Saturday, May 20, 2017

When Christian's Suffer ... Is It God Or Satan Doing It ?

The answer to that question is the entire book of Job. God brings up Job, to Satan, as an almost perfect man of whom there was not another like him on earth. So what happened to Job was not God's judgment or punishment for something bad he had done. It was to "prove" Job's true character to Satan, to Job and to all who knew of Job's good fortune and faith in God.

Job 1:8-10 
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? 
Satan responded with the accusation that the only reason Job was such a good and unique man was because God gave him everything he wanted and had built a wall of protection around him, his family and all that he possessed. But, Satan said, If God would strike down and destroy all that Job possessed ... with His own hand of judgment, Job would turn away from God and curse Him as well.
Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, 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 landBut put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 
To this, the Lord answered Satan, not by saying OK,  I will personally destroy by my hand everything Job has and show you he will not do as you say, but he will continue to worship and serve me. No, the Lord simply removed his hand from Job, removed the protective hedge he had around all of Job's possessions, and released Satan  (permitted him) to strike everything Job had, except his health....with Satan's hand, not God's. Not to punish Job but to prove him. But he limited Satan in the amount of damage (possessions only) he could do to Job.  So you see, Satan could not touch or hurt Job except to the precise extent that God specified and not a hair more. So it is true that Satan cannot hurt a Christian except and only as God allows him to do so for God's own purposes ... not Satan's. God did not do the damage to Job, but he allowed Satan to do it, which eventually worked out for Job's own good. 
"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... and straightway destroyed everything Job had except his health and life which God still protected."
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.)
When Satan had done all he was allowed to do to Job, and only that, he came back before God and declared that ... Oh sure, Job didn't curse and deny you, God, because you kept me from hurting him physically. But if you, by your hand will strike his body and cause him great physical pain, he will curse you to your face.
Job 2:4-7
And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
As you all know, Satan smote Job down with the most miserable fleshly sufferings he had God's
"permissive" power to do, which was considerable. God, himself, by His hand, did no harm to Job. All God did was to remove His protective hand and all hell broke loose in Job's life ... except, God continued to protect Job's life from the hand of Satan.

But after all of Job's loss and sufferings, he not only survived but never denied God or cursed Him or ceased to worship Him. And Job cried out of the depth of his brokenness and pain.... "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him...." Job.13:15

Then, after God had proven Job to be all God had said he was, and finally delivered him from his suffering and loss, God blessed Job with twice as many possessions, another family of children, restoration of his friends, and good health as well.
There is no way to understand how many millions of Christians have drawn strength from the reading of Job's experience, and have lived and given glory to God and witness of His grace in their lives when there seemed no hope.
So, who hurt you? It was Satan but he couldn't have done so without God allowing it ... to prove you and then bless you with twice as much of His grace as before you suffered. 
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." 1 Pet.5:10

Job 42:10
"And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before."

This is also a New Testament principle at work in every Christian's life.

"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." 1 Peter 5:10

God doesn't have to punish us, all he has to do is let down the hedge ... remove his hand of protection.