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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday message: Skin for skin... for skin... for skin...

This week several preachers have been working on the Book of Job.  One glanced off what I would call the "long view" of this book, and it's where I want to begin.  If you know the story, you know it begins basically in heaven, with God holding court and Satan acting as always as prosecutor.  And though first he convinces God to let down His hedge around Job, when Job does not fall, Satan- whose very name means "accuser"- goes on:

Job 2:3  And Jehovah said unto Satan, Have you set your heart on My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil? And still he is keeping hold of his integrity, although you moved Me against him to destroy him without cause. 
Job 2:4  And Satan answered Jehovah and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man has he will give for his life. 
Job 2:5  But indeed put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face. 

"Skin for skin" is a bit of a controversial phrase, and scholars basically look at the way the word is used in context to give the meaning as, "Job will gladly give his outer skin (his possessions) to save his inner skin (his life)."  Not surprising logic from a serpent, yes?  But let me look at a few ways this phrase comes into play.

1- In the Heavenly realms:  

First of all, think about what you "know" about Satan.  Why, shouldn't he be in Hell at this point, finding new ways of destroying us?  Fact of the matter is, hell hasn't opened for business yet- not in Job's time, and not in ours.  No where in the Bible does it say anyone- much less Satan- has been cast into hell yet.  Instead, he lurks both on earth and in the courtyard of God, "going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it".   Thus, we often do not have the first clue about what ACTUALLY is going on at God's throne.  And if we did, we couldn't understand it.  Even Satan barely does, if you look at it.  Consider the first discussion between God and Satan:

Job 1:11  But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face. 
Job 1:12  And Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power. Only do not lay your hand upon him. And Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah. 

Step one, Satan tells God to do something.  Step two, He gives Satan leave to accomplish it.  But then:

And still he is keeping hold of his integrity, although you moved Me against him to destroy him without cause. 

God claims responsibility for Job's calamity.  So who is really responsible?  The first step to understanding what heaven is about is not asking the question "who is responsible", but the question "who is in CONTROL?"  And though we might not understand the "diplomatic intricacies" going on, that is the only fact we really need to understand- God IS in control.

2- In the Heavenly realms II

One thing that was pointed out to me, is that Satan never appeared later on in this book.  And why is that?  Well, when Satan was given the full scope of power that God allowed to harm Job, this is how Job responded:

Job 2:9  And his wife said to him, Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse God and die! 
Job 2:10  But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish ones speak. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips. 

By holding on to his integrity- even though Job had no idea about the "court case" going on in heaven- the battle had been already won.  Satan's accusations had fallen useless and silent.  The rest of the book dealt with the consequences of the trial and ignored the victory.

3- Man to man

Then came Job's "comforters".  Their version of "skin for skin" said that if the "skin" (outer) was affected, then the "skin" (inner) must be diseased by sin.  Having no knowledge of things beyond what they could see and understand, they packaged their lack of knowledge into a "cause and effect" philosophy that was born of a different set of metaphysical physics than that used in Heaven. In the modern world, we rely on science- which at its best (and Lord knows we have ceased to use it at its best and instead allow it to be agenda-driven) is mere cause and effect- never stopping to think that even if it WERE the logic God uses, we see only the tip of the causes, and the initial ripple of the effects.  And that which we don't see, we deny.  Closed off like that, we judge on our limited scope, and assign God actions based on our causes, which would be backwards EVEN if it weren't so closed off.

4- Man to God

Job has a broader view of God- at least at first:

Job 1:20  And Job arose, and tore his robe, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground and worshiped. 
Job 1:21  And he said, I came naked out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away. Blessed be the name of Jehovah. 

But in the end, he had a limited view of God.  He too was judging God on "cause and effect", and most of his speech was centering on wanting to understand the "cause" that was making such a grievous "effect" on him.  By the crescendo, he wanted God to explain Himself, on a "right to know" basis.  What was the "skin for skin" of his calamity?

5- Man to man II:

Then Elihu comes in.  And while he also seems to think Job is at fault, he at least has a more proper grasp on the apparent "cause and effect" of God:

Job 37:10  By the breath of God ice is given; and the expanse of waters is frozen tight. 
Job 37:11  Also He loads the clouds with moisture; He scatters the lightning cloud, 
Job 37:12  and it is turned around by His guidance, so that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the world in the earth. 
Job 37:13  Whether as a whip, or for His land, or for mercy, He finds it. 

