The book of Job opens with a fascinating council of the Heavenly court. Interestingly, God seems surprised that Satan is present and has to ask him where he has come from. Today’s passage reveals two important truths about human suffering. Firstly, why God allows there to be any suffering on earth and secondly, exactly who is responsible for it. The first and most important truth is revealed in verse 12, when God gives Satan permission to test the resolve of Job’s faith by any means except physically harming him. This is a real foundation of faith. Can we maintain our faith in the face of suffering and adversity. Do we really only love God because he can give us good things? The second truth is also revealed in the same verse 12. The Lord allows Satan to test Job. The Lord has no need to check on Job’s faith because he has demonstrated it throughout his life and made his faith, his custom and practice. It is Satan who is looking to show that Job is only faithful to the Lord because he has always blessed him with wealth, heath and prosperity. So it is Satan who robs us of the good things God has blessed us with, and he does so with God’s blessing because God wants to see that his servants can withstand the temptations that Satan uses to lure us away from him.
Job 1:6-12 NLT
One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan. Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.
My goal is to remain firm in my faith. So far, I feel that I have been quite well tested and I like to think that I am holding up ok at the moment. But as we read on further into the Book of Job, we see that Job was the victim of bad fortune heaped upon bad fortune. I hope that I might see a period of respite and recovery in the the months and years to come, but I must take note of what happened to Job. If there is indeed more trouble coming my way, I hope that I can live each day from now on, grateful for all the Lord has given me and at the same time, grateful that he has not yet seen fit to take it all away again. I have been given so much, I hope I can always remember God’s great mercy to me even in the midst of great loss and disappointment.
Job 1:1-3:26, 1 Corinthians 14:1-17, Psalms 37:12-29, Proverbs 21:25-26