Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 29, 2016

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Today’s devotion comes from Job chapter 2.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job+2&version=NASB

I quote only the folloing verses.

1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LordThe Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”  Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”  The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job?  For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil.  And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”  Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin!  Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.  However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh;  he will curse You to Your face.”  So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.  And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity?  Curse God and die!”  10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.  Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”  In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”  Job 2:1-10.

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Other doctrine views and portrays this conversation between God and Satan like a conversation between humans where the parties are relatively equal and whether neither party knows or controls the other party.  

But, Reformed Doctrine views and portray this conversation between God and Satan as one in which God certainly knew where Satan had come from, God certainly knew that Satan did not have an innocent inquiry but intended only to harm Job, God certainly did not need to ask Satan to spare Job’s life, and God certainly knew how Job would react to all the adversity and did not need to put Job to the test to find out.  

Reformed Doctrine believes and teaches the sovereign God of Scripture Who totally and tightly controls all things through His divine providence. 

Other doctrine teaches that when Job asked the question:  “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”, Job was making a comment about the duty of man.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that when Job asked the question:  “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”, Job was making a comment about the power of God.  In other words, Job was stating that we do not have the power to reject any part of God’s sovereign providence.  

So, then the question is not “Should we accept adversity?”.  But, rather, the question is “How should we accept adversity?”.

Other doctrine walks on egg shells as an actor in Greek mythology might act in a war between gods, so to speak, never knowing when the other shoe will drop or never knowing whether prosperity or adversity will come his way, believing that everything comes by chance.  

But, Reformed Doctrine walks faithfully and steadfastly, even through trials and tribulations, trusting that God somehow causes all things to work together for his good.  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28.

Other doctrine teaches that things come to us by chance.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that things come to us by Divine Providence.  Consider the following from the Belgic Confession

Article 13:  Of Divine Providence.

We believe that the same God, after he had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that he rules and governs them according to his holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without his appointment: nevertheless, God neither is the author of, nor can be charged with, the sins which are committed. For his power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible, that he orders and executes his work in the most excellent and just manner, even then, when devils and wicked men act unjustly. And, as to what he doth surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire into, farther than our capacity will admit of; but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God, which are hid from us, contenting ourselves that we are disciples of Christ, to learn only those things which he has revealed to us in his Word, without transgressing these limits. This doctrine affords us unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father; who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under his power, that not a hair of our head (for they are all numbered), nor a sparrow, can fall to the ground, without the will of our Father, in whom we do entirely trust; being persuaded, that he so restrains the devil and all our enemies, that without his will and permission, they cannot hurt us. And therefore we reject that damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing, but leaves all things to chance.

Reformed Doctrine is not blind to adversity, the trials and tribulations of life, but teaches us to how to accept such adversity.  Consider what the Heidelberg Catechism states in Question and Answer 27 and 28.

Q. 27.  What dost thou mean by the providence of God?

 A.  The almighty and everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures;  so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand. 

Q. 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

 A.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love;  since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.

And this adversity, these trials and tribulations, that God gives us His people are for our good.

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;  and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:2-4.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;  and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”  1 Peter 1:6-9.


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