Job appears to have never been told about the exchange between God and Satan in the first 2 chapters of the book. Indeed, often our situation can be similar. We may cry out to God, “Why?”, yet the answer doesn’t seem to come to us.
We look for easy answers, don’t we? If we obey, we reason, we will be blessed. If we don’t, or if we don’t have enough faith, or if we are lukewarm, we will be punished. Does that always match reality, though?
We as Christians need refining, though. We go through the refiner’s fire (Mal 3:2-3). If we are not being prepared to be spiritual Levites to work in the temple of God in the future, then what are we being prepared for?
In the Church, I used to hear about it so much more in the Church that God does nothing without proving it, testing it. Note how He tested Abraham’s faith. Afterwards, He said, “Now I know that thou fearest God …” (Ge 22:12).
We are tested, purified, refined and sifted every day of our Christian walk.
I want to round out this look at the Book of Job from a different perspective. John MacArthur has something to say on the subject in “Delivered to Satan–Part 1”. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he makes a couple of excellent points.
Job was turned over to Satan. His possessions were given into “thy power” (Job 1:12), then later Job himself was put into “thine hand” (2:6), God told Satan.
Does that seem fair? Does that seem just? No, probably not. You want to know what really isn’t just and fair, though? Who else was put into Satan’s hand?
Now turn with me as another illustration of this to Matthew chapter 4. And I want to show you something that is equally amazing, Matthew chapter 4. Now here we find another act by which God turns over someone to Satan. And this time it’s one who is even more upright than Job, one who is even more perfect than Job, one who was utterly and absolutely and totally without sin, even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Notice Matthew chapter 4 verse 1. "Then was Jesus led up by the Spirit into the wilderness." Let up by the Spirit…Mark 1:12 says He was impelled by the Spirit. For what purpose? Notice, "For the purpose of being tempted, or tested, by the devil."
Now listen to that. God not only turned Job over to the devil, He turned Christ over to him also. That’s exactly what it says. He turned Christ over to Satan. As God put Job in Satan’s hands and proved the character of true salvation, and proved Job’s character, so God put His own beloved Son in the hands of Satan to prove His character and to show that He would not break and that He would not waver and that He would stand true as the perfect God-man.
I wonder how many modern preachers would have said Jesus was being punished because He was sinning? How many of those could have come from the Church of God? You know, I’ve heard that expressed before. Someone is enduring a trial, and if it lasts long enough, someone invariably says, “Well, you must be sinning.”
Who else is unjustly punished in the Bible? In Part 2, MacArthur says:
So, in those cases of Job, and Christ and Paul and Peter, there was a positive purpose in the sovereign plan of God. I was reading also this week about those who will suffer in the great Tribulation. In Matthew chapter 24 in verses 21 and 22 it talks about those who will suffer during the Tribulation, right before the Second Coming of Christ. In Revelation 6 it shows them crying out because they’ve been killed in that Tribulation. There will be believers deprived of food, deprived of water, deprived of a job, deprived of their lives during the Tribulation when Satan wreaks havoc all over the globe.
But when you come to those same redeemed saints in chapter 7 of Revelation, it shows them having come out of the Tribulation, having had their robes washed, having been cleansed in the blood of the Lamb and it says they are day and night forever before the throne of God praising and serving Him. And I believe what it’s saying is that there will be a whole generation of believers literally turned over to Satan’s fury unleashed in the Tribulation so that when they are delivered out of that, they will have a level of praise to God that may exceed all other redeemed generations. So, God ultimately then will receive praise from those who have suffered much because their deliverance is so great, so glorious.
I want you to turn to Revelation chapter 2, for a moment, and verse 9 and 10, the message to the church at Smyrna, to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, verse 8, these things, says the first and the last who was dead and is alive, that’s Christ. And Christ says, "I know your works, tribulation, poverty, but you’re rich." I know what you’ve been through, you’ve been through tribulation, you’ve been through poverty, I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews and are not but are the synagogue of Satan, false teachers. For none of those things which thou shalt…fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold–now look at this–the devil shall cast some of you into prison that you may be tried and you shall have tribulation ten days, that is a brief period of time, be faithful unto death and I’ll give you a crown of life.
Listen, in that little church in Smyrna, there were believers who were persecuted for the faith. They were persecuted by the devil unto death. God let the devil kill them and then rewarded them with a crown of life. God desires to reward His children and rewards most nobly those who willingly give their life in persecution.
If only those who are "Laodicean" go through tribulation, then what does that mean for Smyrna? If they were lukewarm, then how did they hold fast to the “word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Rev 6:9)? According to some people’s reasoning, Job, Peter, Paul and Jesus were all turned over to Satan because they really were lukewarm, you know.
Furthermore, those who preach about a Place of Safety and tell you that they know who will go there should study Revelation a little more.
If any man have an ear, let him hear.
He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
~ Rev 13:9-10
This is an interesting passage. When you think about it, it doesn’t even make sense. If someone takes a captive, then the just result would be for them to be taken captive, wouldn’t it? If someone kills another, then the just result would be for them to be killed, wouldn’t it? Why then would that be “the patience and faith of the saints”?
Did you know there is disagreement about how that verse should be translated?
He who has an ear, let him hear.
If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go.
If anyone is to be killed[a] with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
~ Rev 13:9-11 (NIV)
You know, maybe we should look a little harder at the Book of Job if we really think we know when, how and why people go through various trials. Otherwise, we will be like Job’s 3 friends and speak about things that anger God.