So often, when I have a conversation with unbelievers and skeptics they will bring up the book of Job. Their argument is, why did God single out Job and bragged about him to Satan? Job did all the right things and loved the Lord, yet He allowed Satan to take everything that Job had, his family, servants and possessions.
Why would God do that to someone who loves Him. Isn’t He suppose to be a loving God? At first glance I admit, it might look that way, here is a guy just going on about his day thinking about his sons and daughters when tragedy strikes him out of nowhere. In one day he looses it all, his sons and daughters and his livelihood. Everything that he worked and lived for, up in smoke. Job had no clue what was going on and why this came upon him. He did not have the benefit that we have when we read the story in the Bible.
The first two chapters give us a unique look behind the scenes, a look into the spiritual world unseen from the human eye. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:6, 7. Satan was most likely prowling the earth as a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour.
“Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”Job 1:8. Poor Job, he had no idea that God and Satan had a conversation about him. It almost seems like God may have been bragging a little bit about Job. Satan seized the moment: “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. “Does Job fear God for nothing? “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Job 1:9-11.
It is interesting to hear Satan say that God had a hedge i.e a protection around Job, he was blessed by God in all he did. I believe that believers in Jesus Christ have a hedge around them just as Job did. Satan in his arrogance challenged God by stating, hey if you take everything away that he has, he will not love you and curse You to Your face. Satan thought that Job or for that matter any other believers only love God when He blesses them, but turn from Him when tragedy or tribulations arise. God in His sovereign will gave Satan the permission to hit Job with afflictions.
“And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” Job 1:12.
That was the moment when Jobs world would be turned upside down. We read that Job lost his seven sons and three daughters in one day as well as all of his livestock. What a terrible day in the life of poor Job. Yet in all this tragedy, he did not curse God. As a matter of fact, he praised God.
“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:20-22.
I don’t think that was what Satan intended, he was hoping that Job would blame God and turn from God. The opposite happened, although deeply grieved, he did not forsake or denounce the Lord. I can only imagine that Satan was a bit furious. Some time later Satan appeared before God again and we have the same conversation in chapter two of Job.
“And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Job 2:2, 3.
We need to read this verse very carefully, God allowed it because Satan incited Him and God allowed Satan to destroy everything that Job had. I believe what we can glean from this is, that without God’s permission, Satan can’t do a thing to harm believers. This second time around Satan wanted even more.
“So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. “But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” Job 2:6. It was Satan’s desire to physically harm Job in hope that he would curse God.
Again, God only allowed Satan to strike Job, but not to kill him. “So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” Job 2:7. Here is Job, covered in painful boils and now even his wife asked him to curse God. “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:8.
In ancient times, people thought that the person that was punished so severally must have done some kind of sin to deserve something like that. This time even his wife wanted him to curse God and die. But Job just answered: “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.” Job 2:9.
Even now Job does not curse or blame God for his sufferings. Now I don’t know how I would have reacted if I were to be in the shoes of Job. As the story goes on, three of his friends come to comfort him, but as it turns out they were no comfort at all. They either blamed Job for everything that happened to him, because they thought that he must have sin in his life and lost favor with God. In the end however it turns out that these three wise men weren’t all that wise. At the end God intervenes and rebukes his friends. What happened to good old Job? God restored everything to Job and more, He restored everything ten fold.
I think we as believers can learn a lot from the story of Job. We do have a hedge around us that protects us from many things of the world. At the same time, we are not immune from pain and suffering. Many Christians are going through various hardships, from persecutions and tribulations to financial issues to many other tragedies in their life’s. We are not exempt, but ultimately, God is in control of all things and nothing happens without a purpose and His permission. Sometimes God uses sufferings and tribulations for His divine purpose and to work in people’s life’s. I may not understand why sometimes, but God knows and nothing is done without a reason and a purpose.
Even the Apostle Peter was subject to Satan on more than one occasion. “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Lk 22:31.
Peter had to go to some trials, He denied the Lord three times and he had hardships and was imprisoned and crucified upside down in Rome, just as the Lord told him when He was still with them. So were many of the other disciples. All of the Apostles except John died a martyrs death. The Apostle Paul experienced many afflictions, beatings, imprisonment and ultimately death by beheading. This is what Paul thought about sufferings in his lifetime: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”Rom 8:18.
Paul looked at the eternal not the temporal. In this life, Christians who follow the Lord will face opposition, trials and tribulations. The Lord told us so. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
We as Christians have an enemy that is relentless, the world, the flesh and Satan. I believe that most of our afflictions are not caused by Satan but by our own flesh. The flesh is warring against the Spirit. Many people want to blame Satan for everything that is going on in their life’s, but I think many times it’s just the flesh and the world. Of course we should never underestimate Satan, he is called the prince of this world and if Christians are living in the world as if the world were their home, then they are subject to Satan. The Bible speaks of Satan as the accuser of the brethren, he accuses us day and night before God. (Rev 12:10)
Sufferings and pains are not easy, but they do strengthen a believers faith and draws them closer to the Lord. That’s what happened to Job, Peter and Paul as well as many others throughout history. In the end everything turned out well for Job and Satan was proven wrong.
That’s what Satan wishes to happen to the believers today. He wants us to curse God as soon as some kind of trial, sufferings or pain come our way. Most of us may never face the kind of tragedy Job was confronted with, although there are many that have had tragedies of various degrees in their lives. The question becomes , if any one of us who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior gets confronted with tribulations and trials similar to Job’s, will we keep the faith and integrity that Job demonstrated?
I hope and pray that none of us will ever face something like Job, but if we do I hope that we will stand tall and firmly rooted in the Lord. There is a spiritual warfare raging. Satan knows that he only but a short time left. We need to fight the good fight and stand against every fiery dart that the enemy may throw at us.
No matter what happen in this life, the destination of the believer is to be with the Lord. God will never leave us nor forsake us as long as we abide in Him, no matter what may come our way. Satan is already defeated and he will try anything to distract or harass the believers. We need to stand on the promises of God. We as believers are secured in Christ and nothing can take that away. The book of Ephesians is all about our position in Christ through the Holy Spirit.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Rom 8:38, 39.
We are secure in Christ and we are not of this world. The world can’t touch us, unless we allow the cares of this world to dominate our lives. As long as we abide in Christ to live after the spirit rather than the flesh and we resist the Devil and his temptations and lies, we can overcome every obstacle and tragedy that we may face. All things here on the earth are temporal and will fade with time, our destination as believers is eternity. We need to set our eyes on the eternal and look up, our redemption draws close. Maranatha Lord Jesus.