Many of us believe that if we are trying to live for God, we should be exempt from pain and suffering. Yet the story of Job teaches us something different. Scripture says that Job was – “… perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” (Job 1:2) Yet Job’s goodness did not immune him from suffering. Perhaps no man, other than the Lord Jesus, has ever suffered to the extent of poor Job. Why did God allow Job to suffer so?
Last week we saw that there are:
I. Events of Our Lives That Are Visible
A. Job’s Personal Integrity
The book of Job opens with an explanation of Job’s righteous character. He was perfect and upright, one who feared God and hated evil.
B. Job’s Parenting
He raised a very close-knit family that loved each other and Job often offered sacrifices for them in order to assure that their relationship with God was right.
C. Job’s Prosperity
Scripture says that Job was the “greatest of all the men of the east.” He was rich and well respected in his community.
Surely such a man – “Deserves” to be blessed and to enjoy a carefree life. Yet that’s not all there is to Job’s story nor to ours as well.
II. Events of Our Lives That Are Invisible
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 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?
9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
A. The Activity of Angels
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD…
Who are the ‘sons of God’ mentioned in this passage? We know that Jesus is ‘the’ Son of God. He is the only begotten Son of God, meaning that He is unique and like no other. We know also that salvation gives us the right to become the sons of God. Though we are not equal to the Lord Jesus, scripture says –
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
Yet another group is mentioned here who are also called the sons of God. Who are they? Every Bible resource I have read considers them to be angels and rightly so.
We must not forget that the Lord loves His holy angels. Though they are not sons of God as the Lord Jesus or as the saints, they are dear to their Creator. Further evidence that they are angels is revealed in the fact that they have the ability to come and go from the presence of God. We learn from the book of Hebrews –
Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
In addition, according to Job 38:7, they were present at the creation of the world. Therefore the only logical conclusion is that the sons of God mentioned here are angels.
B. The Activity of Satan
We see that angels are accountable to report back to God concerning their activities. God’s angels are not the only ones who must report.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
It should not surprise us that Satan must given an account of himself to God; after all, God is still the sovereign ruler of the universe.
Who is Satan? What is Satan? Scripture teaches us that Satan is an angelic being. Ezekiel 28:14 describes him as ‘‘the anointed cherub that covereth.’ David Jeremiah suggests in his book on Angels that the word cherubim has something to do with the role of guardianship. If Lucifer was a cherub who covereth, then perhaps he had a station very near the throne of God. I have often wondered if it was his purpose to guard the throne of Christ, even as two cherubim were placed at each end of the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies.
At some point early in his creation, Satan began to covet the glory of God. We read from the book of Isaiah –
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning ! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
As a result of his sinful desire to sit upon God’s throne, Satan was cast down from his lofty position. Yet contrary to what many think, he was not cast into hell. According to scripture, Satan will not be cast into hell until the end of time. (see Rev. 20:10) What is Satan doing today?
Consider again our passage from the book of Job –
Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Peter writes concerning Satan –
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Scripture refers to Satan as:
- ‘the god’ of this world (2 Cor 3:4)
- ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Eph 2:2)
- ‘the prince of this world’ (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)
In addition, the Bible teaches us that ‘the whole world lieth in the wicked one.’ (1 Jn 5:19) and that Satan leads an army of demonic beings in a spiritual battle against mankind. (Eph 6:10-12)
Consider what our Lord said to Simon Peter concerning Satan’s activity –
Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
This verse tells us two very important things about Satan’s activity:
1. Satan still has access to God
2. Satan desires to attack God’s saints
Revelation 12:10 refers to Satan as the accuser of the brethren and from what we know about his attack on Simon Peter and Job, that’s exactly what he does.
Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
C. The Activity of God
In closing, let us consider the activity of God in regards to Satan’s attacks.
Job 1:8 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?
Every time I read that verse I have to wonder why the Lord called Satan’s attention to Job. It seems only logical that the Lord would protect such a righteous man. Yet most likely the Lord knew that Satan was already studying Job. Much like his desire to attack Simon Peter, the devil was no doubt planning ways to try to destroy Job. Therefore the Lord gave him permission, knowing how it all would end. How did the Lord know how the story of Job would end? Note what Jesus said to Simon Peter in a similar situation –
Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
God knew that the devil could not destroy Simon because the Lord knew that He would be interceding on the behalf of His servant.
Yet we still have to wonder why the Lord allows such attacks upon His servants. Consider some of the ways God works in our lives:
1. God blesses our lives
2. God praises our testimony
3. God defends our case
4. God develops our character
In our next study we will look at God’s activity in more detail.