Job remained faithful to God, despite having no clue what was going on.
The book of Job is probably one of the least understood books of the Bible. It is often the source of much confusion and misunderstanding. The book of Job is normally used to show that God’s ways are higher than our ways and that we should trust Him no matter what. The basic premise seems to be that God allowed Satan to destroy Job’s life, for some reason that we could never hope to understand, and through it all, Job remained faithful to God. The question is though: Would God really allow someone to suffer so much, just to prove to Satan how loyal they are? It is certainly true that Job remained faithful to God, despite having no clue what was going on, but the reason for what happened, does actually make sense, rather than being totally inexplicable.
If Job was such a man of faith, what went wrong?
As we look through what happened to Job, we will see that Job was a man of faith. We will see that Job enjoyed God’s blessing and protection upon and around everything in his life. Job 1:10 in the Amplified Bible, quotes Satan as complaining to God, “Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land“. The question is, of course: If Job was such a man of faith, what went wrong? Is there always the possibility that God will withdraw His blessing and protection from us, without warning and without notice? Of course there isn’t! Despite what some Christians may tell you, God isn’t like that. On the contrary, God has promised to bless us and He has promised to protect us. I challenge anyone to find in the Bible where God said, “But you never know, I might sometimes give Satan access to your life – if I do, just trust me, I have reasons you couldn’t understand“! When you put it like that, it sounds absurd, doesn’t it? But that is usually what we are expected to believe happened to Job.
Many people would say that Job was being diligent in worrying.
So what really happened? Why was Job protected one minute, and under sustained attack the next? The answer, is fear. Job was a man of faith, but faith and fear cannot operate at the same time. At some point Job had stop operating in faith and allowed fear into his life. Chapter one of the book of Job tells us that every time Job’s children held a party, he offered sacrifices – just in case they’d sinned. Job had no evidence that they had sinned, but he worried or feared that they might have, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually” (Job 1:5). Notice that this became such a concern for Job that he offered sacrifices continually. Many people would say that Job was being diligent in worrying about his children and that only an irresponsible parent would not worry about their children. But actually, giving the care to God and trusting Him to protect your children, is being responsible. Job was worrying instead of trusting God, and that is what gave Satan access to his life. Job admitted that everything that happened was based on fear in Job 3:25, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me“. In the Hebrew, Job literally said, “I feared a fear, and it came upon me“.
From January through to September 1666, the population of London were talking fear.
In 1666, according to diarist Samuel Pepys, London was gripped by fear. Pepys wrote, “For the whole year the population of London had a great sense of foreboding, because the year had the number of the devil in it – 666. There was just this sense that something appalling was going to happen“. In other words from January through to September 1666, the population of London were talking fear. They feared a fear and that September it came upon them when, from Sunday 2nd September through to Wednesday 5th September 1666 the Great Fire swept through London. You can say that it was coincidence, but that’s not what God says. He says that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). You can read more about the power of words in my posts ‘Watch Your Mouth’ and ‘Words: Powerful Weapons & Deadly Traps‘.
Job had already opened the door to Satan with his fear.
Getting back to Job, when Satan came to God to complain about Job, God said to him, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power“. Contrary to popular opinion, God was not saying, “He’s all yours, Satan“. No, God would never say something like that! But because God cannot lie, and because Job had already opened the door to Satan with his fear, God was simply pointing out this truth to Satan, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power [already]“. Let me repeat that, God did not open the door for Satan, Job did. Job inadvertently placed himself in Satan’s power. Now, Satan’s ultimate purpose was to get Job to curse God, but Job was not about to do that – “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). In Job chapter 2, Satan upped his attack. He tried to get God to put out His hand to hurt Job, but as before, God simply pointed out, “Behold, he is in thine hand [already]” (Job 2:6). Just to be clear, I added ‘already’ to emphasise the meaning of what was said.
Job was absolutely, never, going to curse God – no matter what!
Satan then got Job’s wife involved in trying to get Job to curse God. In Job 2:9 in the Easy to Read Version she said, “Are you still holding on to your faith? Why don’t you just curse God and die!” Job rebuked his wife by saying, “You sound like one of those fools on the street corner! How can we accept all the good things that God gives us and not accept the problems?“. Now I need to be clear, Job was mistaken about the problems coming from God. God does not “give and take away” – it is God that gives, it is Satan who takes (see John 10:10). But to be fair to Job, he had not read the preceding verses in Job 1 & 2 which showed that Satan was the source of the problems, not God. Furthermore, Job had not read the gospel of John! But the point is, Job was absolutely, never ever, going to curse God – no matter what!
It is at this point that everything is turned around.
The next thing that happens, is that Job’s friends show up and for a week they do a pretty good job of supporting him, by just being there. But unfortunately they do not understand what is happening, anymore than Job does, and they make a number of errors in blaming Job’s sin for what has happened. They do say some pretty good things too which should not be overlooked or dismissed, but they are in major error in blaming everything on Job’s sin. After numerous chapters of discussion between Job and his friends, God speaks, rebuking Job’s friends and Job himself. God then instructs Job to pray for his friends. It is at this point, when Job takes his focus off of himself, and gets back into faith to pray for his friends, that everything is turned around, “The Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before“, Job 42:10. The hedge of protection was re-established, the door was slammed shut in Satan’s face and The Blessing returned to Job’s life. Job 42:12-17 says, “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters….and in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days“.
Satan will not be able to touch you.
So you need never be confused by the book of Job again. You need never wonder whether God might use you as a pawn in some celestial game of chess with Satan. Let me assure you – it is not going to happen! If you think that that is in the character of God, then you need to get to know Him better. If you wouldn’t do things like that to your children, how much less would God, Love Himself, do it to His children? The key is to stay out of fear and remain in faith, and Satan will not be able to touch you. Furthermore, The Blessing of the Lord will flow into and through your life.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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