Skin For Skin: Will You Keep Praising God?

And 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, who fears God and turns away from evil?”  Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason?  Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” (Job 1:8-11)

One day God called Satan’s attention to Job, an outstanding servant of God. Satan said Of course he’s a great servant. You think he serves you for nothing? All you do is bless and protect him. But break his stuff, take away some of those blessings you’ve heaped on him, like his children, for example, and he’ll curse you to your face..

And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12).

Shortly after this in one day four tragedies struck Job’s family, flocks and properties in rapid succession – a raid by Sabeans, fire from heaven, a raid by Chaldeans, and a desert windstorm – leaving Job’s children dead and Job financially ruined. Yet look how Job responded.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.  And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”  In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (Job 1:20-22)

What? Job gets devastating news that his children have all been killed and his flocks and property have been demolished and he…worships! He worships in deep grief – head shaved, torn robe – yet he worships. Then he expresses this incredible truth – “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.”  I came into this world empty-handed and that’s how I’ll leave. All I ever had was a gift from God and belongs to God. My life and possessions aren’t my own – it’s all from the Lord. He gives and he has a right to take away. I will worship him as good and righteous: “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” And “in all this” – in the most devastating suffering imaginable, especially the loss of your children – Job does not sin – he doesn’t turn to sin for comfort or distraction. And he doesn’t charge God with wrong.

Later God points out Job to Satan again.

And 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, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”  Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life.  But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” (Job 2:3-6)

God says “Look Satan, Job is still walking in integrity, still trusting and worshiping me even though he’s lost everything. But Satan says, “Skin for skin! Of course he’s still praising you. He’s healthy and strong. But touch his bone and his flesh – give him some real pain – and he’ll curse you to your face.” So God says, “Go for it. Do whatever you like short of killing him.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.  And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. (7-8)

Now even Job’s wife chimes in. Instead of supporting her husband in his misery, she takes up a Satanic taunt:

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (9).

“How can you praise God?” she says. “Curse God and get this over with.”

But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (10)

What an answer Job gives. “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” He knows that God is ultimately in control and that all we receive, good and bad, is measured out by his loving hand of providence. He says we’re glad to receive good from God. It’s easy to worship him when he prospers us. But what about when we are afflicted? Will we only praise God when he blesses us? Amazingly, in the throes of his sadness and excruciating pain, Job doesn’t sin with his lips, but glorifies God with his mouth.

A few years ago, this passage inspired me to write a song, “As Long As You Are Glorified.” We sang it yesterday morning in our church meeting. I hope it encouraged folks and encourages you. If you’d like, you can listen to it or purchase it at Sovereign Grace Music.

As Long As You Are Glorified

VERSE 1
Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

CHORUS
Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

VERSE 2
Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night

BRIDGE
So quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart in You

© 2008 Integrity’s Praise! Music/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Comments

  1. Brian says

    I'm feeling so hopeless right now. I wish I could have imitated what Job exemplified in his faith but I haven't. I've been depressed, so full of self-pity, and I feel like my heart has grew hard and cold against the Lord and His Gospel. Let me be honest. I've been turning to pornography for comfort instead of just trusting in the Lord but it's so hard because I feel like He can never forgive me for what I've done. I don't even know if I'm a true Christian or not. If I was truly a Christian why am I keep turning to sin for comfort, why the pornography, why anger, bitterness and unforgiveness? I've been lazy and slothful, not reading my Bible and not going to the Lord in prayer, pouring out my heart before Him, afraid that He won't answer me no matter how many times I go to Him. I know that I've strayed so far from Him and I'm so empty. All I do is get on the computer all day and it has filled up my time for so many years that the things that I loved to do like reading and writing, I don't do anymore. I'm on my last leg right now and I won't be able to hold on much longer.

  2. Brian says

    I haven’t fallen into great sexual sin and homosexual lust and have put myself into a pit that I can’t get myself out of–and all of these filthy sins I’ve done while still calling myself a Christian. Over time I’ve become depressed, miserable and disgusted with myself and what I’ve done. And not only that but I’ve become spiritually lazy and complacent. A fear of God has faded away from me but I want that fear to return. I want that desire and love for Him and His Word to return. I have a feeling that God has been disciplining me, leading me to feeling miserable so I will return to Him and Him alone. I want to revere and tremble at His Word. At times I feel like He won’t forgive me for straying so far away from Him. I’ve strayed really, really far and it’s like I can’t get back to Him. I see now more than ever how weak, helpless, and hopeless I am on my own. I looked at examples in the Bible of those who have fallen into sin, some of those who fell time and time again: David, Abraham, Peter, Samson. But at times I feel like my sin is worse than they. I have so much doubt about God, His love, and whether He will forgive me for straying away from truth, straying away from the narrow way. I feel like He has been disciplining me but other times I feel like He hasn’t, that it’s just me hoping that He has based on what Hebrews said about God disciplining those that He loves: his children.

    • Mark Altrogge says

      Hey Brian, First of all, I feel so sad for you that you are in the place you are. I can't imagine the despair and depression you feel. But I want to encourage you if I can – Jesus has not forsaken you nor diminished in his love and desire for you. And he is able to help you. Yes, you are weak and cannot conquer sin on your own, but nothing is too difficult for him. He redeems our lives from the pit! Obviously there are many things I could counsel you to do, but one thing I would encourage you to do would be to get together with your pastor (hopefully you have a pastor and are part of a church) and share your struggles with him. We need others to stand with us, pray for us, listen to us. I will pray for you as soon as I submit this.

  3. says

    Mark, thank you thank you for always posting such practical ways to worship God in both word and deed. Absolutely LOVE your song, As Long As You Are Glorified. Every time we sing it at church (and we sing it often) it reminds of the wonderful William Cowper song: God Moves In A Mysterious Way.

    Brian–what sweet words of confession and truly it is all of us, the beggarly poor (Matthew 5:1-12), who are the only ones who can expect to receive anything from our Savior. I love the words of [**Mark 9:23-24, And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”**] for we are all in that wonderful, humble state of "I absolutely positively believe, Lord; Lord help my unbelief." Brian, look up to Him for belief and confidence that can only be found in Him and Him alone.

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