I was reading from the book of Job recently. You know, that is a very interesting book. In a lot of ways, too, because this is a guy that a lot of people, like myself, can relate to on a regular basis. He seems like a pretty normal kind of guy, in most ways, although he does seem to be pretty wealthy (by any standard). Going through life, doing his thing, happy as can be. Good family, good wife, good job, nice house, plenty of stuff to make one happy. Not a bad gig if I say so myself.
Then comes “the meeting.” You know, THE MEETING. God summons his angels and asks what they are up to and Satan is there too. God asks what Satan has been up to, and of course he tells it like it is. “Seeking people to DESTROY. Did you catch that? Standing before the throne and telling God that he is seeking souls to destroy. Whew, that is hard to take in when you really think about it. Then comes the clincher, God asks Satan if he has considered Job. Now, I ask you, what did Job do to deserve this??? He is down there on good ol’ planet earth, minding his own business, and up in the heavenly realms he has just become the center of attention. WHY???
You know the story, I won’t go into all of the details. But I constantly think about the “WHY” question. Why was Job called out? Why did God put Job on the line? Why did all of that have to happen to him? WHY? Now, a philosopher will give you lots of reasons, and most preachers too. And they all make a little bit of sense, I guess. But it all seems weird to me. And Job comes through it all, but not without a lot of questions himself. But he learns who God really is, and understands his relationship with Him. And he certainly learned a lot about Satan, his power, and his unending desire to DESTROY him. What if God had said, “Have you considered my servant (insert YOUR name here)…” And that, my friends, scares me to death.
Satan is out to kill us all. That is what he wants more than anything else in the world. He wants to destroy us, rip us away from God, from His grace, from His mercy. He wants to ruin us, stain us, take away our value. He wants to flush us down the toilet and spit on us. He wants us to spend eternity with him in the burning fires of hell and darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. That is what he wants alright, and he will do whatever it takes to do it.
He will lie to you. He will deceive you. He will flatter you. He will tempt you. He will make things that are horribly sinful seem appealing to you and will convince you it is OK to do it. He will make you abandon your senses and common sense, he will make you doubt your upbringing and your morals. He will do other things too. He will take away your self esteem, your will power. He will isolate you and make you feel unwanted and unloved. He will pour guilt upon you and make you think you are worthless. He will ride you to the ground and crush you like a bug. Or he will give you great power, lots of money, anything it takes to distract you from serving the One who really loves you and wants the best for you.
And the sad thing is that Satan is really good at what he does. He is really, really good. I have watched as many have fallen to his wily ways. I have watched people fall away from God, from His church, and wallow in stuff that they, at one time, knew to be wrong. I guess working with teenagers really makes it tough. You work with teens for 4, 5, sometimes 6 years. Teaching them, through scripture, through example, though service, the path that they need to take. Then, when it is time for them to go, stretch their wings, they are picked off with Satan’s fiery darts that we read about in Ephesians. They get wrapped up in so much garbage, so much mess, so much sin, and they are trapped. And Satan is as happy as a lost soul can be when it happens.
But, God is still God. He is still the Master and Commander. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the King and Savior. And He is the Judge. He is unchanging, He is true and faithful. He constantly seeks and calls, pleads and beckons. He wants all men to draw unto Him. And I hold out to hope. I hope that those, who were some of the most faithful, most fervent, most focused, will come back to the one love of their life. That they will see that through Christ all good things come, and that what the world has to offer is a cheap imitation of the real thing. That their relationship with God is real.
Life is hard and so are the consequences of our decisions. And it affects not only the ones who make the decisions, it affects all those around them too. THAT’S RIGHT, IT AFFECTS OTHERS. To abandon God, to turn your back on Him, after all He has done for you, is a reckless decision. It is selfish, it is insensitive, and heartless. But Satan will give you all of the resources you need to make it happen, and he will do it with a smile on his face. AFTER ALL, WHAT DOES SATAN HAVE TO LOOSE? HE HAS ALREADY LOST EVERYTHING. Maybe the question should be, “WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOOSE?” What are you waiting for? A better offer??? You’re kidding, right?