Series: The Discipline of Sonship
Sun am 1 October 2017– Kobus Swart
Job 1:6-12, 20-22; Job 2:1-10; Job 4:7-8; Job 19:25-26; Job 23:10; Job 32:1; Job 42:2; Rom. 8:28; Rom. 16:20; 1 John 3:8, 21; Heb. 5:8; Heb. 10:26; John 8:44; John 16:11; Isa. 31:2; Isa. 45:7; Isa. 47:11; Isa. 48:10; Isa. 54:16; Amos 3:6-8; Col. 1:16-17; (Matt. 4:1, 3); 1 Pet. 2:5; Psa. 119:71; Rev. 2:10; Rev. 12:10, 12;
Do we truly believe that God, who created the heavens and the earth, has been in control, and is still in control of everything? Sometimes we are challenged, and we begin to doubt that and wonder if something else is taking control. There are times in our lives when God allows (and sometimes even initiates) the enemy to test us; but whenever He does, God himself sets his boundaries and limits his powers. Do we believe that? God is still in power! He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Whatever happens, even if you feel that it cannot possibly be from God, trust that He is still in control.
The story of Job is familiar to all of us. It seems like it was a natural occurrence for Satan to appear amongst the sons of God, so he showed up. 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 do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it”. Satan did not mention Job. The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant, Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil”. Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about 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 put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD (Job 1:1-12). Between the lines, Satan was hoping that God would say, “OK, I am going to really test him”. Satan wanted God to do it. But God said, “Ok, I will give you permission. You do it, but I have a boundary, I am going to limit what you want to do”.
Job was a very wealthy man; everything was going well in his life. And then Satan did what he had to do. Then the messengers started coming in, telling Job all the disasters that had hit him and his family. Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God (Job 1:20-22). Satan was not happy. Again, he challenged God to do it. (Job 2:1-10).
When things like this happen in the life of a believer, there is always a possibility that some good Christian friend will come alongside you, and begin to ask certain questions, and blaming you. Remember now, whoever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed? According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it (Job 4:7-8). They were blaming Job. Most, if not all of us, at some stage in our life, have done something that we should not have, and not long after, you begin to harvest what you have sown. It is unavoidable. You cannot blame God or the devil. For if we go on sinning wilfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins (Heb. 10:26). That is a hard Scripture, but we must bring all of this into the equation. Unless the Lord himself convicts you of sin, sufferers should pay no attention to religious comforters and accusers. If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God (1 John 3:21).
When you go through shakings and God allows this and that to happen using the enemy, we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). To those who are connected to His purpose in their lives, God will then make all things work together for good. Something deep in his heart made Job respond the way that he did. He did not become negative, he did not blame God. Although his pain was very great, he did not sin with his lips; he fell on his face and he worshipped God. How many of us would go through testing like that and respond like Job? As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25-26). I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2). Job was a perfect man; he understood the nature of God.
Something you may not know about Job is that he was righteous in his own eyes (Job 32:1). Although he was wealthy in temporal things, rich in spiritual things, and proclaimed perfect by the Lord himself, he had not yet been tried by fire as the sons of God will be. He was yet untried, untested and unproven. In the midst of Job’s ordeal of affliction and suffering, the Spirit of prophecy came upon him, and he spoke concerning the purposes of God: But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10). As in schools, you do not pass before being tested. How did God do this? He used Satan. Remember, satan has no power except that which God allows him to have. In our religious church history, there was a certain picture painted of satan; who he is and where he comes from. I believe God is busy correcting that theology.
God said, I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things (Isa. 45:7 – KJV). ‘Evil’ here means ‘calamity, distress, adversity, misery’. This is confirmed in three more Scriptures: Isa. 31:2, Isa. 47:11 and Amos 3:6-8. Col. 1:16-17 says, For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities –all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, plus what we have just read. Jesus Himself said about satan: He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). The devil sinned from the beginning. From his very beginning, Satan was evil (1 John 3:8). Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and brings out a weapon for its work; And I have created the destroyer to ruin (Isa. 54:16). What this boils down to is that God created an instrument that was capable of performing this essential action in the lives of men. In satan God literally created a chastening rod. There is purpose in affliction; there is purpose in trials! Sometimes we do not learn and so we repeat our mistakes, and we pay the price. There is purpose in temptation. How will you know if you are an overcomer or not until you have been tested? Job had been a perfect man…up until that point. Wealthy, blessed in everything, but was unproven, untested. There is purpose in suffering, purpose in sorrow, and purpose in pain.
If you do not learn, you will pay the price. Some people only learn the hard way. They have to repeat their mistakes until they wake up and realise they are being tested! You cannot be an overcomer unless you overcome something! There is purpose in light and darkness. There is purpose in good and there is purpose in evil. There is purpose in adversity, and in the adversary who brings it, and therefore there is purpose in the existence of Satan. God had him there for a purpose, up to a point. His time is short; but until then we will be tried and we will be tested.
Even Jesus, the Son of God, came out of the waters of baptism, 30 years old, and the next moment, the Holy Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1). Do not give the devil the blame. He was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit of God. When the tempter came to him, his first question was, “If you are the Son of God…” (Matt. 4:3). We are talking about the tests and trials of the sons of God to qualify to be part of the corporate Son who will put God on display in this world.
Jesus personally chose all his disciples, which included Judas Iscariot. “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” (Jn 6:70) God needed a Judas to betray Him.
We know nothing about Jesus for the first 18 years of His life. We saw Him at the age of 12 and then at the age of 30, but we have this Scripture: Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered (Heb. 5:8).
We are living stones that will be built into the temple of God (1 Pet. 2:5). Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction (Isa. 48:10). That is where the living stones are made. David said, It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes (Psa. 119:71).
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life’ (Rev. 2:10). Do not see ‘prison’ in a literal sense here; it could be a prison in an abstract sense. You will know when you are in a ‘prison’.
Here is the good news: Jesus came with a purpose. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the ruler of this world was put under judgement (John 16:11). Understand the word ‘judgement’; it means that he is still alive, but there is a judgement hanging over his head. He is still the father of lies (John 8:44), the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10). He still moves around among the body of Christ. Many Christians give him substance by believing and confessing that he is powerful. However, his time is short! For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time (Rev. 12:12). So how will this function of the devil come to an end? He was put under judgement, Jesus overcame him. How will his existence come to an end? The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet! (Rom. 16:20). Who will bring the final end to Satan? The Church of Jesus Christ, the overcomers! The sons of God that have been tested and proven through fire and came through victoriously, will crush Satan under our feet. Satan will not go a millimetre beyond the boundaries that God has set for him. He has no right to go beyond where God allows him to go. We draw the line for Satan; he will not go further! You must stand firm. This is the Church that Jesus is looking for, the overcoming Church. Do not give the enemy more room than what God gives him to test us.
We declare that we are submitted to the King of kings, who created the heavens and the earth. God is in charge, not the devil! Give him no room.