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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Dec18Sun

    Sermon: "We Humbly Bow"

    December 18, 2022

        During this season of Advent, Jesus is still the only way, truth and life and we must humble ourselves before Him. God said Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” We are not waiting for our Messiah and Savior to be born nor are we waiting for Jesus to show us the way. Yes, the birth of Jesus fulfilled the prophesies and brought light into a dark world, but Jesus did not stay a baby. Luke 4:31 “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Taking that throne would involve His death and resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:3 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Paul said 1 Corinthians 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” He has already showed us the way; we just have to accept His gospel as the only way and turn from our own wicked ways. Jesus showed us what the church was to continue to do, and He gave the church the power and authority to continue in His work - destroying the work of the devil. 

        Every year this season is the same, with Christmas songs celebrating the birth of the Messiah but every year the church continues to reject the words of our King and because of that rejection, each year the church continues to be powerlessness with the enemy prevailing against the church. The church in our desolate state should be worried about the return of Jesus, which is the second meaning of Advent, but there is no worry in the church as there is no fear of God. The church should be seeking God and living wholeheartedly for Him. 2 Peter 3:11 “What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” The church has not sped His coming but slowed it down due to rebellion. This means that year after year people will die and not see eternal life. The problem with the church calendar is that repeating the birth of Jesus over and over without ever humbling before Him and changing makes no difference. There really is no point in celebrating when the church is following other gospels. The powerless church and meaningless celebrations can be seen here. God said, Isaiah 1:13 “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!” Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” Many will respond and say we don’t bring offerings like that anymore but the offering is you, a living sacrifice and as Malachi says, you are robbing God by offering a blemished sacrifice. Yet the church continues to celebrate by bringing blemished sacrifices and following their own empty and powerless ways. I think most people who attend their Christmas celebrations actually think God is pleased with those who attend and those who perform, even though most do not follow God wholeheartedly. They have given themselves their own stamp of approval, yet they refuse to humble themselves before God so that God turns His face back. 

         While that is not something you really want to hear during the Christmas season, it is important to understand that worship is meaningless if you have not submitted to your King and Saviour Jesus. Jeremiah told the people over and over again to turn back to God. Jeremiah 25:4 “And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.” 7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” Jeremiah 26:2 “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. 4 Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city a curse among all the nations of the earth.’” They went into captivity because they did not listen just like the church has become desolate for rebelling against God’s word. 

        Submission is to turn from your own ways / other gospels and follow God’s word wholeheartedly. Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” Most churches are not following “this gospel” which is why there is no power. The church continues to hold on to their manmade ways and therefore worship in vain. A true celebration of Advent / Christmas would be to humble ourselves before our King in repentance. Picture a Christmas service where there was no decorations, no singing just people on their faces before God, turning from their wicked ways. Even Job said Job 42:5 “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Instead, today’s church arrogantly continues to follow their own manmade ways. We should heed this instruction. James 4:6 “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” We are not worshipping a baby in a manger, though we are grateful God fulfilled His promise but we serve the King of kings and Lord of lords by bringing unblemished sacrifices. Malachi 1:14 “I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” Daniel 4:34 “His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.” This verse describes the desolation of the church and what the church must do. Malachi 3:7 “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” 

        We must return to God and pray that in His great mercy He will return to us. By the way they wanted to kill Jeremiah for telling them to repent. Jeremiah 26:16 “Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man should not be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.” Our worship this Advent season should be an act of humility and repentance and anticipation / expectation of God’s power returning to the church. Yes, we are anticipating the return of Jesus but for most would Jesus find faith when He returned? A true celebration this Christmas would look similar to when Jonah preached repentance to Nineveh. Jonah 3:4 “Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” How would you respond to that proclamation? After this, Jonah was upset when God relented but God answered, Jonah 4:11 “And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” Today there are many who cannot tell their right hand from their left. 

        The good news is that God is a compassionate God. Nahum 1:2 “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies. 3 The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.” Because of this compassion there is hope for the repentant church. Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.” Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” There is hope and a future for the church today. Proverbs 23:18 “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” So during this Advent season, in humility and with a repentant heart, we are waiting for God to turn His face back to us and pour out His Spirit on the church once again. Ezekiel 39:25 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. 26 They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. 27 When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.” God turned His face from us due to the rebellion of the church even though we were warned over and over this rebellion would take place. The church was warned not to be deceived. Even though the church was deceived, God will turn His face back to the church if we humble ourselves and turn away from our rebellion. The first Advent of Jesus has come and gone, and the church has turned from the words of Jesus ever since. We should be worried about the second part of Advent, which is the return of Jesus at the blink of an eye. 1 Corinthians 15:51 “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” When that happens the world as we know it is over and eternity begins. There will not be a chance to repent after. Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Before eternity begins there is hope but we must turn from our wicked ways. 

