Lessons that grow deep roots

The following is another journal that was written while we were still in the shock stage of grief over losing dear friends, home, and “life” as we knew it….August 2, 2019.

Isaiah chapter 5 has important lessons and insights into life right now. As this pilgrim road just got rocky and dangerous, I am struggling to make sense of what is going on. The attacks against us make no sense, or do they? The gospel affecting the lives of people is very offensive to the same people in that culture. They want control, they want to show that they have control, we (as we share and live out the love of God) were in the way of that.

Anyway, to Isaiah chapter 5, God disciplines his people. He weeds out the garden (using his often used illustration of a vineyard when talking about Israel). But it is 5:20 that strikes me this morning…”woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.”

Lord, in the eyes of those opposing us, they are the righteous ones and I am (as they said) their worst enemy. They have turned the tables on us. Everything that we have done (for good) has been reversed and shown to be the most evil and vile acts that anyone (apparently) could do against them. Lord, give wisdom, I don’t know what to do with this!

Thank you for your word in Isaiah, because again you remind me that you have a holy purpose in discipline – always to shape me and conform me to live holy and to bring You more glory!

You discipline out of love, with much patience, because in reality, I should be (deserve to be) smoked, torched, burned, toasted to a crisp by your righteous wrath! Thank you Jesus for taking my place!

Continuing my slow read through Job (2:1-10). Some insights as the scene switches back to heaven and Satan wants to get more serious in this test of Job’s devotion and worship to God. Following notes are from “Job, The Wisdom of the Cross.”

• Suddenly we are taken back into Heaven to witness another “day,” another heavenly cabinet meeting.

• We have no indication of what time elapses between the disasters of scene two and the heavenly scene three, but this new scene begins almost word for word the same as the last scene in Heaven.

• If we were in any doubt that the Satan is a minister or servant of the Lord, this lays that doubt to rest. Like all the other powers and principalities that share in the agency of governing the world, the Satan is subservient to the Sovereign God. He comes “to present himself” and specifically to report back on “progress” since the last meeting, when he was sent to deprive Job of all his possessions and children.

• If we were in any doubt about Job’s character, surely this must lay it to rest. Three times now he has been called blameless, upright, God-fearing, and penitent, once by the narrator and twice by God himself. Also twice God has called him “my servant.”

• But now the Lord goes on, “He still holds fast his integrity”— his inside is the same as his outside —“although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason” (v. 3). We learn two more things here.

• First, that Job has maintained his integrity as a genuine and consistent believer.

• But, second, we learn the Satan’s actual motive. The Satan sets up the test with a logic that has its foundation in the glory of God. What he actually wants is not to see Job tested but to see Job destroyed.

• So the Satan presses the matter further… “Skin for skin!”

• The point here seems to be that there is a distinction between what a person has and what a person is . What a person is, is closer to the person’s heart than what he has. I am attached to what I have, whether it be impersonal possessions or personal relations (family); it hurts me to have those taken away. But it does not ultimately hurt me as deeply as when my inner skin is penetrated and the attack reaches to who I am, to my own body and soul. This is what the Satan demands.

Had we been writing the story, we would have had the Lord say to the Satan, “Enough is enough. The man has suffered more than any human being in one day. He has been taken from riches to bankruptcy, from greatness to destitution, from a happy family to utter bereavement. That is enough, surely, to establish that his piety is genuine. The man worships me because he knows I am worthy of worship. End of trial.” That is what we would have said. That the Lord disagrees with us must teach us something very deep. The glory of God really is more important than your or my comfort.

In the end it is necessary and right that this man should suffer personal and intimate attack upon himself, so that we see absolutely and without doubt that God is worthy of worship. It is necessary for this man to demonstrate a full and deep obedience to the glory of God.

• The transition between scene 3 and scene 4 is immediate. 2:7-10

• The moment “the Satan went out from the presence of the LORD ” he “struck Job with loathsome sores” (v. 7). It was an immediate disaster. The pace has quickened.

• The scene is intensified in another way. In the first four disasters the agents were either human (the Sabeans and the Chaldeans) or impersonal (lightning and hurricane). Here the Satan is the immediate agent of Job’s sufferings…

• All of Job’s person is invaded; the last vestige of protective hedge has been destroyed.

• Everything about Job is broken now. And he is all alone.

• So this really is the test. Now we shall see for a certainty whether he serves God only for what God gives him. Now God has taken it all away. God could not take any more away from Job without killing him, and then we would never know the result of the trial. So Job must live.

• And yet there is one more trial. Job’s wife makes her only appearance in the drama.

• Job’s reply is a model of faith under trial. “But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak’” (v. 10). In kindness he does not actually call her a foolish woman. But he says that what she has suggested is not worthy of her. Hers is the suggestion that you would expect from a fool. She has spoken under stress, as if she were foolish. Far from cursing God, Job says, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (v. 10). Job speaks not self-centeredly of himself alone but of them both (“Shall we . . . ?”) Again, as after the first trials, Job’s heart is full of God the Creator who is the author of all good gifts.

• All the good he has received, he received from God. Can he not trust this same God to give him evil (i.e., harmful) things and to believe that he knows best?

Job’s piety results from Job’s heart conviction that God is the author of everything, the Creator who is worthy of all his worship in the bad times as well as the good.

Savior, grow these roots deep in me as we walk through this valley!

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