Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Does God Himself Satisfy Us?

This morning I heard a great sermon from Mark Dever about the first few chapters of Job. He made some interesting points. After Satan comes before God, God tells Satan about Job. He describes him as such, "The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil”(Job 1:8). It is interesting that God starts this conversation about Job. Satan's reply is such, "Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face” (Job 1:9-11).

Do you realize what Satan is saying? He is actually attacking God by saying that Job only fears God because of the gifts that God gives him. Satan is in effect telling God that He in Himself is not enough to satisfy the soul of Job. Job would curse God if He allowed these gifts to be removed. Well, God gives permission to Satan, but disallows him to touch his body, "Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD" (Job 1:12). You get the impression that God is setting Satan up for a fall.

We read on how Job basically loses everything he has including all of his children and all at the same time. He is experiencing suffering to the extreme. What is his response? "Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said,“Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God" (Job 1:20-22). Amazing. Job does not curse God when he loses all of the good gifts that God had given him. But instead, he finds his delight in the Lord. He worships God. And this passage tells us specifically that he does not sin or blame God in doing wrong to him.

We go on to see in chapter 2 how Satan again approaches God saying this time that Job only serves God because of his health (Job 2:1-6). Again, God grants permission for Satan to attack his body, but not his life (Job 2:7-8). Again Job, even after his wife tells him to curse God, "does not sin with his lips" (Job 2:9-10). At this point Job has lost everything, even his health. Yet in the mist of this great suffering, He does not sin against God.

More could be said, but I feel that Job here is testifying against the lies of Satan and confessing that God Himself is the satisfaction of the soul of Job. Job knew that this was from God and was ultimately for his good. We must ask ourselves if we would respond in the same way if great suffering was put on us. Do we delight in God merely for His gifts to us, or do we delight in God Himself trusting His sovereignty in doing what is for our good in every situation and circumstance of life. I am reminded of two passages:

Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you. (Psalm 63:3)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

God is our treasure. We should not love anything more than Him. We should not allow the sufferings He gives us to drag us into the pride of self pity. But instead like Job and like Paul we should see these as "slight momentary afflictions" that God is using to prepare us for an "eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." That is our hope in the midst of suffering. If we believe that God is sovereign, then we must remember that all our circumstances are allowed by Him. If we believe that He only wants our best (as the Bible teaches), then we will remember that these trials are for our absolute best.

I encourage you to listen to the entire sermon. It is well worth it.

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