He Remains The Same
January 28, 2019
No matter what people know of God or think of Him, He is who He is. Our opinions or understanding of God doesn’t affect who God is and His purposes in any sort of way. Just because people don’t like how God works or believe He’s real doesn’t mean that God ceases to be the One True Living God who created the heavens and the earth. God is not like a fairy that requires the faith of people in order to exist. Like God told Moses when Moses asked what God should be called – “I AM that I AM.” In other words, God is who He is regardless of what He’s called or how He is treated. God is the unchanging eternally self-existing and self-sustaining Lord God Almighty whose mercy endures forever as the supremely righteous Judge. As a result, God is blessed and holy and glorious no matter what happens to His people. The suffering and difficulties of God’s people doesn’t indicate in any way that God is weak, negligent, or indifferent. Therefore, it is important for God’s people to recognize that when our circumstances change, God’s character and nature doesn’t. He still is who He was, and always will be.
Our responses towards the ups and downs of life should reflect this understanding and trust in God. The changes in our lives don’t mean God has changed one way or another. The changes in our lives, for the better or the worse, simply mean that God is still working with us to produce the same result He was working towards before things changed. He’s simply working in a different way to prove the same points and teach the same things of Himself that’s He’s revealed since the beginning. This sort of response is revered in the testimony of Job. In Job 1:13-22 the Bible documents the first major assault that the devil waged against Job. As soon as the devil gained permission and parameters to attack Job, he maximized his opportunity and went right to work. This goes to show that the devil is opportunistic in his approach. Given the chance, he will take advantage of the full extent of permissions that God grants. He will attack without mercy and will seek to destroy his targets without restraint. This is why the people of God must trust in God for protection, provision, and wisdom. Against someone like the devil, we have no chance!
The scriptures reveal a startling truth about the attacks of the devil. He doesn’t play fair. Since God prohibited Satan from harming Job directly, Satan attacked everything around Job. However, it is the manner in which Satan attacked that makes things scary. The Bible explains that Satan attacked that which Job highly valued in life – that which defined his riches and circumstantial blessings. In the days of Job, people were considered rich based on the sizes of their families and their flocks. The larger the families – especially of boys – the more help a person had in their agricultural endeavors. Since precious metals were not yet a major form of currency, great agricultural increase and the possession of helpful tools to produce such, were considered highly valuable. Job had both. The Lord had given Job seven sons and three daughters. Job had a lot of help to manage the abundance of cattle that he possessed as well. Job was considered blessed and rich because of his possession of these things. These were the things Satan immediately attacked. Satan sought to strip that which the world normally trusts in. Satan wanted to make Job poor and did so in a manner that made it look like it was God’s fault.
The testimony of Job 1:13-22 explains that the devil levied his attack all in one day, in the time span of just a few hours. First, a servant hurried to Job to inform Job that his oxen had been raided, stolen, and the servants in charge of them were killed. While that servant was explaining the situation, another servant came to inform Job that the “fire of God” came “down from heaven” and destroyed all of Job’s sheep and the servants who keep watch over them. While that servant was explaining the situation, another servant came in and explained that the Chaldeans raided Job’s camels and took them and slaughtered all of the servants that were supposed to watch over them. Then finally, while that third servant was speaking, a fourth came in to explain that all of Job’s kids were gathered together in the home of his oldest son when a great wind came and knocked the house down, killing all of his children at once. In the timespan of a few moments, Job had lost “everything.” That which made him great and rich in this life was suddenly gone.
Here, it is important to recognize how the devil did his work. Notice that there were two primary things that the devil did. First, the devil showed that he has influence over evil and violent men. The devil stirred up the Sabeans and Chaldeans to attack Job though they were not provoked by Job. The Sabeans and Chaldeans were traditionally aggressive people, showing that the devil is able to easily sway those who already live in the destructive manner that the devil loves. Those who live by the sword for joy only need a place to swing it. The devil simply pointed to Job as a place to swing the swords as evil men already intended. The devil will use people who are accustomed to darkness, evil, corruption, and destruction to do his bidding, seeing that they are already well accustomed to his work. This is part of the reason that the Lord commands His people to flee from darkness and be ignorant of things that are wicked and corrupt as sin, lest we become damaging tools of the devil too.
