Be Careful Who You Listen To

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1Jo 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

April 4, 2006                                                Be Careful Who You Listen To

God's love for his children is pure, and unchanging. He testifies of his servant Job, whose name means "persecuted". He gives Job a glowing recommendation. He calls him a perfect man, upright, eschewing evil. That word perfect means complete, undefiled, gentle, dear. Morally pious. That means Godly, reverencing and honoring God in heart and practice of duties. Having affection for the character of God and habitually obeying his commands. Devoted to serving him. To eschew means to turn off, depart from, remove, take away, withdraw, to avoid. The very name Satan means opponent, adversary, withstand. And that is what he does. He opposes everything good, works against it, withstands it. For the longest time I avoided reading the book of Job past the first two chapters because I thought it was very hard to understand.

You might wonder if Job was so perfect why would God allow Satan to cause so much destruction in this man's life? God knew what Satan didn't. God knew that Job loved him wholly. God knew Job's love was strong enough to endure this awful test of his faith. And by allowing Satan to move against Job, and knowing beforehand that Job would not curse him, God exposed the tactics of the enemy and how he moves against the children of God. That's what the first 38 chapters are about. Job under attack and how he handled it.
Consider Job's wealth, he was a very rich man, yet devoted completely to God. He had servants, 10 children, who really worried him because he got up daily offering prayer and sacrifice for these children.

Job 1:4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Job loved his children. But apparently, they did not fear God as he did, else Job wouldn't be so concerned that they had sinned against God. Satan is questioned by God who knew that old devil had been circling around Job trying to get at him. God had a hedge around Job and all he had. I looked up that word, 'hedge' means to entwine, shut in, for protection, or restraint, fence. God had a wall of protection around his servant. Job had a good reputation in the land. He was well known for doing good deeds, helping the less fortunate, being an inspiration to others. If you read on through the next few chapters, you hear others testify of all the good things Job had done for his community and fellow man, out of a Godly desire to help others.

Satan challenges God over Job. What arrogance. I can just imagine God smiling with amusement, for Satan is so very inferior to God and he never gives up wanting to get the best of God. God knew Job wouldn't turn against him. He knew he would have Job written about as an example of suffering, and in his suffering, God would expose the devices of the enemy that he practices to try to take down the children of God. Satan thinks like a child compared to God. He should have known if God would let him inflict such pain and destruction in one of his beloved children's lives, that God would make it count for good.

So Satan goes forth and kills Job's 10 children. He attacks his wealth , bringing destruction to steal, kill and destroy. He took his animals, every material possession of wealth he had except what was in his house was stolen. Most of his servants were killed. Three servants escaped the carnage to tell Job of what had happened. Here is how Job responded to this terrible news of losing children, property, servants and animals.

Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped,

Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

I imagine when Job hit his knees and blessed the name of the Lord, Satan was incredulous and extremely furious. So, he goes back to God while Job is in mourning. Again, he challenges God. He was still trying to get Job to curse God, and wasn't about to give up. He receives permission-get it-he can't do anything without God allowing it-and goes back and smites Job with boils, This must have been terrible, because in Isaiah, King Hezekiah had one and it was killing him. A boil is a burning inflammation or ulcer on the skin. They get full of infection and can drain a yellow, nasty smelling pus. They are extremely painful. And he had them from head to toe. Job sits down in ashes and scrapes his skin with a piece of pottery, unable to find relief from the burning itch.

Job's wife is also under attack, mentally. Satan has been whispering to her mind, doing what he always does, accusing, taunting, and remember, this woman is grieving, too. She's lost all 10 of her children. She sees how her husband has been struck with these boils on top of everything, and I'd say he looked horrible, and hard to recognize. All of these things Satan uses to arouse suspicion in her heart against her husband. The word integrity means "innocence, purity, honesty". She's basically saying, After all this, you still say you are innocent? You haven't done anything wrong to bring all these terrible things about? Then look what she says and we know where this came from: Curse God and die. Surely she was frustrated and grieving, and it hurt her to see him suffer as well. But Satan was turning her mind to blame her husband and God.

Job 2:9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job's rebuke is not too harsh, but firm. It reveals he is not blaming God. He is resigned to try to deal with has been thrust upon him. It doesn't say Mrs. Job was sacrificing and praying for her children like Job did. Even in spite of all the blessings God had given Job, he did not take it for granted that his children could get by with sin. His fatherly love went deep, too. His behavior proves that out. Now, Satan is really steamed. Job's wife was the closest one to him. And her admonition to curse God and die surely hurt him. She was his wife, supposed to support and love him through and in all. So what does he do? He takes his lying, accusing mouth and goes whispering in the ears of Job's friends and stirs them up to add to Job's misery, and they don't even realize what is happening.

Three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar come to see Job. Surely, they must have cared for him, because it would take a strong admiration for someone to go visit a mourning friend and then just sit there, unable to speak for seven days and nights, and not leave his side.

