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THE INVISIBLE WAR
Intro: Everyone in this room knows the reality of hardship and crisis. We have all seen, and most have experienced, some of the obvious tragedies that stalk those who live in this world. There is conflict all around us that we can plainly see. Death, disease, warfare, hardships, pain, sorrow, etc., are all obvious and clearly seen by everyone who lives in this world.
There is an area of conflict that goes on around us and within us that we cannot see. I am referring to the conflict that happens in the spiritual realm. We are all engaged in spiritual warfare, even if we do not realize it. In this war, this war that cannot be seen, there are many casualties. In this war, there are no conscientious objectors. There are only those who are ground up and broken down by the spiritual crises they face in life.
In this text, the veil is pulled back just a little. We are allowed to catch a glimpse of the spiritual warfare that occurred in Job’s life. We are allowed to see and understand a little of what transpired behind the scenes in the greatest tragedy of Job’s life.
In this text, we are allowed to see events that occurred in Heaven. What a difference it would have made in Job’s life had he known what was happening. But, he didn’t; and neither do we.
When trials come our way, we always seem to forget that God is behind our hurts and that He has a plan in our pain. This passage reminds us of that great truth!
I want to take another look at Job’s great time of suffering. I want to help us to learn from the warfare that Job faced. There is help here for us when we face our own times of suffering and sorrow. There is help here for those times when our enemies are arrayed against us. There is help here, if we will hear it, and if we will receive it!
I want to preach for a few minutes about The Invisible War. I want to share a few thoughts that present themselves in this passage today. As I preach these things today, please remember that just like Job, we are engaged in battle with a spiritual enemy who seeks our destruction; but like Job, we have One with us Who is able to strengthen us, keep us and see us through any battle we may find ourselves engaged it. Let’s investigate The Invisible War.
I. v. 1-5 AN UNLIKELY CANDIDATE
A. v. 1 Job’s Character – Job was a man of purity, integrity, and holiness. He was a man who lived his life in the fear of the Lord. He was a man against whom no one could make an accusation that would stick.
B. v. 2-4 Job’s Commodities – He was wealthy and he was blessed. The Lord had honored Job by giving him great riches and a large, loving family. The blessings of God were clearly apparent in his life.
C. v. 5-6a Job’s Commitment – Job served the family priest. He loved his children and he prayed for them, offering sacrifices to temporarily atone for their sins. Job was a man committed to the Lord and to his family.
D. v. 6b Job’s Consistency – Job wasn’t a part time believer. He lived this way every day of his life. Every day was spent in holy living, in avoiding sin, in seeking God for others and in living out his relationship with his Lord.
(Ill. All these things make Job an unlikely candidate for trouble and suffering. Most people have the idea that we suffer for wrongdoing. That is surely what Job’s wife and friends thought, Job 2:9; 4:7-9; 8:1-6; 15:1-6.
The fact is, sometimes we do suffer because of our sins and our foolish decisions. Sometimes we suffer because others sin and make foolish decisions and we get caught up in their ignorance. Sometimes, God will send suffering to test and grow our faith. Sometimes He allows it to come to sanctify our lives. The greatest reason we suffer is for the glory of God, John 9:1-3; 11:4. As we will see, that is why Job is suffering in these verses.
This just reminds us that no one is immune to suffering. No one in this world is above the hurts and problems that come our way. One truth we should take away from the book of Job is that the tree that stands the tallest is the tree that is most likely to get struck by the lightening. When you are dedicated to the Lord, to His will and to His work, you are a candidate for pain and suffering. You are more likely to be attacked when you live closer to the Lord than you are if you are not living for Him! Contrary to popular belief!)
II. v. 6-12 AN UNSEEN CONFLICT
(Ill. While Job is living his life out on the earth, events are taking place in Heaven; events that Job cannot see, and is not privy to. That same conflict still goes on today!)
A. v. 6 A Heavenly Assembly – The angelic beings make an appearance before God’s throne. Apparently, they are there to give an account of their service to Him. We certainly do not understand all that is taking place, but we are mystified by the appearance of a being called Satan.
Satan, the being within whom sin originated, appears before the Lord! Satan, the most ungodly being in the universe stands before God Himself. This is an incredible statement! After all, God is so holy that He cannot even look upon sin, Heb. 1:13, yet there stands Satan.