        This turning / repenting means going back to the very beginning and starting over. The desolation of the church was prophesied in Daniel and Jesus warned us not to be deceived. This rebellion that causes desolation was seen in Daniel. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” That is the church today as is this. Jesus said Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Paul said Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” The church did not listen and rebelled against the word of God by listening to false teachers and prophets who lead the church astray. Instead of listening to God guide us and direct our paths, the church listened to the words of satan. The church followed in the path of those who went before us. Paul told us to learn from those of long ago. 1 Corinthians 10:6 “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

        Going back to the beginning is where we can see what is happening today in the desolate church. Paul said 2 Corinthians 11:1 “I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” Paul also said 1 Timothy 2:14 “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” When we go back to the very beginning, we can see the deception of satan which also shows how he works in the present. satan is the master deceiver who wants to turn you away from God’s word. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or satan, who leads the whole world astray. 12 He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” From the beginning to the present, satan has been turning people away from God’s word and continues to this day. 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” Paul warned the church then and that warning applies to the church today. satan is still deceiving the people of God, both men and women. He also uses both men and women in his deception but remember Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

            God was very clear to Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Now this is how satan works then and in the present. Just a reminder that satan did not disappear after Jesus defeated death on the cross. Jesus empowered the church to defeat satan just as He did.  Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” satan to this day still uses those death producing four words; did God really say? It is interesting that Eve answered correctly because she acknowledged to satan what God told them. Genesis 3:2 “The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” She knew exactly what not to do just as Israel knew exactly what not to do and the church today knows exactly what not to do. Even though she knew, she went ahead and disobeyed as she listened to the words of satan over God’s word. This has been the rebellion of God’s people ever since as Israel and the church did the same. satan responds and says Genesis 3:4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” God said you will die and satan said you will not die. 

        Today satan is still saying the opposite of what God tells us. God’s word clearly states the truth and satan says you will certainly not die if you do not follow God’s word. Jeremiah 6:14 “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 14:13 “But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” Jeremiah 23:6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ 18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? 19 See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. 20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. 21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.” Can you hear satan say, did God really say?

        We also saw satan at work when Sennacherib was about to destroy Jerusalem. You can hear satan’s voice here. His messenger said, 2 Kings 18:28 “Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 31 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death! “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?” satan is very good at speaking your language but don’t respond. “36 But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” Do you obey God’s word or satan’s. To this day satan continues to speak the same words he spoke to Eve – “Did God really say?”

        Today the church is filled with satan’s messengers both men and women who give this same message. Like Sennacherib’s messenger, they are still deceiving people about the Promised Land and life and death. They say God will bless you even if you go your own way. God loves you so all will be well. Don’t worry be happy, live your life for yourself. Jeremiah 5:12 “They have lied about the Lord; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. 13 The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.” No, you won’t spend eternity in hell and on and on the lies continue. satan ever so arrogantly even tried to deceive Jesus in the wilderness. Luke 4:1 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” The church did not follow the example of Jesus who showed us how to defeat satan. Luke 4:8 “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” 1 Peter 5:9 “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Meanwhile satan has won over millions who will spend eternity in hell with him because they did not stand firm and resist satan. That happened because they did not have knowledge nor did they think they had to stand firm as they were taught they were secure and could not fall. We have talked about this before. There are two things happening in the church today. The first is the continued deception by satan and the other is the delusion brought on by God. Oddly many will not acknowledge either of these happening in the church even though scripture tells us, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” This is all happening because the church rebelled against God’s word and refused to listen but listened to the words of satan. Jeremiah 11:10 “They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.” Nehemiah 9:29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen.” Zechariah 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. 13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

        All through scripture we see satan attack God’s people and we see God’s compassion even when His people do not deserve it. Daniel prayed Daniel 9:7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.” Today the church is covered with shame, but the problem is that most will not admit it. Jeremiah 6:15 “Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” After Adam and Eve sinned against God, God was still merciful and made a way back to Him. Genesis 6:5 “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Then in Genesis 9:7 “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” God also made a covenant with Abraham. Genesis 12:1 “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

        All through scripture we see the wickedness of man and the compassion of God, and His compassion is much more than we deserve. Even though God made a covenant, man still rejected Him, yet God still made a way. All through scripture we see both men and women deceived by satan and those who stood strong. Right at the beginning both Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Adam should have said no but instead blamed the women. Genesis 3:12 “The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” God said to Adam Genesis 3:7 “To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you.” Death entered the picture and men and women have paid a price for the sin of Adam and Eve. There are always consequences for sin.

