From flies, mice, and squirrels to lizards, lions, and whales. From germs, viruses, and bacteria to winds, waves, and volcanic eruptions. From presidents and nations to professors and mongoloids.
Everything that exists—from the tiniest molecule to the greatest galaxy; everything that happens—from the sweetest victories to the most horrific calamities; every person who has ever breathed—from Alexander the Great to Adolf Hitler . . . all things serve God.
This is one of the points of the book of Job. The Bible makes it plain that when disease came upon Job, “Satan . . . struck Job with loathsome sores” (Job 2:7). His wife urged him to curse God. But Job said, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (v. 10). In one sentence we read, “Satan struck Job.” In another, Job attributing his affliction to God. Then the author of the book concludes by saying, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
What can we learn from this? Satan is real and may have a hand in our trials, but not the final hand. Behind all death, disease and disaster is the ultimate will of God. Not that Satan is not involved, but his power is not decisive.
James makes it clear that God had a purpose—a good purpose—in all Job’s afflictions: “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
Though Satan had one purpose, God had another—one that was “compassionate and merciful”—and His triumphed (Ja. 5:11).
This is the same lesson we learn from 2 Corinthians 12:7, where Paul says that his thorn in the flesh was a messenger of Satan and yet was given for the purpose of his own holiness: “To keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me”—to keep me from exalting myself!
Humility, obviously, is not Satan’s purpose in this affliction. Therefore, the purpose is God’s. Which means that Satan is being used by God to accomplish His good purposes in Paul’s life.
Think about that: Satan was being used by God to accomplish His good purposes in Paul’s life!
The place where this truth is most gloriously demonstrated is at the cross. On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray (Jesus) to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.
But this was all the plan of God. Acts 4:27-28 reads, “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” God’s hand and God’s plan.
The death of Christ was no mere human conspiracy. It was no mere Satanic conspiracy. Though humans and Satan were involved, the crucifixion of Christ was finally the work of God. The men—Judas Iscariot, Pilate, the Pharisees and Sanhedrin, the Jewish mob, the Roman soldiers and Satan himself were all—unbeknown to any of them—serving God and his purposes.
Oh friend, rejoice! Be in awe and stand amazed at this great and mighty and magnificent God. He is supreme. Worship Him!
Awesome information about our mighty God … thanks Jeff…wish I could celebrate with you all 50 years of God’s faithfulness but am in Colorado now.
God is great and greatly to be praised! Hope you are doing well. Blessings!