Job 2:1-6

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).

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Job 1:13-22

Satan’s Strike; Job’s Justification

Vs. 13 – We shift from the heavenly scene of Satan’s treachery to an earthly one in which there was joy and rejoicing. We know from verse 4 that this was likely one of these occasions at which Job’s children had gathered in celebration of one of their days. It is mentioned that they were eating and drinking wine so as to indicate to us that they were, in fact, joyful regarding their situation and surroundings. It tells us that this calamity was completely and totally unexpected on their part. Not only was the calamity itself part of Satan’s temptation, but the suddenness with which it happened as well. One might very well endure calamity if one is expecting it to come, but when calamity arrives unexpected it seems doubly calamitous.

Vs. 14 – We shift then to the scene of Job’s house where the first messenger arrives with the terrible news. The mention of the oxen and donkey’s activities serve to illustrate that it was, up to the point of the tragedy, a completely uneventful day in which everything seemed to be going well, at least, to that point. We then learn what happened to these animals.

Vs. 15 – Perhaps the Sebeans were descendents of one of Cush’s sons, Seba (Genesis 10:7). Perhaps they were of the Sheba by Jokta (Genesis 10:28) or perhaps children of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 25:3). It is unknown for certain though some commentators lean toward Abraham’s offspring. Regardless of their origin most tend to agree that they were wandering Arabs who often took such actions against others to increase their own personal wealth (by comparison see Genesis 14 and the events there). These then took Job’s animals and killed his servants, save the one, a messenger left alive by Satan in order that Job may know of the calamity.

Vs. 16 – Almost as if that one announcement were not enough a second servant rushes in to tell Job of an additional loss. This time it’s the sheep and the servants that attend them that are lost. Instead of using an agent (as in the previous case), Satan personally attends to this calamity with fire from heaven. The verse says “the fire of God fell from heaven.” We know, of course, that God was not behind this, but the servant doesn’t know this and any such remarkable display of power is naturally attributed to God, for who else could command such a display? It tells us that Satan, at least at times, had command of remarkable powers. That it fell from “heaven” doesn’t necessarily mean it came from that spiritual place, but rather, from the sky as the word is used to describe it on occasion (Genesis 1:1 etc.). Again, one is left alive to communicate the report.

Vs. 17 – Instead of the Sabeans, this time it was the Chaldeans. Instead of the oxen and donkeys, in this verse it is the camels. The Chaldeans were ancient inhabitants of Babylon. It is unknown why they formed into three bands. Perhaps to manage the 3000 camels? One band for each 1000 camels? We don’t know. It was the best way for Satan to accomplish his nefarious goals. Once again all of the servants are killed but one so that Job may be informed.

Vs. 18-19 – Now it is Job’s children that are directly affected by Satan. The servant briefly mentions what we’ve already come to know from verse 13. That we begun with the situation with Job’s children and now have ended with it in this section signifies the completeness of Satan’s ruin of Job. We’ve now come the proverbial “full circle.”

There is no indication in the text as to what this great wind was. Some have suggested a tornado; others a straight wind. It’s pointless to speculate. Whatever kind of wind it was, it was sufficient to destroy the place in which Job’s children were dwelling and that accomplished Satan’s task. Again, we see Satan having control over elements which God would normally be in control. We ought not to think that control over these elements is Satan’s modus operandi. For the time, God has placed Job’s things in Satan’s hands and so also the means by which Satan may so afflict Job. Given the special circumstances, we should not assume from these passages that Satan has control of these elements on a consistent basis.

The report concerning the death of Job’s children is saved by Satan until the end so as to bring the most painful and difficult blow upon Job after all other things have been known to be lost. One might very well endure the loss of all of his earthly possessions with an ordinary measure of faith, but to endure the loss of all of one’s family in addition to those items required extraordinary faith on Job’s part.

Vs. 20 – The renting of one’s clothes and the shaving of one’s head was an ancient oriental custom observed on many occasions of great sorrow (compare: Genesis 37:29, Joshua 7:6, Jeremiah 41:5, Ezra 9:3).

There is no doubt that Job felt great woe at these calamities. However, he doesn’t allow his anguish to overtake him into self-pity. Remarkably, the text says that Job “worshipped.” Instead of turning to himself and engaging in self-destructive behavior, he turns to God in worship. What a great lesson for us today if we will follow it. Regardless the desperate nature of our situation, we should always turn to God first and acknowledge His ways. When we so do, we are guaranteed to be guided in the right path (Proverbs 3:5,6).

Vs. 21 – To what is it that Job is returning? One may think that the ellipsis here implies that Job is going back to the womb, but such is not the case. He more likely has in mind his state prior to the womb, namely, the naked soul.

Job’s statement is a remarkable. Many a rich man has bemoaned his riches when said riches have been lost. We know from historical accounts of the stock crash of 1929 that many committed suicide at the loss of their wealth. But such is not Job’s attitude here. Instead he turns to God in humility and awe and prostrates himself in praise.

Job first acknowledges the truth of birth and death. When we are born, we come only in our “birthday suit,” that is, with nothing and while we may dress up a corpse with fancy clothes and surround it with a costly crypt, the dead know no ownership of possessions. Job then rightly acknowledges the fact that no man has ever taken his fortunes with him after death. Paul told Timothy, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).

