Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Wisdom Understands the Accusations of Evil and the Spiritual Dynamic of Life “Under the Sun”

Monday, June 11, 2007

Wisdom Understands the Accusations of Evil and the Spiritual Dynamic of Life “Under the Sun”

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And 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? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 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. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:1-12).

After Adam’s fall into sin, life became a daily warfare of survival against the forces of evil within the curse of God upon His first creation. Man’s sinful life choices became the very instruments God used to teach him the consequences of any life choices outside of God’s will. In the words of Eliphaz the Temanite, “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same” (Job 4:8). Although this statement was not true of Job, it is an evident truth within the spiritual dynamic of human existence. The Apostle Paul expands upon this statement in his epistle to the Galatians.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Spiritually wise people understand that there are real injuries and real casualties in the warfare with evil. Many people are spiritually scarred for life by momentary lapses in judgment. Others are left spiritually crippled for life. However, spiritually wise people understand that the consequences of sin are not just “under the sun” consequences. In most cases, the spiritual consequences of sin last for eternity. Hell will be full of sin’s casualties. Therefore, spiritually wise people understand every skirmish with evil and the temptations of sin are not things to take lightly.

It is obvious that Job took sin and its consequences serious by the statement of Job 1:5, “And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” True faith manifests itself by two realities in our daily existence.

1. We take God’s instruction for living seriously and live accordingly.
2. We take the consequences of sin seriously and live accordingly.

One of the great and many facets of God’s grace is that He has not left His fallen creation alone in the darkness of corruption. God’s love continues to reach out to the lost, redeem those willing to trust in His Promised One (Gen. 3:15) and even bless His redeemed with material and spiritual blessings. Job experienced God’s bountiful touch upon his life within three categories of blessings.

1. Job was blessed with great material wealth (Job 1:3).
2. Job was blessed with ten (10) children who apparently were also faithful
3. Job was blessed with deep spiritual convictions and a sincere fear and love of God.

The question that needs to be asked and of which spiritual wisdom seeks the answer is, which of these three (3) categories of blessings is the most important? Upon which of these three categories of blessings are the other two dependant? For those with spiritual wisdom, the answer is obvious. For those without spiritual wisdom, gaining the answer becomes part of their spiritual warfare. Many people will spend their lifetimes pursuing the first two categories of God’s blessings without ever realizing that neither can be had, nor their value appreciated, until the third category is realized. Job was a man blessed with deep spiritual convictions and a sincere fear and love of God. Everything else in Job’s life was governed by that reality. It was only through that reality that Job was able to filter every blessing or trial in his life to understand life within a spiritual perspective and in the light of eternal things. Few men possess this perspective and so few men can be trusted with the kinds of trials with which Job was trusted.

Spiritual wisdom understands there are two realms of existence. There is the spiritual and eternal realm of existence and there is the physical “under the Sun” realm of existence. All human souls are actually part of both existences. The spiritual realm of existence known as Eternity is outside of our empirical senses. We now the spiritual, eternal realm of existence exists because God has revealed it to us by His inspired Word through His prophets. In other words, we know of its existence and what goes on within that existence by believing God’s Word. This is known as faith. Wise people living by faith understand that our present temporal existence is merely a tiny bubble in the midst of our eternal existence. Wisdom understands that this physical life is very, very temporal.

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is
even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James

Wisdom also understands that there is a tension within the spiritual dynamic between the spiritual, eternal existence and the physical, temporal existence. Within that dynamic, man is being both tempted and tested. Satan tempts seeking the ruin of lives and man’s disgrace before God. God allows testing, seeking to show man worthy of his exalted position over angels and man’s spiritual integrity in the willingness to worship and glorify his Creator regardless of the difficulties of this temporal existence. This is the dynamic in which we find ourselves in the historical account of the book of Job. God gives us the book of Job so that we might gain wisdom regarding the spiritual dynamic of our temporal existence within our eternal existence. The spiritual tension in which Job lived is the spiritual tension in which you live.

God selected Job because God believed Job possessed the kind of spiritual integrity necessary to prove Satan’s accusations against mankind to be wrong. Satan’s accusation against Job is his accusation against all humanity. “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” (Job 1:9-11).

Sadly, the majority of believers today live in such spiritual ignorance of eternal realities that they fail miserably when Satan brings accusations against them and God tries their lives. Most professing believers find no merit in the trying of their faith. Their faith in God and His eternal realities is so shallow that they cannot see the importance of the trying of their faith and in testing the integrity of that faith. They do not understand that it is the testing that gives them their deep spiritual convictions and their sincere fear and love of God

When under trials, those weak in faith ask, does God really exist or, if He does is exist, is God being fair. Those strong in faith understand that these are the wrong questions. Those strong in faith ask, is my faith in the Eternal Existence real and can I trust God through any difficulty or trial of my faith during my temporal existence? Wisdom understands that it is not God’s integrity being tested, but ours. Although God may be grading the test and allowing it to be given, Satan is the one developing the test and he is set upon showing God that man does not deserve his place of prominence over angels. Humanity may have lost that place of dominion to Satan in the fall, but Christ has won it back at Calvary and He will restore it at His second coming.

