Part 5- Concerning Those who Suffer
King David went into the temple and meet God in prayer; he sought the Lord as to why the ungodly seem not to suffer. The answer came and David understood that we only see from mans perspective, a temporary perspective. But there is eternity, which is Gods perspective. He concludes afterward as noted here below in Psalm 73:22-24.
"I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I AM CONTINUALLY WITH YOU; YOU (LORD) HOLD ME BY MY RIGHT HAND. YOU WILL GUIDE ME WITH YOUR COUNSEL, AND AFTERWARD RECEIVE ME TO GLORY."
Oh that all of us could come to see and trust such truth as came by the word of the Lord to David (above), and to learn to rely upon the Lord... having His eternal perspective.
"... we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting." (2Corinthians 4:18 (AMP)
Job concluded; "For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath." (Job 21:30) There is a day when wickedness will be dealt with justly, in a permanent way.
David here speaks truth concerning a proper and just outcomes for both the righteous and the unrighteous.
"The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish." (Psalm 1:4-6)
There are some famous TV evangelists today who foolishly teach saying, "The Lord doesn't give us trials. He does not give people suffering or kill anyone"; then saying we are to receive only blessing and be delivered from trials and sickness... if we have enough faith. They tell us its the Devil who comes to kill, rob and destroy, that the Devil is trying to kill us. Well the Devil does aim to do these things, but not without it first being permitted by God - for our eternal good. Just read the book of Job and you will clearly see this.
"(Satan said to the Lord) But put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse and renounce You to Your face. 6 And the Lord said to Satan, Behold, he (Job) is in your hand; only spare his life. 7 So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with loathsome and painful sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head." (Job 2:5-7 (AMP)
Read the end of Job's story and you'll see that his end was greater than before he suffered. The Lord knows our glorious end and what it is that works best for us and in us, to bring us to live up to our true identity in Christ, in accord with who we actually are in Christ by His indwelling Spirit as our new identity and life.
Consider what Paul wrote here of us; summarizing the core tenets of "the faith."
Romans 5:1-11 (KJV) 1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from (God's) wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Zoë, His eternal Spirit of life). 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (this at-one-ment with Him).
To walk around saying we as believers during this age of grace are not to suffer and everyone is to be prosperous is absolutely false. We are equipped in this age to be able to properly deal with suffering not by removing it but to... go through it...trusting Christ. We're never alone in our situations or circumstances, the Lord is with us all the way; He is so close at hand, dwelling within our spirit as our overcoming life.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)
The Lord Jesus is there for us, just as He said He would never leave nor forsake His own. In fact, Jesus sent another exactly like Himself, "the comforter," which is "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" who forever abides within our human spirit, being one with us eternally (cf., 1Cor 6:17, Jn 3:6, Rom 8:9-10).
God is in control of all things, good and evil, not just some things. God spoke this to Israel.
"Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I KILL AND I MAKE ALIVE; I WOUND AND I HEAL; NOR IS THERE ANY WHO CAN DELIVER FROM MY HAND." (Deut. 32:39)
Moses was concerned about his own ability to lead and speak for God to the children of Israel; but the Lord encouraged Moses, saying this. We at to rely on His ability, not ours.
"So the LORD said to him (to Moses), "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?" (Exodus 4:11)
The judgments seen in Revelation during the Tribulation period will come from angels who are doing Gods bidding. It's God who sends His wrath in destruction upon the earth... to provoke people to repent. He is able to provoke both unbelievers to be saved and believers to let go of self reliance, to trust Him as their all.
We need to see and realize that "the Devil" is merely a useful tool in the Father's hand. The Devil is like a mad dog on leash that God has hold of and will use to sometimes chasten, challenge, and direct and guide believers life as necessary. As believers, we don't have the same relationship with the Lord as the world does.
The Devil is used to "buffet" us as was the case with Paul and his "thorn in the flesh" (2Cor 12:7). God doesn't use the Devil to exploit, use, or punish us. He deals with us remedially, as our loving Father, not as a judge meeting out punishment. God will use the enemy to keep us awake, as He is always working for out ultimate good. All such dealings are to drive us to trust Christ in us as our only legitimate life.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, (by being) steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus,... AFTER YOU HAVE SUFFERED A WHILE, PERFECT, ESTABLISH, STRENGTHEN, AND SETTLE YOU." (1 Peter 5:8-10)
Consider that suffering was used by the God in the most perfect and powerful way... at the cross of Christ. Wasn't it Satan, who in the most cruel way actually accomplished our redemption when He crucified the Lord Jesus. The Devil and his princes, the corrupt religious leaders of Israel and corrupt secular leaders of Rome, did not know (1Cor 2:8-9) that Devil was sealing his own demise and that he was working in accord with the eternal plan of God to redeem mankind, making it possible for us to be His blood bought, spirit birthed children. In the crucifixion the Devil was actually cooperating with the plan of God to crucify the Lord Jesus and thereby redeem all mankind from Satan's bondage.
"Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: (the mystery...) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)
I expect that the Devil today, in retrospect, would rather have not crucified the Lord. He would rather have one living Jesus on earth today than the crucified resurrected Christ living in and through every believer. Consider how far reaching Christ victory at the cross extend. Israel on earth and the body of Christ in heaven, will ultimately take dominion over "the heavens and the earth" as Christ's co-regents for eternity, replacing the Devils authority in those spheres.