the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.”
It is the general opinion that Job flourished at some time between the age of Abraham and the time of Moses. It is probable that Moses wrote the sacred poem which records the discussion between Job and his friends. We shall therefore, in this place, consider his history, and gather a few gems from the remarkable book which bears his name.
he was but a plain “man” and not a noble, yet was he more noble than the nobles of his time.
His character is given him by infallible inspiration, and surely no man could win a better. His life was well balanced and displayed all the virtues, both towards God and towards man.
So that a rich man may be a good man, and though “gold and the gospel seldom do agree,” yet it may happen that a man of substance may also have substance in heaven. Job was gracious in prosperity, and therefore was sustained in adversity.
Probably they celebrated their birthdays in this happy and united manner. It is a great happiness to see brothers and sisters knit together in love.
He did not forbid their festivals, for they were not in themselves sinful, but knowing how prone men are to forget their God, if not themselves, when in the house of feasting, he was anxious to remove any spot which might remain. It is to be feared that few parents are as careful as Job was in this matter.
To do this he need not be in heaven. God’s assembly room includes all space. What impudence it was on Satan’s part to come before God! What equal impudence when hypocrites pretend to worship the Most High.
He is a busy itinerant. He is never idle.
Satan reflects carefully and acts craftily. He had “considered” Job, and watched him narrowly.
And why not? If Job had been poor and wretched, Satan would have said that the Lord paid his servants wretched wages.
A cruel insinuation, but Satan was measuring Job’s corn with his own bushel.
The Lord intended to glorify himself, to further perfect the character of Job, and to furnish his church with a grand example. Hence his challenge to the arch-enemy. Satan went off upon his errand willingly enough, but he little dreamed of the defeat which awaited him.
Hast Thou protected me thus far,
To leave me in this dangerous hour?
Shall Satan be allow’d to mar
Thy work, or to resist Thy power?
Oh never wilt Thou leave the soul
That flies for refuge to Thy breast!
Thy love, which once hath made me whole,
Shall guide me to eternal rest.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous.”
Satan was crafty in his selection of the time. When troubles come upon us at seasons of rejoicing they have a double bitterness. The brightness of the morning of that memorable day made the darkness of the night all the darker.
Job did not lose his property through neglect of business, the oxen were plowing, and the asses were not left to go astray: this proves that all our care and diligence cannot preserve our substance to us unless the Lord is the keeper thereof. To lose the oxen which plowed his fields, and the asses which carried his burdens was no small calamity, yet we do not find the man of God uttering one word of complaint. Some would have been in a sad way if but one ox had died.
The trial increased in intensity, for the hand of God was more directly to be seen in it, and this would keenly wound the holy soul of Job. Moreover, an eastern’s wealth lies mainly in his flocks, and therefore the bulk of Job’s property was gone at a blow; yet he murmured not. Some professors of religion would have grievously fretted, if but one lamb had perished.
How dolefully each messenger finishes his tidings. Satan knows how to drum a mournful truth into a man’s ears, and weary his heart with the reiteration. Three companies of servants had thus been destroyed, and the last relics of his live stock, yet not a word did he say. His heart was so fixed in God, that he was not afraid of evil tidings. What an example for us!
This was a home-thrust indeed. This would stir the man if anything would. Great reasoners make the lesser arguments lead up to the greater, so here the arch-enemy weakens Job with the lesser afflictions, and then comes to his heaviest assaults. To lose his whole family at once, was heart-breaking work, yet did not his faith fail.
Job 1:20 , Job 1:21
Now indeed was Job great. Surely no man, besides the Son of Man in Gethsemane, ever rose to a greater height of resignation. Instead of cursing God, as Satan said he would, he blesses the Lord with all his heart. How thoroughly beaten the evil spirit must have felt. May the Holy Spirit help each one of us to triumph over him in like manner. Neither in his heart, nor in his speech did he offend. He was taught the sacred wisdom of resignation, and in nothing was he displeased with his God.
Grace made him more than a conqueror over Satan.
‘Tis God that lifts our comforts high,
Or sinks them in the grave,
He gives, and (blessed be his name!)
He takes but what he gave.
Peace, all our angry passions then,
Let each rebellious sigh
Be silent at his sov’reign will,
And every murmur die.