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What the Bible says about It's Not Fair!
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Job 1:18-19

Consider what the Bible has to say about Job. Job 1:1-3 reveals he was blameless, upright—he shunned evil and feared God. A successful businessman, he had ten children and owned a great deal of livestock. He was so wealthy, he “was the greatest of all the people of the East.”

But even while living a blameless life, Job lost it all, because God allowed him to be burdened with perhaps the greatest trial ever given to any man, other than Jesus Christ. If ever a person could protest the unfairness of life, it was Job. However, confronted with enormous, almost unspeakable torment, without any understanding as to why it was happening or how long it would last, he refused to cry foul (Job 2:10).

Have we ever had one of those days, where everything that can go wrong does? The alarm clock dies in the middle of the night (so you oversleep); the door knob comes off the bathroom door trapping you inside; the toaster burns your breakfast; you cannot find your keys, but when you do, the car will not start, making you late for work, and the boss threatens to fire you; the air conditioner quits; the toilet backs up; and while arguing with your spouse, you crunch down on a cracker and break a tooth!

As bad as that may seem, such trials are actually quite frivolous in light of what Job was experiencing. After Satan challenges God concerning him (Job 1:11), the story continues with four reports of increasingly tragic news. First, a band of rebels had stolen Job's oxen and donkeys and killed many of his servants. Before Job could finish digesting the bad news, another man rushes in, exclaiming that “fire of God” had burned up Job's sheep, killing even more servants. Directly on the heels of that messenger, a third man rushes in to report that the Chaldeans had conducted a violent raid, stolen all the camels, and killed even more servants (Job 1:13-17).

Job must have wondered what was going on!

But as awful as the news was, the worst was yet to come. While Job was still reeling from the tragedies he had heard so far, a fourth messenger declares abruptly that all his children had been killed.

We can only wonder at the emotions Job felt as he listened to this most distressing message. For those who have lost a child, there is an immediate state of unbelief, a heartfelt denial that such a thing could be true, while deep down realizing that it is. Then, a dark, unfathomable well arises, filled with emptiness, anguish, anger, and many other intermingling emotions that would cause even the strongest to exclaim in indescribable grief, “This is not fair!”

How many of us could lose everything as Job did—all that we are proud of—and avoid accusing God of being unfair? At times, our torment can give way to discontent or displeasure with God or the human governments He empowers. It can overwhelm and dominate our minds and thoughts. To a lesser extreme, even a cursory viewing of the nightly news can spawn thoughts of grievance and outrage against God.

In such moments of weakness or vulnerability, Satan loves to catch us off guard. If we leave God's sovereign will out of the picture—even momentarily—we leave ourselves open to our adversary's ability to fill our minds with thoughts of inequity that seem so easy to justify.

But as we should learn for our own benefit, God will occasionally remove a portion of our protective hedge, just as He did with Job, allowing Satan to get at us to do the things he thinks will hurt us the most. God does this to humble us. All Satan's malignant hatred for God and man is displayed in what he did to Job—and what he may do to us as the end approaches, especially in view of the fact that he is targeting God's called-out ones (Ephesians 6:12-13; I Peter 5:8).

Geoff Preston (1947-2013)
It's Not Fair!

Job 2:4-6

Satan must have waltzed out of God's throne room, delighted at his prospects, thinking: “We shall see how faithful Job is by the time I have finished! When he loses his health, when he becomes exhausted and weary from all the agonizing pain, then he will lose control and curse God for being so unfair!”

Indeed, while Job was still grieving the sudden loss of his children and his empire, God allowed Satan to ravage Job's health. In many ways, this is the worst trial a man can face. He can cope with all sorts of losses and failures, given time, but once his health begins to fail, he must devote so much time and effort to finding and maintaining his strength, managing pain, and focusing on life's most basic needs, that many necessary things often fall by the wayside.

Job was in misery. Satan caused him to be covered in painful boils from head to toe, his only relief coming from a shard of pottery he used to scrape the oozing sores (Job 2:7-8). In verse 9, his wife, finding him sitting amidst the ashes of the local garbage dump, scornfully utters: “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

Surely, such an outburst would provoke Job's pride to denounce God or even his wife for being unfair. Instead, his reply in verse 10 reveals his humility, self-control, patience, and faith in the face of adversity: “But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Despite what had to be an overwhelming assault on his emotional, physical, and spiritual state, Job refused to castigate anyone but himself—he abstained from crying out, “Unfair!”

In fact, throughout the account of Job, he maintained his loyalty and reverence toward God. In the face of all that he had to endure, including “help” from three well-meaning but misguided friends, Job remained faithfully steadfast.

Are we like Job, accepting of our lot in life without complaint? What do we do when we are cheated or lose something or even someone we love? How do we react when something we desire passionately is withheld from us? Are we willing to accept God's will graciously? Or do we focus instead on our discontent and how “unfair” life is?

God knows what our individual needs are—physically and spiritually—and He promises to provide them for us (Philippians 4:19). Accordingly, He withholds things that He thinks will not be good for us. Do we accept His decisions, or do we allow the bitter root of discontent to form within our hearts (Hebrews 12:15)? All too often, Satan will feed our minds with such arrogant discontent, knowing that if he can persuade us to see ourselves as victims, he has a chance to devour us (I Peter 5:8).

Geoff Preston (1947-2013)
It's Not Fair!

Related Topics: It's Not Fair! | Victimization


Ezekiel 28:12-17

We should never underestimate Satan's power nor his hatred for God and man. He surreptitiously broadcasts his evil, spiritual intents into our minds, subtly working to turn each member of the “little flock” away from God (Ephesians 2:2). We should carefully consider the account of his actions in Ezekiel 28:12-16 as typical of his modus operandi. Although nothing was withheld from him, as he was created by God as the ultimate in beauty and function, “perfect in [his] ways,” he did not remain true, turning away from God, a picture of cancerous discontent.

In verse 17, we see the source of this discontent—pride: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.” Satan was full of pride, the very thing we must guard against so that we do not corrupt the wisdom God has given us.

Satan is called “an angel of light” because he has a talent for presenting evil in a good light, which can confuse and deceive us if we let our guards down and drift away from God's truth (II Corinthians 11:3, 14-15; see Revelation 12:9). Without this truth as our guide, we can easily fall prey to Satan's darts of discontent. After all, this is Satan's world for a while longer. So while we continue to witness the growth of discord and discontent based on his false notion that life should always be fair, we should anticipate and be thoroughly prepared for life—occasionally and even frequently—to be unfair, for now.

However, as we head into the final stages of the age of man, we should keep in mind that each of us was created by God, complete with everything we need to function according to His will. While we may lack the power, wealth, talent, and beauty that Satan—or perhaps a brother—has been gifted, we will soon be given so much more, if, among other things, we learn to be content with what our generous and loving God has provided us.

We should always remember that discontentment is common and hurtful, while contentment is rare and of great benefit (I Timothy 6:6). For true contentment is a byproduct of the gift of faith that each of us, as the elect, has been granted by God.

Foolishly comparing our lot in life with that of anyone else's can never bear any good fruit (II Corinthians 10:12). We should, instead, only measure ourselves by the Word of God—the life of Jesus Christ. In doing so, we will discover a proper perspective, finding peace, security, and contentment within God's sovereign plan (Philippians 4:6-11). Like Job, our focus need not be on what seems fair—what we possess or lose today—but on God's promises for our future, when we will take possession of the most indescribable gift of all, eternal life with our just and loving God!

Geoff Preston (1947-2013)
It's Not Fair!


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