Job 2:13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

They saw his grief and didn't know what to say-but don't think the devil didn't have plenty to whisper into their minds. I'd say he was furiously busy shooting little arrows of doubt into their minds, just as he had with Job's wife. Picture this: these men know his children were killed, his servants and animals killed or stolen. He’s pretty well lost everything. Look at him. Covered with sores. He really must have done something bad to make God this mad at him. In chapter 3, Job opens his mouth, and expresses his grief by cursing the day he was born, and wishes for death to end his misery. He says in verse 25 the thing he feared most came upon him. Is it possible to serve God, with all your heart, be blessed mightily of God and still fear things? Apparently, Job did. I think he feared the loss of God’s presence in his life more than anything. Surely, he felt God had for some reason allowed this, though not done it himself, and that had to in his flesh, make him feel hurt in his heart, and confused. But he knew he had done no sin, and he held on to that, when nothing else made sense.

Chapter four of Job I never really understood. But I thank the Lord for his help. Eliphaz gently speaks, and asks if it's okay to talk to him, and then he can't contain himself anymore because he says "who can withhold himself from speaking?" He goes on to point out some good things that Job had done, to help those who were down and out, and suffering, and now suffering had come on him. But Eliphaz had it all wrong when he began to represent God as a harsh, vengeful God who quickly punished the wicked and never let the righteous suffer. By inferring that he is saying surely Job sinned and brought this on himself. But in verse 12, through 21, the story gets even more interesting. I have wondered about this passage of Scripture for years. I never understood until last night when I was reading over this. I have about 11 commentaries on my E-Sword, though I rarely consult them. But as understanding dawned on me last night, (and I get delighted when I understand or learn something new from my Father's word, for I know it is HIM at work in me, teaching me.) So here I go, out of curiousity, to see if they read these verses like I did, and they didn't. Only Scofield mentioned these verses in particular, the rest didn't even touch on them. Scofield was of the opinion that this little experience, whether a dream, a vision, or manifestation of a spirit, made Eliphaz feel smug and superior to Job. I can't argue with that. One other mentioned the Lord sometimes deals with people in their dreams. But I do not believe this was the Lord who visited Eliphaz. I believe it was Satan... and here's how I thought this through:

Job 4:12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.

God doesn't work in secret, whispering in the ears of men with accusing words. He is open with his word, and his word is always simple, and to the point, and never mean. Yes, he did visit people in their dreams. Two examples come to mind, Jacob at Bethel when he was on the run for his life from his brother. Gen_28:12-15 God also visited Solomon in his dreams. 2Ch_1:7-12 ; 1Ki_3:5 Both of these men were servants of God who were at a turning point in their lives and needed Godly counsel very badly. God also came to Abimelech, the Egyptian Pharaoh, in a dream, warning him to give Sarah back to Abraham. (Gen_20:3) God came to Laban with a warning to watch his mouth when he talked to Jacob. Jacob's father-in-law, was very angry when Jacob took his wives and children and left-upon direct counsel from God to leave and return home. Gen_31:24. The angel of the Lord came to Joseph when Mary conceived by the Holy Ghost to talk to him. Mat_1:20. God warned the wise men not to return to Herod with news of the Christ child's location in a dream. Mat_2:12. He gave Joseph and Daniel the gift of interpreting strange dreams. Gen_40:8; Gen_41:12 Dan_2:28

He also came to Abraham in a vision in Gen_15:1 and spoke some of my favorite words in the whole Bible: Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. See? God always makes himself known. He doesn't play games or come with accusations. In every one of these instances, God's presence in their dreams was to encouarge, direct and strengthen, or protect his own children. Not one time did he come slyly, hiding his identity, with accusations. As a result of this, I have to conclude that Eliphaz' mysterious visiting spirit is none other than Satan himself, trying to do a very poor imitation of God, which is the best he can do. The fact that Eliphaz got puffed up and smug, feeling superior and privileged to have had such an experience reveals he had pride and arrogance in his heart, just as Satan does. He did not realize it was not God talking to him. That is scary to me. You can sense his pride by how he went on to talk down to Job.

Job 4:13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,

Job 4:14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.

Job 4:15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:

I don't recall in any of the previously discussed visitations of God that any of those he visited-even those with a warning, were this afraid.

Job 4:16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,

Brace yourself for a short speech, full of derision and contempt for mankind. This was all designed to plant doubt on Job's integrity in the mind of Eliphaz. He knew this man would tell Job of this "experience" and in his pride, feel like God had revealed that Job had erred. But notice, none of what the enemy says is information, or direction. It's all accusation, and criticism. Reminding Eliphaz how fragile and useless human beings are. How nobody cares when they die. This is NOT God, or one of his messengers. God made us like he did so he could help us and so we would still need him. He loves us, even when we do make mistakes, which Job had not. Remember when he visited Jacob? This man had lied and stolen his brother's inheritance. But God knew his heart coveted the right thing-not the material things, but the spiritual things. He had a desire for God while Esau went after the world, and took the things of God lightly and viewed them as disposable. He traded them off for a bowl of stew.

Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

Job 4:18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

Job 4:19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

Job 4:20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish forever without any regarding it.

Job 4:21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.

