benefits’ to Job and see what happens. Satan was bargaining on Job giving up on God and turning his back on God. Yet, God knows Job’s heart, like He knows each and every heart in this place today. He can not be fooled, tricked or made deals with.
As Ray C. Stedman writes in his commentary on Job:
"'God is there.' There is a God, and he is in control of life.
This is the great lesson of the book of Job, which we are confronted with right from the very beginning, the presence of God in the life of a man, even though he is going through very severe trials. The trial itself proves the existence of God and his presence with him.
As we have already seen in the opening chapter of this book, Job is being subjected to a very severe test. Satan has been permitted by God to take away all Job's possessions in an attempt to prove that if a man's possessions are taken away, he will curse God to his face. But Job has survived that first cycle of tests -- tests that took away all his wealth, all his possessions, even his children. Job is left crushed and broken, but, nevertheless, full of faith."**
And since God knows what is in the heart of Job, He agrees to allow the blessings, protection and health to end for a season only. Very important. Satan did not learn from this experience , he did not learn from Eden and he still did not learn from the temptation of Jesus that God is always right and deserves all the glory, praise and honor. Just like some people never learn from their mistakes.
What is so interesting about these 42 chapters of Job, which accidentally only represented, we are told, a period of nine months of his entire life, twice we read that he did not 1:22 ‘ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing’ and 2:10‘In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.’ He never accused God because he knew by experience that God was and is a good God. Satan is always the liar and accuser of us before the Lord (Rev. 12:10) but we through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Savior, have nothing to fear like Job, if we serve God with our entire being and live full out for Him.
Did God bring calamity on Job? Did He cause all of his trouble? Absolutely No!
A very interesting point that sometimes gets overlooked in Job with regards to who actually caused all of this harm to Job the following verse:
Job 3:25 NKJV
For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me,
And what I dreaded has happened to me.
Job 1:5 NKJV
5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.
Job allowed fear to come into his life because of his constant worry () and that together with his confession (words) gave the enemy a right or foothold to attack him. Job confessed and spoke fear into being over time, and satan heard and acknowledged this and God had to ‘allow’ the protection around Job to be lifted. Our words and what we speak is of utmost importance. It brings us a harvest – good or bad, our choice!
Even though he was an upright man, that feared God and got the attention of the spiritual realm, yet his worried attitude of his children maybe sinning against God and his words caused even God to not be able to protect him against the enemy. Praise the Lord that he learned to change his words and trust God for his children and also realized that they are responsible before God for their own lives. He can not give an account for them. Worry is so futile. It takes up so much energy and time and produces nothing.
Very interesting to note is the fact that God had the red carpet ready for the two friends of Job, who did not exactly support him in his time of discouragement and bereavement. But the carpet was rolled out not for honor but for a rebuke by God Himself; 42:7:
7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.
As Ray C. Stedman explains:
‘One of the surprising things to these men was the discovery that all their vaunted concern and zeal for the honor of God was regarded as worthless in his sight. They are charged with defaming the name of God.
Well, what is it that they said that God took such offense to? You recall that they formulated a theory of suffering that made God out to be nothing but an arbitrator of justice, a great cosmic judge who visited punishment upon those who did wrong, without exception and instantly, and he rewarded those who did right with prosperity and blessing. This was the kind of God they set before people, a great judge of all men, but not at all concerned with compassion, love, mercy, and patience. Thus the God they set before men was a God far from reality. They did indeed distort the Being of God.’***
In the end, because God kept his faith and his trust and his eyes fixed on God and His goodness and His loving kindness, Job was appointed as the one who his two friends had to go and ask for prayer, talk about a humbling experience! It also shows to the importance of intercessory prayer and the power of prayer. Job could have been hard hearted and may have refused to pray for them since they were accusing him along and did not help at all, yet we find that he forgives them instantly and prays for them so God may forgive them. Further, Job experienced God’s abundant blessings again, and more than what he had before. God always restores more than what you have lost. He is a gracious and merciful, loving heavenly Father!
In closing, let us remember the life of Job, since the Bible was written and given unto us for instruction and admonition (1 Cor. 10:10-12), so that we do not make the same mistakes, that the people contained within it’s chapters, made but that we will learn from them and trust in the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us daily and also to make sure that we put a guard over our mind and our mouth so that we watch with extreme care what we say and think and even hear. Two ears one mouth two eyes. Think and look twice as much as what you speak and make sure you speak the truth, The Word and life each time you open your mouth.
* ** ***Ray Stedman Expository Studies