The Lord’s Evaluation
Okay, so what about this man, Job? The verses tell us there was no one like Job in all the earth, according to the Lord and it is obvious that the prince of darkness held a similar opinion. To him, Job was a city set on a hill that could not be hid. Of all men, Job could not live or die unto himself. His fall would be the stumbling block for many. There is no doubt that because of this he became a central target for Satan, someone that he had indeed set his heart on with unceasing thought and fiendish plans to steal, kill and destroy.
Also, understand the attacks had absolutely nothing to do with Job, the man. It was his soul Satan was after. It was his faith and integrity of heart that was under attack.
Satan did not say, “Take away his wealth, because he has too much.” He said, “Take it away and he will renounce you.” Satan could not care less about Job’s wealth, or health, or family. It was Job’s devotion and love for the Lord that irritated Satan.
I think the clearest illustration of this truth is seen in Mark 4:14-20. Specifically verse 15, when Jesus said, “Satan comes immediately to take away the Word that was sown.” Notice it was the Word he was after, not the soil. In fact, verse 17 clearly says that the adversity comes because of the Word that was sown! You may think you are pretty good and special, but you, in and of yourself, mean nothing to Satan. Your devotion and your faith are what he hates. It is the good fight of faith we are to fight
Proverbs 24:10 says, “if you faint in the day of adversity your faith was weak.” One translation says that your faith was shallow (or insincere). The Living Bible says it even plainer when it says you are a poor specimen if you can’t stand the pressure of adversity. OUCH!
I have heard it rightly said that you could judge a man’s commitment by how much of a storm it would take before he gave up and quit. That being true, we can see the immense confidence the Lord has in His servant Job.
One of my favorite stories is John Bunyan’s classic, Pilgrim’s Progress. In this story, Young Christian, the hero of the tale, faces many hardships and terrible troubles, yet with undaunted faith and commitment he continues on his journey to the City of Zion. At one point he faces “a foul fiend … named Apollyon. After some discourse between them, they push into a battle.” Finally, poor Christian was wounded, bruised and knocked down to the point that he began to despair of life. Reaching for his Sword one more time, he yelled out “Don’t rejoice over me, O my Enemy! When I fall, I shall arise;” and with that gave Apollyon a deadly thrust.
Maybe we need to have such tenacity. Such boldness. At the end of the story is a poem that was set to music by a former Pastor of mine. He called it The Pilgrim Song and the lyrics go like this:
He who would Valiant be, against all disaster;
Let him in constancy follow the master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent to be a pilgrim
Though foes beset him around with dreadful stories;
they but themselves confound, His strength the more is.
though he with giants fight he shall make good his right to be a pilgrim.
Since, Lord, thou do defend us with your Spirit;
We know we, at the end, shall life inherit.
Than fancies flee away,
I’ll care not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.
There’s no discouragement shall make us once relent
our first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.
You see brothers and sisters, when we face our trials, large or small, we can settle for lukewarm, diluted faith—or we can seek the real thing: the type of faith that never gives up on it’s “first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.”
True victory and joy doesn’t depend on the circumstances around us. We rejoice even though, Peter says, even though now for a little while we are subject to suffering. We don’t rejoice because of the suffering, but in spite of our suffering. We don’t rejoice because times are hard; we rejoice in spite of the hardship.
Dr. David Osborn once said, “Too often we try to use God to change our circumstances, while he is using our circumstances to change us.”
We can express joy in the midst of pain and suffering because God says pain and suffering can stretch our faith, develop our faith, grow our faith. And that is a good thing!
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
Other Bible Studies and Commentary are available at Doulos Studies.