Archives for : August 2019

Beware that your attitude does not portray you as one of the foolish  0

Many believers in Christ are so sure of their faith that they claim that nothing can shake them. That nothing will make them want to think evil of God. On the surface that sounds nice and even spiritual. Yet many are living like God has left them or that they never knew God in the first place. Peter the apostle once boasted that he would never deny the Lord even if others did. He was to later regret that boast as in the face of potential persecution and possible death, he reneged and denied his Lord.

And believers are warned to take heed least they fall. Believers are to regularly examine themselves to see if they are still in the faith. All these go to show to the believers in Christ that it is important for them to know they are vulnerable, especially at certain times and circumstances. They are to therefore be grounded and rooted in their faith and be on their watch against any slip ups.

Let every believer in Christ therefore beware that his attitude does not portray him as one of the foolish. To help us we shall look at a passage of the Holy Scripture, (Job 2:9-10) to learn from the life of one of the believers of old and his wife.

Job 2:9-10:

9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips..

Most anyone who has read the Holy Bible or been to Sunday Schools knows the story of Job or at least have heard of him. He is often held up as the epitome of faith in the face of adversity. Many often forget that while those reading the story as written in the Bible have the privilege of knowing the behind the scenes conferences held by God with the sons of God, Job in the centre of the testing did not.

And today, many believers in adverse circumstances expect to be told point blank that God is the one allowing Satan to test-prove them. This is not always the case as in the case of Job, God alone has the right to have such privileged information.

What God requires of you the believer is to stay true to him in all circumstances. However, as he demonstrated in the case of Job, God is able to see you through any situation without giving you the details of whatever may be taking place in the spirit realm concerning your situation.

God demands and expects you who claim to be his child to stand with him in the face of the adversary. I pray you will not fail God in the name of Jesus.

God Himself testifies concerning Job that:

  • Job is the servant of God.
  • There is none like him in the earth, a perfect man.
  • Job feared God and eschewed evil (Job 1:8).

Satan the opportunist

And God gave Satan permission to afflict Job, but with one exemption: God commanded Satan to not touch the life of Job (Job 2:6).

What better opportunity could Satan ever had again against such a highly regarded servant of God. The devil took his opportunity with both hands and joyfully went to work on Job. By the time Satan got to the limit of what God permitted him to do, Job had lost ALL:

  • He had lost all his property.
  • He had lost all his children.
  • He had lost all his wealth.
  • He had lost his health.
  • He had lost his standing and prestige in the community.
  • Everything was gone, and he was in a terrible state.

In all his plenty and adversity, his wife was a full participant equally affected as her husband.

Job was now sitting outside on a heap of ashes, scratching his rotten sores with a potsherd (Job 2:8). Job that was a man of authority and prestige (Job 29:1-25) was now an outcast scorned by all. What a terrible personality Satan is!

Job not aware of meeting in heaven

Do remember that Job was not privileged to know God held a council with the sons of God in heaven, neither was he informed of what transpired in that meeting (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6).

Only the readers of this book down the ages, including us are given that privileged information. We are reading it after the events. As such we have a tendency to be wiser after the events forgetting that Job was not privy to the behind-the-scenes spiritual goings-on.

9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

 Job’s wife was married to him in a covenant relationship.

  • She had lived with him for a long time.
  • She is the mother of his 10 children (7 sons and 3 daughters).
  • She knew him very well.
  • She knew his devotion to God to be real, and not a pretension.
  • She had enjoyed the period of prosperity and was now undergoing adversity with him.
  • Hence, she was not a stranger to God’s goodness in their lives.

However, she is a woman deeply grieving. And she spoke out of the depth of her sorrow and grief.

Integrity:

Integrity: (in this context), is spotless character in regard to God; blamelessness before God; Completeness with regard to his relationship with God. This completeness in relationship with God manifested in concrete action as Job refused to charge God with wrongdoing.

Job persisted in the same level of devotion to God that he had at the time of his prosperity even in the time of his great and tragic adversity. God Himself testified to the veracity of Job’s integrity though his wife was not aware of God’s testimony.

