Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Suffering Question: Does God give permission for the enemy to attack you?

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 107:1 NLT
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm 145:8-9 KJV

 We've been in an extended study exploring the suffering question. That is examining what God's role is in the suffering of humanity. We've seen that God is not the source of our troubles. We've seen He is not the author of disease. In our last study, we knocked over the sacred cow that God is literally controlling everything.

 Today, it seems good to address another aspect of the "God controls every aspect of life" mindset. This teaching in some Christian circles that God gives the enemy permission to attack believers. The idea that the enemy satan must first get permission to attack. Alongside this idea comes with this strange notion that the enemy is God's lackey or His "watchdog". 

 Where does this idea or concept originate? From a misunderstood and mistaken interpretation of Job 1. You can see the exchange here and see why some come to the conclusion that God gives the enemy access to your life. 

 Well, that passage seems to suggest that God gave access to Job's life to satan. That the enemy indeed must ask for permission to wreak havoc. This lends credence to the concept that God is in total control of every single aspect of life on Earth. 

 What I'd like you to do is see this passage in a literal translation of the Hebrew and see if offers a more clear view of this encounter. The Young's Literal Translation is a great companion in studying Scripture. See this passage here. 

  Seeing this account in Job's life from a literal translation brings new light to this event. What also brings better light to this account is to use the light of the New Covenant to understand God's true character and use that to truly interpret this passage. What do we see the enemy doing?

The enemy presents himself in front of God. Apparently, at this time the enemy still had access to the heavenly realm where God is. Hence he is always called the accuser. This was before the Finished Work. That is the major key in understanding the book of Job. 

 When asked by God where have you been, what is the answer satan gives? In a smug response he tells the Almighty he was going to and fro throughout the Earth. Now does this seem familiar? 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV

 Again the New Covenant gives better insight into this passage in Job. The enemy actively seeks who he may attack. The key to understand is what gives him access or allowance or "permission"? 

 traditional religion would say, God. We must explore that sentiment, and see if this aligns with God's nature. God allegedly offered Job to satan to test, to prove, to show his unwavering devotion to God. 

 What did Job suffer? In one day his possessions were decimated. His flock was stolen by bandits and the servants who were watching them were murdered. At the same time, a powerful storm arose and lightning struck his herd of sheep killing them as well as those watching them. Then a strong wind came and destroyed the house where his sons and daughters were and killed all of them. 

 Does this seem like the work of a Good Father? Would God ordain the killing of men and women to test a person? Multiple deaths occurred this day. Is mass murder the work of God? Let's further examine these events. First, the idea that God offered Job to satan is thoroughly rebuked when seen from the literal Hebrew. 

And Jehovah saith unto the Adversary, `Hast thou set thy heart against My servant Job because there is none like him in the land, a man perfect and upright, fearing God, and turning aside from evil?' Job 1:8 YLT 

 The traditions of men won't allow for any rational thought. It just spews forth concepts of God without seeing the full implication of them. God is a just God. He is faithful and just, so would a faithful and just earthly father offer their son to a known abuser?

 Think, turning religious traditions off, think about it. To prove his son's devotion to his dad, would a good father offer an abusive man the opportunity to injure the child? According to religion apparently, that's what a just and loving God would do so why is it evil if an earthly parent does it? 

 I trust you're tracking with me and seeing when fully examined these religious concepts are absurd and blatantly ridiculous. The literal Hebrew shows God saw the enemy in the midst of all the angelic host. He asked where he'd been and then God reveals that He is aware of the enemy's desire to attack Job. 

 Again look at the light of Scripture. Right before Jesus paid the price for all, He reveals to Peter the enemy sought him to sift him as wheat, to attack him. Some translations use the word ask, but a desire is what is better implied. The original King James uses that word. The idea the enemy sought permission seems to be confirmed in this passage, however, you must read it in context.

 Jesus said the enemy desires you Peter, but I have prayed for you that your faith fails not. If Jesus, who is God manifest in flesh, is praying for Peter, then obviously, the enemy didn't get "permission" to attack Peter.

 The right conclusion from these two passages? That the enemy seeks to devour. He seeks to steal and kill and destroy. He roams around seeking who he can attack. We must establish this truth. Then we can see more clearly what happened to Job.

 Some would concur, the enemy seeks to destroy, but God granted the enemy access to Job right? Again, is that the nature of God? No! Look at the passage from the literal translation again.

 The enemy wanted God to strike Job. God refused. Then the enemy accused Job of only being a shallow follower, that he only loved God because He was blessed, take away the blessing and you'll see. 

 What we see next is God saying look he is in your hand. How you view these words is key. This statement could be seen as permission granted or, that God was simply acknowledging that Job was already in the enemy's hand. That is the best way to understand this passage. 

 Job was in fear of losing his possessions and his children (Job 3). This fear means he wasn't trusting in God but in himself in this area of his life. What do we call this in light of the New Covenant? Self-righteousness. 

 This fear rooted, self-righteousness opened the door, if you will, for the enemy to attack. God was not the source of the attacks on his possessions, his servants, or his children. This was all the works of the enemy. 

 Does the enemy then need permission to attack? No, the enemy is a thief, an outlaw, (John 10:10). The enemy isn't seeking permission to afflict the righteous.

 Look at Luke 13. Jesus heals a woman who was afflicted with a disease by the enemy. Look at Acts 10:38, it declared Jesus went about doing good healing all who were oppressed by the enemy. If God is giving the devil permission to afflict but Jesus is preventing it, it seems God and Jesus are working against each other.

 Here is another proof against this religious lie:
27 nor give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:27 NKJV

 If we are just pawns of the Lord that gives the enemy permission against us, why did Paul say give the enemy no place? I trust that you can see right through this absurd tradition of men. Traditional religion coupled with the hyper-control worldview used that presupposition to interpret Job 1. 

 Religious tradition complicates the simple Gospel and the simplicity of Christ. Job proves this. Job was merely a human before the Old Covenant, not a Hebrew, had no Bible, no Word of God to know and understand and claim the promises from, and didn't have the Savior as an intercessor, who simply was being attacked by the enemy. Sure self-righteousness opened a door so to speak but overall he was still a just person just being attacked. The theological debate that occurred in the rest of the book was just religious traditions complicating God.

 In summation, God is a good Father. He is a faithful and just God. He is the author and giver of life. He is not the taker of life. The enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy, God comes to give life and life more abundantly, to the overflow.

 God isn't giving the enemy permission to do anything. The enemy isn't asking either. The enemy is the accuser, the tempter, the "condemner", the liar. The enemy attacks when we mess up, and when we are doing all the will of God. The good news is Jesus defeated the enemy. Jesus won triumphant victory for you and me. At the name of Jesus, the enemy scatters. When we resist the enemy with the truth of the Finished Work, who we are and whose we are he flees in terror! Rejoice! We are more than conquerors and are world overcomers through Christ! 
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