Think about who we are dealing with here. He is called by many names in the Bible. Here are a few: Abaddon, Accuser of the brethren , Adversary, Angel of the bottomless pit, Angel of light, Antichrist, Apollyon, Beelzebub, Belial, the Devil, the Dragon, Enemy, the Evil spirit, the father of all liars, the god of this world, the great red dragon, Lucifer, Murderer, that old serpent, the power of darkness, the power of death, the Prince of this world, the Prince of the power of the air, a roaring lion, the ruler of darkness, the tempter, the thief, the wicked one. His names alone declare his character. Yet, there he stands in the presence of the Lord in Heaven. (Ill. There will come a day when he will be cast out forever, Rev. 12:7-12.
B. v. 7-8 A Heavenly Acknowledgment – Not only does Satan appear in Heaven, but his presence there is acknowledged by God. God calls him to account for his activities. I don’t want to get bogged down on this thought, but keep in mind that the devil is a created being. His authority and power are limited by the sovereign authority of Almighty God. You will notice Who speaks first, 1:7; 2:2, who will notice Who speaks last, 1:12; 2:6, and you will notice who leaves Heaven when the conversation has ended, 1:12; 2:7.
C. v. 9-12 A Heavenly Accusation – When Satan is asked about Job, Satan reveals his true identity. He lives up to his name. The word “Satan” means “the adversary; one who stands in opposition to another.”
Satan tells the Lord that the only reason Job serves Him is because God has paid him off. He says that if God were to remove His hand from Job’s life, Job would turn his back on the Lord.
(Ill. It is quite an accusation from quite an accuser. Did you know that Satan is still standing against the people of God? Did you know that he still accuses you and me of sin before the throne of the Lord? One man said that Satan was like a gravedigger, because he was always trying to dig up dirt on the saints. He is the “accuser of the brethren”, Rev. 12:10, but even in the face of his accusations, the saints of God have an Advocate! Satan acts the part of a prosecuting attorney. He exposes our weaknesses and our wickedness before God, and most of the time, he doesn’t have to make anything up! Even while he accuses us before God, we have One Who pleads our case before the bar of Heaven, and His name is Jesus Christ, 1 John 2:1! Hallelujah!)
III. v. 7-19 AN UNBELIEVABLE
(Ill. As much as he can, Satan unleashes Hell in Job’s life. In one incredible, heartbreaking, unbelievable day, Job saw nearly everything he loved and lived for taken away.)
A. v. 14-17 The Scope Of This Crisis – As this crisis in Job’s life unfolds, he hears of the theft and destruction of everything he has worked his whole life to accumulate. This crisis is total and it is devastating. Job is ripped from his perch atop the pinnacle of success and he finds himself broken and battered with nothing left of his former glory.
B. v. 13, 18-19 The Sorrow Of This Crisis – Just when Job thought things could not get any worse, the most devastating news of all reached his ears and ripped his heart from his chest. He was told that all ten of his children were dead, having been killed at one time when the house they were in collapsed upon them.
C. The Source Of This Crisis – Do you think it is a mere coincidence that in each case only one was left to go and bring the news to Job? It was no coincidence! Satan spared those people so that they could go to Job and drive ever deeper the dagger of despair and grief. Each time a messenger came to Job, Satan just knew that he would break. When the wealth was gone, Satan turned his attack upon Job’s children. They were ripped from life and one went to tell their grieving father. Satan knew that this would surely drive Job over the edge.
That was the devil’s entire purpose! He wanted to get Job to curse the Lord so he could steal God’s glory! This whole episode had nothing to do with Job’s wealth, or with his children. This whole episode centered on Satan’s desire to rob God of His glory!
What Satan did not realize was that even he and his scheme were all apart of God’s plan to increase His glory through His work in Job’s life. That is why God took ownership of this entire affair in Job 2:3. Satan thought it was all him. All along, however, it had been all the Lord!
IV. v. 6-12 AN UNRELINQUISHED
(Ill. Job is on the earth, totally oblivious to the events taking place in Heaven. God is listening to Satan attack the servant of the Lord. Satan appears to be holding all the cards. In fact, after this little dialogue is over, Satan will unleash the fury of Hell upon old Job. I want you to know that through every part of this God exercised sovereign control over every event! God even took credit for everything the devil did to Job, 2:3.
I know people have a problem with the sovereignty of God, but I would have a problem if He weren’t in control of it all. One of the most terrifying thoughts of all is that something might happen in your life or mine that God did not allow or know about. Notice how He controlled this situation.)
A. v. 7 God Was The Initiator – Satan did not speak until he was first spoken to. God is One Who opened up this dialogue with the devil. God is the One Who initiated this entire episode.
B. v. 8 God Was The Instigator – God is the One Who brought Job into the conversation. It would seem from the conversation that Satan knew about Job, but it is God Who introduces Job and his life in this instance.
C. v. 12 God Was The Inhibitor – After Satan insinuates that Job will turn on God if his prosperity is threatened, and God gives Satan permission to attack Job; God sets limits on how far the devil can go.
(Ill. What I want you to get from this is the truth that God is in control of this entire situation. God started the dialogue with Satan. God brought Job’s name up in the conversation, and pointed out how spiritual and special Job was. God then established all the ground rules in the situation. From beginning to end this entire affair was under the control of Almighty God.
That ought to comfort our hearts. As I have said before, nothing happens in your life or mine that is not part of His perfect plan for our lives. He controls the timing of our disruptions. He controls the duration of our disruptions. He controls the extent of our disruptions. Everything He allows into our lives is for our good and His glory, Rom. 8:28-29.
I know some people have trouble believing that, but it is a fact nonetheless. I find great peace in the knowledge that everything that comes my way is part of His plan for me. Now, you can have your “accidents”, your “bad luck” and you “mistakes”. As for me, I will rest in the arms of divine providence and rejoice that my God is in control of my life and of everything that takes place in my life.)
V. v. 20-22 AN UNFAZED
(Ill. In the aftermath of devastation, destruction and death, Job still had a testimony for the Lord. That testimony served to glorify the Lord more than anything Job had done previously. The few moments of Job’s life that are captured in these last verses did more to glorify the Lord than every sacrifice Job had ever offered.
A. Job’s Reaction – Job shaved his head and tore his garments. Both these actions are signs of intense mourning. Surely his heart is broken and it is understandable that he would allow his grief and his pain to find expression in his life. The things Job did make all the sense in the world to me. (Ill. My own response in times of trial.)
But, the next thing Job did is what takes us by surprise. We are not surprised that job grieved, that he shaved his head or tore his clothes, or that he fell down on the ground, but we are surprised that Job worshiped! In that moment when his world had crumbled to the ground at his feet, Job turned away from his problems, his pain and his ten dead children to look into the face of the God he loved more than his life, more than his wealth, and more than his family.
What Job did, the grace of God can enable each of us to do. If we could ever see past the pain of the moment and catch a glimpse of the One Who controls all things, we too would find ourselves humbled before Him in worship. If it ever dawned on that maybe, just maybe, He knows what is best for us, it would change our perspective.
B. Job’s Response – When Job does speak, he does not attack the Lord. When Job does speak, he offers praise to the Lord for the blessings he has enjoyed. Job has not words of condemnation, only words of exaltation. He praises God for being God and trusts Him to do right. Job’s response is to submit to the will of God for his life. Job’s response is to trust the Lord regardless of what his eyes see and his hearts feels. Job’s response is to keep walking in the bad times with his faith in the same God he served in the good times.
What a lesson for us! Instead of griping, complaining and even quitting on the Lord because things do not go our way, maybe we should take a page from Job’s play book. Maybe we should bow to His authority and simply trust Him to do right. Maybe we should merely keep on walking, even when the way is dark and the problems of life pile up in our lives.
C. Job’s Realization – Job understands that everything he ever had came to him from the hand of God. He knows that all his wealth, his health, his family and all things were the gracious gift of God. As Paul would say many years later, Job understood that he was what he was, and he had what he had by the grace of God, 1 Cor. 15:10.
That’s what it comes down to for everyone of us, doesn’t it? Everything we have and all that we are is a product of the grace of God in our lives. Every blessing, every trial, every advance and every setback is just the hand of God working in our lives to bring us to a place of submission, and absolute Christlikeness.
Conc: There is an invisible war being waged around us today. Far too often we are casualties of that war and we are not even aware of it. Satan attacks us in many ways, but his ultimate goal is always the same. He wants to undermine our faith so that he can attack the glory of God.
What should our response be? We should just keep walking with the Lord in spite of what happens to us. We should keep praising the Lord even when our hearts are broken. We should keep trusting the Lord even when life makes absolutely no sense to us at all. That is the lesson from Job’s life, and that is the recipe for success in the invisible war.