 Of Job can truly be said, “He loved the giver of the gifts infinitely more than the gifts.”

 Believer in Christ how are you responding to God in your prosperity?

  • Believer in Christ, how are you responding to God in your adversity?
  • Like Job or like his wife?

 Job’s wife knew Job was still maintaining his relationship with God. That he had refused to charge God with error or wickedness.

 Hence, her question.

  • Are you still maintaining your integrity?
  • Are you still continuing to have faith in your God who has done all these terrible things to us?
  • How long are you going to continue to insist that God is good and loves you?
  • How worse can things get before you wake up from this your religious fanaticism.
  • Stop burying your head in the sand like an ostrich and face the reality of your situation!
  • And on and on. You, fill-in the blanks!  

 She asked the question knowing fully well that Job was still faithful to God and that her husband was still refusing to blame God for their calamity.

The age-old modus operandi of Satan

This line of questioning by Job’s wife is not new. It is as old as when corruption was found in Satan, the adversary. Neither prosperity nor adversity is a panacea against it. It can be indirect through a cooperating agent like the serpent in the garden, an agent who may not be aware of having been coopted like the case of Job’s wife, or direct by the devil himself as in the case of Christ in the wilderness.

Remember:

The serpent (the instrument of the devil in the garden) with Eve:

Eve was in a place of plenty. A place where all their needs as a couple, including regular fellowship with God were met. Yet, the devil came there. Knowing what God has said to Eve, he said,

“Yea, hath God said?” (Gen 3:1).

 The devil directly confronted the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord was in the wilderness and fasting. It was a place of deprivation, preparation and testing. The Lord was fasting as part of the preparation for His soon-to-be lunched ministry of Salvation.

So, further down the line, the devil used the same ploy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Though, he knew Jesus to be the Son of God, he still went ahead to challenge that truth. He said,

“If thou be the son of God” (Mat 4:3, 6).

 Notice that the questions and statements are calculated or framed in a way to create doubt in the hearer.

The devil was saying to the Lord, “you are the Son of God eh! Prove it to me now!” But since when does a child of God has to prove to the devil that he is a child of God? He knows his Father and his Father knows him!

Remember,

Eve was wallowing in abundance, while the Lord was in a 40-day fast and in the wilderness. They were both confronted by the tempter with things that would be quite enticing and irresistible.

The devil makes his moves at the moments of maximum vulnerability of his intended victim! The time the devil is most likely to succeed against the would-be victim in his deception. The devil presents his case in a most believable way. In ways that even others will join in to put pressure upon the intended victim.

Job asked to imitate the heathen around him

Job’s wife’s command to him was, “curse God, and die”

The heathens around them were in the habit of heaping curses upon their idol gods when they thought such false gods had brought misfortune and evil upon them. Job’s wife would have seen them berating and reproaching their gods on many occasions.

Job as the head of the family is the one with authority to call time on the family. Through him, both blessings and curses come, and in this case, all the calamity was because his faithfulness pleased God but angered Satan and led to his being further tested.

And he is the one who could end their relationship with God. Hence, she was asking her husband to do the ultimate: curse God and let Him kill us out of anger and save us from this miserable life!

 What she might be forgetting because of her sorrow was that Yahweh, their God was the true God and not an idol. You can neither curse nor make an end of the true and living God! You cannot even curse the true child of God. If you doubt this ask Balaam and Balak (Num. 22:1-24:25. See esp. Num.23:7-8, 18-21).

 The idea was that Job should make an end of everything, because according to the theology of the wife by what had happened to them, God had proved to be unworthy of their devotion and worship. Doesn’t that remind you of the prosperity crowed?

What worse thing could befall them other than what they had suffered? she must have reasoned. It is better to die and end all than to live such a miserable life she must have thought!

 Please, be aware, suffering and pain can do much damage to a believer’s thinking.

So, mind your thinking and your words when you are in unpleasant circumstances.

