When in a battle or a fight it is of vital importance to remember who the enemy is. In fact, it is vital to study up on the enemy and know how to approach the battle you are engaged in. Sometimes I'm afraid in our Christian walk we mistakenly misidentify the enemy. What do I mean by this statement? In order to gain a proper understanding let us look to the book of Job for an answer. Notice in Job's discourse in chapter 16 some of the statements he makes in Job 16:6-14
"Though I speak, my grief is not relieved;
And if I remain silent, how am I eased?
7 But now He has worn me out;
You have made desolate all my company.
8 You have shriveled me up,
And it is a witness against me;
My leanness rises up against me
And bears witness to my face.
9 He tears me in His wrath, and hates me;
He gnashes at me with His teeth;
My adversary sharpens His gaze on me.
10 They gape at me with their mouth,
They strike me reproachfully on the cheek,
They gather together against me.
11 God has delivered me to the ungodly,
And turned me over to the hands of the wicked.
12 I was at ease, but He has shattered me;
He also has taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces;
He has set me up for His target,
13 His archers surround me.
He pierces my heart and does not pity;
He pours out my gall on the ground.
14 He breaks me with wound upon wound;
He runs at me like a warrior.
Job has experienced tremendous loss in a very short period of time, a loss that maybe many of us have experienced to some degree. Amidst this loss Job seems to, at least for the time being, mistake who the true enemy is. Notice some of the things Job assumes God is personally responsible for. According to Job God is responsible for wearing Job out, God has taken Job by the neck and shaken him to pieces, He has personally set up a target on his back, and He has pierced Job's heart. Job even goes on to call God his adversary, one who is directly against Job. Are these things true? Of course not. We know, as we harmonize scripture, that God is for us and with us through even the tough moments. So how does one get to the point of mistaking God as the enemy?
Often in times of trial or discouragement, we blame God as the culprit. However, is God truly the one that is against us? The book of Job answers this question for us in Job 1:8-12 saying,
"Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
It is very clear that Satan is the adversary against Job. In fact, God thought so highly of Job He knew that he would remain faithful even amidst tremendous. The Hebrew word for Satan found in this text literally means adversary or the accuser. It is very apparent in this situation who the enemy is. Yet in chapter 16 Job seems to misinterpret the enemy, accusing God of being the adversary rather than Satan.
So here is some encouragement for those who are going through loss or a trial in life. Do not forget who the enemy is. Even when it may seem God is against us this is ultimately another ploy that the devil uses, getting us to turn our back on the one who loves us most. I firmly believe trials are a tactic the devil uses to get us turn our back on our Maker and Redeemer.
When times are tough were will you turn? I would encourage you to seek out Christians and the church and God in general as He is the one who will see you through. When you turn your back on God, you are set to face the trials completely on your own. The choice is ultimately yours.
It is a hard concept sometimes to grasp the idea that bad things happen to good people. Job's three friends seem to think that Job must have done something wrong to deserve the things he has encountered, commonly known as the Retribution principle. However, they are misled in their thinking. While ultimately God will judge evil and repay it what it deserves, that does not mean every bad thing in life leads to immediate repercussions. W eWeIn fact, We often see that the righteous suffer, and the wicked are prosperous according to worldly standards.
When it comes to good and bad remember what standard we live by as Christians. When heaven is our goal, what better thing could we hope for eternally? When trials come try to keep a spiritual and eternal perspective, rather than a worldly.
Finally, I want to draw our attention to Ephesians 6:12-13 which says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Notice that the enemy is not a physical enemy but rather Satan. As you read further you realize the exact thing we counter the attack of Satan with comes from God, who sometimes is misidentified as the enemy. The Bible tells us God desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
I know some of this may sound cliche but I hope that it can encourage even just one who is tempted to label God as the enemy. I would encourage you to really think about who the true enemy is and what is the best way you can overcome this obstacle in life. Remember God loves you and vehemently wants you to seek Him and His will for you.