        In the account of Job, we see satan at work just like we saw with Adam and Eve. Job’s life was pretty much destroyed yet he stayed faithful to God. Just as satan used Eve, he tried to get Job to turn away from God through his wife. Job 1:9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” satan replied. 10 “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. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 12 The Lord said to satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger. Then satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” Then everything he had including his children were taken from him. Yet Job Job 1:20 “fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Then after all this loss Job 2:4 “Skin for skin!” satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face. 6 The Lord said to satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” Now notice in both these instances, satan was trying to get Job to curse God. That is what he always is trying to do but we must not fall for his attempts to get us to turn from God. Then Job became very sick. Now notice who satan used first to get him to turn from God. Job 2:9 “His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” satan then used Job’s friends and those around him to get Job to turn away from God. But Job answered Job 27:2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Job said Job 19:25 “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” Job is our example to follow when it comes to perseverance and standing firm against the attacks of satan. James 5:11 “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

        Sadly, there are not as many instances as you would think where men followed God wholeheartedly. When you look at the kings of Israel and Judah, most of them did not follow God wholeheartedly. For example, 2 Chronicles 33:9 “Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” Manasseh would later repent. When a king is described, it was either he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done” or “he committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been.” Saul rejected God’s word and was replace by David. 1 Samuel 13:13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” David was appointed king and he was a good king except for what he did with Bathsheba. 1 Kings 15:5 “For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” David paid a huge price for that sin. 2 Samuel 12:9 “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ 11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” David repented for this grave sin but notice there was a woman involved. When he saw her, he should have walked away but he was enticed. God took away his first son but then Solomon was born.

        Solomon was basically given everything and wisdom. God blessed him in abundance, but he rejected God’s word by following the words of his wives. Here again we see satan at work. 1 Kings 11:1 “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.” 1 Kings 11:9 “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” Israel was never the same.

        It is important to understand that satan is very powerful and will do anything to get you to turn away from God. There are two men that we need to follow as our example when it comes to standing up to satan. We already talked about Job, but the other is Joseph. Without going into the story of Joseph, he ended up in charge of Potiphar’s household. Genesis 39:2 “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.” Once again we see satan at work. He is always trying to ruin God’s plan. The only way to defeat satan is to stay obedient to God’s word and not turn away. Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph. Genesis 39:6 “Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” 8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.” She charged him with rape and Joseph ended up in prison but he remained faithful to God and did not turn from. Like Job, God blessed him abundantly. Genesis 41:40 “You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you. 43 Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.”

        Now you may think that this is a sermon against women but that is not the case. We must understand how God and satan work. There have been men who have followed God wholeheartedly and men who have not. There have been women follow God wholeheartedly and those who have not. satan uses both men and women for his work. Even though Eve was deceived, and women have been used to deceive, God has used women down through the ages to bear witness to His truth to the nations. Like Joseph and Job there are women who remained faithful. That woman is described in Proverbs 31:30 “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” At the same time the Jezebel spirit has been prevalent in woman also. While in many countries and societies woman have been degraded and shown very little respect, but that is not how God views woman. Many churches have degraded woman based on the writing of Paul. I think we have to be very careful here when Paul says 1 Timothy 2:11 “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” When we go back to the beginning God said Genesis 3:16 “To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. 20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.” Without women the future stops but to degrade a woman is not how God sees them. Yes, women have paid a huge price for their sin just as man has, but God has used women down through the ages for His purposes.

        It is important to look at scripture to see what Paul was talking about. God’s plan is patriarchal not matriarchal but that does not mean women are not important. Just in this one example we see that there must be a deeper reason for Paul saying what he did. Luke 2:36 “There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” If you remember Philip in Acts, he had Acts 21:9 “four unmarried daughters who prophesied.” This means they spoke the word of God. The power of God was on Philip. Acts 8:6 “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” Paul also had great respect for a woman named Priscilla and her husband. Romans 16:3 “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 16:19 “The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.” When talking with Apollos Acts 18:26 “He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.” This means there was some other meaning to what Paul was saying but to degrade women is not the intention of Paul. Peter said 2 Peter 3:16 “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” There are woman in ministry and women in politics that I think Paul was referring to. Take the Marjorie Taylor Greene’s, the Kari Lakes in the political world or the Joyce Meyers and the Paula Whites in the ministry just to name a few. You then get a sense of what Paul was saying. It really is about submission. Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” When that happens, the love of a husband and wife has no comparison. 

