Matthew 3:1-6

Please open your Bibles to Matthew 3:1-6

Having testified concerning Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecy in his birth, Matthew now moves on to Jesus years of ministry. Matthew begins at this point in the history of Jesus life because the critical years of Jesus life were from the time of his baptism to the time of his ascension. It was these years that the apostles required one to witness in order for Judas successor to be named (Acts 1:22). These were the years in which Jesus ministry began, in which he taught the gospel, and in which he gave his life to redeem the sins of man. Jesus’ teaching and actions in those years were the things the apostles were to pass on to others in their work and ministry.

In chapter two, Matthew introduces us to the herald of the King and the coming kingdom. Matthew then shows that the herald recognized his King and that God also testified that Jesus was the King upon the occasion of Jesus’ baptism.

Vs. 1 – What are “those days?” Likely the days in which Jesus was still living in the city of Nazareth. Matthew fast forwards through time here in order to bring us past the intervening years of Jesus’ life to begin discussion of Jesus’ ministry. We have no reason to believe that beyond the events that surrounded his birth that Jesus had a childhood unlike any other, saving that he committed no sin.

John the Baptizer is more accurate than John the Baptist. John was not a “Baptist” or a member of any other denomination for that matter. He was described as “a baptizer” because that is what he did. He baptized. Modern day Baptists (the denomination) gain no credibility by pointing to John’s description here and claiming it as their title. The church that belongs to Christ ought to have that right and proper name by which her Lord and Savior would be honored (Matthew 16:18, Romans 16:16, Ephesians 5:23) and so ought her members to carry the name of Christ, Christian (Acts 11:26).

Luke tells us that John was Jesus’ cousin by birth of Mary’s sister, Elizabeth. John’s father, Zacharias, was a priest and John’s birth was surrounded by unusual events as was Jesus’. One may read Luke 1 to learn of those things. John was approximately six months older than Jesus, at least, in human age.

Matthew tells us that John “came preaching.” The word for “preaching” here is from the Greek word kerusso and signifies ringing out a message so that all may hear. John was the first to herald forth the message that God’s kingdom was soon coming.

John preached this message in the desert area of Judea somewhere near where the Jordan comes into the Dead Sea. This area, while not completely devoid of human life, was, and is fairly barren. That’s not to say that it was a desert of sand, but a wilderness of scrub brush, boulders, and wild animals (Mark 1:13).

Vs. 2 – Here is the message that John preached. Repentance is a change of mind that results in reformation of life. Repentance is not a mere acknowledgment of sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:9,10), but a willingness to make permanent change in one’s life. John’s message was that the Jewish people needed to change from their sinful ways because the kingdom of heaven was coming. The kingdom of heaven does not admit those who revel in sin (Galatians 5:19-21). One must repent of sin and be forgiven before becoming one of its citizens (Acts 2:38).

Vs. 3 -The Jewish people knew of John and his ministry. They all went out to hear him (Matthew 3:5). The Jewish leaders recognized that the people believed John to be a prophet (Matthew 11:32). However, there was some confusion as to what John’s purpose as a prophet was among them. Some even went so far as to confuse him with Jesus (Matthew 16:14). Here, Matthew makes it plain that John was Jesus herald as predicted by Isaiah. The prophecy is found in Isaiah 40:3-5. Not only then did John’s ministry bear record of his divine approval, but also the prophetic record.

In Matthew’s day and age, a herald was one who would go ahead of the king to whatever city or town the king was about to enter and proclaim that the king was coming and for the city to make everything ready for his arrival. The herald would also ensure that appropriate engineering was accomplished to level the hills and fill in the ditches so that the king would have a smooth and easy journey to conduct his business. In parallel, then, this was John’s great work; to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus as Messiah; to tear down the hills of impenitence and disobedience, to fill in the valleys of indifference and apathy, to call the people back to considering the right ways of the Lord. And so John did indeed prepare and when the Lord appeared, he testified as to His presence. The King is here!

Vs. 4 – John wore a coat of crude camel’s hair, but not the fine hairs used in today’s manufacture. He wore a leathern girdle. The same was said of Elijah (2 Kings 1:8). This was fitting for the one who came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17). He ate locusts which were more similar to our modern day grasshoppers than to what we in the United States style as locusts. Honey also was his food. He gleaned it from wild bees.

