Our Bible readings today were 1 Samuel 17 and Acts 9 and providentially they could be linked. David, righteous and bold as a lion fearlessly takes on Goliath and kills him. He providentially comes to the Israelite camp just as Goliath parades about on his fortieth day.
Saul wreaking havoc in the early church is struck down by the risen Christ and converted instantaneously on the road to Damascus, becoming a champion in the spread of the gospel. The dominion of his old man who hated the gospel and God’s people was killed as he become by the Spirit a lover of God and his people.
In both instances the Lord worked by his Spirit powerfully, in the same way the ultimate victory was wrought at the cross when Satan was bruised under Christ’s feet who by the bold sacrifice of himself, destroyed the works of the devil and any claim he had on elect sinners both before and after Calvary.
Some thirty years ago one of my first hospital jobs was as a junior in cardiothoracic surgery under Professor Philip Caves in Glasgow Royal Infirmary. This man was doing major surgery on new-borns and I feel sure had he been spared*, he would have been the first to transplant hearts in new-borns. He was an Ulsterman trained at Queens and also under Shumway at Stanford in the USA. He was a shining example of a Christian clinician with high standards. The most recent case Charlie had a single ventricle, a sure early death sentence in the 80s.
Prof. Philip Caves
- Caves died on the squash court age 37 in 1978, only a year after I worked for him.
Cyprian of Carthage (200-258AD), while suffering banishment, writes a letter to three of his church members (Nemesian, Felix, and Lucius), who were sent to work… in the mines as punishment for their faith. Cyprian, who by all accounts, should be the recipient of letters of encouragement, writes one himself to his fellow suffering Christians. He writes, “That you have been grievously beaten with clubs, and have been initiated by that punishment in your Christian confession, is a thing not to be lamented. The body of a Christian trembles not on account of clubs: all his hope is in the wood (i.e., the cross of Christ). The servant of Christ acknowledges the emblem of his salvation: redeemed by wood to eternal life, by this wood he is advanced to his crown. O happy feet, shackled indeed at present with fetters, ye will quickly finish a glorious journey to Christ! Let malice and cruelty bind you as they please, ye will soon pass from earth and its sorrows to the kingdom of heaven. In the mines ye have not a bed on which the body may be refreshed; nevertheless, Christ is your rest and consolation: your limbs are fatigued with labour, and have only the ground to lie on; but so to lie down, when you have Christ with you, is no punishment. Filth and dirt defile your limbs, and ye have no baths at hand; but remember, ye are inwardly washed from all uncleanness: your allowance of bread is but scanty; be it so, ‘man doth not live by bread alone, but by the word of God: ye have no proper clothes to defend you from the cold; but he who has put on Christ, is clothed abundantly. How will all these deformities be compensated with honour proportioned to the disgrace! What a blessed exchange will be made of this transient punishment for an exceeding and eternal glory!… And though your travail be great, yet is the reward greater, which is most certain to follow: for God, beholding and looking down upon them that confess his name, in their willing mind approveth them, in their striving helpeth them, in their victory crowneth them; rewarding that in us which he hath performed, and crowning that which he hath perfected in us.”
Thanks to Andy Underhile.
“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:18
Satan underestimates and does not know the power of God and the grace of God. He believed Job would curse God if all he had was taken away, he believed he could take over the throne of God in a revolt, he believed if he killed Christ he would overthrow all God’s salvation of men, he believes he can deceive and devour God’s people ─ he is wrong on all counts. Because he is NOT omniscient, because he is a liar and deceives even himself, his thoughts are wrong, his evil is exposed, and it will not be long till he is publicly, eternally and finally exposed as wicked and banished to everlasting torment in the lake of fire.
We need to pray that more people will be shown by God how deceived they are in his camp, repent, believe and enlist under Christ.
For his part, that great saint Job, in and through his terrible affliction, did not know what glory he was giving God and how his life would impact many others who have lived with affliction ever since.