So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. — Isaiah 28:16
Seven Hundred years before Jesus even got here, Isaiah was saying that He would come. That is amazing! One of the reasons it is easy for me to believe the Bible is its predictions. God said that a redeemer would come…a lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world. He came. His name is Jesus Christ. When I was 16 years old, I received Him into my heart and life. Ever since then, He has led me to places that I never dreamed possible.
One of those places is Lifeline Community Church in Westminster, SC. This past week, I was officially made the interim spiritual leader and teaching pastor. Most people upon hearing the news simply said “praying for you”, or “congratulations.” However, there were a few people who told me something to the tune of “be careful, now Satan is coming after you!” My first reaction to this…was fear. Fortunately, when I feel fear, I think of some other words that Isaiah wrote, I like the way the King James Version says it (I hear Russell Crowe in Gladiator reading this): Fear thou not; for I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)
When I think of the worst happening to me, my mind goes to Job. The Bible says right off the bat that he was a man who was upright and shunned evil. Satan wanted to attack Job. However, Job was so well protected by God that Satan literally went to God to complain about it. Satan admitted to God “Have you not put a hedge around his household and everything he has?” (Job 1:10) This gives me unbelievable hope. If I am an upright man who shuns evil on a daily basis, will God not put His hedge of protection around me? Why should I expect that God will not do for me what He did for Job?
Now, the rest of Job is kind of scary. To think about losing all of your children, all of your possessions, and all but about 1% of your health is scary. But, in all of this Job was never stricken with panic. Even though it caused Him to question God, it never caused Job to leave God or ever think that God was not in control.
So, I sit here thinking: “What if the worst did happen to me?” On the surface, I consider the worst to be losing my family, my home, my job, basically all the stuff that I enjoy in this life. Don’t get me wrong…that would be awful. But, the worst would be for the presence of God to not be with me regardless of my circumstances. If I am walking daily with my Lord, will I not trust that my life, along with my family and possessions are in His hands? Job wasn’t a pastor, but he still had that proverbial bulls eye on his back. The truth is, no matter if I am a pastor or just a plain ole math teacher, I should be living in a way that points people to The Lord and I should draw Satan’s attention anyway.
I say all that to say this: I have the victory! I have read the end of the book. Satan, evil, and sin get destroyed in the end. There is no stopping God and His plans. Therefore, I don’t have to fight for victory. Sure, I have to fight sin and temptation, all of which could give the devil a foothold to damage me and my home should I allow. But, if I am walking daily with my Lord, whom shall I fear? God is with me! I am more aware of that right now than I have been at any other point in my life. Whatever happens to me, if it is from Satan, that fool has to go to God and get permission to touch me, my family, and even my stuff. If God allows him to harm me, it will only result in bringing me to a better place in the end. God only has my ultimate best interest in mind…
Just as He did with Job. Here is (cue my best Paul Harvey voice) the rest of the story.
After Job had prayed for His friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as He had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah (I wonder if she invented the pancake), the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. (Job 42: 10-16)
By placing his life in God’s hands, Job was never fighting for victory. He was fighting from it…
May you and I do the same