Satan was probably minding his own business. As a matter of fact, when asked by the LORD “Whence comest thou?” he replied, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7, KJV). But the LORD did not stop there. His next question to Satan was one that Christians everywhere are probably familiar with: “Hast thou considered my servant Job that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (v.8).
The events following this interaction are acutely detailed in the Old Testament book of Job. Some believe this to be the oldest book in the Bible; God allowing man a glimpse into the unfolding of the drama behind evil and suffering, especially in the lives of some of His people. A glimpse that not only shows Him initiating events, but in His sovereignty allowing Satan limited room to orchestrate those events. The question, “Hast thou considered my servant Job?” is profound. Job, whom God described as “a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil,” was doing His best to serve the LORD. Yet, God not only saw it fit to bring him to Satan’s attention, but to later remove His hedge of protection from around him (vv. 12; 2:6) for him to be afflicted with seemingly incomprehensible and unjustifiable suffering.
Interestingly, in his second discussion with Satan regarding Job, the LORD not only asked the same question, but added “and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause?” (2:3). For standing firm, Job was “rewarded” with more affliction. With God’s permission, Satan “smote [him] with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown” (2:7). Despite the challenge from his wife to “curse God and die” – a somewhat understandable cry of bitter disappointment with God – the writer tells us, “In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (v. 10).
What does all of this have to do with us, especially those who are serving the LORD faithfully? Good question! What if He brought you to Satan’s attention? Could you be Job? What if He has already brought you to Satan’s attention? The trials and tribulations you are going through testifying to God’s temporary removal of His protective hedge. Can you be Job in the midst of your afflictions? Three observations from the narrative that should help us on our journey: 1) The LORD was always in control of the situation. Satan could do nothing without His permission; 2) Satan was limited by the LORD in what He could do to Job; 3) Job’s faith in God and God’s faith in Job were both vindicated and God gave him double for his trouble.
“Hast thou considered my servant Job?” Replace Job’s name with yours. Could God trust you to remain faithful amidst very challenging circumstances the way He trusted Job?