The Trials of Your Faith
Trials are certain to come (1 Peter 4:12).
Unlike chastisement, trials are not the result of sin. Trials are for the purpose of personal growth and to bring glory to God (1 Peter 1:6-7).
We want to study the trials of our faith, by examining the life of Job.
No doubt the inclusion of Job's trials into the Holy Writ, is for our benefit, that we might receive understanding on the trials that we face as God's people. Sometimes we don't understand why things in our lives are happening to us.
1. First we want to consider Job- The child of God to experience trials.
His moral and Godly character: (vs. 1)
Perfect- Morally blameless.
Upright- Just, honest, judicious, circumspect and respectable in his walk.
Feared God- That is he reverenced and honored God, and obeyed God's Word.
Eschewed evil- to shun, avoid, have nothing to do with, steer clear of evil; evil people evil things, evil deeds, evil thoughts, evil companions, etc.
His wealth and position in society: (vs. 2-3)
Job had a large family over which he proved to be godly and responsible leader.
Job had great wealth which he honestly acquired and responsibly managed.
He gave to the poor, something he was falsely accused by his friends of not doing.
God's Word calls Job the greatest man of the east, a title designating not only his wealth, but also his character.
Job's concern for his children's spiritual welfare: (vs. 4-5)
Job loved his children, and showed it by his concern for their souls.
He was more concerned for their spiritual well being than their physical.
Job's sincere concern for his children's souls was evidence of His love and fear of God.
2. Secondly we want to consider Satan- The instigator and perpetrator of our trials:
Satan presents himself before God. (vs. 6)
I personally don't believe Satan has access into the actual presence of God in Heaven. Satan was once cast out of Heaven because of his sin of pride and rebellion; and Heaven being a Holy place, I do not believe God allows His habitation to be defiled by the likes of Satan.
But Satan presents himself before God spiritually from the lower realm of the earth. In any case, there appears to be ongoing communication between God and Satan, and the subject of concern to Satan is the people of God.
Satan walks to and fro and up and down in the earth. (vs. 7)
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Satan is not omnipresent; he can only be in one place at a time; thus Satan and his evil spirits come and go in our lives.
Satan's work on earth is to thwart God's plans and purposes, to destroy the lives and testimonies of God's people, and to hinder their work for the Lord. It is also his desire to blind the minds of the lost in order to prevent them from being saved.
Satan's objective for presenting himself before God is to accuse God's people, and to desire permission to temp and try them. (vs. 8-12)
Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
As the adversary and accuser of the brethren, Satan attacks Job's motive for serving God (vs. 9).
Satan attacks Job's sincerity, and his true love and devotion to God (vs. 11).
Satan accuses Job of only being concerned about his own hide (2:4-5).
Satan receives permission to bring trials upon Job. (1:12; 2:6).
3. Thirdly we want to consider God- The defender of His people, and orchestrator of their trials.
God glories in His faithful people (vs. 8)
God has a three-fold hedge around His people (vs. 10)
God preserves and protects His people (vs. 12)
God allows Satan to try His people. (Satan must get permission).
God is Sovereign, and Satan is subject to Him at all times.
Satan can do more to God's people than God allows.
God will not allow Satan to temp us above that we are able to bare:
1 Corinthians 10:13 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.
God is always in control in our times of trials.
4. Fourthly we want to consider the trials themselves (vs. 13-19).
Although the trials are instigated by Satan, they may be initiated by variety of sources. These may include:
Man (vs. 15, 17); and also Job's friends who were contributors to his grief.
People harassing us on our jobs; or people, whether family, friend or foe who just try to make our lives miserable for no apparent, logical reason- other than Satan has put it on their heart to do so.
Extraordinary events (vs. 16, 19)
Things that seem too out of the ordinary to be mere coincidence. The timing and all of the other events surrounding the circumstances all point to supernatural intervention.
Satan and his evil spirits directly (2:7)
Sickness and death of loved ones, personal sickness, whether physical, mental, or spiritual.
Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
To be sifted as wheat most likely refers to mental and spiritual anguish.
Some of the objects that may be involved in our trials include:
Our substance; especially those things we value most (lost most of my things in a fire- even my library and much of my music).
Family members- serious problems with, or even loss of loved ones.
Our own bodies- serious sickness or disease.
What about the frequency, and velocity, and the duration of our trials:
For Job it was one trial after another! (When it rains, it pours).
His trials came faster than they could be reported! Before one messenger finished speaking the bad news, another awaited to tell of some more.
We don't know just how long the two waves of Job's trials lasted, but it no doubt seemed to Job to be a long, long time!
5. Fifthly we want to consider the right response to trials.
Job worshipped God (vs. 20).
He submitted to God's will (vs.21).
He acknowledged God's sovereign right to do whatever He pleases with His own.
He blessed the name of the Lord.
He sinned not, and didn't blame (or charge) God for his afflictions (vs. 22).
Job understood and acknowledged that trials are a part of God's will for our lives.
(2:9-10) Job's wife didn't hold up so well under the trials. This doesn't mean she wasn't a child of God. On the contrary, I believe she was, but as the weaker vessel she was overcome by her emotions- We are reminded of God's mercy when we sometimes fail the test of our faith. He won't utterly cast us off when we fail Him- however miserable our failures may be!
Job himself complained somewhat. He cursed his own birth, and even asked God to take his life. He justified himself blatantly, and contended with God rather brazenly.
But in the final analysis, perhaps God considers the trials of our faith like a test. There may be many difficult problems on the test, and we may miss a few or answer a few imperfectly, but in the final score we might still get an A on the test.
6. Sixthly and finally we want to consider the end of the trial.
First, we want to note that there is an end to our trials.
Trials, like this sermon, sometimes seem like they will never end. But they do have end. In fact, the Lord appoints an end to our trials.
Moreover the Lord intervenes and calls an end to our trials. Like with Job, the Lord appeared in a whirlwind and brought Job's trials to their desired end.
Secondly, Job grew in understanding, and in the knowledge of the Lord as a result of his trials.
Thirdly, Job was vindicated of the wrongs done by his friends.
Fourthly, Job was restored to health and prosperity so that his latter state was greater than his former.
Fifthly, Job brought glory to the Lord through his trials.
(Sermon preached by Pastor Burke at the Faith Baptist Church of Lawtey, Florida)