Monday, December 3, 2007

A Lie from the Devil during tough times: “Life isn’t worth the effort”

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you are as well.

We had a great day yesterday. Bro. Joe Wilmoth shared a powerful message with us about holding onto four anchors: #1 Salvation through the Blood of Jesus, #2 The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, #3 The Healing power of God, #4 The Soon return of Jesus Christ. What a great reminder of the anchors that we have. Then our banquet last night was a lot of fun, food and fellowship. It is so good to be a part of God's wonderful family.

Let me share something that God laid on my heart very early this morning from Job 2:9-13:

Job is totally covered with agonizing sores. He was not only physically afflicted, but he was also painfully humiliated. He ends up sitting in the ashes, scraping the pus from his sores with a broken piece of pottery. To cap it all, the one to whom he ought to have been able to turn for emotional support turned against him. His wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity?" I can see that her faith has crumbled under this attack. She no longer believes that God is loving, thoughtful, and just. She sees this as proof, as many of us have done in times of trial, that God has forsaken his promises, that the Bible is not true.

How many times I have come to comfort people going through trials, and had them say to me, "I tried these promises, I tried believing God, but it doesn't work." Have you ever said that?

That is getting very close to what Satan was trying to get Job to say: "Curse God, and die." He used Job's wife as his instrument, and, just as Eve became the instrument to get at Adam in the Garden of Eden, the assault upon Job's emotional life comes through his wife. She advises him to do two things: "Give up your faith, apostatize. Curse God." (Actually, in the Hebrew, the word is "bless" God, but it is properly translated "curse" because the word "bless" is dripping with sarcasm.) "Bless God, and die." She is clearly suggesting suicide: "It would be better for you to take your life than to go on like this." So poor Job, bound by physical pain, sits in humility with a disfigured body, and suffers from a sense of emotional abandonment by his spouse.

I do not know if women fully understand how much their husbands depend on them. I think husbands often draw emotional strength from their wives far more than either they or their wives realize. Here was a severe attack addressed to the very soul of Job, in which he felt his wife abandoning him, advocating that he turn from his faith and renounce his God. But now, in Verse 10, we get the results of this second round of tests:

But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10 RSV)

Job's rebuke is a very gentle one. He did not say, "You foolish woman!" He said, "You speak as one of the foolish women." He is not attacking her, rather, he is suggesting that this is a temporary lapse of faith on her part, and that, for the moment, she has begun to repeat the words of stupid, foolish women who have no knowledge of the grace and glory of God. In that gentle rebuke you can see something of the sturdiness and tenderness of Job's faith. In this great sentence he again reasserts the sovereignty of God: "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" And herein is the lie that is growing in America spoken by Job's wife. She had the philosophy that life ought to be pleasant and if it was not, there was no use living it.

That philosophy is widespread in our own day,
and a mounting suicide rate testifies to the universal acceptance of it. But this book is given to show us that life is not to be lived on those terms. The reason we are here is not necessarily to have a good time. There are meaningful objectives to be attained in life, even when it all turns sour. When the pressure comes, when living is no longer fun, life is still worth living.
A philosophy that wants to abandon everything as soon as things become unpleasant is a shallow, mistaken, distorted view of life, and a growing lie from the devil in America.

Job reaffirms that. "Shall we not take both good and evil from the hand of God?" We take his joy and his pleasure, the pleasant things of life with gladness and gratitude. If he chooses to allow something that is difficult, shall we then abandon that gratitude and begin to curse him in protest, because life is suddenly different than we thought it would be? The reason we are here is not merely that we might have a good time, and this is taught everywhere in the Scriptures. God, in his grace and glory, does give us many, many hours of joy and gladness and pleasure and delight, and it is right for us to give thanks. But do not abandon that when the time of pressure comes for that is what satan wants us to do. He wants us to begin to complain and to protest to God; to get upset and angry and resentful; to stop going to church, or to stop reading the Bible. That is what Satan's whole attack in our lives is aimed at doing.

So today, put on that garment of praise, and understand that "life is worth the living, just because He (Jesus) lives! I love you guys, and pray that you have a thank-filled and peace-filled day! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty