“And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” — Job 1:8
The Book of Job in the Old Testament has been the root of most misconceptions about God and Christianity in the church today and is one of the many reasons why it is not recommended as a first read.
I must admit that this book puzzled me for a long time. Though God restored Job’s property, family and health in the end, the entire episode seemed a bit out-of-character for the God we know for his love, compassion and long suffering. Why would God suddenly decide to let Satan beat up on Job just to prove a point? To an outsider, this may be unsettling, because God is supposed to protect us and provide for us. To Christians, God may seem two-faced, lending to the misuse of the verse, “The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21) Maybe God just lets us go through stuff to build character, I thought. I held onto this thought for several years and began to believe it. It poisoned my faith and my relationship with God.
This Sunday, however, I was given a true answer.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” says Peter. This does not, however, mean that we must fear the devil.
Roaring lions in nature aren’t as all-powerful as their performance would suggest. First of all, the male is not typically the hunter of the pride. Second, big cats are built for short bursts of speed, not prolonged running. Anybody who owns a cat knows this. A cat will typically pick out the weakest, sickest and slowest animal in the group, separate it, and trick it into getting outmaneuvered.
I like to read the Book of Job like this:
“Where have you been?” asked God.
“I’ve been roaming the earth, looking for people to devour. Where else?” replied the devil.
“Oh yes,” God said. “Preying upon the weak-minded and frail. Typical.”
“What are you getting at?”
“I’m just saying. You wouldn’t last a minute against a REAL man. Take my servant Job for example. No matter what you do, you can’t break him. You’re gonna practically kill yourself trying.”
“Hey, now that’s not fair! You give him everything in the world he needs! I’ll bet without all his fancy material stuff and good health, he’ll be putty in my hands.”
“Oh you think so, do you?” God said, folding his arms. “Tell you what. Have at him and see what happens to you.”
“You’re on.” sneered the devil.
Remember, though, that God didn’t leave Job unarmed. After all, what would material goods, family and good health do against a spiritual adversary? Sure, they may add encouragement, but zero multiplied by anything is still zero. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Satan only took carnal things away from Job, but his spiritual weapons were still intact.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) When Jesus fasted in the wilderness and was tempted by the devil, He was not unarmed. He used the sword of the spirit, not to argue with, but to physically cut the devil. Every syllable of the Word of God spoken was so painful to the devil that he actually retreated. No, Job didn’t possess a born again spirit, but he had something that so many Christians today forget. He had the favor of God and the knowledge that God is always good. Armed with that knowledge, he steeled himself and fired back with a volley of spiritual bullets. God knew what he was doing the entire time.
God wasn’t letting Satan have his way with Job, he was unleashing Job on Satan whether Job knew it or not!
God didn’t forsake Job and God will never forsake you. I don’t know what you may be dealing with at this moment, but God means nothing but good for you. If you are under his protection and He allows an adversary to challenge you, He has already given you the weapons to defeat it and the armor to defend yourself. I don’t care what you feel, what you see, or what you hear. God loves you and God will be with you. Always.
“Hey! Hey Satan!” called God after He restored Job’s health, property and family.
“Ughhh.” the devil groaned. He was covered in bruises and recoiling in pain.
“Hurts, doesn’t it?” said God.
“So, maybe you’ll think twice before messing with my people again. Oh, and you know what? I’m going to win them back, not just a chosen few, but ALL of them, and I’m going to endue them with so much knowledge and power that you’ll WISH you were only dealing with Job again.”
The devil suddenly turned white. Imagine. Millions of warriors a thousand-fold more powerful than Job armed with stronger swords and truer arrows. “You can’t do that!” he screamed in horror. “He’s only made of dirt!”
“It’s already been done.” beamed God as he watched Job continue his life in happiness. “Long before mankind was ever brought from the dust and breathed the breath of life. You’d better enjoy your short reign on earth, Satan, because your days are numbered.”