In Part 2 of a 3-part series, “Parallels With Jesus,” we examine the life of Job, a man who, like Jesus, suffered, and, like Jesus, maintained his faith in God’s mercy and goodness. Previously, we looked at Jesus and Joseph. Next, we’ll look at Jesus and Daniel.
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. (Job 19:25 NIV)
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. (Hebrews 9:24 NASB)
TWO MEN. TWO BATTLES WITH SATAN. ONE OUTCOME — SATAN LOSES.
How did Satan lose? Was it because of the superior attributes of the two men doing battle with him? Or was it something else? Was another force involved that tipped the scales away from Satan?
Here are the two men: Job in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
Let’s set the stage: In Job, Chapter 1, Satan is holding a conversation with God and claims that Job’s faith in the Creator is based solely on the health and material blessings God has bestowed on him. Strip Job of his blessings, Satan argued, and his faith will disappear.
Okay, we can understand the point that it’s easier to sing Praises and Hallelujah when you’ve got a good marriage, a big house, a wonderful job, obedient children, two cars, and a vacation home, but if you lose all the “stuff,” there goes the faith.
Now, let’s swing over to Jesus. In Matthew, Chapter 4, just after Jesus has emerged from His baptism in the Jordan River, He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil.”
Satan was then given the opportunity to challenge Jesus on whether He really was the Son of God. Now, Jesus believed He was. In fact, in the preceding chapter, Matthew tells us the voice of God said, “This is my Son,” which should settle the matter.
WHAT IS CLEAR WITH BOTH the temptation story facing Job and that facing Jesus is that Satan, the tempter, was striking at their faith in God. He tried to rattle them and force them to recant their belief that God exists, that He created us, and that He is present in our lives.
We all face temptations in our lives, and Scripture is clear that how we handle those moments helps shape our character and our witness for our belief in Jesus Christ.
But look at what Jesus and Job went through. For Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, we read that the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, purposefully led Him into the wilderness for the express purpose of being tempted.
Not only that, but the temptations did not begin until Jesus had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. At that point, He would have been weak with hunger and more easily susceptible to wrongdoing.
In our own lives, we know we are more likely to give into temptations, whether of actions or words, when we are tired or hungry or upset about work.
Imagine how we might react if we had been fasting for five weeks.
Job’s temptations were a complete surprise to him, as far as we can tell from Scripture. We read that “one day” everything is going along pretty much for him the way every day went, when a succession of messengers ran up to him to announce that his farm animals were taken and his servants slaughtered.
After three such messages, he receives a fourth message that tops the first three: His sons and daughters were partying, and the house in which they were gathered was felled by a mighty wind, killing them all instantly.
As we read through the succession of calamities that befell Job, we see him rent with despair but calling out to God for salvation: “Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: … ‘may the name of the Lord be praised’” (Job 1:20-22 NIV).
Jesus did much the same thing. As He was faced with temptations, from turning stones into bread to jumping off the top of the temple to worshipping the devil with the offer of his earthly kingdom, Jesus quoted Scripture.
The verses were all from Deuteronomy: “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” “Do not put the Lord your God to the test,” and “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Matthew 4:1-11 NIV).
GOD IS CLEAR IN HIS REVEALED WORD that our temptations are designed to improve our character. Paul tells us in Romans 5:3-4 NIV that “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
This is the point where it becomes clear that Satan may win some battles in the short run, but in the long run, God wins the war.
God also reassures us through Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV that “No temptation has seized you except what is common to mankind.” That means, whatever you are dealing with, others are, have, and will face, as well.
But Paul goes on to tell us that “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you stand up under it.”
Job certainly knew that he could count on God’s goodness and faithfulness. In Job 19:25 NIV, Job proclaims his undying faith in God: “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand on the earth.”
Jesus also knew that He could count on the Father’s love and presence. Immediately after He faced His trials, He began His public ministry, preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” which meant himself. Then, he called His first disciples, so He could begin to build His church (Matthew 4:12-22).
“Come, follow me,” He said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
Those two models show us that even in the most trying of situations, God is faithful, and He is always there to help us.
Take that, Satan. Now, be gone …
PRAYER: Our gracious and loving Heavenly Father. We are so grateful that You are sovereign, that You are watching over us and helping us, as You promised You would, through the valleys of life, just as You are with us when we’re experiencing the blessings. Forgive us, Lord, when we doubt or wander away from Your presence. Bring us back every time into Your loving arms. We ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen