It looks like a snake but it's a fish
Job 2:1-10 (NIV)
1 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"
Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
3 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."
4 "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But 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."
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
9 His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to 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.
If you remember Job1, Job had already had a bad day. All of his cattle and camels and sheep such had been either stolen or killed. All of his servants and sons and daughters had also been killed. Did Job curse God? No. Did Job blame God? No. Matter of fact at the end of chapter 1 in the KJ says that
Job 1:22 (KJ)
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Interesting words there. Job did not charge God foolishly. Anyone here ever been guilty of that? In chapter 1 God allowed satan to harm all the things and people around Job but not him personally. In chapter 2 God allows satan to touch Job's flesh. The scripture says he afflicted Job from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. It must have been an awful thing.
This is when Job's wife had had enough. She folded her tent and gave in. She did what most of us would do. She blamed God. Job, however did not. Instead Job asked his wife if we should accept good from God and not trouble. Everything looked about as bleak as it possibly could for Job yet the scripture says he did not blame God. Obviously things looked bad with no good in sight but in the end God gave Job twice what he had to begin with. What looked bad turned out to be good.
We see stories just like this all over the Bible. At the top of that list is Christ's death. What a terrible thing on the surface. Let's think just abut what the apostles had to be going through. They had turned their back and walked away from their wives and children. They had walked away from their very lives to follow this man that called Himself the Messiah. They had given up everything to follow this man that could heal the sick and raise the dead. They had given up everything to follow the greatest teacher that there ever had been or ever would be and now He was gone and their hopes and dreams were crushed. They had assumed that He was the one that would rescue them from their Roman rulers and restore the kingdom of David and after just 3 short years it was over. Now Jesus was dead. One would have to assume that they being human would play the blame game. I'm sure the blamed Judas. I'm sure they blamed Pilate. I'm sure they blamed the chief priests. But on the third day what looked so horribly bad on Friday turned to out to be glorious on Sunday. What looked bad turned out to be good. What looked like the end turned out to be the beginning. What looked like death turned out to be life.
John 9:1-3 (NIV)
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
What could possibly be good about someone being born blind. What a cruel thing to even think that one of us would say or think such a thing but here is Jesus telling us that this man was born blind so that the work of God could be displayed. All the apostles could see is that someone needed to be blamed. All they could see is that some sin surely caused this. Anyone here ever look for someone or something to blame when bad things happen to you? Anyone ever ask why is this happening to me? What have I done to deserve this? I think we all know that God put us on this earth to glorify Him. We all need to understand that just like the blind man that sometimes what looks bad turns out to be good. What looks bad just might be there for god to get the glory. Is God glorified more by the world seeing us fat and happy or is He glorified more when the world sees us calm and faithful in the face of awesome adversity like Job was? I know that preaches easier than it lives. We sit back and try to figure some physical reason for the bad thing that we are in the middle of when perhaps there is no physical reason. We look for someone to blame. Anyone to blame, but often there is no one. No reason and no one to blame doesn't fit very well into our way of thinking. I've come to the place where I now realize that when things happen in the physical realm, bad or good and there is no physical explanation there is most likely a spiritual one. Just like the man being born blind so God could get the glory.
Let's look deeper...
Luke 11:9-12 (KJ)
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
If your son asks for a fish would you give him a serpent? If he asks for bread would you give him a stone? If he asks for an egg would you give him a scorpion? These are ridiculous questions. What father would give his son a snake if he asked for a fish? Nobody would. Why would Jesus even ask rhetorical questions like these? I know that every time you hear someone teach on these verses it about the Holy Spirit and that is certainly part of the meaning but could there be more? Could it be that there is something deeper?
Is it possible that Jesus could be trying to get us to realize that sometimes when we ask for something and then we get something different than what we asked that it still could be a good thing? Or when something bad happened to us that we can't see a physical reason for that perhaps there is a spiritual reason? Is it possible that we prayed for a fish and what we got looked like a serpent but it was really a fish? How many of us have said, "God what ever it takes to get me right with you then do it" and then whatever came and we ran away from God screaming "this is not what I bargained for Lord". This is not fair. I haven't done anything to deserve this. And God is there beside us saying, "I could have sworn I heard you say whatever". Our human hearts can not imagine that something bad would be what God would have for us. But is it really bad or do we just see it as bad?
In 2008 my wife at age 44 had a heart attack.
Why in the world would a woman who has never had a chest pain with no family history of chest pain much less a heart attack, that doesn't have high blood pressure, that doesn't have high cholesterol, that doesn't smoke or drink or chew or run with those who do, that is not over weight, that eats mostly lettuce with pepper on it, that is about the most Godly person that I know, that cares about everyone around her 1000 times more than she cares about herself, that would do anything for anyone at any time, that is so committed to God that she would put up with me end up laying in the ER having a heart attack. How is it that a nurse can look at me and say my wife is having a heart attack right now and there is a blockage and we have to go and get it immediately. Sign the consent papers. We have no time to waste. Lord, that's not what I asked for. That's not what I signed up for. This is not how my life is supposed to be going. Never the less, there I stood in the triage at WRMC trying to figure out how this could be happening. Trying to figure out who to blame for this and strongly considering foolishly charging God for doing this to her and then God spoke three simple words to me, "It's a fish."
My mind raced. Could it be that I was so shallow that I could not see past what is right in front of me? Could it be that there is more to whatever is going on that I can't see with my human eyes? Could it be that God is so good that even when it appears that He has given us something that is so horribly bad that it really could be good? A clam came over me that to this day I can not explain. The Spirit of God was so thick in that room that I could hardy breathe. I instantly knew that she was not going to die. What looked like a snake was really a fish.
I think that is what Jesus was trying to tell us in these verses in Luke. That whether we believe it or not and whether we can see it or not hat God is so good that even though what we got looked like a snake that it was really a fish. That even though what we got looked about as bad as it could, it might actually be a good thing. Do you think that perhaps Jesus's very life and death says that same thing? God, what I have in my hand looks exactly like a snake and feels exactly like a snake but I know that you are so good that even though I can't see it somehow it really is a fish.
Some of our unsaved friends that will not come to a church came and saw God show up in the surgery waiting room at WRMC that day. You think any seeds were sown in any of our lost friends that thought they were coming to minister to us and what really happened was us ministering to them? There were doctors and nurses and anyone that saw people that were facing something that shouldn't have been happening give it to God and trust Him enough to believe that even though it certainly looked like a snake it was a fish. My son who was so scared that his mother was going to die drove from KC to Fayetteville in 2 hours and 45 minutes. My son that learned much to well from his father how to run from God just might have stopped running long enough to see that God was standing right beside him all the time. Is that a snake or is that a fish? I've searched over and over for something bad in this whole situation and I can't find it. Am I glad that my wife had a heart attack? Of course not. Was I scared? Of course I was but I stayed open to what God was trying to tell me and He just kept saying "it's a fish".