Job had just experienced the ultimate bad day. His livelihood, his possessions, his means of sacrifice, and all ten of his children had been taken. Yet, still, Job worshiped God and did not charge him with wrong.
You’d think Satan would have been frustrated for losing, ashamed for being shown up, or, at the very least, humbled by his wrong inferences and assumptions of Job in the presence of God.
But not quite. In fact, not even a little bit. Satan is relentless in all his evil works. He is never ashamed and his pride will not be broken by any flaw or failure. Win, lose, or draw, Satan and his children only persist constantly in folly and destruction.
Consider what Satan says to God after his initial plans to prove Job a fake backfire.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And 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.” 3 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? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” 4 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” 6 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”~Job 2:1-6
The first thing I notice is how unashamed Satan is in being wrong. He goes right back in among the worshipers of God, as well as into the presence of God himself as though he is one of them. But God knows he’s an intruder.
Therefore, God asks where he’s been. Notice that Satan never gives a straight answer. There is no confession, no apology – not even a trace of backpedaling despite the fact that he and his evil accusations had clearly been wrong about Job. He admits nothing and no truth is ever spoken from his lips concerning his mistakes. All we find Satan speaking is more lies and displaying more pretend innocence – even in the face of utter defeat.
Instead of admitting fault, confessing to God his wrong assumptions, accusations, or just giving a straight answer about where he’d been, Satan rails some more and contends with God saying he’d not taken enough from Job to really injure him and cause his faith to fail. So God allows Satan to take Job’s health away.
What kind of God does that?! Really!
I mean hadn’t Job proved himself already? Hadn’t his faith been tested quite vigorously? Is this God never satisfied? Is he in some cosmic peeing match with Satan at the expense of humanity? These are questions we have to ask if we’re going to be honest with the text. What the heck is going on here?
We find the answer in Christ.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. ~Hebrews 5:8
Christ. Learned. Obedience. The God-man who was perfect in every way and never sinned learned obedience by what he suffered. So it is with Job. So it is with us. So it is with every child of God. As hard as it is to believe, God means our suffering for good. Satan is simply an intruder who is pride-filled and foolish enough to believe the ultimate end of suffering will be bad for us. He doesn’t realize that’s only true for him and his children, not God’s. That’s what’s really going on here.
Therefore, no matter what trial life brings, let us not despair. May we endure and persevere knowing that it is because we are the beloved children of God simply learning to obey perfectly. God help us as we learn.
“We do not learn by inference and deduction and the application of mathematics to philosophy, but by direct intercourse and sympathy.” ~ Richard Nixon