“Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?” (Job 4:18-19)
This was the strange message delivered to Eliphaz, the first of the three friends who proved such “miserable comforters” to Job in his sufferings, by “a spirit” that “stood still, . . . an image . . . before mine eyes” (vv. 15-16). This “thing was secretly [literally ‘stealthily’] brought to me,” said Eliphaz (v. 12), and there is little doubt that its original source was Satan himself, in his efforts to discredit and destroy Job. The “spirit” who instructed Eliphaz was not sent from God, as he may have thought, but was one of those angelic servants who had been “charged with folly” when they followed Lucifer in his primeval rebellion.
Still smarting with wounded pride that God would make His angels mere “ministering spirits” (Hebrews 1:14) to Adam and his children, whose own bodies were mere “houses of clay,” built out of the dust of the earth, these demonic rebels hate human beings—especially those who love and serve God—with great passion. If Satan could not destroy Job by tempting him into moral wickedness or rebellion against an “unjust” God, perhaps he could lead him into discouragement, using his self-righteous “friends” to cause him to lose faith in God’s love and care.
But he failed! Job said: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” and “I know that my redeemer liveth” (Job 13:15; 19:25).
Such defeatism is one of Satan’s most effective weapons. When he strikes with it, we must, like Job, “resist stedfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9), knowing “the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11).
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Written by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:7).
These words of Peter are certainly applicable today, but they have always been true. That proper character and testimony are of supreme importance to God was certainly recognized by godly Job in the midst of his heavy trials, for he claimed: “But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). The context for this stirring statement of faith proves instructive.
Just as most people do, whether Christian or not, Job appealed to heaven for relief from his troubles (v.3). Job felt he was suffering unjustly and wanted to state his case before God (v.4), but more importantly, Job desired to know God’s will in the matter. “I would [i.e., desire to] know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say unto me” (v.5). He knew God well enough to know that God had a purpose in his suffering, and Job asked for knowledge of that purpose. Job knew God’s goodness; that He would not punish him for his questions, and felt that greater understanding would give him strength to continue. But without God’s revelation, Job knew he was unable to understand or even find God (vv.8-9). God mercifully and lovingly allows trials to discipline, guide, and develop us. Such trials will, in the end, work to our advantage as impurities are removed, leaving behind only that which is lasting and precious.
The goal of our lives should be to bring “praise and honor and glory” unto our Lord, and if tribulation can best accomplish these goals, so be it! As David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67). God knows what is best for us. He knows what He is doing, and we can rest in that fact.
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