Remember, the Snake Has Already Been Bruised

 An encouragement for those in anguish.

Timothy Dykes


THE BIBLE DEDICATES a healthy percentage of its words to content that's downright disgusting. Think about driving a tent peg through a man's temple or losing a sword in the belly of an obese king.

The book of Job is full of nastiness too as a result of the infirmities that befell him. One such verse is  Job 7:5 in which Job says, "My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt; my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh."


Some commentators like Charles Ellicott and Albert Barnes suggest Job suffered from a parasite called lymphatic filariasis, a disease transmitted by mosquitos infected with a certain type of roundworm. When the larvae enter the bloodstream they mature and reproduce, flooding the lymph system.

As a result, certain body parts can swell and leave the afflicted with stiff, tough skin. Because of these symptoms, people often refer to the disease by its nickname: elephantiasis.

The condition can also cause sores on the skin as Job described above.

Like I said, really gross stuff.

Of course, we don't know for sure that this is that medical condition Job had, but whatever he suffered from, it wasn't good. The constant cycle of his skin hardening and then reopening was not only disgusting, but painful.

This kind of agony and isolation could lead even the most pious of people to lose their religionexactly what satan was banking on. Remember what he said to God? "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" (Job 2:4-5).

Those who have read ahead know Job passed the test despite unthinkable anguish thrust upon him.

Have You Ever Been in Anguish?

Satan doesn't have many speaking parts in the Bible, so it's interesting to compare those that do exist. The first is in Genesis in which Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating of the forbidden fruit.

As a result death became a reality. People began getting sick. Parasites started trying to weasel their way into the lymph systems of unwitting hosts.

Now we have nasty illnesses like cancer and heart failure, diabetes and auto immune diseases. Live long enough, and you're likely to catch or develop something harmful. If you haven't yet, you know somebody who has, and either way the burden can seem too terrible to bear.

But in the midst of this awfulness, we have hope—something that for Job was just a promise, but has come to fruition for for us. After the fall, God doled out the consequences to Adam and Eve for their disobedience.

But first he dealt with satan. To the serpent God said, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

God promised to defeat the serpent through the woman's offspring. So although suffering and corruption entered the world, he would provide a path for relief.

When Jesus came, he lived a blameless life and suffered though innocent for the sake of humanity. In rising from the dead, Jesus defeated death, crushing the head of the serpent.

You and I need only to place our faith in Christ in order to partake of this everlasting life.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. Death and disease still pervade the earth. We still suffer from parasites and viruses and bacterium. This is true. But in Jesus we have the promise of relief and restoration. He guarantees freedom from suffering. This hope enables us to endure anguish, knowing it is only temporary.

While Job had only a promise of victory, we have the ability to bask in the reality of Christ's resurrection. So when faced with hardship, we must not forget God has already bruised the serpent's head.

To quote the prophet Hosea, "O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting?" (13:14). With Jesus on the throne in heaven, we have assurance that those who believe in him will live even though they die. And with eternal life comes the elimination of suffering.

If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in my curated, chronological Old Testament reading plan with notes. I've combed through the first portion of the Bible and selected the most critical chapters for your perusal, wrapped up in a 90-day reading plan.

Whether you've read through the OT before or always get stuck at Leviticus, this guide will help you gain a deeper understanding of God's word as a whole.

The guide is free if you want it. It will only cost you your email address, but you can unsubscribe from the list at any time with one click. Just enter your email address below, and I'll send the reading guide your way.


No comments:

Post a Comment