by Jeff Beneze
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“And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.” (Job 2:4 KJV)
Satan doubles down. The first attempt does not yet appear to be successful to dissuade Job from his trust in God, so business must not be left unfinished. It is a remarkably interesting thing that our enemy should notice about mankind. What is in our nature that would actually compel us to give anything, do anything, or go anywhere to increase what we perceive as our life? Somehow once we have skin in the game, we can be more attentive and reasonable. By nature we are managers. We want to see how we can work this or angle that to obtain the best possible outcome. We indeed will give anything, but never look at it as merely giving. At least not in the sense of freely disposing of. We look at it as investing for an outcome that we have a stake in. The enemy's attempt is to inflict enough damages that the subject will eventually come around. Sanctions, if you will.
The challenge for the Christian attempting to recruit converts is not that mankind will give everything for their life, but that they must realize that there is nothing that they can give at all for their life. If a man is somehow convinced that he must now be good, then he attempts to change his ways. He does not understand that any goodness he is to have must come through the grace of Jesus. We want to be about the necessary changes right away never acknowledging the foundation from which the new structure must be built on. Or worse, we do not mind having to rebuild so long as it is under our supervision. Upon acknowledging our sins, we must accept His graceful offer of forgiveness, and relearn who and what love is and why we must practice in it. It needs to be freshly lodged in our hearts and minds that how we grow and the things we learn are now bathed in surrender.
Notice in verse six when God allows the attempt, He allows it with one caveat. The protection of Job's life. This may initially seem like an easily overlooked item because what else do we expect God to say at this point? If you kill the guy, then the test is over. Yet there is something hidden in the idea of protecting life. Now in the next chapter, Job wishes that he had never been born. He proceeds to curse the day of his birth. Thankfully Job was born and eventually he understood a great deal more about what was going on. I can imagine that was a secondary layer of wow that Job was able to see once he came out of all this on the other side. Anyhow, life holds a hidden caveat in that it is the one thing that we can give to validate our understanding of the love that God has given us. Remember what Jesus said so much later? "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13 KJV) Our lives are not to be given and taken by someone else who is attempting to manage the greater good of a potentially bad situation. Our lives are not to be thrown around even in managing the greater good of an entire society. The hidden beauty of a life that God has given us, even if we do not think much of it, is that it is a life that He thought worth sending His Son to die for. In our inability to save our lives, He gives them to us. In turn, when we lay our life down, it is a reflection of the trust we have in Jesus to raise it again and an overwhelming expression of love toward our friends for whom we give it willingly.
So we have an enemy who attempts to exploit our inclination to give anything to keep a life, that God has actually given us, that we could not have saved on our own, that we have the opportunity to give up in surrendered service to Jesus. Or better stated, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” (Mark 8:35 KJV) What more can we say? Trials will come. Sometimes we might even get to know we are in the trial when it is happening. Nevertheless, a steadfast focus on God despite what we do not have will yield results that can be seen.
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 KJV)
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