THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR: UNDERSTANDING GOD'S AUTHORITY & SUBMISSION STRUCTURE
#9 of the of the Walk Applied Model
Counseling & Discipleship Continuing Series.
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God's Authority and Submission Spiritual Dynamic - Part 2:
Job and the battle for authority
In order to gain a deeper understanding of human behavior, It is imperative that we need to fully understand God's spiritual dynamic of Authority and Submission. Over the next several posts in this series, we will investigate God's Authority and Submission dynamic and gain a significant understanding of the profound impact of authority and submission upon our human nature and human behavior.
JOB AND THE BATTLE FOR AUTHORITY
Perhaps the most vivid example in the Bible of the authority battle is found in the story of Job. You’ll recall that the story has to do with Satan being allowed to inflict great tragedy and suffering on Job.
The first thing we observe in the story is that Satan has direct access to God. Job 1 & 2 report as follows:
(Job 1:6-7) One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
(Job 2:1-2) On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
The narrative tells us that God initiates this, not Satan:
(Job 42:11) All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
(Job 1:8-11) Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
(Job 2:3-6) Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life."
Job, of course, has no knowledge of this great spiritual “debate” that will affect him in an intensely personal way. Job is allowed to be attacked twice, so there is no mistaking God’s intentions.
The 2 “wagers” between God and Satan have to do with whether or not Job will curse God. The notion of cursing (and blessing) as it is presented here is a lesson of the highest importance and is not to be missed.
Satan asserts that Job worships God only because God is protecting Job (Satan is ever the accuser!). Satan contends that if God were to remove Job’s “hedge of protection”, Job would then curse God to His face. The understanding of what “curse” means is vital. A curse is the issuance of a command to put that person under the authority of evil. It is the opposite of the blessing: which is to issue a command to put someone under the authority of God. Satan wants Job to come under his authority - more accurately, his control. The Hebrew word used here is “barak”, and it is a most interesting word.
Barak means to kneel before or kneel in front of. In other words, who are you going to worship? The distinction is very significant: Are you going to choose to submit to God's authority, or will you choose to come under Satan's power and control?
SATAN'S RUTHLESS PURSUIT OF
POWER AND CONTROL
In the story, we find that Satan is permitted to be ruthless and given a wide swath of power to inflict suffering on poor Job. Apparently, Satan is given power to not only employ nature for His diabolical purposes, He can evidently easily manipulate people as well (as most of know all too well, no doubt!). Job's entire family is wiped out. Everything he owns is taken away. Satan is even allowed to inflict torturous physical maladies as well. To top it all off, Satan leaves Job's wife alive to persuade Job to "curse God and die!".
GOD vs SATAN
Of course, we know that Job passes the tests. What's important to note here as were conclude part one of our examination of Job is that Satan wants to intimidate us into submitting to him. Satan will stop at nothing in order to control us and inflict endless pain and suffering. God does no such thing. God woes us via His endless love and offers non-judgmental acceptance.
In part two of our examination of Job. we will look at four profound and fundamental conclusions.
Next Time: #11: Authority & Submission, continued:
Job and the battle for authority, part 2
N. Patrick Marica contributes incisive Christian commentary on this blog on a regular basis. He has been the Director of Godly Training Ministries since 1993. He has his MA from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is the author of the forthcoming book: The Walk Applied". He has been married to Kathy since 1985. They have 2 adult daughters and 1 extraordinary son-in-law.
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