"The LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power" (Job 1:8-12).
"And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (Matthew 3:16-4:1).
Note the fascinating correlation concerning Job and the Lord Jesus Christ regarding God's expressed pleasure and affirmation. The Lord commends Job as the choicest servant of his generation, prompting Satan to seek liberty to test the man of God with trial and tribulation. In like manner, God the Father declares the Lord Jesus to be His beloved and pleasing Son. Immediately thereupon, the Holy Spirit leads our Savior into the wilderness of devilish temptation. In the case of both men, their challenges resulted from God's pleasure with their faithfulness rather than punitive chastening due to unfaithfulness.
This suggests a particularly challenging truth of God's Word. Devotion to God sometimes results in devilish challenge and difficulty because of our Lord's pleasure in our faith and faithfulness. As with Job, we will not know of our Father's commendation. Moreover, if God and the devil still converse at times about believers - leading to challenges - we certainly won't be privy to that either. We will simply know the result - difficulty - leading to even greater opportunity to trust the Lord, along with further growth in our relationship with Him. "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:7-9).
Does this make us mere pawns in a cosmic conflict, as it were, between God and Satan? Not at all. We are rather participants - if we remember and respond to our role of faith in facing the challenges of life: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith" (I Peter 5:8-9). Note the nature of our resistance: "in the faith." That is, in the invisible conflict, wherein we may know very little of either God or Satan's workings, our calling involves trusting and submitting to our Heavenly Father. We do not need to know what He is doing in order to place our confidence in Him. Nor do we need to know what the devil is doing. Indeed, no Biblical record exists that indicates Job ever knew why he experienced his trials and tragedies. Nor does the Bible record that that Lord Jesus received an answer from Heaven when, in the hour of His agony, He cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?!" (Matthew 27:46). Both God and Satan were involved in both trials - the Former as Lord, the latter as the Lord's means of effecting His purposes. However, Job and even our Savior were not completely privy to all that went on behind, or we might say, above the scenes. Their calling was to trust the heart of God although they could not see His hand.
We live on a "need to know" basis. When it comes to knowledge beyond our pay grade, as it were, concerning the spiritual machinations that take place in the heavenlies, we actually need to know very little. We rather must know Who - our faithful and completely present and involved God - and What - His promises to believe, and His commands to obey in the power of the Holy Spirit. This leads us into a life wherein the victory of Christ is revealed in ways we sometimes know, and ways we sometimes don't know. It is enough for us to trust and obey our Father, thereby resisting our spiritual enemies by faith and faithfulness to God. It is not an easy way, but it is our way whereby we greatly glorify and please our Lord as we trust Him in both blessing and challenge.
"This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
(I John 5:4)
Weekly Memory Verse
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.