He says in verse 18 God doesn't put any trust in his servants. Well, I beg to differ. God had confidence in Abraham. He called him his friend. He visited Abraham in the form of a man before he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

Gen 18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Gen 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Gen 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

He trusted a poor little peasant girl to carry his Son and raise him to adulthood. Luk_1:28. He testified of David as being after his own heart. Act_13:22 I could go on but I want to stick to the subject. Lastly, if you die with Christ, and you are his and he is yours, you do not die without wisdom. Enoch walked so close with God, pleasing God so much that God just raptured him to heaven to be with him always. Gen_5:24; Heb_11:5.

When God's children are enduring hard times, trials or tests, that is when Satan comes the hardest. If you listen to him, he can have you thinking your marriage is falling apart. He can have you thinking no one in the church cares about you or they think they are better than you-or if someone looks at you, they are talking about you. He can make you think a sudden pain is something serious, he'll invent all kinds of ridiculous lies to torment the mind of anyone who grants him an audience. Worse, he'll convince those who don't know God very well that the voice they are hearing is God's. God speaks light, water, growth, life, abundant life, provision, help, and that's all in the first two chapters of the Bible. When God speaks to man he says "Call unto me, I'll answer you and show you great and mighty things you don't know." Jer_33:3 Come let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Isa_1:18. Return to me, look to me and live. Jer_35:15.

Isa 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

See? God would have every right to remind us of our failures, flaws, and mistakes. He sees the things in our hearts that don't belong. He's willing to help us, when we come to him. He never comes with a condemning or harsh voice. Even when he corrects and reproves, he does it in love. He's kind to the unthankful and unholy. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust. If the enemy can shame God's children into hiding from him in fear, instead of running to God for cleansing and forgiveness, then he will have defeated them. He knows in God's presence there is forgiveness, and restoration, and faith. Strength. Joy. Peace. All we need our Father has. God's not up there keeping a count of every little mistake, ready to beat you over the head with it. If that was the way he wanted to be he never would have paid such a high price for our redemption.

Psa 130:2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.

Psa 130:3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

Psa 130:4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Psa 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

Psa 130:6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

Psa 130:7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

To say thank you Lord, for such awesome love is so inadequate. But I owe the Lord everything I have and am. There is nothing good in me but him and his Word. Yesterday, I was standing in my kitchen, and the past few days have been a little trying, my daughter has been sick and very clingy, as all toddlers are when they feel bad, and it has left me little time to get alone with God, and read his precious word. I had been walking around for days with that taunting voice in my head, trying to ignore it. "Oh, you love God huh? When was the last time you gave him time? You haven't even opened your Bible today. You are such a hypocrite. What about all this stuff you write? You ain't there. You write it but you don't live it. You're just evil." Up until that last word, I had been struggling with guilt. I have wanted to do those things he was accusing me of not doing. No, I haven't made it to perfection yet. But I'm pressing. I'm not quitting. I'm reading, studying, growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord, and yes I pray, but I know there's more to be had of God than I have. I know he will be faithful to give it to me, to empower me. Because he knows I want to live for him. He knows I love righteousness and hate evil. Evil. To say I am evil is to call the One who lives in me evil. That is blasphemy. There was a holy fear came on me when that last accusation was whispered in my mind. And with it, reassurance that He's still in the house. He is mine and I am his.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Rom 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Rom 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Rom 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Nothing can separate me from his love. The only thing that ever could would be if I rejected it. To my heart that is unthinkable.

Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

See? My righteousness is His, granted to me, by faith in and through the blood of his Beloved Son. None of us are as close to God as we should be or want to be, but God can, as Pastor Conlon says at Times Square Church, God can take us where we can't go and make us what we could never be. I'm so glad he keeps repeating that. It's good seed sewn in my heart. It encourages me when my failures threaten to discourage me. My righteousness is of the Lord-not my own. It's a gift from God. Satan can't steal it, or deny it. It's written. Bought and paid for with the precious blood of Jesus. That's how I can stand before a Holy God. Covered by the blood and the righteousness of his Holy Son. What a priceless gift. What an awesome God. Adam sinned and brought death into the world. Jesus was righteous and brought hope into the world, along with so many other wonderful gifts. He truly gave gifts to men. (and women, too.)

Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

hallelujah and Amen!!!!!!!!!! Truly, the Lord is my help, my defense, my shield, and my exceeding great reward........and you know, when Job’s three friends got done accusing Job, and misrepresenting God, God came on the scene, having listened to the whole thing.

Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

Job 38:2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

He set the record straight-and HOW, and then he instructed Job to pray for his friends and then God healed Job, and Mrs. Job of her grieving heart, and renewed their youth and gave them 10 more children-who were godly and a blessing, and multiplied what they lost and gave it back to them. Job was much richer in everything after his testing was over. God blessed him and increased him mightily. Amazing. What a mighty God! Be careful who you listen to, folks. I’m learning, that when that old accuser starts, go get the Word. Praise the name of the Lord. If you can’t remember a verse of scripture, just praise him. Praise the blood of Jesus. Whisper that holy name. It’ll run him off. He can’t take it. He can’t fight that.

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