Elihu gets that the "effect of God" might have several causes, some positive, some maybe not.  When we get hit with a Job test, we don't always see this, either.  We- and those who would help us-  think, "why did God allow such a thing?" first and foremost, rather than "what does God intend to accomplish by this?"  Where Job's friends saw God only as a punisher/blesser, Elihu at least saw that there is good intent lurking even in the test.

6- God to man:

Here God points out one thing in several ways- that Job doesn't, and cannot, know the whole story.  And He does it in three ways:  First, He brings up that God has been around a lot longer than Job, and Job wasn't there when the plan- which was, by the way, still in motion- was conceived.

Second, Job had no clue what God did/was doing/could do.  From the change of the seasons to the power of the horse, God was in every detail.  And Job, being NOT God, only saw the peripheries.

Third, God explained to him that his "demand to know" was no more than pride- and his meager abilities were nothing before God.  Why even the great dumb beasts, behemoth and leviathan, shrugged off his best efforts against them without so much as noticing.  And they- all that power with no wisdom- were the very definition of pride.  Against that, Job had no "skin" to bring to the table.

7- God to man II:

Job finally understood, and in his apology to God, he showed where he went wrong:

Job 42:1  And Job answered Jehovah and said, 
Job 42:2  I know that You can do all, and not any purpose is withheld from You. 
Job 42:3  Who is he who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have spoken what I did not understand; things too wonderful for me; yea, I did not know. 
Job 42:4  Hear, I beseech You, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You will cause me to know. 
Job 42:5  I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye has seen You. 
Job 42:6  Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes. 

First, he recognizes God's omnipotence, and that God had called him on his ignorance.  And once he saw God for who and what He was, he knew he had no standing before Him.

Still, God only wanted the submission, the reverence, from him.  In effect, Job had not "put on the high priests garments" from last week:

He had forgotten what God had done FOR him;
he forgot that God judges rightly, even when we don't get it;
he forgot that our best is dirty rags before Him;
 and most of all, he forgot the reverence due Him.

But receiving this from Job, God acted with mercy:

Job 42:7  And it happened after Jehovah had spoken these words to Job, Jehovah said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you and your two friends. For you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. 
Job 42:8  And now take to yourselves seven young bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering. And My servant Job will pray for you. Surely I will lift up his face so as not to do with you according to your foolishness, in that you have not spoken of Me what is right, like My servant Job. 
Job 42:9  And Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, went and did as Jehovah commanded them. Jehovah also accepted the face of Job. 
Job 42:10  And Jehovah turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends. Also Jehovah added to Job all that had been his, to double. 

So in the end, Job was both vindicated and restored.  And Satan was proven wrong, once and for all- it was not God's blessings that made Job righteous; it was Job's righteousness that BROUGHT God's blessings.  And yet, because God had CALLED Job to righteousness, God was still in control.

8- Heavenly realms III:

It made me think that perhaps, in God's court, one day Satan said "Skin for skin! You offer these mortal worms salvation, and they are not worthy!  How can they be redeemed by their own efforts?  They have no "skin" worthy of the prize?" And God answered by sending His own skin, His own Flesh, to be the "skin", to pay the price.  If so, then we better be like Job, cast off our pride, and count on God to be our "skin".


  1. Chris:
    There is SO much in this one could have been SEVERAL.
    (and I mean that because of the CONTENT and not the length...heh).
    You often hear me speak about "cause and effect", and ALWAYS do I keep it in our mortal realm, and JUST for the reason you mention with the book of Job.
    With US, there always seems to be SEPARATE causes for those effects, but with God, HE is both, and yes, that can be very hard to wrap one's brain around as we are ONLY human.

    As for pride?
    I never have considered myself "prideful" in ANY way (nor, have I even been told that by another), and I'm not that thrilled or captivated by those who are.
    Yet, I CAN "take pride" in what I am able to do in life (through HE that blesses and sustains me).
    I think that's plenty enough for this person.

    Never did really like that "skin in the game" phrase...just seems to strike the wrong chord with me.
    I think I NOW have a better understanding as to WHY with this post.

    Very well presented.

    Stay safe and keep cool up there, brother.

    1. Glad you got it! I know it was a lot to digest- and at 5AM Sunday morning, a lot to type! I just hope it helps those with "If God is so good, why..." problems.

  2. Replies
    1. You are welcome it made me think for sure...