John wore only the essential things that he needed to wear; no fancy fineries of which the Sanhedrin afforded themselves (Matthew 23:5). He ate only what he needed to sustain his life. What privations John endured to serve his God! His sacrifice reminds us of those great heroes of faith discussed in Hebrews 11:32-40. Here is a great lesson to us all regarding self-sacrifice for the sake of God’s kingdom.

Vs. 5-6 – Certainly thousands, perhaps millions, came to hear John preach, even publicans (Luke 3:12) soldiers (Luke 3:14) and the religious leaders of the day (Matthew 3:7). Even so, we should regard these verses as an example of hyperbole because not all of these were baptized of John. The Pharisees were not (Luke 7:30). Verses five and six comprise one sentence the subject of which is Jerusalem, Judea, and the region. Additionally, this is a compound sentence with two predicates. The subject of the first sentence acts as both the subject of the first and second predicate. Hence, since we know that not everyone was baptized of John, we ought not to interpret these verses literally, but as an example of hyperbole. Luke 7:29 tells us what category of listeners were obedient to John’s message of baptism, namely, the common people. John’s words were God’s counsel (Luke 7:30). Rejection of God’s counsel only served to condemn one’s self. Would the situation be any different today in regard to Christian baptism?

The apostle John tells us that John baptized in the river Jordan because there was “much water” (John 3:23). The Greek word baptizo means to dip or to plunge. The verb is in the imperfect tense here indicating repetition of the act among all of the numerous people who came. “Confessing” is also in the imperfect tense indicating the near simultaneous occurrence of these two actions. They would confess and be baptized, confess and be baptized, confess and be baptized, one after the other.

This was no mere sprinkling or pouring of water upon the heads of those who came. They were submerged beneath the Jordan and subsequently came up “out of the water” (Matthew 3:16). They confessed their sins because it was a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 3:3). Thus, it required fruits that were suitable for repentance (Luke 3:8). Hence John required them to confess their sins prior to their being baptized to show their repentance and make them proper candidates for baptism. John’s baptism is similar to Christian baptism in this regard, but not the same in that it looked forward to the coming Messiah. Christian baptism looks back. See Acts 19:1-7.

This is the second time we have come across the word “sin” in our study. The first was in Matthew 1:21 in reference to Jesus’ mission. Here we find it in reference to confession and the act of baptism. It is no coincidence. Both the shedding of Christ blood (Matthew 26:28) and baptism (Acts 2:38) are said to be “for the remission of sins.” It is appropriate that Matthew so associate the two early in his account.

Sin is the problem with which Jesus dealt. It is here represented as prohibiting those who have it in their lives from entering the coming kingdom (Matthew 3:2). Jesus solves the problem of man’s sin through forgiveness and instruction. Jesus purchased the opportunity for all men to be forgiven when he gave his blood on the cross (Matthew 26:28). Forgiveness is then offered to the sinner based upon the sinner’s repentance and obedience (Acts 5:31,32). Instruction then takes over in the life of the Christian in an effort to prevent him from continuing in a life of sin (Romans 6:1,12,13). This is not to say that the Christian won’t ever sin (1 John 1:8-10). It is, however, to say that God intends to reduce the amount of sin a Christian may commit through teaching him not to sin and to warn the Christian regarding the dangers of deliberately committed sin (Hebrews 10:26). Why is sin so terrible? Because it is that which separates man from God (Isaiah 59:2) and which will ultimately condemn man to a Devil’s hell (Romans 6:23). How fortunate we are to have a High Priest who has been touched with the feeling of our infirmities, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15)! He has thus architected our salvation, but not without our own obedience (Hebrews 5:9).

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Job 2:7-13

Please open your Bibles to Job 2:7-13.

Vs. 7-8 – Satan unleashes his second sortie against Job afflicted Job with a terrible disease. From the various descriptions of Job’s condition in the book (Job 2:8; 7:4-5; 13:14; 13:28; 16:16; 16:8; 17:1; 19:20; 19:26; 30:17; 30:30), it has been strongly suggested that this was not “boils” as the Authorized Version renders it, but rather a case of Black Leprosy. The disease produces swelling in the limbs, itching, flaking of the skin, a change in color of the skin and intense pain. Those who have it are described as appearing like Elephants or Lions; hence another name for the disease is Elephantiasis or Leontiasis. We know that this disease changed Job’s physical appearance because his friends were not able to recognize him (Job 2:12). Not a single part of Job’s body was unaffected by this disease. The text says that he was infected from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Not a single part of him could find rest from this disease (Job 3:26; 30:17).

