Delievered from Evil
Intro: This chapter covers the dark story of the book of Job. The book begins with a conversation between Satan, a fallen angel, and God. Satan wants to prove to God that He is only praised as glorious because He provides and protects His people. Satan wants to prove to God that if all benefits are removed, God’s people will not stay faithful to Him or praise Him. God picks Job to be the test subject for Satan’s accusations. As the story unfolds, it is clear to the reader what is happening. Satan is trying every way possible to turn Job’s heart away from God. Job loses his wealth, family, and eventually his health. Three of his friends observe this utter tragedy and conclude that God is punishing Job for sin in his life. From the reader’s perspective, it is clear that Satan is the cause of the darkness that has entered his life. From Job’s perspective, he only wonders what God is doing.
The title of the chapter helps explain what the author wants us to see in the story: Delivered from Evil. The author is revealing one of the most powerful weapons Satan uses to discourage Christians.
“What is ‘Satan’s art’? The ‘art’ of Satan is his ability to produce sinister thoughts in the mind of the Christian believer.” He continues, “But ultimately, the most sinister thoughts that Satan insinuates into our minds are not enticements to sin but suspicions about God Himself. He always plots to cause us to ‘exchange the truth of God for the lie’ (Rom. 1:25).” (p. 84)
Question: Have you or someone you know experienced the despair of the soul like job? What are some of the feelings or thoughts that crept in concerning God?
To provide comfort and direction to the heart that finds itself in dark despair, the author provides two important questions:
QUESTION ONE: WHAT IS GOD REALLY LIKE?
In the story of Job, he never really sees that the cause of his pain is Satan. This clearly begins to blur Job’s vision of God and causes Job to question the very nature of God. The author explains:
“That is exactly ‘Satan’s art.’ He seeks to distort our view of God and our understanding of His gracious character. The result is that our disposition toward God becomes twisted. We begin to think about God, and respond to Him, as though He had the identity of the Evil One. Satan’s plan is to blind us to God’s grace and to diminish our trust in Him, crushing our love for Him and destroying all the pleasures of grace.”(p. 92)
Question: Have you ever wondered why God allows horrific events to happen? If you are honest, did it ever cause you to question the goodness of God?
The Bible presents this type of a test to be the pattern of Satan. To present lies so God’s creatures would question God’s nature. The author used the events in the garden to prove this point. Satan convinced Eve that God was withholding something good from her. Eve exchanged a lie from Satan for what God had actually said to her. Satan did it to Eve, he is attempting to do it with Job, and he is still distorting our perception of God today.
“The Lord is absolutely good, true, faithful, and gracious. But the enjoyment of Him is in large measure dependent on what we think He is really like. That is why deceiving us about the character of God is central to Satan’s strategy against us.” (pp. 96-97)
Question: How do you think we can battle these types of thoughts from controlling our thoughts and emotions? How do we preserve right thoughts about God?
QUESTION TWO: WHERE CAN I FIND HELP?
“When we are in the darkness, there is no point in pretending to be in the light, is there? We cannot point to things in our lives and say: ‘Well, that’s going well. So maybe it’s not as bad as I thought.’ No, when we are in the darkness, that answer provides no comfort.” (p. 98)
Question: Why do you think pointing to the past blessings, or that things could be worse doesn’t help when we are struggling with despair?
“You cannot rely on your experiences to prove the love of God. They may indeed give you evidences of it. But when you are in the dark, those very things may seem to mock you.” (p. 99)
Question: Have you ever stopped and thought about why you believe God loves you? Are you possibly connecting it to your experience?
“The answer to both questions is found in a single word: Jesus. If you are in the dark, whether inside the kingdom of Christ or outside the kingdom of Christ, this is where you need to go first: to Jesus the Savior, who died for us on the cross. Trust in Him. He foils Satan’s arts.” (p. 99)
Conclusion: What we know about Jesus is the powerful defense we have against the “art of Satan.” We should never be fooled into trusting our circumstances, emotions, or past when it comes to the truth of God’s love toward us. The cross is our proof that God loves us, and nothing can take that away from us. This is why we must focus our attention within the church to look to Christ and Christ alone for why God loves us and for no other reason.