Job 1:1-8 (ESV)
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
Notice that God initiates everything. He starts the conversation with Satan and asks him where he’s been. Satan responds with, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” This has an in-your-face feel to it. He’s bragging about something. But what?
Then God brings up Job. How is that a response to Satan’s bragging?
Using Scripture to interpret Scripture, we know that this world is Satan’s kingdom (Matthew 4:8-9 & 12:26, Luke 4:6 & 11:18, John 16:11, and 1 John 5:19). He’s bragging about his freedom to wander anywhere he wants to. It’s all his. But how does Job’s uprightness counter that?
Because this all traces back to the fall in the Garden of Eden. Satan is trash-talking about his big take-over. He’s saying his victory is perfectly complete.
God’s response is like, “Well, not exactly.” This really tweaks Satan’s nose. Even a smidgen of righteousness means that Satan’s victory isn’t final. (Ha! Little does he know.)
An all-knowing God is setting up the events to come. He’s manipulating Satan.
But this means that the pain and suffering to come are all according to God’s holy purposes. It’s not “the best God could work out under the circumstances.”
God created the circumstances.
This is another lesson in humility. God’s power is not just potential power. Everything in Scripture points to God’s active presence. He’s omnipresent and perfectly attentive. When bad things happen, we want to deny God’s involvement. That’s not going to work here.
But what about the bad things in our own lives? How can they possibly be part of God’s plan?
That is the question. As you read through Job, ask God to help you see the answer.
To download a free study guide containing the first six Job devotionals, plus some discussion questions, go here: