Learn from Job to Worship God in Your Suffering (Part 1)
THE ISSUE OF THE DISPUTE
And so, here is the issue of the dispute in Job 1:9-11. You can begin to see that this is a dispute between God and Satan. Job 1:9-11 states that:
9 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around 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. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face."
Satan is saying, "I am not impressed with Job at all. So Job is a great example of your kingdom on earth? Job is a great example of your grace active in your fallen world? I am not impressed. You have bought Job with a bribe of blessing. Job doesn't love you, he loves the things you give him. Job doesn't love you, he loves the health, wealth and prosperity that you have bestowed upon him. He doesn't love you the giver, he loves the gifts you give him. God, you cannot get a person on planet earth to love and treasure you and prize you and worship and serve you and delight in you except by giving gifts." In America, we would say, "You've got to be a Santa Claus." You have got to bribe them. And of course, in our culture, Santa Claus is the figure who comes out at Christmas time and gives gifts to people.
And Satan is basically talking of God and saying that that is how he gets Job's love. And so Satan's attack, as you can see, is really not an attack on Job. It is an attack on God, isn't it? Satan is after God! "God, your grace which is the only thing that can create a heart that loves you for your sake (You see Satan knows this. Satan knows all about God's grace. He understands how the kingdom of God works.) "God your grace which is the only thing that create a heart that loves you for your own sake, your grace must not be working on the earth. You must not care about your human race, you must not care about your kingdom on earth which I usurped at the fall. Your grace is supposed to be saving People according to your great plan of redemption. I stood in the garden when you cursed me and you promised that redeemer. When is he coming? When is there gonna be any evidence that your kingdom is moving? I have destroyed it looks like. I don't see your grace anywhere", Satan is saying, "All I see in Job is a mercenary. A spiritual prostitute. You lay down cash, Job loves. You pay, Job performs. You give wages, Job worships. No wonder Job loves you! You have built a fortress around him and you have protected everything that he has; all you have to do is remove that protection and he will just stop worshipping you, he will curse you. That is how much he loves you.
Now God could have said to Satan at this point, "To hell with you and your false accusations". God could have said that and I think God says that every day... But he doesn't say that in every case. God could have said, "I know Job's heart. Case closed. Be gone! I am not going to listen to any more of this garbage." But God didn't in Job's case. Why? Because God in his wisdom, God in his love, God in his goodness and justice and righteousness and holiness, is choosing to get an open victory over Satan that will demonstrate his fame, his glory and his grace throughout all of human history after Job.
And at the same time, God is choosing to test and to purify and to strengthen Job's faith. In other words, God is after two great things: his own fame and glory, and the good of Job. And that is the reason why God does everything with his children and for his children. He does all those things for these two reasons: his own glory, and your good.
And so God grants permission to Satan. Look at verse Job 1:12.
12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
So here is the test for Job and you when suffering comes. Does Job really treasure and value and delight and worship God? Or is Job an Idol worshiper like the rest of humanity? And when pain threatens your earthly pleasures and treasures, do you worship the pleasures on earth; or do you worship God? Do you love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, or do you love his creatures and his creation more than you love God? Is your delight in God, or in the things that God gives? Are you a God worshiper or an idol worshiper? Because anything other than God is an idol. Are you a creator worshiper or are you a creation or creature worshiper?
And what God is doing here is of course of great cosmic importance. This has to do with issues that affect the whole earth and the whole universe. God is about to demonstrate the power of his grace. He is about to demonstrate:
That he has given Job such a new heart, such a change of heart that Job's paramount delight and treasure, is God himself.
God is going to demonstrate that Job prizes and values and worships God for his own sake; and
God is worth more than anything or anyone to Job; and
that God is building his kingdom on earth, his kingdom of grace, even on fallen rebel planet earth. And God is establishing all these truths for all of the angels to see including all the fallen angels, including all the demons, and including Satan himself. And these truths are so important that God is willing to subject his prized servant to the test of enormous pain, and enormous suffering, and enormous grief, and incomprehensible calamity in order to make these truths known.