        One of the greatest women ever used by God was Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Catholic church elevated her position to high probably based on verses like Luke 1:42  42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! “46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.” Luke 11:27 “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” Jesus said Luke 11:28 “He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” God saw that Mary was special. Luke 1:26 “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” After Mary was told what would happen 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.” Then Elizabeth said to her Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” It is important to understand that even Mary had to come to terms with who Jesus was. They at one time thought Jesus was crazy. Mark 3:21 “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” The good news was they listened when Jesus said to wait and were part of Pentecost. Acts 1:14 “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”

        When Jesus was born God gave this great task to Mary, but another great task was also given after Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus gave this proclamation to women. Matthew 28:1 “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons) and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” It was the men who did not believe them even though God sent them to tell the disciples. Mark 16:14 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.”

        When you go back into the Old Testament you see many great women that God used in mighty ways. One of those women was Hannah. 1 Samuel 1:10 “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” God heard her prayer 7 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” Hannah was faithful to God. 1 Samuel 3:19 “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.” 1 Samuel 7:15 “Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life.” 

        We also see Ruth who was faithful to her mother-in-law. Ruth said to Naomi Ruth 1:16 “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth then marries Boaz and they have a son. Ruth 4:17 “and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.” The people said to Ruth, 11 “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel.”

        In Joshua we see another amazing woman named Rahab who was a prostitute. Joshua 2:1 “Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.” 8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.” Joshua 6:25 “Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.” Now this is amazing as Rahab the prostitute was the mother of Boaz. Matthew 1:5 “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David.” 

        Then you have Judges 4:4 “Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.” King Josiah sent 2 Kings 22:14 “Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.” Queen Esther saved the Jewish people. Esther 8:6 “For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?” You had Abigail who became David’s wife. 1 Samuel 25:32 “David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me.” You also had Miriam Aaron’s sister. Exodus 15:20“Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.”

        Just as God used amazing women in the bible, satan also used women for his purposes as we saw earlier. We are warned in Proverbs 5:1 “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, 2 that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. 3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; 4 but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. 6 She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.” Numbers 25:1 “While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them. 9 Those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.” One of satan’s tools is sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 6:9 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” That shows us there is power to defeat the work of satan. Homosexuality is not of God but an abomination. When the church can once again say “that is what some of you were,” we will know that God has turned His face back to us.

        When we talk about the Jezebel spirit, this comes from Jezebel the wife of King Ahab. 1 Kings 16:30 “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.” That same spirit that was present in her is present still today. Jezebel was vicious and evil. 1 Kings 18:2 “Now the famine was severe in Samaria, 3 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. 4 While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)” That spirit wants to destroy God’s servants. Then we see Elijah challenge the prophets and Baal. 1 Kings 18:24 “you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” God answered and Elijah had those prophets killed. 1 Kings 19:1 “Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” Elijah should not have run and did not need to be afraid but this shows just how powerful Jezebel was and still is. 

        Another powerful and evil woman was Athaliah who was also intent on destroying God’s servants. 2 Chronicles 22:2 “Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri. 3 He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly. 4 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father’s death they became his advisers, to his undoing.” Later 2 Kings 11:1 “When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family.” But another woman used by God saved the kingdom and like Moses’ mother who hid him. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. 3 He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.” In the end both Jezebel and Athaliah were both destroyed. We also saw this spirit when John the Baptist was killed. Matthew 14:6 “On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”

        These were evil women, but it was the evil spirit that was in them. That spirit is still present today. Revelation 2:20 “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” This is also referred to as the great prostitute. Revelation 17:1 “One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries. 3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 The name written on her forehead was a mystery: babylon the great the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations (homosexuality is one of those abominations) of the earth. 6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.” This power is coming to an end. Revelation 14:8 “A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” Revelation 19:1 “After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2 for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” 3 And again they shouted: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”

        So even though there is great power against us, we are called to stand firm on the gospel of Jesus Christ and not turn away, no matter what. Paul said Acts 21:13 “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Philippians 1:21“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” No matter what, do not turn from God’s word. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Jesus said Revelation 3:7 “I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Even though, like with Job and Joseph, it appeared that God was not present, He is and His plan would unfold. satan is powerful but he does not have to be victorious over you. satan is only powerful when God is not with you. God said return to me and I will return to you. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 

        Scripture shows us how satan operates, so when you see it, you know how to stand. We learned as with Job and Joseph that God will allow things to happen to you for His purposes and plan. 1 Peter 4:12 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” The bible is the living word of God. Don’t stand firm on the words of man because you will be defeated but humble yourself before the word of life 1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life.” John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 6:47 “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”