It appears as if God’s power has been used to afflict Job so, and so Job comments, assuming that is the case. The reader, of course, knows otherwise. God has not been directly responsible for Job’s maladies. While it was true that the Lord gave, it wasn’t technically true that in this case the Lord took away. Even so, Job’s assuming such to be the case isn’t necessarily wrong provided that his attitude toward God remains holy. It may very well be the case that the Lord does take some things away from us in this life for one reason or another. When such occurs we would be wise to mimic Job’s attitude and behavior here. Regardless what happens to us in this life, the Lord’s name is ALWAYS to be blessed! Compare Psalm 41:13, 72:19, 113:2, Daniel 2:20, and 1 Peter 1:3.

Vs. 22 – Job remains innocent of the Devil’s charge, namely, that if God were to remove the hedge then Job would curse God to His face. Job proved God true and Satan a liar.

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Job 1:6-12

A Heavenly Scene Reveals a Satanic Plot

Vs. 6 – Who are the “sons of God” in this verse? Whoever they were, they had an appointment to present themselves before God. No doubt these are created beings. A casual reading of the verse seems to indicate that they are spiritual in nature, for Satan himself is listed among them as one who came before God at this time. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t tell us very much about their meeting with God because his principle aim is to tell us about Satan’s conversation with God.

The word “Satan” means “adversary” or one who is opposed to another.

Vs. 7 – Satan told God that he had been walking to and fro, up and down in the earth. No doubt God knew what Satan was doing. God’s question seems to have reference to the fact that He desired to call Satan’s attention to Job. It’s as if God were saying, “Since I know you have been walking to and fro and up and down in the earth, then you’ve no doubt seen my servant Job.” Satan, of course, had and God wanted to show Satan that his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11) were not altogether effect upon men.

Satan’s going to and fro in the earth was obviously for the purpose of doing no good, but evil. Ever since he tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, he has been working his deceitful wares upon the general populace of the world in order to bring temptation and sin to their door and into their house. He is one who is on the prowl and as a roaring lion, seeking to devour God’s children (1 Peter 5:8). Let us be vigilant against his evil ways.

Vs. 8 – God wants to know if Satan had taken knowledge of Job, who, obviously, had resistant Satan’s work and was serving God faithfully. God repeats to Satan the characteristics we find of Job in vs. 1. “blameless and upright; one who fears God and turns away from evil.” This is stated almost as an epithet. The one thing that God did mention that was not mentioned in verse 1 was that in all the earth there was none other like Job. He was a special and unique case and worthy of God’s attention and hence, Satan’s as well. When studying the rest of the book, we find why Job was truly unique. Once he knew the truth, he stuck with it tenaciously (Proverbs 23:23).

Vs. 9 – Satan’s question doesn’t place any doubt in the mind of God. Rather, Satan’s question is an accusation against Job. “He doesn’t fear you for the right reasons” is in essence what Satan is saying here. It all leads into Satan’s desire to place extraordinary temptations before Job in an effort to get him to curse God. Satan has his agenda.

Vs. 10 – Satan accuses God of placing a “hedge” (of blessing) around Job so that Job can’t help but praise and honor God. Satan’s accusation is basically one that God spoils Job and so Job, of course, loves him. It’s interesting, however, that even this is a lie. While it is true that God blessed Job, it’s never the case that spoiling a person brings gratitude and blessing from the individual spoiled. It’s more likely the case that the one spoiled, by virtue of having everything that his heart desires, becomes self-centered, selfish, and narcissistic.

Vs. 11 – Satan “tells” God to remove all of these blessings and Job will curse God. Only Satan could be so presumptuous as to make such a suggestion to God. The haughtiest of sinners on this earth would, no doubt, cower with trembling knees before his Maker. But even Satan understands that this statement of his is but a mere “request” in the sense that only God can ultimately remove His shield of protection from Job. Satan’s statement then must be regarded as no more than a mere question, (“Will you take these things away from Job and see if he will curse you to your face?”) presumptuous though it be.

But why did Satan have to ask? Why couldn’t Satan, without God’s permission, unleash his sorties of temptation against Job? God’s predisposition toward his children is to bless and protect. Try as he might, Satan cannot breach God’s defenses of his children. God does allow, however, with His permission, Satan to tempt his children. Here is at least one reason why the Christian ought always pray “lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13) and why the Christian must always resist the Devil (James 4:7). In both prayer and resistance, what temptations God does allow the Devil to throw our way may always be overcome as God doesn’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Vs. 12 – God gives Satan permission to go ahead and test Job in the way that Satan desires with one restriction: Satan was not allowed to touch Job’s person in any way. However, everything else that Job had, God placed in Satan’s hand to do as Satan desired. Here is where God remains blameless from sending these evils upon Job. God put Job’s things in Satan’s hand, but Satan still had a choice as to what to do with Job’s things. Satan could have chosen to leave Job alone. Of course, he does not, because Satan thinks he has something to prove?Satan thinks he knows more than God. Satan, however, will be the one who ultimately gets proved wrong as will ultimately be the case for eternity as well (Revelation 20:10). God, while allowing Job’s things to fall into Satan’s hands, remains righteous, holy, and pure from doing harm to Job.

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