The Many Facets of the Book of Job

Job and His Friends
Job and His Friends, Ilya Repin, 1869, Public Domain

I cannot find the source now, so I will paraphrase something I once read: When you first read the Book of Job, you get mad at Satan. The second time you read it, you get mad at Job’s three “friends”. The third time you read it, you get mad at Job and his responses. The fourth time, you realize that it started with God pointing out Job and allowing this to occur, and you get mad at God. Now, I probably have the order wrong, but you get my drift. Job is not an easy book to read and not react to. If you have read it and not responded in at least one of these ways, I would suggest you need to learn a bit about sympathy, let alone empathy, at the very least.

I believe that the Book of Job is perhaps the most underrated book in the Bible by the professing Christian world. I sometimes wonder if this neglectful attitude has infected those within the circles of the Sabbatarian Churches of God. There are so many lessons that could be drawn from that book, misunderstood by so many (and even within the Church of God, at least until recently) that it is shame because we could all, each and every one of us, benefit from those lessons.

Still, it seems that from time to time, the Book of Job comes up as a topic or subtopic, and I’ve seen a lot of this recently. If you know my interests, this should not surprise you. At one time, I had even memorized a small portion of the Book of Job, and I have lost count how many times I have read it. Each reading seems to glean a new insight on some topic or even on the book itself.

One message I heard today quoted a small part of that book, and yet it was fascinating to me that I had never considered this point before.

Satan Attacks Job’s Character

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and [a]Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to [b]Satan, “From where do you come?”

So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you [c]considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and [d]shuns evil?”

So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not [e]made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

~ Job 1:6-10 (NKJV)

So, the speaker pointed out, it is quite evident and probably jumps out at you here that God watches us (I would add cf Zec 4:10). However, what I have always missed here is that Satan watches as well. Satan knew about Job and was able to answer God in regards to him.

In one sense, this should create a sense of fear within us.

Be [a]sober, be [b]vigilant; [c]because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

~1Pe 5:8 (NKJV)

Having said that, notice I did not say we should fear Satan. After all, one of the lessons from Job is that Satan cannot do anything unless God allows it. No, we should fear God. By that I mean the biblical definition of fear. IOW, if you are doing wrong, then by all means you should have real fear, but if you are doing right, then you should still have the ultimate awe and respect for the Creator.

Job and his three friends were rather presumptuous in their attitude towards God. Job assumed that since he did what is right that God owed him something. Job’s three friends assumed Job had committed some grievous sin, and therefore he was being punished for it. Job’s three friends even pretended to speak on God’s behalf! In the end, they all learned that you cannot take God or His blessings for granted (and, might I add, don’t falsely accuse someone trying to “comfort” them).

There actually is a tie-in here, BTW, to the upcoming series on the Temptation of Jesus. One of the sins that Satan tries to get Jesus to commit is the sin of presumption.

To my main point, though, how did Satan know who Jesus was? Satan was watching Him. Satan was watching when Jesus was born, when Jesus was baptized (and God openly declared Jesus to be His Son), and Satan did not stop until Jesus was crucified.

Of course, even death did not stop Jesus. Neither will it stop us, unless we ourselves give up and turn away. However, that is where this should take us: We must be ever vigilant because Satan will look for an opportunity, any opportunity, to make us stumble and to make us quit.

One Comment

  1. Great perspective! I have often heard the emphasis of Matthew 4 being on the temptation of Jesus by Satan recounted. But the reality was that Satan started as soon as Jesus was born, because as you pointed out, he was watching him just as God was watching him.

    When Peter says that Satan is like a roaring lion (which can easily be heard, if not seen right away) looking for whoever he can devour, we know that he’s watching our relationship with God and the word of God and he’s watching those thoughts, attitudes, motives and decisions we make continually to see where the chinks in our armor are, where our flesh is weak, where he can attack most successfully.

    Lions stalk their prey to find out where and when they are most vulnerable. They are patient (Satan, I believe, not so much, which is why he roars, giving us the spiritual heads up that we need to run away from whatever is momentarily tempting us and run to to God for help and protection). When the time is optimal (the prey doesn’t know it, just as sometimes we don’t know it or are oblivious to it), they attack.

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