Read: Job Chapter One
"There was a man" who lived during the time of the patriarchs; a man who was abundantly blessed with wealth, family, reputation, and health. He was "blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil" (v. 1). The first five verses of the book of Job paint him as a man of prosperity, purity, and prayer, but the pages that follow pen the sad story of the one whose name means "persecuted." Between the altar of sacrifice where Job regularly made offerings and intercession for his children and the throne room of heaven where his fragrant offerings were received by the Lord, "there was a day," when a conversation occurred that would forever change the course of Job's life, as the Lord praised His servant Job in the presence of the heavenly council, which was interrupted by the Adversary who couldn't bear to hear any other name be praised but his own.
"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?"
The angelic servants who do God's will report to Him, including Satan, who seeks to undo God's will. The Adversary is free to roam about the earth and still has access to the court of heaven, where he comes to accuse the saints on earth (Zechariah 3:1), until the day when he will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?" (vv. 9b, 10a). Satan stood in the courtroom of heaven and attempted to destroy the testimony of God's faithful servant by accusing Job of an ulterior motive. While Job worshiped and prayed on earth, he had no idea of the greater spiritual battle going on in the heavenly realm between the One who alone is worthy of worship and the evil one who wanted nothing more than to rob God of all the worship that is due His Mighty Name. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). The Lord knew His servant's heart, and so He gave Satan permission to touch all that Job had in order to prove the purity of his worship. And Satan wasted no time! "Now there was a day" (v.13) when Satan did all that he could to provoke Job to curse God, and in a single day Job was stripped of all his livestock, servants, and children! Blow after blow came, without warning, and without revelation of the private courtroom debate. In one day, Job was taken from the heights of prosperity to the abysmal depths of pain, but instead of wallowing in self-pity and cursing God, as Satan had predicted, Job fell on his face and worshiped! "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" (v. 21). When all that he had was taken from him, Job clung tightly to the One who couldn't be taken from him. "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 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" (Romans 8:37-39). The enemy's plan to provoke Job to run from God backfired on him! The Lord permitted adversity in Job's life to fulfill His greater purpose - to bring glory to His holy name! Today as we consider our responses to our present circumstances and past trials, let us repent of those responses that dishonored Him and pray for deepening trust in the sovereign Lord who is always with us and using all things for our good and His glory!
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time,
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.
Resist him, steadfast in the faith,
knowing that the same sufferings are experienced
by your brotherhood in the world.
But may the God of all grace,
who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus,
after you have suffered a while,
perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
(1 Peter 5:6-11)