Job then took a piece of broken pottery (also acting as an instrument for scratching), to scrape away the epidermal remnants of the diseased and infected skin. Job 7:5 describes the condition as a continual cycle of the skins decay, hardening, and then breaking out once again. Sitting in ashes was a common method of mourning whether for others or for one’s self (see 2 Samuel 13:9; Ezekiel 27:30; Jonah 3:6).

Vs. 9-10 – Job’s wife enters the picture and does a little work for Satan. Instead of offering comforts to her husband as a good wife would do, she questions whether he ought to remain faithful and suggest that he simply “curse God and die” instead of enduring through such grief. This, of course, was exactly what Satan wanted Job to do (1:11) and we learn that even unwitting people are often tools of Satan’s evil.

Her question was in regard to Job’s integrity, particularly, the statement that Job had made in 1:21, “blessed be the name of the Lord.” Evidently Job’s wife doesn’t believe that after this second round of affliction that Job need hold fast to such a statement. Her conclusion was that Job should simply curse God and then die. Some have suggested that Job’s wife’s words were uttered in a fit of despair herself having recently lost her children as well as all that her husband had to provide for her comforts. While that was the case, such a loss never justifies blasphemy against God. Job, knowing this, was wise. Job’s wife on the other hand was foolish and so Job charges her as being such. Herein lies one of the great lessons of the book of Job, namely, that regardless what comes our way in life, God is always holy, righteous, and good and never merits curse from His creation but always blessing (Psalm 145:10, 21).

Job’s question regarding receiving “evil” from God doesn’t necessarily imply moral evil (Psalm 5:4), but rather, terrible calamities. Does God bring this kind of evil upon the sinful? Yes, he does; Lamentations 3:38, 39 so states. But while Job recognizes that he hasn’t sinned to the degree that this particular evil should befall him, he doesn’t recognize that this is not God’s doing, but Satan’s. Hence, Job will eventually desire an audience with God for God to hear Job’s plea and for God to take away Job’s afflictions.

Job’s confession here is something to think about. Ought we to expect God to rain down blessings upon us from the day of our birth to the end of our life with no opportunity to experience suffering, toil, anguish, pain, and misery of any kind? No. The world in which we live is not so made. But rather, it is designed to try us and purify us for the purpose of one day living within God’s presence (1 Peter 1:7).

Even with the temptation of Job’s wife coming upon him, Job continued in his integrity and did not sin, at least up to this point. The expression “with his lips” is simply another way of saying that God didn’t commit the sin of blasphemy. This he never does throughout his ordeal. However, the question of whether Job sinned later in his dialogues with his friends and his monologue with God is a question that we will take up later in our study. Suffice it to say that many commentators believe that Job did commit a sin, though not to the degree that Job’s friends sinned.

Vs. 11-13 – Job’s friends hear about his horrible situation and come to give him comfort. Eliphaz means “God is his strength.” Bildad means “son of contention.” Zophar may mean “leap” or “crown” or “rising early;” dictionaries disagree. While Bildad’s name certainly appears to be apropos, we need not suppose that these names have any special significance in relationship to the meaning of the text. Neither do the places from which Job’s friends come play a significant role in the text. They are mentioned in this context primarily to assert the historical nature of Job’s sufferings. Here was a real man who had real friends who came from real places. While the text says that they came to give Job sympathy and comfort, they were ill prepared for what they would find, both from the sight of Job and also for providing words that would soothe his sorrowing spirit. Job later refers to them as “physicians of no value” (13:4) and “miserable comforters” (16:2). Job then says that if he were in their shoes that he wouldn’t behave in the way that they did toward him (16:4,5).

Job’s friends don’t recognize him because of his disease (see comments on verse seven above). They too engage in behavior typical of the mourning Arab (see comments on 1:20). They then proceeded to simply sit with Job and not speak a word for a period of seven days and nights. This Job found to be more comforting than when they in fact did speak (see Job 6:14-30 and 13:5). The Proverbs state that even a fool appears wise when he doesn’t speak (Proverbs 17:28). It is good to value this lesson.

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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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