Satan’s Second Strike
Vs. 1 – 3 – The first two verses of this chapter are virtually identical to chapter one verse six, seven, and eight (see comments on those verses). The point of this repetition is to make it clear, once again, that Satan was responsible for Job’s malady. The only difference in these verses and the verses in chapter one is that this time God points out to Satan that Job maintained his integrity under the first sortie of temptation that Satan launched at him. Satan had been proved wrong; God had been proved righteous.
God comments that Satan had “movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” We need not suppose that God himself moved directly against Job due to this statement. Rather, since God’s permission was required for Satan to so act against Job, God recognizes that he indeed had a role in allowing Job’s undoing. Again, God remains blameless because He is not the personal agent of these temptations (James 1:13).
Was Job being destroyed “without cause?” That is, for no purpose whatsoever? No. There was a great purpose to this whole exercise, namely, to prove to Satan that some will worship and serve God despite temptations and persecutions that come upon them proving God true and Satan a liar. However, what is meant by “without cause” is that Job had not sinned to the degree that he so merited such physical punishment and torment. This doesn’t mean that Job was sinless, only that his sins were minuscule in relationship to the amount of suffering he was undergoing.
Vs. 4-6 – Satan wastes no time in coming up with a second temptation. He recognizes his defeat in the first sortie, but makes nothing of it. He quickly moves on to the next temptation where he believes he has his best effort at undoing Job. This is a great lesson for us. Satan doesn’t waste time tempting us in areas where we aren’t going to respond to his lures. He will change bait until he finds the one that will cause us to react so he can set his hook. Here is all the more reason why we don’t need to be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
This time Satan’s desire is to afflict Job’s flesh. Here Satan believes Job to be the weakest. This, Satan reasons, is surely the area in which Job will fail. Physical afflictions are often areas in which many succumb to temptation. Men will often endure aches and pains in order to earn a living, but at the slightest headache will forsake the assembly of the saints (Hebrews 10:25,26). How much better is it to worship God with his saints than to endure the pain of eternal hell? Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). We would do better to lose some of our physical features than to so be tempted by them that our soul is lost (Matthew 5:29,30, 18:8,9, 19:12).
God places one restriction upon Satan’s torments of Job. Satan is not allowed to take Job’s life. Why such a restriction? I can think of three possible reasons. 1) Diseases that harm the body are not as severe as diseases that destroy life. Hence, God, in this requirement may have mitigated some of Job’s suffering. We should not misunderstand this point, however. Job suffered greatly and Satan chose a method of suffering that is as close to death as one could possibly come and still live, but had Satan been allowed to take Job’s life he likely could have made Job’s suffering worse. 2) God didn’t want to lose Job’s influence in the world. God has precious few servants as it is. If he allowed Satan to take one of His greatest examples and influences out of the world, that would have resulted in the loss of other souls. Instead, God spares Job’s life and gains the souls of his friends. 3) God knew that Job was going to sin during the course of this temptation and did not want Job to be lost eternally to Satan’s clutches. Jesus once intervened for Peter in a similar manner. Luke 22:32 records, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren.” Satan desired to sift Job so that he could ultimately bring him to hell. God, however, does not allow Satan such opportunities to so conveniently snag Job’s soul as the moment of his sin. In this regard, God, though removing the “hedges” that surrounded Job, continued to protect Job’s most valuable possession, namely, Job’s soul.
Does God so protect us today? Peter tells us that God’s saints “?by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). How is it that God works today to so protect us? Not through the impossibility of apostasy, as some teach, but by providing us opportunity after opportunity to repent of our sins through obedience to His word (2 Peter 3:9).