Tuesday, September 12, 2023


  No 20 The Bad Stuff Must Look Like It Came from God

Satan’s Challenge to God 
But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face (Job 1:11).

God Reply to Satan
And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand (Job 1:12).

Satan Exits Heaven
So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord (Job 1:12).

Whose Hand Did It?
Notice God’s careful reply to Satan. “You put forth your hand. I want all history to know whose hand does the bad stuff. He’s in your hands―only don’t kill him.” Upon receiving permission to go do his bad stuff, Satan got out of God’s presence. He does not like to hang around God any longer than he has to. He was gone. He wasted no time in exiting the grand session. He was not interested in the rest of the agenda. He got what he wanted. Now he had Job where he had wanted him for a long, long time. Now was his day! Satan really, really, really, really, really, really believed what he had said about Job! Why? Because that’s the way he believes! Satan returns to earth. It would be consistent with his methodologies for him to act immediately.

Satan’s Overarching Goal
The goal of greatest importance is to make the bad stuff look like it came from God Himself. Why is this so? The first reason: If it looked like it came from Satan, Job would have run to God saying, “Help me, help me, the devil is doing bad things to me.” This would have ultimately drawn Job closer to God (realizing his need and dependence upon God). The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe (Prov 18:10). The second reason: If it looked like it came from God, then Job would have to stop and think this stuff through. Job would have to stop and do some considering. The logical response on Job's part would be to ask “WHY”―why, God, are You doing all this stuff to me?"

The Bad Stuff
In no time at all, and in a single day, Satan does his stuff.

First Calamity
And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee (Job 1:13-15).

Second Calamity
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee (Job 1:16).

Third Calamity
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee (Job 1:17).

Fourth Calamity
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee (Job 1:18,19).

How quickly Satan whips up the Sabeans and the Chaldeans to do his dirty work! And how Satan can work the elements of nature! He has studied the secrets of the laboratory of nature long enough to use all his available power to control the elements as far as God allowsHow quickly Satan can work! 
NOTICE―Everything―in a few moments―is gone. 
NOTICE―How closely Satan can impersonate (act like) God. 
NOTICE―How Satan can act and make it look like God is acting. 

There are deep implications of this truth for our lives today. On an even grander scale, Satan will attempt to fool the entire world in the end of time with his sophistries and lies. Job was one man. The world today has billions!

In order for Satan's stuff to look like God's stuff, things must be
        1) quick in succession
        2) powerful in delivery
        3) pervasive in scope
        4) look like it comes from above / the sky / His place / God’s domain

Did Satan accomplish his objective?
        1) The Sabeans and Chaldeans from “out of nowhere," so to speak.
        2) The fire of God is fallen from heaven (Job 1:16)
        3) there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house (Job 1:19). Where does the wind come from? The sky (from heaven). The wind smote the four corners of the house. A wind from the east, from the west, from the north, and from the south (at the same time)how could this be? The house was imploded.

What was Job's Conclusion?
Job can draw no other conclusion than that God is doing this to him. We, the reader, know that God didn’t. Satan used instrumentalities people believed only God employed. Lightning. A tornado. Physical malady. These were believed to be acts of God alone. Forces of nature and the violence of men alternating with each other to destroy in one day Job’s family and wealth (with exactly one survivor to carry the deadly news back home) seems preposterous.

Job's losses were sudden, phenomenal, complete, unexplainable and way beyond coincidental. Nowhere else in recorded history are we asked to accept so incredible a series of coincidences.

        The parting of the sea was one thing…
        The sundial going backward one day was one thing…
        The ram caught in the thicket by the horns was one thing…
        Hungry people finding manna on the ground for forty years was one thing...

Job hadn’t absorbed the magnitude of the first loss before the next was thrown upon him. Each wave of tragedy was horrible. All the previous losses fade into insignificance in wake of the news of the loss of his children. The quick and brutal sweep of the devastations reduced this godly man to brokenness and grief. Wave after wave of calamity crashed over him. One mind-numbing trial comes after next.

Why such rapid succession? The rapidity was designed to prevent Job from having the time to recover and recoup his sensibilities. The quick succession was calculated to prevent him from catching his breath, so to speak. Part of Satan’s strategy is to strike when the man is down. Job got up one morning as usual. Before night had come a tempest had descended on him that would have seemed greater than he could bear. And he thought God had done these things to him. For He breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause (Job 9:17). The storm which had raged without now raged within.

Let's Ask Job
Let's ask Job whether Satan accomplished his objective. While there was clear discussion between the Lord and Satan concerning whose hand would be doing the bad stuff, Job understood it to be God's hand who did the smiting. Notice these two verses: 
What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? (Job 2:10). Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me (Job 19:21). While it was Satan's hand that did the smiting, Job thought it was God's hand. While this verse may well summarize his many statements, it may aid the reader to see (and hear) the scope of his assertions:  

6.4        For the arrows of the Almighty are within me
6.4        the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me

9.17      for He breaketh me with a tempest
9.17      and multiplieth my wounds without cause
9.18      He will not suffer me to take my breath
9.18      but filleth me with bitterness

9.34      Let Him take His rod away from me
9.34      and let not His fear terrify me

10.8      Thine hands have made me and fashioned me
10.8      together round about
10.8      yet Thou dost destroy me

10.16    Thou huntest me as a fierce lion

16.9      He teareth me in His wrath
16.9      who hateth me
16.9      He gnasheth upon me with His teeth

16.11    God hath delivered me to the ungodly
16.11    and turned me over into the hands of the wicked 

16.12    I was at ease
16.12    but He hath broken me asunder
16.12    He hath also taken me by my neck
16.12    and shaken me to pieces
16.12    and set me up for His mark

16.13    His archers compass me round about
16.13    He cleaveth my reins asunder
16.13    and doth not spare
16.13    He poureth out my gall upon the ground

16.14    He breaketh me with breach upon breach
16.14    He runneth upon me like a giant

19.6      Know now that God has overthrown me
19.6      and hath compassed me with His net

19.8      He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass
19.8      and He hath set darkness in my paths  

19.9      He hath stripped me of my glory
19.9      and taken the crown from my head

19.10    He hath destroyed me on every side
19.10    and I am gone
19.10    and mine hope hath He removed like a tree

19.11    He hath also kindled His wrath against me
19.11    and He counteth me unto Him as one of His enemies      

19:17    He has no reason to treat me as He does

23.15    Therefore am I troubled at His presence
23.15    when I consider I am afraid of Him

23.16    and the Almighty troubleth me

30.21    Thou are become cruel unto me
30.21    with Thy strong hand
30.21    Thou opposeth Thyself against me

30.23    For I know that Thou wilt bring me to death
30.23    and to the house appointed for all living

31.23    For destruction from God was a terror to me
31.23    and by reason of His highness
31.23    I could not endure

Job believed God was the source of his misery. Job knew his circumstances were not outside of God’s sovereignty or control. He just did not know why.

Job will work through his misfortunes. He will come to understand God's bigness and his own littleness. While he may not have understood WHY, he never lost sight of WHO. Through it all Job kept right on trusting God. He never stopped loving. He never stopped serving. He followed adversity with adoration. He followed woe with worship.

By the grace of God, I wish for my life to bear the same testimony. Don't you?

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359.

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