Next, the scriptures show that the devil had charge over the natural elements of the world. The devil destroyed sheep and Job’s children with “fire from heaven” and “a great wind.” The Apostle Paul wrote that the devil can disguise himself as “an angel of light.” In this case, the devil was able to exercise power from the spiritual plane of reality to make himself look like THE Angel of the LORD, the LIGHT of the world, God Himself. When the servant informed Job of the way that his sheep were killed, he described the fire as “the fire of God.” However the devil was able to manifest fire made an eyewitness believe that God was the author. God was not the author of this destruction but the servant of Job believed that was the case. Likewise, the servant that informed Job of the death of Job’s children explained that the house fell by “a great wind.” The scriptures explain that the winds respond to the commands of God, yet the devil was able to make it seem like God was using the wind to target Job and destroy him.
It is clear to see that the devil wanted to make God look like the bad guy – and God let him. The devil wanted his own destructive work to look like God was judging Job so as to cause Job to grow bitter and resent God. The devil wanted Job to curse God and so he not only took away that which the world defined as “riches,” but did so in a manner that made it seem as if God was stripping these things away for no reason. The devil is called the father of lies, and the testimony of his work in Job 1:13-22 shows that his lies are EXCEPTIONALLY sophisticated! Often times, the enemy will make their work of destruction look like God so that God gets the blame, people turn bitter towards Him, deny Him, rebel against Him, and ultimately curse Him. The testimony of Job shows that God allowed and even enabled Satan to attack Job this way. This is because God was proving just how weak and pitiful the devil is against those who are called to be God’s children.
The Bible testifies that upon learning of this great loss, Job was immediately affected emotionally as one might imagine. However, he was not spiritually swayed. Though he fell to the ground and tore his robe in an expression of intense grief, he actually praised God! The Bible testifies that Job said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord Gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The devil tried to get Job to curse God, but instead Job confessed God’s sovereignty and goodness. The devil tried to get Job to despise God, but instead Job acknowledged the immutable goodness of God. Job simply confessed the truth. Though there was a time where Job had riches in this life, he did not come into the world with those riches. Job recognized that, at some point, God was determined to increase him, and since that increase and the amount of it was previously determined by God according to grace, Job could not contend with God’s decision to take that increase away. The increase was God’s to begin with as evidenced by the way Job came into the world. How then can we be mad when God takes back that which was always His? How can we lose something that was never ours to begin with? The Apostle Paul taught that there is nothing we have that didn’t come from God. It’s all His! If God decides that He doesn’t want us to have it anymore, who are we to contend with God and criticize how He administrates His own possessions? The scriptures teach that we are mere stewards of that which belongs to the Lord. When our stewardship of a possession or a person comes to an end, it is because the Master of the universe has decided so.
Still, God is not just supremely powerful and in charge of all things. He is also supremely good and right. Thus, when God gives OR takes away, it is still good and right. Job understood this truth, which is why he finished his praise by acknowledging that the Lord is blessed. The Lord is blessed whether we are rich or poor. The Lord is blessed whether we experience increase or decrease. The Lord is blessed whether the devil attacks or we are preserved from that attack. The Lord is blessed no matter how things look to us. Though Job had experienced significant incomparable loss, he knew that his loss did not change who God was. It is Job’s proclamation about God and his praise of God that proves why God allowed these things to happen. Satan wanted Job to curse God, accusing Job’s faith of being weak and brittle and God’s power over the heart of Job to be weak. He was wrong. Job didn’t sin against God or curse Him in his heart. Job didn’t despise God because of his loss. Job didn’t sway from trusting in God just because he didn’t like how things were going. The devil was wrong, and God was proved right, and it was Job’s unwavering faith in this regard that allowed him to receive the benefits of God’s goodness later in his life in a different way.