For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:5-9).

I certainly do not pretend to desire that when Satan brings accusations against my generation that God would say to him, “Hast thou considered my servant Lance . . .? (Put your name there). However, I want God to be able to say about me what He said about Job. I just do not want to be part of the test that follows that conversation. I do not know of anyone that would. Many of God’s faithful will go through similar trials of their faith in their lifetimes. No one wants to go through that kind of anguish and pain. I have been through some difficult trials in my life and, although wisdom has taught me not to fear death, wisdom has taught me to fear life. Perhaps that is why God does not ask us if we are willing to be put to the test. That is certainly the reason why our faith needs to grow and our lives need to be right with God so that God has someone like Job in which He can trust the questioning and testing of the integrity of any generation of humanity by Satan. Whether we are ready for the test or not, when Satan makes an accusation against you, God will seek to prove him wrong by testing the reality of your faith.

Although, all that God does in the lives of His redeemed is of His grace, God has allowed man the opportunity to show forth his own spiritual integrity through testing and trials. Beside these major exams, life is filled with hundreds of little spot quizzes each day. Every moral decision we make in life tests to what existence we have anchored our life. Satan’s continual accusation against you is that you will not worship God in spirit and in truth and love and obey Him unless God makes your life easy and blesses you. God’s intent in the trials and testing is to prove that you are not that spiritually superficial. The degree of suffering or difficulty a person is willing to live with under Satan’s adversarial workings and still love God and obey His commands is a true measurement of the reality of our faith. Just as the original test of Adam in the Garden, the testing goes on.

“It would be a mistake to see the concession to the accuser as a merely isolated tactic. It reflects the consistent practice of God. Where we might wish to argue that omnipotence ought to have stamped out evil at its first appearance, God’s chosen way was not to crush it out of hand but to wrestle with; and to do so in weakness rather than in strength, through men more often than miracles, and costly permissions rather than through flat refusals. Putting the matter in our own terms we might say that He is resolved to overcome it in fair combat, not by veto but by hard won victory.” (The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job & Ecclesiastes; Derek Kidner, IVP)

The important issue here is that this struggle for spiritual integrity is not God’s struggle. It is ours. There would be no point to God fighting these battles for us. Although God’s grace restrains the power of evil, this spiritual warfare will go on until the end of time and you, your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will fight in this struggle to prove the reality of their faith and their own spiritual integrity.

As each generation fights this warfare, we are teaching the next generation about Satan’s tactics and the believer’s spiritual resources. The next generation’s success will be determined by how well we fight our battles and how well we teach them to fight there own. Sadly, many professing Christians of our generation do not have a clue about the spiritual warfare we are in or the tactics of Satan. They have almost completely lost their vision of spiritual militancy. Any little challenge to their comfort zone lives is devastating and viewed catastrophically. Satan does not need to engage them in spiritual warfare. They pose him no threat. They are living testimonies to the fact they not deserve to reign with Christ over Creation.

Wise believers understand the terms of militant Christianity. We are in a war. Yes, the war has already been won and the outcome is known. God’s side wins. Jesus won that victory on the Cross of Calvary and through His resurrection over 2000 years ago. This is not a battle to prove us worthy of salvation. Salvation is a gift (Eph. 2:8-9). The spiritual battles we fight today have nothing to do with that victory. The spiritual battles we fight today are to prove our worthiness to rule with Christ in the restoration of dominion during the Kingdom Age. This struggle is about the reality of our living faith, not saving faith.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
What are the details of a believer’s armament? God gives them to us in some detail. We would be wise to learn about them and put them on.

1. We need to know the truth (doctrine; vs. 14).
2. We need to live the truth (righteousness; vs. 14).
3. We need to be prepared to proclaim the gospel (vs. 15). “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15).
4. We need to keep our vision fixed on the Eternal (“shield of faith;” vs. 16).
5. We need to have assurance of salvation (vs. 17).
6. We need to learn to engage the world with the Word of God (“sword of the Spirit;” vs. 17).
7. We need to learn to stay in constant communication with God and living in total dependence upon Him (“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit;” vs. 18).

The believer that cannot honestly say he/she has made a concerted effort to put on every part of this armament certainly manifests an unawareness of the spiritual struggle in which we live each day. We cannot say we seriously believe in the spiritual dynamic revealed to us in the book of Job and still be lackadaisical about our spiritual armament. If putting on our spiritual armament is not a habitual practice of our daily lives, should we wonder why we are so easily defeated and why the cause of Christ does not advance?

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