Then Satan answered the LORD, "Is it for nothing that Job fears God? Have you not made a hedge around him and his household and all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock have increased in the land. But extend your hand and strike everything he has, and he will no doubt curse you to your face!" (Job 1:9-11)
We can see two things in this passage:
- God controls a hedge of protection (1) around His people that Satan cannot penetrate (Psalms 125:1,2. Psalms 91. 1 John 5:18).
- God blesses the work of His people’s hands and increases their possessions (Deuteronomy 8:18).
Why would Satan notice that there was a hedge around Job unless he was already trying to attack him? Consequently, realize God mentions Job because He knew Satan was already attempting to attack him. Satan then demands God attack Job. However, God is in the business of bringing life abundantly and leaves the killing, stealing and destroying to the thief – Satan the Destroyer (John 10:10).
So the LORD said to Satan, "All right then, everything he has is in your power. Only do not extend your hand against the man himself!" So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12)
God knows that something is wrong in Job’s heart and Satan is going to be the instrument of scourging to remove it (Hebrews 12:6). However, God is going to set the bounds of the test (1 Corinthians 10:13). To say God “allows” the test is no more correct than to say a human judge “allows” a convict to go in jail. God “judges it right” for Satan to test him because Job “allowed” this sin of pride (1) to grow in his heart. Furthermore, the bounds of the test will be Job himself.
Now the day came when Job's sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and a messenger came to Job, saying, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing beside them, and the Sabeans swooped down and carried them all away, and they killed the servants with the sword! And I – only I alone – escaped to tell you!" While this one was still speaking, another messenger arrived and said, "The fire of God has fallen from heaven and has burned up the sheep and the servants– it has consumed them! And I– only I alone– escaped to tell you!" While this one was still speaking another messenger arrived and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and carried them all away, and they killed the servants with the sword! And I– only I alone– escaped to tell you!" While this one was still speaking another messenger arrived and said, "Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and suddenly a great wind swept across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they died! And I– only I alone– escaped to tell you!" (Job 1:13-19)
From this passage, we see that Satan can control men (Ephesians 2:2), governments (1 John 5:19), and the weather (Mark 4:37-41) to accomplish his destruction. Consequently, when we call natural disasters an “Act of god” we need to spell that with a lower case letter “g”. That would be the god of this world – Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). I like the French phrase “force majeure” for a feral or black swan event better as it gives no praise to Satan and does not falsely accuse the true God.
Then Job got up and tore his robe. He shaved his head, and then he threw himself down with his face to the ground. He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will return there. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. May the name of the LORD be blessed!" In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with moral impropriety. (Job 1:20-22)
Job (unlike many of us if we were in his situation) is posturing himself for victory. Posturing (1) himself to make this suffering effective (1). However, note he is not talking to God but only about God. Jesus under the duress of the cross cried out, “my God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (quoting Psalms 22:1). He was talking to God, not about God – I pray you to discern the difference. This is another clue that Job has a religion and not a relationship. Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. However, people can be what the world considers good all of their lives, not charge God with wrong, and still miss heaven (Matthew 7:22,23).
We must call upon the Lord to be delivered or saved (1). Recall, King David’s first child of adultery with Bathsheba (perhaps more accurately “bath-seductress” 2 Samuel 11:1-5). While David knew that the child would die as a result of his sin (2 Samuel 12:14,15) he intensified his relationship with God by prayer and fasting (2 Samuel 12:16-23). This is the way that a person that lives to pursue the heart of God reacts to certain tragedies (Acts 13:22). They do not react with noble-sounding but empty words (Matthew 6:7). For example, Peter and Thomas both stated they would die with Jesus (Matthew 26:33. John 11:16) yet they both did not have the relational strength with God to endure (Matthew 26:56. Matthew 26:73-75).
Again the day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also arrived among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said to Satan, "Where do you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roving about on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil. And he still holds firmly to his integrity, so that you stirred me up to destroy him without reason." (Job 2:1-3)
If you are concluding from this passage that God is using Job to teach Satan a lesson about His fairness or Job’s perfection you have missed it. Satan is not worth God’s time (Romans 16:20. Acts 10:38. 1 John 3:8). I believe this bantering with Satan is to God like changing soiled baby diapers. Certainly, it is necessary for the child that the diapers are changed or else the child’s health will be affected. For example, I partnered with my wife in raising five children and have changed more than a few dirty diapers because it was needed; nevertheless, I did not make a lifelong hobby out of it!
This dealing with Satan is necessary to metaphorically get Job’s diaper changed. The character flaw in Job’s heart is to be removed and ABBA (i.e., God our Daddy-Father, Romans 8:15. Galatians 4:6) will even deal with Satan to perfect His children. Again, God would rather teach you by His Holy Spirit but is willing to converse with His enemy (what I compare to changing diapers) to help us (Romans 8:5). Furthermore, God can and will manipulate Satan to further our spiritual growth. Why is this necessary? Because Adam made the wrong (1) decision in the Garden of Eden and choose to learn from Satan instead of God! (Genesis 3:4-6. Hebrews 5:12-14)
But Satan answered the LORD, "Skin for skin! Indeed, a man will give up all that he has to save his life! But extend your hand and strike his bone and his flesh, and he will no doubt curse you to your face!" So the LORD said to Satan, "All right, he is in your power; only preserve his life." (Job 2:4-6)
Job has not been broken by the loss of possessions and his children; therefore, the test escalates and is limited only by Job’s life. That is, the judgment of the court of Heaven is that Job may be tested but his life must be spared.
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and he afflicted Job with a malignant ulcer from the sole of his feet to the top of his head. (Job 2:7)
Who is the one that strikes with dis-ease? Satan the thief! (John 10:10)
Job took a shard of broken pottery to scrape himself with while he was sitting among the ashes. Then his wife said to him, "Are you still holding firmly to your integrity? Curse God, and die!" But he replied, "You're talking like one of the godless women would do! Should we receive what is good from God, and not also receive what is evil?" In all this Job did not sin by what he said. (Job 2:8-10)
Ouch! Who can hurt a man to the core more than his wife? The union of marriage makes us one and gives the ability to heal the other or hurt our partner more than any other type of relationship (1 Peter 3:7). Well does the proverb say that it is better to be in the wilderness starving and thirsty than to have your wife angry (e.g., hurt) and hurting you! (Proverbs 19:13. Proverbs 21:9. Proverbs 25:24. Proverbs 27:15,16) Perhaps she was letting Satan use her mouth like Peter did with the thought of ending her husband’s suffering (Matthew 16:21-23). However, in the middle of the storms of life, a husband needs a prudent wife that can hear from the Lord and pray for her husband, not prey upon him (Proverbs 19:14. Proverbs 31:10-12). Note also at this point Job was not yet blaming God; therefore, no sin committed in what he said.
Job continues to say the right things about God; however, he is still talking about God and not to God. Furthermore, he has not considered that he could be responsible for what is taking place and puts all of the responsibility and therefore blame on God (Job 1:21). Sounds like Adam after he sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit – God, this woman thou hast given me… (Gen 3:12).
The Book of Job Series:
- Job, Suffering is Part of the Job
- Job, God Planned a Happy Ending from the Beginning!
- Job, God is not Your Problem… Satan is!
- Job, God is Your Solution!
- Job, With Friends Like These Who Needs Enemies?
- Job, Do not Despise the Wisdom of the Youth!
- Job, Brokenness is the only Way to Godliness
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.