Passage of the Day: Job 1: 1 – 12 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: I hope you have read through and meditated upon today’s highlight passage, again the first 12 verses in the Book of Job. Because, in these first few paragraphs, some rather disturbing and puzzling truths unfold.
The first one is that Job was a good man, a believer and follower of God … par excellence. In modern day Christian comparison, he would be considered a husband of the decade, a blessed and successful business man, and father of the year, year after year, all wrapped up into one package. And then we’re given a glimpse into the inner workings of heaven; and what we read – at least to me – is somewhat puzzling and very unsettling.
We see God interacting with Satan; and not surprisingly, though the beautiful, powerful, fallen angel is doing all he can to challenge his creator, the Lord God, with accusing schemes, this banished creature is given what Chuck Swindoll calls a permission slip to do evil against Job’s life. And have you ever really thought about that? Here, poor, unwitting Job goes to sleep at night thinking that all is right with the world and with His God, and when he wakes up in the morning all hell, literally, breaks loose around him. So, what’s that all about?!
And we clearly see from this biblical scenario, that God, at times, plans and interacts with Satan, to carry out a scenario which involves seemingly unjustified and unfair actions in the lives of believers; and we haven’t a clue what’s going on. In fact such circumstances, which we can’t explain, will, as we’ll see with Job, challenge our faith and make us wonder even about the character of the Living God.
But as I ponder this rather frightening proposition, my mind brought forth a wonderful, but very challenging truth from Isaiah 55: 8-9, which says, …
“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
This is God speaking to Isaiah, letting him know that there are just some things which God does, in His far reaching scheme to bring mankind to Himself and to recreate us in His image, which we simply will never understand in our natural, rational way of thinking. And yes, sometimes those purposes and plans involve Satan, even to the point of giving him permission to do things which we consider WAY out of bounds, unfair, and downright evil.
My friends, when I think about what’s going on in this world right now, I sometimes feel like Habakkuk and how he must’ve felt when he came to God in Chapter 1 of the book named after this Prophet. Habakkuk was, in essence, asking, “God, what is going on? Why are You allowing all this evil to go on in the world?” And if you read the rest of the book, you see that God gave Habakkuk a lesson in faith, showing him that God can, and often does, allow things to get worse before they are rectified. And Habakkuk learned, what Job will ultimately learn, … that God will – in the end – ALWAYS make things right. And we, who know Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of this truth, can certainly take that truth to the bank.
But then, as I really think about all of this, I stand in awe of the realization, that God even allows evil people to do very evil things, maybe even for a long time; and then the Lord allows them, by His grace, to be received into the family of God. Think of the anti-Jobian case of John Newton, the writer of Amazing Grace, who sold slaves before he repented of that evil. Or there was the supposed conversion of Ted Bundy, who was reported to have repented and received Christ as Savior and Lord only hours before he was executed for brutally murdering all those young women. And finally I think of how God patiently waited on yours truly, allowing me to live a double-life of habitual sexual sin for 22 years; and after all the damage I did, the Lord allowed me to receive His saving grace and enter the family of God and to become an ordained minister of His gospel. … As the kids would say these days, … What’s that all about?
Yes, my dear friend, there is much about God’s plan and purpose, we can’t understand; and there’s much about his allowing Satan to work in the world that we simply cannot accept in our human reasoning. But God truth, though it’s mysterious, is God’s truth; and His plan is HIS plan. Again I say, as I do often, “God is God; and we are not.” And we need to learn that lesson if we’re going to be living out our lives, dealing with Satan, and desiring to know and serve God in an ever darkening world.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, though I may not understand Your ways all the time, Your ways are Yours; and may I always accept them as being for my good. Amen