Encounters With God: Week 2
In thinking about those who have had personal encounters with God, my mind goes to one man whose life has always fascinated me: Job. When you think about what Job went through, and the behind the scenes actions that went on that he never knew about, it brings about a lot of great thoughts from his life. Today, we want to look specifically at when Job encounters God.
First, we must understand what is happening that leads up to this encounter. Job is a man that is living a really great life, but when Satan has a conversation with God about His servants, God throws Job’s name in the mix. God first gives Satan permission to afflict Job in every area, except for harming him physically. So, that is exactly what Satan does. According to the Scriptures, Job finds out within a three minute period that his entire business has been decimated; all of his inventory gone. The source of the family’s wealth and food is completely destroyed, and all of his employees have died except for 3. Oh, yeah, and all 10 of his children have lost their lives. Job stood firm in his Integrity, but when that wasn’t good enough for Satan, God granted him permission to afflict Job further. With only one exception, do not take his life.
It is safe to say that Job is in a dark place, and that none of us would honestly be able to relate. Then a few days later 4 friends of Job show up to see how he is making it. After 7 days of silence with his friends, they begin to speak. The Book records 3 rounds of speeches by these friends that really puts blame on Job’s personal life and really makes matters worse. It is at this point, during Job’s despairing state, that we come to chapter 38 of Job and God steps in.
There are 3 lessons to learn from Job’s encounter with the Almighty that we will look at today. Read Job 38-42
1. There is a lot of false doctrine out there. When you take the time to study all that Eliphaz, Zophar, Bildad, and Elihu declared to Job about God, you will find out that they were preaching a lot of false things about God. When God stepped in, He was going to set Job straight on the nature of His true character. Read 1 Timothy 4:1-5. There are a lot of people out there today that will teach and preach a false doctrine, and according to Paul most of them are demonically influenced. A biblical solution for how to know when false doctrine is being presented, and to also be able to combat against it is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a form of true worship or communion with God. We must have a walk with God that is close and strong, so that when the Holy Spirit speaks, He is loud and clear.
2. Satan is on God’s leash. In Job’s narrative you see that Satan could only move in Job’s life as God willed it to happen. One thing to note is that Job never knew what you and I can read about in chapters 1 & 2. But the fact is that Satan can only do in your life what God allows him to do. In Job 41, God describes to Job a creature called Leviathan. Now, many have debated the true nature of this creature, but if you interpret the Bible literally it clearly describes a Dragon. Now, I submit to you that that is exactly what God was describing to Job. Also, there is a Dual nature to Leviathan, and that is Satan himself. The term Leviathan in Job 41:1 is livyathan (meaning a wreathed animal, a serpent, a dragon, a symbol of Babylon, mourning.) The term is used 6 times in the Old Testament. Job 3:8, Job 41:1, Psalm 74:14, Psalm 104:26, Isaiah 27:1 (a prophecy about the defeat of Satan). Also, in Genesis 3, Satan takes the form of a Serpent, and in Revelation he is called the Dragon. Now, when you read all of Chapter 41 of Job you see that Leviathan is a powerful creature that Job cannot handle, but God can! God created Satan, and God will one day judge and destroy Satan (Revelation 20).
3. God is in Control. In the end of Job’s encounter with God, Job learns that no matter what he went through or what all happened, God is sovereign and God is in Control. I remember working my summers during Bible College at a Youth Camp in Rose Bud Arkansas. The Director of the Camp, John Bishop, had a saying that was a life/ministry motto that he always quoted, “God is always Good, and God is always right.” Now, we can flippantly say “Oh yes, definitely, I agree with that!” I challenge you to take that statement in, meditate on it, and believe it. Let it become part of your belief system. Then, in that moment when God allows Satan to afflict your life, when what is going on in the Spiritual realm is unknown to you, when your world gets turned upside down, will you be able to say, “God is always good, and God is always right.”?
Spend the rest of the time talking about the lesson and praying for each other.