I want to pick up with the Week 3, Day 5 portion before moving to Week 4, Day 1 for tomorrow. I got behind a bit last week but I really did not want to omit Day 5 because of some of the content that I ran across as I was journaling through it. I will not add Day 6 or Day 7 because it is primarily the summary of the previous material in the week with a host of Scriptures that are designed to bring out various descriptions of the devil. The following is pretty much the exact content of my ramblings in my journal. . . with a fountain pen J. Specifically a TWSBI 580 medium nib loaded with Pelikan 4001 Turquoise ink J.
-Note that the people who are involved in the spiritual war are saints. The devil has no need to attack those who are already in his kingdom. If you sometimes have a tendency to think that evil-doers have an easier path, the Bible very clearly articulates this in Psalm 37 and 73. Those psalms both have the same theme. . . the prosperity of the wicked. On the other hand, never think for a moment that they are never without troubles, difficulties, and huge battles with their conscience.
-The hedge that the devil notices the Lord has around Job is very real. Job was unaware of its presence but the enemy was. The Hebrew rendering of that word is not very complicated because it simply gives the idea of an entwined hedge of vines, bushes, or trees. It has been firmly established in such a way that it does not allow intruders to worm their way inside.
-Considering the concept behind the hedge, I thought of Thomas Brooks’ magnificent book PreciousRemedies Against Satan’s Devices. It is one of the most treasured books in my personal library. It has been marked up, dog-eared, and read over and over. I thought of one of the devices the devil will use to try to get us to let down the hedge. God keeps it up but we can be just as foolish as Abner and step outside the gate and be taken advantage of by the wickedness of Joab. That is the way that spiritual warfare works sometimes. We listen to the lying voice that can hinder every aspect of spiritual growth going on in our lives. (NOTE: I did a series on Thomas Brooks in 2012. Here is Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5, and Part 6. The link above is Part 4 about Precious Remedies.)
-Brook’s names the Device 9 like this: The enemy presents to the soul the crosses, losses, reproaches, sorrows, and sufferings that do attend those that walk in the ways of holiness. He tempts us by getting us to look at how much easier things appear to be for the wicked. But the great way that Brooks does his work is for every device, he will give several remedies for the lie. For this specific device, the following remedies are clear:
- Remedy 1—Solemnly consider that all the afflictions that do attend the people of God, are such as shall turn to the profit and glorious advantage of the people of God.
- Remedy 2—Solemnly consider that all the afflictions that do befall the saints do only reach their worser part; they reach not, they hurt not, their noble part, the best part. . . but they have no power over the soul.
- Remedy 3—Seriously consider that the afflictions that do attend the saints in the ways of holiness are but short and momentary.
- Remedy 4—Seriously consider that the afflictions that do befall the saints are such as proceed from God’s dearest love. The Son of God was without sin but not without sorrow. We as redeemed are without the mark of sin but not the trappings of sorrow. (NOTE: This is a huge theological concept about our state of redemption. It makes people of a holiness persuasion nervous, but trust me when I say that there are words such as imputed righteousness, the work of the atonement, and much of 1st John 1 deals with this cleansing. Counterfeit holiness will drive you toward performance, true holiness moves you toward devotion. My salvation is a lot less fragile than I think it is!)
- Remedy 5—Solemnly consider that it is our duty and glory not to measure afflictions by the smart but by the end.
- Remedy 6—Seriously consider that the design of God is all the afflictions that do befall them is only to try them; it is not to wrong them, nor to ruin them, as ignorant souls are apt to think.
- Remedy 7—Solemnly consider that the afflictions, wrath, and misery that do attend the ways of wickedness, are far greater and heavier than those are that do attend the ways of holiness.
-All of the difficulties in the life of Job took place over a period of about nine months. You will notice that the Lord said that Job never lost his integrity with foolish complaining during that time. Be careful you (as in me) don’t fall into the deadly trap of questioning God’s goodness and accusing Him of misusing His power to work in my life. He is still in complete control (Dan. 4:34-35; Isa. 45:6-7; Deut. 32:39).
-Despite the fact that the devil was attacking, I would believe from Scripture’s witness that God is still using the devil to advance His cause. One of the great reformers (it slips my mind who) said that we must never forget that the “devil is God’s devil.” There are limits to what the devil can and cannot do simply by virtue of the hedge that is about us.
-If you skip to the last chapter of Job, you discover that things did turn out for the best! (Job 42:10, 16-17).
-The study guide ends with some probing questions that I answered but won’t give them here. However, I am going to give you the questions so you can make an assessment of your life also:
1. If Satan were to stand before the Lord right now, would your character be such that God would boast of you to him?
2. If Satan were to throw down the gauntlet and challenge your motives for serving God, could God pick up the gauntlet in confidence?
3. Could God know that in the midst of conflict with the enemy, that you would not desert the One who had enlisted you to be His soldier?
More tomorrow. . .
Thanks for reading my ramblings. . . May the Lord enrich your own life as you grow deeper!