“I know that Thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee” (Job 42:2).

            Job, at the end of all his troubles and difficulties, discovered a marvellous truth in his life, that it was God alone who led him through. In our spiritual life, we also have got a lot of questions  and one of them is, “When Lucifer rebelled against God, why did not God strike him to death as He did to Dathan, Abiram and Uzzah? Had He done that, Eve would not have been deceived and Lucifer would not have turned to satan.” Every time the devil tries to work against God, he ends up working for God, His people and His purposes. This is God’s wisdom. We are all God’s loving children. We lovingly and willingly serve the LORD, but the devil who hates God, is forced to serve God as an unwilling servant. True, God created angels with a free will. But those fallen angels are under God’s judgment. The greatest encouragement is that they cannot work against God’s people. The devil cannot do anything on his own but seeks God’s permission. The devil fears God but does not love God but we both fear and love God. In the lives of Job, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed Nego, Paul and Silas, we can see goodness emerge from pain. Satan was powerful and more beautiful than any other human being, yet because of his pride he became foolish. He said “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” If you say, “I will exalt myself” you become no different from satan. When an angel fell, God did not become an angel to redeem that angel. But when man fell through satan’s instigation, God became man to redeem him. Through pride, Lucifer eyed God’s throne but fell. But through man’s humility, God is making man like Himself. God turns all the evil schemes of the devil to fulfill His purpose. God’s three purposes in allowing bad things to His good people are to furbish the faithful, to awaken the avenger and to teach the teachable.

  1. FURBISH THE FAITHFUL: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7). God is trying to refine the faithful. Someone said, “We all have the devil’s disease. Even the meekest of us have the tendency to think highly of himself.” Apparently Apostle Paul’s profile was very impressive with his personal audience with Jesus, he was a participant of Heavenly visions, author of the epistles and a man who healed many sick people. Very few could rival his achievements. Perhaps Paul who knew about this began to pat his back himself. God who loved Paul so much and who hates pride, used satan and protected Paul from the sin of pride. The thorn in Paul’s flesh kept him humble. When Paul prayed thrice for the thorn to be removed, God said, “My grace is sufficient for thee. For My power is made perfect in your weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Like Paul, let us remain humble in order to experience God’s power and strength. Satan and his forces are tools in God’s hands to strengthen God’s servants. In Job’s trial, satan sought God’s permission. God not only gave the permission to touch Job’s wealth and health, but also set the parameter by not letting satan to touch Job’s life. In the end, Job’s faith, health and wealth became greater than before. If God has given satan permission to do anything to you, then God has planned abundance for you. Before God could bless Job two-fold, He had to test Job. God’s test lifts us up, but satan’s temptation pulls us down. Though God uses satan to test us, He is in control. His plan is not for evil but for peace to give us an expected end. Satan instigated the Jews and Roman soldiers to put an end to Jesus by crucifying Him, but Jesus, after completing the plan of redemption triumphantly shouted, “It is finished.” The Philippian jail imprisioned Paul and stopped him from moving about, but there God made Paul to write great epistles which have been a great blessing to millions of people till now. When satan appears to win, he loses. Martin Luther says, “Satan is like a hose pipe in God’s garden. The hose-pipe cannot save what the gardener intends to cut. It can only water the garden.” Satan is a tool to clean God’s garden and furbish the faithful.
  1. TO AWAKEN THE AVENGER: “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him”(1 Samuel 16:14). Saul, the first king of Israel was consumed with jealousy when David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine. The women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing to meet king Saul and they answered one another as they played and said, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” David did everything better than Saul. He sang well, made musical instruments, fought the battle, killed the giant that made Saul afraid. Rather than celebrating David’s God – given abilities, Saul grew insanely hostile. It is very dangerous to feel jealous, when you see someone blessed or someone does things better than you. To awaken Saul from the fog of jealousy, God called His unwilling servant, satan. There are times when our hearts grow hard and our ears become so deaf that God in His love, again and again warns us, but we presumptuously harden our hearts. God turns us over to endure the consequences of our choices. In this case, the demon was released from the LORD to torment Saul. If Saul would not drink from the cup of God’s kindness, he had to drink from the cup of hell’s fury. God said, “Let him be driven to despair in order for him to be driven back into My hands.” Paul chastises the Corinthian Church when it tolerated the immorality of a man. “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5). The two disciples, Hymenaeus and Alexander who made a shipwreck of their faith, negatively influenced other people against Paul. Paul delivered them unto satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. God will allow a person to experience hell on earth, hoping to awaken the spiritual life of that man. A holy love makes a tough decision to release a child to the consequence of his rebellion. No loving parent enjoys disciplining his child. Loving discipline should result in mercy and not in misery. God loves us so much, that He does not want to leave us in the same state we are in.
  1. TO TEACH THE TEACHABLE: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22: 31-32). Peter was asked to help his brothers once he became stronger. Here again it was the LORD who was in control. Even though satan had a plan, he had to get God’s permission. Jesus said, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth” (Matthew 28:18). When God raised Jesus from the dead, He gave Him a Name above every other name. God made Him to sit at His right hand and has put all the powers, dominions, authority, principalities under the feet of Jesus Christ. Everything including satan is under the feet of Jesus Christ. He is the Chief Shepherd. The wolf cannot reach the sheep without the permission of the Shepherd. Sometimes He allows the attack only when He knows that the pain brings gain. In the case of Job, God saw something good in the end. So the Shepherd allowed the wolf to reach Job, because God knew that his pain was worth the gain. But in Peter’s case, it was to provide a testimony to the Church. Jesus allowed Peter to experience a trial so that when Peter comes back, he would encourage the other people. You too are going through tough times so that when you come out of it, you will strengthen and restore others. God has chosen you for this purpose. God knows the need of living testimonies of His power in the Church. The sickness and conflict that you go through, is to prepare you to become the voice of encouragement. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down. He will never let you to be pushed past your limits. He will always be there to help you to come through it. Joseph said to his brothers, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). Probably you might have gone through tough times, but the sovereign LORD who is in control of everything, will turn all the evil schemes of satan into a blessing for you.