Monday, June 24, 2013

God empowered faith to overcome adversity

Job 1:8 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.”

Who was Job? Genesis 36:33 gives us the name of Jobab, a descendant of Esau, as the most likely candidate.  Furthermore, taking into consideration Job's age of more than 140 years, we can place Job's writing within the setting of the days of Jacob.  With that setting and identity, we see something even  more significant: God's regard Job's extreme value in his sight.  God was viewing Job by who he was to be at the end of the trial and knew very well that Job would succeed.  God's grace is always waiting in the wings, His provision is always ready to go before the need arises.  It was not because of Job's status among men, but rather Job's grace-shaped, blameless and upright character that feared God and turned away from evil. (Job 1:1)    

Now who is the villain in the book of Job? Satan.  The Hebrew word for "satan" literally means "adversary", bespeaking of rebellious intent of this evil foe of God and believers.  Scripture tells us that Satan was originally Lucifer - an archangel, created perfect, and who rebelled against God in heaven. (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28)  Revelation 12:7 reveals that Satan led 1/3 of the angelic host astray, leading to a cosmic war and Satan's expulsion from Heaven.  By the time we arrive at Genesis 3, we see Satan enticing Adam and his wife to rebel against God, resulting in sin, death, decay and a curse on all of humanity and the entire universe. (Romans 5:12-20)  It is this arch-enemy of God who is accusing Job before God - the Hero of the Book of Job.  The Lord permits Satan to afflict Job and sustains Job's faith, validating His testimony and love of Job, as well as His Sovereignty.   

Did you know that for you who are in Christ by faith - The Son Himself, defends you.  Jesus Christ is the believer's advocate in Heaven. (1 John 2:1-2)  In Acts 7, Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian Church, was like a Job of sorts.  He had a testimony and he suffered, however He had Jesus standing to receive Him.  He withstood his accuser and prevailed by faith - just like Job.  According to the 16th century pastor and writer John Foxe in his famous work "Foxe's Book of Martyrs", Stephen's death would had occurred in 34 A.D, one year after our Lord had been crucified, risen and ascended.  

You and I dear believer are likewise given the same promises and faith.  Praise be to God, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, a complete Bible, the blood of Jesus Christ and resurrection power that enables us to prevail against adversity. (1 John 5:4-5) 

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