Her words were harsh and would have had a devastating effect on Job more than whatever Job’s friends might have said. She was the closest to Him, the only one after God that he could trust, and rely upon. They have done intimate and confidential things together and she knew her husband inside out. Job, her husband knew and trusted her too.

And so, to hear her utter the words she uttered like she did would ordinarily have deflated Him. But he showed that he was really a man of faith. Job demonstrated perseverance in His faith and in his trust in God.

 However, Job’s wife misconstrued his perseverance in faith as religious fanaticism. She thought Job was blindly refusing to face the reality of their very desperate situation. She showed her bitterness against God by lashing out at her husband. Her action would have been another of so many terrible blows to Job, her husband.

 Notice that, though Job and his wife were unaware of what was going on in the heavenly council, the suggestion of his wife that Job should curse God was exactly what Satan had twice predicted in the presence of God that Job would do if God should allow him to attack Job (Job 1:11; 2:5). Hence, inadvertently, she was being an advocate for the devil!

Please be careful that neither your utterances nor your actions inadvertently strengthen the enemy position.

“10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Her husband, who was in addition to the loss of their children and all their material wealth, was in serious physical sickness responded but not in the harsh tone that some would have.

Foolish here does not mean to be stupid or lack natural intelligence. Here, foolish means being spiritually ignorant or being undiscerning of spiritual things.

Notice that her husband, Job, did not call her a foolish woman. And no right-thinking believer should call his wife foolish, neither should the wife her husband. There should be no derogatory language between spouses.

Rather, Job was cautioning his wife against speaking unadvisedly. It is as if saying, be careful now. Do not speak like one of the foolish women. Foolish women here likely referred to the heathen unbelievers around them. Job was cautioning his wife not to let their current terrible situation to overwhelm her to the extent that she would disparage and charge God with error.

The fool:

It is the fool who has said in his heart, that there is no God. It is the fool that worship idols and other false gods. It is the fool that claims to be a Christian while living contrary to the word of God, and still expecting God’s blessings.

Brother, sister, how do you speak? Like one of the foolish? Please, speak as one of the wise ones.

What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?

Job was indeed reminding his wife of who she was in God, and their previous blessings from God by his statement put to her as a question. Job was not being a fatalist who resigned to the will of an unknown God.

Rather, Job recognised the sovereignty of God over their lives, and indeed over all of creation. Though he might not be able to explain it or even understand it, Job believed nothing would happen to them except God allowed it.

He was of such trustfulness that God knows all things, and especially in their situation, that he must have rested in the truth that God knew what he was doing. His is the life of one totally submitted to God.

In spite of his own personal pain and anguish, he found time to be the pillar of support for his wife. He was still gracious towards her as in her grieve she lashed out at him.

In all this did not Job sin with his lips:

Try to picture the level of personal agony and suffering Job must have been in because of his terrible physical sickness, add to that the loss of all he possessed except his wife. All his friends and relatives had deserted them. He had lost his high status in society. Yet, he refused to charge God with error. Though in serious pain, he did not sin! Though in a very serious situation he neither understood nor could explain, he refused to sin!

Observe that:

This affirmation and confirmation that, “in all this did Job sin not with his lips”, proved Satan’s prediction wrong. Satan had twice predicted to God that if Job was attacked severely enough, Job would curse God to his face (Job 1:11; 2:5). Of course, Satan is the father and purveyor of falsehood. He raises up false prophets to ensnare the gullible, especially those in pursuit of signs and wonders from whatever source. It also vindicated God’s confidence in Job, and God’s words about Job (Job 1:22, cf. Job 1:8, 11; 2:3, 5).

How would you fare?

  • Brother, sister, how is your relationship with God.
  • In what ways may Satan be challenging your integrity before God?
  • What may the devil be predicting concerning you before God?
  • Will God have such confidence in your integrity or faithfulness if the devil were to argue in the court of heaven that he be allowed to put you to the test, to be allowed to attack you so as to show God that you are not as committed as you claim to be?
  • If such were to happen, or perhaps, is already happening, how will you respond?
  • Like Job or like Job’s wife?

Rather, Job confidently affirmed that trouble (evil) as well as good come from God. Scripture confirms the same (cf. Eccl. 7:14; Lam 3:38). This is in contrast with the view of most people, including Christians. Most people’s view is that bad things happening means the very existence of God is questionable. For if God truly exists and have all the powers ascribed to Him, everything should just be good, and with the complete absence of evil or trouble they reason and affirm.

Later, Job affirmed to his friends that he would retain his integrity till death (Job 27:5).

Job was a human like any, and all of us. He was just getting on with life not knowing what was happening in the spirit world. Though he was oblivious to the conferences going on about him in heaven, he believed not only in the sovereignty of God but also in the goodness of God. He believed whatever God allowed in his life (Job’s) would be in his (job’s) and to the Glory of God.

  • How many of us could have stayed true to God if we were Job?
  • Consider where you are now, and the things you think you are going through:
  • How is your relationship with God?
  • How are you bearing up under the burden?
  • Could you have gone further than Job’s wife and taken the laws into your hands?

Remember, she stayed with her husband till the end and they were restored together.

  • What would you do when you are in that place where though you are a believer in Christ, there is no evidence of God’s presence, and blessing, as in this case of Job.
  • How long do you think you will stay true to God before seeking additions, and or alternatives or even abandoning God altogether as you seek solution your own way at all costs?

This is especially important in this day of benefits Christianity. There is a deluge falsehood and the merchandising of the God of the bible and his word. Purveyors damnable heresies, instant gratifications, and so-called instant miracles have invaded the land and numerous people are being ensnared daily.

Please, it is important to look intently at yourself and sincerely re-evaluate your relationship with the Lord with the intention to make necessary adjustment as soon as practicable. Please, do not delay as the Lord could come back anytime.

While not everyone is called to be a Job and his wife, each believer has his or her place and time of testing.

Remember, both husband and wife were believers. They were both beset in the same calamity, but the husband more so, as he was also afflicted in his body. Both were grieving due to their devastating loss. All they saw was the physical realities of their situation as they were not privy to the meetings that took place in the presence of God. Yet, their response concerning their faith and trust in God were so different.

As people of faith in God, and followers of Christ, we must have faith and trust in God in both prosperity and adversity, even while we are unable to understand why bad things happen.

New Testament believers

Both the Old Testament and New Testament believers have and serve the same God. His standards and demands for his people remain the same. We have seen what would have been foolishness on the part of the wife of Job.

What will be foolishness on our part as New Testament believers in Christ? How a believer could inadvertently behave or act foolishly. And hence the need for the believer in Christ not to be complacent.

 No excuse for unfaithfulness

What Job’s wife said was bad. She seemed to think that Job had good reason to rebel against God in view of all they had lost. Perhaps most people would have thought so too. Hence, her question, and the following statement. But God expect better things from his children.

 And Job like many others in Scripture demonstrate to the rest of believers that believers can be better ambassadors of Christ if they will allow the Holy Spirit and the word of God to do their work in in the believer. This is what Job also amply demonstrated.

 But Job showed that he was not serving God for profit. New Testament believers have an even more obvious or objective thing to look up to: The suffering and sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. And because the sacrifice and persecution of any believer in Christ cannot be compared to that of Christ, it will be foolish to claim or proffer any excuse for not being faithful to God.

 So, if you find yourself faltering or being unfaithful, do not excuse yourself or try to blame someone else. Rather, confess and repent asking God to forgive you. And God will forgive and restore you to himself.

God always have use for his own

Calling Job, her husband to end it all by cursing God is akin to saying God had no use for them anymore. She was deep in sorrow and grief. She was wearied, tired, and seem not to have the strength nor the will to want to continue. The depth sorrow and grief of such horrendous disaster and personal tragedy befalling the home of a believer in the one true God can only be imagined and no doubt would have clouded her understanding.

She was simply numbed by her grief and couldn’t care less whatever happens. She therefore looked for the quickest way to end it all – no point to continue to live a miserable existence. But contrary to what she thought, God still had much use for her and her husband and thus kept them alive in their adversity.

 While she seemed hasty in her decision of advising her husband to abandon his faith, Job, her husband was an example of patience in the face of adversity. And the faith of Job in the face of overwhelming tragedy should challenge every believer in Christ.

 God used Job to confound and silence Satan called the adversary. Satan is still in the business of opposing God by been the adversary to his people. And God is still ever proud of his people, more so wherever there are faithful ones like Job. God still wants to use his people for his glory through empowering them to resist and overcome whatever the adversary may throw at them as he did Job. It is talking like one of the foolish if a believer counsels another to leave God because of some tragedy or adversity.

It is foolish to think that because of being in adversity, God has no further use for any of his children, children that he has gone to extra-ordinary effort to redeem by sending his only begotten Son into the world to suffer and die on the cross for.

 Never let adversity make forget the goodness of God

Job’s reply to his wife showed that though his anguish was intense, he still remembered the goodness of God. God had been good to them with all they enjoyed in the past.

 Though one’s circumstances could change dramatically, God never changes. God is always good even when our personal circumstances wants us to think otherwise. And as New Testament believers, God has and continues to demonstrate His love for us through salvation, daily provision, protection, and good promises for the future. It is therefore foolish to forget the goodness of God when we have problems or challenges that are not easy to resolve.

 As I often encourage us, you should never question what God had spoken or given to you in your steady state when trouble or difficulties come. God is always good and true.

 Satan will do his best to make you charge God with error.

Satan will come, and especially at periods of vulnerability: He will try to sow doubt. He will try to tempt us with foolish questions. He will try to make us draw foolish conclusions from incomplete and corrupt information. And he will try to urge us to urgent precipitate and unwise actions that could make our situation worse if not irredeemable.

 But never forget who you are:

However, whatever the circumstances may be, the believer in Christ should remember who he is: Job never forgot who he was. Job knew he had a living, all-powerful redeemer (Job 19:25). Though his current situation was terrible, and he had no explanation for it, he knew his future was bright (Job 19:25-27).

 The future of the New Testament believers in Christ is in the hands of Christ. This is the living hope that is a sure promise of bright future based upon Christ’s finished work on the cross.

The believer in Christ should be careful that his walk or anything in him does not portray him as one of the ungodly around. There is a possibility this could happen. Hence, believers are commanded to abstain or flee from all appearance of evil (1Thes 5:22).

Christian, believer in Christ, DETERMINE from now not to allow any circumstances to cause you to appear as a fool before God.

The unbeliever

But this has been about the people of God, especially in our time, the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps unlike Job and his wife, you are not of the people of God, you are yet an unbeliever and you are asking, “How do I come in seeing I do not yet know Christ?”

 What if Christ is not yet your Saviour? What if you are not yet born of the Spirit? Then the above does not yet apply to you. You are yet outside the fold of the people of God, the believers in Christ.

 But there is a way out for God has made provision for you too. O yes, God created you. So, he knows you more than you know yourself! God knew you were going to get to this point and he therefore made provision for you.

How?

 By becoming a born-again child of God as demanded and provided for by God:

The invitation has gone out to all human beings including you reading this piece.

Accept God’s verdict concerning human beings:

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

That is, in the opinion of God, we all fall short of His standard. Further, our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in hell.

But while we are still in our sin, God took the initiative to reconcile us with Himself as we are told:

But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Yes, while we were all still in our sin, God showed His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for us. God gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16). So, all we need to do is to accept that Christ has died for our sin by standing in place of us.

We do this by doing what the word of God commands all would-be believers:

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Everyone who appropriates the sacrifice of Christ is acceptable to Him. And He Himself extended the invitation to all:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

So, I encourage you to appropriate the finished work of Christ and confess Him as your Saviour and Lord NOW!

I prayer that God will accept you into His household through Christ in Jesus’ Name, Amen.