If I asked you what you knew about the book of Job, could you tell me what it is about? Many people know about this story only by what they have heard preachers say and what they learned in Sunday school about it. But do you know the TRUE story of Job?
The only verse that anyone seems to be able to quote from the book of Job is;
Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
You would think that this verse constitutes the entire book of Job since it seems to be the only thing that people get out of it. They conclude that it was God's will to take everything away from Job. They lay the blame for the death of his family, the destruction of all of his possessions and the sickness in his body all squarely on the shoulders of God Almighty.
Right off the bat I would like to clarify something; Yes God told Satan that all that Job had was in his power. Did that mean that it wasn't before? In the garden the devil had deceived man out of dominion over his own life by his lust. So was God giving the devil power over his life at that time or making the statement that the devil already had power over his life? The point was the devil by implication had not even paid any attention to Job yet because God asked him if he had considered Job. The bible says the devil is the accuser of the brethren and apparently the devil had been accusing everyone else to God so God presented Job to the devil. God must have been very proud of Job's faith to present him to the devil as an example of service. I can just imagine the conversation; God says,"Yes there are a lot of people doing evil on earth but what about Job? He is upright and worships and serves me with all of his might." God was obviously bragging on Job to Satan. So Satan assesses Job's life and notices that GOD had put a hedge of protection around him so that he couldn't touch him. What would that hedge be? The bible doesn't describe the hedge but one would probably imagine that it was an angel or angels that watched over Job to protect him.
The challenge is then waged. If God were to stop protecting Job and let Satan do what he wants to him Job would turn his back on God. Job was not born of the Spirit so he was under complete control of the devil at this point. God had to let the devil have access to Job because of justice. It would not be just to protect a guilty man. Job was guilty because he was the child of Adam and Eve and was born in sin just as we are. At this point Job had no savior. God did set limits on Satan, however. Notice it was God again that was protecting Job's life against the devil.
In this early exchange between God and the devil we can ascertain that God was protecting Job and setting limits on Satan. It is the same with us. God protects us and holds the devil back from destroying us but now it is according to our faith in the name of Jesus Christ not our works like it was for Job. If we have faith God is just to protect us.
Keep in mind that at this point the devil has decided to attack Job to prove to God that Job will stop serving God if everything he has is taken away. So it is the devil that brings all of the calamity on Job, not God according to scripture.
Satan first puts it in the minds of the Sabeans to steal Job's oxen and donkeys and to kill all of his servants with the sword. Then he sends a fire and burns up Job's sheep and the servants that were tending them. The messengers blame God for this as well. Next the Chaldeans came and stole all of Job's camels and killed the servants that were there. As if that was not enough the devil sent a strong wind to blow on the house where Job's children were and caused it to fall in on them and to kill all of his children.
After all of this Job makes the statement we quoted earlier. He basically stated that God had caused all of this to happen to him but the bible says that by saying this he had not sinned against God nor charged him foolishly. I believe this is Job's trust in God knowing that God is sovereign over all. Job was submitting his life to God and putting his entire life in God's hands.
Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. He was not foolish in saying these things because it was true that everything he had was in the hands of Satan because Adam had given up the dominion over creation to him and God allowed it because of the sin of Adam.
Again after all of this God presented Job to Satan as someone who still maintained his integrity regardless of what had happened in his life. Again the devil says, "Yes but a man will give all that he has to save his own life." So God tells Satan that all that Job has is in his (Satan's) hands but he restrained him from taking his life. Again we see God protecting Job and Satan attacking him. We see next that the devil smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. He could not kill him, however, because God had already commanded him not to. Notice again that the sickness that came on Job was from Satan not God.
After all of this Job becomes understandably depressed and begins to mourn even his very life saying it would have been better to have never been born. Have you ever felt like this?
Throughout most of the rest of the book of Job we read that Job's friends are blaming him for all of the misfortune. They keep telling him that it is because he has done some evil against God and so God is punishing him. They keep telling him to repent to God so God will stop punishing him. Wow. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
Job's friends go on and on and on nagging Job about what sin he must have committed to have gotten so much punishment from God. I believe they nagged him into defending himself. So Job begins to justify himself before his friends. He also appears to eventually begin to agree with his friends that God was doing all of this evil to him. He begins to accuse God saying that he did not deserve that much punishment. Then he begins to expound on all of the good things that he has done. It becomes clear that he begins to commend himself too much which manifests clearly what his real weakness was. It was pride.
So God ends up in the end of the book rebuking Job for his foolish statements about all that he had done. God asks him where he was at creation. It is clear in the end of the book that Job was incorrect in the things he was accusing God of and so were his friends. God had not brought this evil on Job but Job's own pride allowed the devil to attack him. Sin gives the devil a foothold over all people and Job's pride was the sin that caused God to have to allow all of this evil on Job. Still God knew that Job had a heart for Him, the devil did not.
In summary lets list the things that are in the devil's power in this story:
Etc. Etc. Etc.
What was God's role in this story? He was Job's protector and deliverer. In the end he turned around what the devil had done to Job and blessed Job with twice as much as he had before. This story clearly teaches that if we maintain our faith in God, He is trustworthy and will protect and deliver us. This is EXACTLY what Job knew.