GOD, SATAN, AND MAN- A TRILOGY OF LIFE'S STRUGGLES
INTRODUCTION: The book of Job tells of one man's struggle, in a time
of severe testing, to retain his once strong faith in the God who is worthy
to be praised. The scene for the book is set in the very first chapter,
when Satan is allowed to severely afflict the patriarch in order that he
might be tested.
The first chapter does more than merely set the scene, however; it gives
us insights into the members of the trilogy involved in the scene--God,
Man and Satan. And not only their roles in this scene, but in our lives
as well. This trilogy is found in Job 1:1 through 2:13.
I. GOD'S ROLE.
A. God was interested in, and pleased with, the spiritual growth
of Job to that point.
1. Job 1:8 - "And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered
my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and
an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?"
B. God was interested in the further growth and happiness of Job, as seen
from a comparison of the beginning and, end of the book.
2. God was pleased with Job, not because he was sinlessly perfect, but
that his whole life was dedicated to God's service.
1. Job 42:12-13 "So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job
more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand
camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had
also seven sons and three daughters."
C. God is worthy to be praised, and wants to know that we recognize
that fact--His worthiness regardless of our reward
1. Psalms 18:3 "I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to
praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies."
2. Revelation 4:11;5:12 - "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to
receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things,
and for thy pleasure they are and were created....Saying with a loud voice,
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,
and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."
II. SATAN'S ROLE
A. Satan was interested in showing God that He was not necessarily
worthy to be praised based solely upon who He is .
1. Job 1:10-11 "Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and
about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed
the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But
put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse
thee to thy face."
2. Of course, he was hoping to bring Job to this same opinion, as he
hopes to bring us to it.
3. He wished to show that men serve God only for the earthly good it
can gain for them.
4. He thought that even one as strong as Job could serve as his "object
lesson." Could he effectively use you as such?
B. Satan was interested in having Job's soul--having him follow
his wife's suggestion to "curse God and die"
1. Job 2:9 "Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain
thine integrity? curse God, and die."
C. Satan is very, very powerful.
1. Note the ease and speed with which Job's earthly blessings
disappeared when Satan was allowed to afflict him (1:13-19).
D. Satan, though powerful, is bound and restrained by the power of God
a. 2 Corinthians 2:11 "Lest Satan should get an advantage of
us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
b. Ephesians 6:10-18 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and
in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may
be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not
against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness
in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that
ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having
on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation
of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith
ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take
the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word
of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
c. 1 Peter 5:8 - "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the
devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
2. This should not only make us aware of his power, but should make
us thankfully aware of God's providential restraint of Satan's power.
1. Some people seem to think of God and Satan as a duality
of deity--two equal but opposing forces. This passage shows that to be
III. MAN'S ROLE.
A. In one sense, man was the center of attention in this conflict
between God and Satan.
1. It is he who is being put to the test.
B. If Satan is truly our adversary today, then we can expect to be tested
1. Job's testing was not a result of some sin in his life;
to the contrary, it resulted from Satan's questioning of God, which was
manifested in Job's righteous life.
C. Each Christian would do well to ask himself the question Satan asked
1. Will I serve God for nothing; simply on the basis of who
He is, without any "hedge" around me? Does my life show that He is indeed
worthy to be praised?
CONCLUSION: The trilogy of trial is played out every day in the
lives of God's children. When brethren begin to struggle with earthly problems,
some remain faithful and become stronger, while others become gradually
weaker and weaker, and eventually fall away. Is this not the struggle of
our lesson being played out?
Does your life teach the lesson of God's worthiness apart from reward?
Or does it exemplify Satan's argument that man only serves God because
"a hedge has been built around him"? Will you be faithful through the struggle?
Copyright 2000 by Grady
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