A daily devotion for December 2nd
1 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"
Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
3 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."
4 "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face."
6 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life."
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.The LORD said to Satan,Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life. (Job 2:5-6)
Once again there is a divine limitation to Satan's power, but this time God moves the boundaries closer. He says,
You can touch him. In fact, when Satan uses the phrase,
strike his flesh and bones, he asks for access to the total humanity of Job. We still use that phrase today to speak of the totality of our humanity—not only our physical body but also our emotional life, our conscious and subconscious thinking and reacting, and our soul and spirit. Satan is asking for access to Job to touch him in body, soul, and spirit—and he proceeds in that order. He thinks that if he can get at Job in every part of his being, he can shake Job's faith and cause him to turn from his trust and confidence in God and curse Him to His face.
Once when I finished preaching a message on the first chapter of Job, two young men came up and challenged me. They would not accept the story of Job as an historical event, and they could not believe there ever was a man named Job who endured so many trials. I asked them why not. Their reply was,
If that story is true, then God is unconcerned about human life. It pictures God as ruthless. Job's whole family was taken from him. We can't accept this as historical record. In talking with them, I realized that they were struggling with the same feelings that many people struggle with today. They see God as nothing more than a being who thinks and acts and has no more rights than a man. They thought that if a man dealt with another person as God dealt with Job, he would be justifiably charged with murder and cruelty. It did not occur to them that God could not be charged with these things, because in His hand is all of life. He determines the length of life for everyone.
That is why we have the book of Job, to show us that there are reasons for and purposes in these trials and sufferings that we do not see. Job could not see what was going on behind the scenes, and neither can we. And yet God knows. He has a purpose, and it is a proper and right purpose that will end up manifesting more fully the love and compassion of His heart. The test of every trial is always to this end.
Father, I see something of the pain and tears with which life can confront me, yet I will still be in Your will and Your hand, guarded and guided by Your love.
Life Application: Sometimes the pressures of life threaten to crush us. Are we willing to let God be God? Are we learning to trust in His perfect will and timeless wisdom?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.