SHOULD BELIEVERS GRIEVE? - P4
Should Believers Grieve? - P4
“Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out; they call for help because of the arm of the mighty” (Job 35:9).
Our grief comes from the oppression of sin and its effects in the fallen world. Grief is natural, but we should be aware of how satan uses our grief to accuse God to us.
When we think of oppression, we may think about religious persecution or spiritual attacks, but one of the key Biblical definitions of oppression relates to illness, injury, pain, and loss. We see this in the Book of Acts, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). What was the oppression that Jesus was healing in people? It was both spiritual and physical, for He healed and ministered to the anguished, sorrowful, sick, lame, crippled, deaf, blind, mute, possessed, bleeding, dying, and even the dead. We also see that the devil is responsible for this oppression.
In the Book of Job, we learn from Elihu that the devil’s oppression causes people to call on God, because they know He can deliver them: “Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out; they call for help because of the arm of the mighty” (Job 35:9). There is a multitude of oppressions from satan that fill our world and our lives with illness, disease, and death. Why does he do this? What is the point of these oppressions? Manifold, surely, but let’s look deeper at satan’s nature first.
Consider that satan’s very name means “the adversary” or “the accuser.” Specifically, he is “the accuser of our brothers...who accuses them day and night before our God” (Rev. 12:10). We see a specific example of this when we read of “Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him” (Zech. 3:1). Presumably, he is accusing us before God of being unfaithful and uncommitted to Him and of not being deserving of His faithfulness, mercy, and protection. After all, this is what he does when God praises Job—“satan answered the Lord and said...stretch out Your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face” (Job 2:4-5). Satan seeks to cast aspersions on our faithfulness and commitment to God. Thank God, Christ’s blood covers us!
What we don’t often realize is that satan not only accuses us before the throne of God, he also accuses God before our frail flesh. Satan told Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?...God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (Gen. 3:1-5). Satan first engenders doubt in God’s Word and then accuses God of lying to Eve and of selfish ambition and ungodly intent. Eve was deceived by the accusation and she doubted God’s Word, believing Him to be duplicitous.
Similarly, when satan brought Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple, he told Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone’” (Matt. 4:6). Once again, satan is trying to engender doubt here in God’s Word—His purposes, promises, character, and provision—hoping that Jesus will be tempted to doubt His Father. Satan is saying, “pull the trigger—prove to me you trust God—test Him.”
We can see how satan tempts people to doubt God and join in on his accusation of God’s character. And next time, we’ll see more on how satan also uses the pain and grief caused by his oppression to accuse God of being negligent, detached, and even malicious to us. In the face of grief, we will be tempted to doubt God’s character, nature, intentions, and promises to us. The devil uses our pain and anguish to ask, “Does God really love you?” ; “Does God really care?” ; “Does He really intend good for you?” May we affirm with Job and Jeremiah that He does! Amen.