Job Lesson Two
The Most Righteous Man of the East Is Attacked by Satan.
Job, the greatest of all the people of the East (1:1—5)
There was a man whose name was Job . . .
His righteousness and faith were legendary. The prophet Ezekiel considered Job to be one of the most righteous men on earth, along with Noah and Daniel (Ezekiel 14:14). He was very wealthy, and he used his wealth to help those in need. He prayed for his ten children each morning, to protect them from sin that would turn them away from God. God saw his exemplary lifestyle and was pleased with His servant Job.
God allows Satan to test Job (1:6—12)
The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) translates the “sons of God” as “angels.” Satan was among them. He is the adversary of God and of Job, as well as of all Christians. From the beginning, his aim was to destroy all followers of God. His supreme failure was his inability to destroy Jesus on the cross; now his purpose is to eliminate the Church, all followers of Jesus Christ.
Today we know that Satan was behind all the calamities and unbearable suffering that Job endured. But Job did not know this, nor did his three friends who later came to console him. Job was unaware of Satan’s activity to destroy him.
Satan was never in control of Job’s life. God was in total control. He took the initiative and asked Satan if he had ever considered His servant Job, that “there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” (1:8)
It is important to remember, as we study the Book of Job, how God described Job as a man who had the “fear of the Lord.” A person who has the fear of the Lord turns away from sin and evil and turns toward God. He hates what God hates, sin; and loves what God loves. Job himself understood the fear of the Lord and later says, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.” (28:28) Later, after Job has recovered from Satan’s attacks and repented of his sins, we will see the beauty of the fear of the Lord in his life, as the prophet Malachi described it in Malachi 3:16—4:3.
But God allows even those who have the fear of the Lord to be tested by Satan. The Lord allowed Satan to cause Job to suffer, but not to kill Job. So it becomes clear here in the first chapter that God was not punishing Job. Even today we tend to blame our suffering on God. We blame Him for catastrophes of nature, or plagues like the covid-19 virus, or other acts of evil. However, to fully understand God’s purpose in allowing Satan to punish Job so fully, we must remember that God had a higher purpose for Job, that would be fulfilled through suffering, which He would reveal at the end. We know the promise of Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 NASB) As we study the Book of Job, we will discover the beauty of what it means for God to work all things for good. God had already predestined for Job that he would “become conformed to the image of His Son!” (Romans 8:29 NASB) It will be helpful to remember Paul’s words in Romans 8:28-29 as we continue our study of Job.
Satan attacks and Job responds (1:13—22)
Satan destroyed Job’s family by removing his wealth and causing the deaths of his seven sons and three daughters.
How did Job respond? He responded to the greatest tragedy he could have imagined, by the greatest act of faith. He fell on the ground and worshiped God! (1:20) “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (1:21) Job did not sin with his words, and he did not accuse God of doing something wrong. Later, we will see that Job’s response would confuse his three friends, for he did not fit into their orthodox theological framework.
Job’s friends’ attitude is echoed in other wisdom literature. The Psalms tell us that if we trust in the Lord and do good, He will give us the desires of our heart. They promise that God will protect the faithful and punish the evil ones. But even in the Psalms, or other wisdom literature, we discover that God does not always follow a rigid orthodox pattern on blessing His people. He sometimes allows them to suffer. God never works outside His character, but He sometimes “works outside the box of rigid theology.”
Satan’s Final Attack (2:1—10)
Satan’s final attack is on both Job and his wife. We can see from this final attack that Satan is not only a murderer; he is also the father of lies. He complains to God that Job still holds fast to his integrity, “although You incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” (2:3) God never gave Satan the power to destroy Job; He only says, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” (2:6)
Satan attacked Job’s body with boils, and became disfigured to the extent that his three friends could not even recognize him when they met him. Like the psalmist in Psalm 39, Job saw that his lifetime was as nothing before God. But in all these things Job did not sin with his mouth.
Satan attacked Job’s wife by tempting her to tell Job to curse God and die. But we will see at the end that Job’s wife also was restored along with Job.
Job’s Three Friends (2:11—13)
Job’s three friends heard of Job’s suffering and came to offer him sympathy and comfort. They may have come from several different countries, since their nationalities are described here in chapter two. When they saw him they couldn’t recognize him, and they wept aloud. They sat down with Job on the ground for seven days and seven nights, and “no one spoke a word to him!” This was their greatest gift to Job, sitting in the stillness of God with him. They did not speak until Job spoke. They must have prayed for Job, for all prayer begins with silence in God’s presence. We will see later that God was with them; He blessed them, through the silence of His presence. God was silent; they were silent. God was with them.
Job’s Lament (3:1—26)
Until now, Job has not spoken words of complaint. He has expressed his trust in God in spite of his suffering. But he is full of painful emotions, and he has found no relief in silence. So he opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. His first words were “Let the day perish on which I was born.” (3:3)
Take some time now, here in chapter 3, to observe the great power of poetic expression that we will see throughout the book. Understanding the majestic poetic expressions, in our minds and in our hearts, will enable us to understand Job more deeply, and perhaps to even identify with him in some respects. As is true of all poetry, it should be read aloud. Take time now to read verses 1-10 aloud, slowly, with expression.
Job wonders aloud why God did not just let him die at birth. His big question is “why.” Why was I born to suffer? Why does God not allow those in terrible agony and suffering to die?
In 3:24-26, Job describes his condition. The two most essential elements for life, bread and water, have been replaced by his sighs. He says that the thing he fears has come upon him. Remember, he prayed each day for his children that no danger would come upon them. Perhaps he feared that one day a great calamity would come upon his family. Whatever he feared has now come upon him. Job is in utter despair, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Death is the only answer. But notice that he does not curse God; he curses the day he was born.
Some things to consider
1. How does the knowledge that Satan was never in control of Job’s life, but rather God was in total control, help you as you seek to understand the suffering of Job?
2. Have you ever experienced Satan’s attacks on your life, your family, or your ministry? If so, to what degree? Can you remember how you prayed? How did you overcome these attacks?
3. What is your first impression of Job’s three friends? What do you think happened in the seven days and seven nights of silence?