His name is Job. His name means “the persecuted one”. This narrative or the story of this great man, gives the picture of a Christian – saved by the grace of God and what we should expect as we begin to relate with the Divine towards our growth in Him. Two things matter here: on one hand, we are looking at a relationship with God and on the other hand we are looking at a development in our spiritual life as we represent Him here on planet Earth.
From the above, we should (if we decide to make the scriptures the final authority in our lives) expect to be persecuted, not because we have done something wrong but because, like gold, we need to be tried so that we can understand who we are and more so understand the ways of God. So, the good book stresses that persecution will always arise for the sake of the Word. Therefore, when a Christian is faced with a plethora of challenges, the idea is not to find out what you have done wrong like we do today, its not to start to bind the devil but to draw in on the what we call, “Lessons Learnt or Lessons to be Learned” in the crisis.
This was the ordeal Job went through. He needed to be tested so that he can take his root downwards and grow fruits upwards. Job was an epitome of todays Christian or saint of God – he was a divinely quickened soul – a possessor of divine and eternal life. When God was in conversation with the Devil, he also confirmed His servant, Job, was an upright man, a perfect man and one who hated evil. There was none like him.
It wasn’t Satan’s idea to test Job but God’s. When Satan came before God with the other angels, God called his attention to his servant. One would have thought that Satan with all the said wisdom would have asked God why He (God) wants Job tested. Instead, he automatically assumed, thinking he was on the same page as God on this particular issue. Accusing Job of his motive, Satan said to God, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does—he can’t lose! But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what”. Here we have two different perspectives: that of God and Satan.
The reason for Calvary and the sacrificed Lamb of God hurriedly comes to mind with two different perspectives: that of God and the Devil. Apostle Paul wrote that if the prince of this world had known, he wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of host. In other words, if the Devil knew what was in God’s mind concerning His son, he (Satan) wouldn’t have helped God by playing the major part he played at the death of Jesus. God has always used Satan in the achievement of His purpose(s).
I would also like to bring to our cognizance, the story of Joseph and his brothers. Their perspective was also contrary to that of God. They were jealous of him and wanted to do away with him; God on the contrary needed Joseph at Egypt because he had to go and prepare a place for the chosen people of God (of which his brothers were part of). When they discover Joseph again, they met face to face and one would have thought the past would remain in the past but for both parties, there was something about the past they needed to learn from. His brothers thought and were scared that Joseph would carry out some form of revenge but looking from a different perspective, Joseph knew he wouldn’t be where he was then if God didn’t have an input in the whole saga. He told his brothers that their perspectives were wrong when compared with that of God. He told them, “you meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”
Job, on the other hand also needed to know himself. He never sounded the depths of his own heart; he didn’t know himself well enough when it came to spiritual issues and matters concerning this God. One could mistakenly think and teach the different steps to winning with God and the various “rungs to prosperity” as we have today but the ordeal Job went through has become an enigma that one would then think based on these messages of “various steps” that something went wrong somewhere: perhaps in the taking of the said steps (maybe he had missed one of the various steps stipulated).
Job had never really grasped the truth of his own depravity and utter ruin. He had not learned to say like the Apostle that, “in me dwells no good thing”. He needed to learn more about his God, unknown to him. In all the parties present in this drama, only one person had the blue print and knew how the whole story would end – God.
Could God be up to something in our lives too as we face our life’s great, greater and greatest challenges? Do we think there are people in our lives making life unbearable for us? Are our enemies really becoming the members of our household? Are we struggling with the so many things going wrong in our lives? Are our children getting out of hands that we are fast loosing hope because with all the various “steps to success” et al, none seem to be working? Well, from the insights mentioned above, God might be up to something.
Looking around us today, so many things are happening: we have news of earthquakes, famines, nations rising up against nations; the world is fast becoming afraid because of the terrorists – so many are being slaughtered all around in the name of a religion and dogmas, various diseases and pestilences are being unleashed and people are not too sure where they should go to because nobody wants to die. The world is fast becoming a crazy place.
The reason for the earthquakes, challenges in life especially when it comes to us is partly because we don’t know ourselves and God wants us to discover “US” so that through it all, our relationship with God is taken to the next level coupled with our relationship which each other. We are therefore the reason why these things happen. We have to discover our God; we have to discover US so that our world can become a better one. It’s not about binding and loosing the devil, it’s about discovering the good, acceptable and the perfect will of God for our lives. One day we would be able to say to our said enemy that they meant it for evil but God meant it for good.