The book of Job tells the story of a bet between God and Satan. Satan bet that he could make Job curse God for the bad things happening to him, and God let it happen. In the end, Job does not curse God, despite losing his family, his wealth, and all social reputation. In return for his faithfulness, God blessed Job two-fold. It is a story often used to either to encourage us with, “hey, at least your life isn’t as bad as Job’s. And in the end, he is rewarded! So, chin up, buttercup!” or it is used to show how God uses all things to work out for His glory, and for our gain. At a Bible study with my friends a couple weeks back, we remembered this story and used it to show how much God trusts us. Even in the face of pure evil, God’s overwhelming love covers us, and trusts us to keep the faith – and this was even before Jesus! However, upon finishing yet another of Ted Dekker’s novels, Heaven’s Wager, I’ve begun to think about the story in a different way.
After all, what was so great about Job?
Well, a lot, apparently. The first verse in the book of Job tells us that he “was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.” The intro goes on to tell us of Job’s good fortune and high standing in the community, and only a couple verses later God boasts to Satan about His good and loyal servant, Job. At his time, Job was the most righteous man on the planet. Go figure.
But of course, this is the old testament. Stories like this don’t happen anymore – I mean, we are all sinners, and unless there was a huge celestial battle over Mother Teresa, it doesn’t look like anyone these days is righteous enough to gain such attention. All the story is good for now is exactly that – to be a story. Much like the other old testament stories.
Try bending it for a second, the way that Ted Dekker does in his novel. Imagine the same situation was to happen again in present day, but reversed. Satan bets, not on a righteous man, but on an unrighteous man, boasting that he can make it so that this unrighteous man will never understand or even see the love of God, no matter what God does to make it otherwise. God accepts, and the story unveils itself in the life of a man Dekker names Kent Anthony, who in a month loses his wife, his son, and his hard-earned wealth. If you want to know what happens I suggest reading it – you won’t regret it. But I digress.
With Jesus’ sacrifice, those who accept this truth and are covered by His blood are all righteous in God’s eyes. It says so several times in the Bible: John 3:16, Romans 3:23, and countless others proclaim the gospel – that through Jesus we may come to God, receive His love and mercy, and live a way that speaks to the glory of the Creator, Jehovah-jireh, the Alpha and the Omega, the One who was and is and is to come, the great “I AM,” the One who loves us and wishes to be loved. God.
So then, riddle me this: having accepted that Jesus Christ is Lord, having put on the name and life of Jesus Christ and believing that we are in fact saved, even blameless before the Lord God Almighty… how are we any different than Job? If anything, we are even more righteous than Job, because we are saved under the new covenant, covered in Jesus’ blood that washes away all sins.
If this is true, and we are no different than Job, then doesn’t that mean that God boasts in all of us?
Even to the point that Satan turns his special attention to us, trying to pry us away from the hand of God?
And if God is trying to tug at the hearts of the unrighteous to bring them to the place where they are God’s as well, is it blasphemous to think that Satan is doing everything he can to keep God’s love from them?
Then riddle me this: why do we live as if we are not in a game, where the prize is our very souls? With Satan and his demons on one side and God and His angels on the other. Why do we think ourselves so insignificant to attract such celestial attention?
Why do we ignore that such celestial attention exists?
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:23
At least for me, it puts a whole lot of things into perspective. That despite the reason why bad things happen to good people, or the reason why bad things happen in the first place, it is what we do after the fact that changes things. As one of my favorite Christian singers, Nicole C. Mullen once put it, “[Trials] can make you weaker or they can make you better. But that’s up to us, not the perpetrator.” A good segway from yesterday’s post – a myriad of choices can lead to a testimony, or a tragedy. Victory or defeat. God or Satan. And this, my friends, is purely black and white, no matter how many layers of grey the Devil tries to blind us with.
Of course, I could have just come upon something much more valuable than this silly application. I am, after all, just a teenager. “But the Lord said to me:
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.” – Jeremiah 1: 7-8
So I present my revelations in faith – that despite my youth, I may have touched on truth.