Did you ever consider that how you behave as a wife can be the "devil's work"?
As we are travelling through scripture, looking at the women there, the book of Job comes next. Job is such an incredibly challenging book. It's that man who drives us to our knees in the realisation that we have SO far to go in our Christian walk. We are nowhere near that close walk that he experienced with God. That position of righteousness, and integrity - of a heart and life that beat in unity with God's desires and commands.
With heart-rending realisation, I look to Job's wife, and regrettably find that I am far more like her, than I am like Job.
She doesn't get much of a mention, but what we do hear is a striking polar opposite to her husband.
They are equal partners in the most heart-rending of the experiences, sent to try Job.
She was equally the parent of the children, tragically killed.
Likewise, she was equally enabled to have the free will to choose how to respond to it.
She was obviously not walking with God in the same manner as her husband, because, quite simply, she did the devil's work, in the life of her husband.
As you will remember, Satan came to God, who put Job forth as an example of an upright man. In response, Satan challenged that God had put a hedge of protection about him, and blessed him - surely if he had a bit of tragedy inserted into his "perfect" life, he would soon curse God? God gives Satan free reign to throw whatever trials at him, as he pleases, but to spare his life.
Satan takes all Job's worldly gain. All that he had worked for - gone.
Satan takes his children. The thought of this breaks my heart - I have 8 children of my own, and the thought of them all being taken, in one foul swoop, is simply beyond my comprehension. I'd be devastated.
But, in this, he sinned not, and instead, he WORSHIPPED, and gave thanks to God.
That is a man walking right beside God.
Then Satan strikes at his body. He is covered from head to toe with boils. He took a piece of broken pottery to scrape the mankiness of the boils from off his skin.
As he sits, in the ashes, surrounded by the devastation of loss, his wife comes long and does the devil's work.
"Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die."
Do you remember what Satan's aim was? His desire was for Job to curse God.
Here comes his wife, telling him, in actual WORDS, to do just that.
She was doing Satan's work.
Had you ever considered that before? I hadn't. I knew it was part of his trial, but that she was actually doing exactly what Satan desired? Hadn't thought of that.
Do you realise that you could be doing Satan's work, as a wife?
Well, think firstly of this specific example - the example of what Job's wife attempts to do.
If you encourage your husband to sin, it's the devils work. If you encourage your husband to have attitudes or reactions which are sinful, it's just the same. If you are a moaner, a complainer, a manipulator, a contentious wife, you tempt your husband to sin. You are putting your husband in a place that makes it hard to do the right thing, and far easier to fall himself, if you behave in way that tempts him to sin, too. Tempting him to sin is just like a prostitute coming to a man and enticing him to sin. Tempting. Luring. Making it hard to say no.
Think about those moments when your temper has been lost, and you have been cross with your husband. Does that not lure him to react in the same way back? You lose your patience, he loses it right back? Neither right, but the one who starts it off sets of the domino effect that can soon knock over every ounce of self control you should have had to begin with.
Think of those times when you come to him with words that tear down and destroy. If you are negative, narky and critical, you are tempting your husband to be bitter, resentful and retaliatory. You are critical, he's critical back. It takes more self control and sanctification NOT to react to a wife like that, than it does to to just fire it straight back.
If you are a wife who is quick to complain and grumble, you will entice your husband to be less-than-generous. He will tempted to be a husband who would rather not help and bless, because you just don't have a thankful and grateful heart, as you ought to have.
Naggers? There lieth the epitomy of a wife doing the devil's work. The book of Proverbs says that it would be better for a husband to go and live in the wilderness than to have to listen to a wife who is a nag. Why? To get away from her sinful behaviour, lest he is negatively affected by it, too! Wives, you KNOW it tempts your husband to sin when you nag. It tests the patience of the proverbial SAINT to have a nag in his ear hole. Nagging is the devil's work.
"the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping."
Have you ever had a dripping tap? We have had a dripping shower, recently. It was right next to our room, and we did everything we could to stop it - we have resorted to turning off the isolation valve so no water can get out, because it was so irritating! It tests patience. Same with nagging. A nagging wife will test the patience of her husband, pushing him to a place where he is more likely to snap and succumb to a sinful reaction. It's just a fact.
If you are a wife who does not encourage her husband to be everything he should be spiritually, by turning a blind eye to his sinful behaviour, or even encouraging him in it, then you are doing the devil's work. Some wives seem to think that being submissive means being silent. No, no, NO. You cannot be a more loving, supportive, and encouraging wife, than to be one who kindly, but honestly, points out sin where it exists.
Oh, my "Job's wife" heart.
It's me FAR too much, and but for the grace of God upon the heart of my husband, much like righteous Job, he would have sinned more than he has.
I thank God for the grace He has extended upon MY life - how He has stayed the hand of Satan, and put a shield of protection both around me, and around our marriage.
But, no person is immune to the devices of the devil.
No marriage is immune to the deceits of Satan.
No siree. We are all susceptible, and need to be on continual guard. Don't let Satan get a foothold in your life, and in your marriage.
Another principle that Job's wife needed to learn from Job, and we do well to learn, too?
"shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"
God sends us good things. Blessing upon blessing.
He also allows the traumatically trying.
Things that would drive us to despair.
Things that could force a wedge into a marriage.
Things that could cause us sadness of heart, mind and soul, and agony of body.
But, in all of that, we must NOT curse God.
WE MUST NOT.
We need to get down on our knees, and WORSHIP.
Oh, Lord, give me this grace! Give me this heart, and soul, and voice! To worship, in the hardest of hard times. To praise and worship thy Holiest of Holy names in the STORM. When I am worn, weary and weeping - PRAISE HIM. Acknowledging every good thing, to counteract the weight of the trials. To lift my eyes to my great creator God, in the agonies of my humanity.
In every trial of my life, turning my eyes upon Jesus, and not tempting others to sin.
May the Lord keep me from being like Job's wife, and more like Job himself.