When the Word of God is rightly divided, it sets people free. There are some scriptures that hold many people in bondage and set them up for defeat. One example is the book of Job.
Bible scholars tell us Job was around 70 years old when he experienced his test and trial and he lived another 140 years after that. They also believe this test and trial lasted about nine months. I am not trivializing what he went through, but he lived to be 210 years old, so nine months would kind of be like a “bad day.”
If you begin with a false premise that God uses trials, trouble, calamity, problems and sickness to instruct and train His children, you are going to reach a wrong conclusion.
The word translated “chasten” and “instruction” are the same Greek word- paideno—to train up a child, educate or instruct. If your definition of training, instruction and educating is the same as child abuse, then you have immediately reached the wrong conclusion about how God teaches and trains His children.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (Hebrews 12:7). If you believe God’s method of teaching and instructing His children through affliction and trouble, only Christians would be sick and have problems or trials and sinners would be excluded. But that is not true. Everyone faces problems in life. Verse 11—Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. This verse tells us that chastening produces the fruit of righteousness.
Satan tried to move God to destroy Job without cause but God would not do it.
If sickness and trials were the chastening, then the more sickness and trials you suffered, the more righteous you would become.
In Job chapter 1, we find that Job was the greatest and richest man in the east. Bible scholars tell us that his assets were worth $790,000, many servants and houses.
We also find the first mention of satan by name in the Bible. He acknowledges that it is God who has blessed Job and put up a hedge of blessing around him that kept satan from getting to him. That hedge was the Blessing of Abraham.
In verse 11, satan tried to move God to destroy Job without cause, but God would not do it.
Job 1:12, And the Lord said unto satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power (Heb.= hand); only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. Most people interpret this verse like this: “God turned Job over to the devil.” Job was already in satan’s hand and he was not even aware of it until God pointed it out to him.
So how did Job get in satan’s hand? In verses 1 and 8 of chapter 1, it says that Job was perfect and upright. The Hebrew word translated perfect means “eomplete, mature upright and sincere.” Satan acknowledged that Job was blessed by God, which included protection and increase of all his substance. So what happened?
And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually, (Job 1:4-5). Job got into fear that his children were going off the rails or something bad was going to happen to them. Consequently, he was always making sacrifices—always worrying. Job did this continually. Through fear, he unknowingly opened the door to satan and tore down the hedge.
God did not take the hedge down and He did not put Job in satan’s hand.
Compared to the access we have today to the Word of God, Job was at a real disadvantage in this test and trial:
(1) There was very little revealed about satan in the Old Testament.
(2) Job did not have the written word of God. Bible scholars tell usthat Job is the oldest book in the Bible. These events took place before the Law of Moses. He lived 140 years after these calamities, which would bring him into the period of the life of Moses.
(3) Satan’s authority in the earth was not broken and he was not defeated until Jesus went to the cross, defeated him in hell and rose from the dead. Satan had authority in the earth and he knew it. That’s why he was so cocky. In Chapter 2:2, he brazenly walks up to God and God asks him, where have you been? Satan says, going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it. Remember I Peter 5:8, [satan] walketh about, seeking whom he may devour… In Job 1:8, God asks satan, hast thou considered my servant Job…? This is the place where people will say, “God turned Job over to satan.” That is not true. The literal Hebrew says, hast thy set thine heart on my servant Job? Satan had set his heart on destroying Job and he desired to have him. Remember when Jesus said to Peter, satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. The Greek says, satan has demanded to have you. Satan demanded to have Job. Satan accused God of putting a hedge of blessing and protection around Job so he could not get to him. The Bible does not tell us, but God probably took great pleasure in telling satan, “yes, I certainly did”. Satan says, “you take the hedge down and destroy everything you’ve blessed him with and he will curse you to your face”. God did not say, “ok, I will”. God merely pointed out to satan that the hedge was already down (through Job’s fear). IN THIS SENSE, GOD DID NOT GIVE SATAN “PERMISSION”. God did put a limitation on satan that he could not kill him. SATAN DID NOT NEED TO GO TO GOD FOR PERMISSION TO ATTACK JOB AND GOD DID NOT GIVE IT TO HIM.
(4) Job was not born-again and he had no authority over satan. He did not have the written Word (the sword of the spirit) and he did not have access to the Name of Jesus.
(5) We have a better covenant with better promises. Under the New Covenant, we have Jesus in His high-priestly ministry as intercessor for us and that was not the case in the Old Covenant.
Let’s look at some of the things that happened to Job. …and the fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them…(Job 1:16). This was not the fire of God, it was the work of the devil. Just because it came from the sky does not mean it was from God. The general belief in those days was that everything that happened came from God, good or bad, and there are a lot of people that still believe that. Apparently, this was a bolt of lightning. Ephesians 2:2 refers to satan as the prince of the power of the air. Demon spirits operate in this realm and are under satan’s control. Satan uses the elements of nature to destroy. Job could not read Ephesians 2:2 to find this out. All of the bad things that happened were the work of the devil.
In Mark 4 when Jesus spoke to the storm on the Sea of Galilee and it stopped, it had to be the work of the devil or he would have been stopping the work of God. When Adam handed his authority over the earth to satan, he perverted nature to cause destruction to God’s creation.
Just because tsunamis, tornadoes and earthquakes happen, does not mean it is God’s will. Satan is perverting nature to bring destruction. In the Old Testament, God did use nature to bring judgment, but we are not living under the Old Covenant today. We are in the New Testament dispensation of grace. The born-again believer has authority in the earth and if we allow something—God allows it. This was not the case with Job. Satan had free run of the earth at that time and Job had no authority over him.
…Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brothers house and, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead…(Job 1:18-19). Here we have another situation where the elements of nature were used to destroy.
At this point, Job makes the statement…the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord, (Job 1:21). If you have ever been to a funeral, you have probably heard this scripture quoted. This was Job’s explanation of his troubles. Like many today, he erroneously attributed the work of the devil to God.
Up to this point, Job had not charged God foolishly. But after Chapter 1, he did charge God foolishly. In Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, he lists 74 different false accusations that Job made against God. Job had no way of knowing that it was satan behind all of his problems.
Here are some of the statements Job made about God: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, (Job 13:15). God was not his problem and he is not our problem either.
…he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark…he runneth upon me like a giant, (Ch.16: 12,14). It was not God, it was the devil.
…he hath set darkness in my paths, (Ch.19:8). The Bible says that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, (James 1:17).
Job 1:12 tells us that satan went forth from the presence of the Lord and proceeded with his destruction of Job’s children and possessions in verses 13-19. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand…(Job 2:6). THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT GOD PUT JOB IN SATAN’S HAND.
So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown, (Job 2:7). This is about as plain as you can get. This was the work of satan, not God.
I read in an article recently about a survey of people who call themselves Christians. 40% strongly agree that satan “is not a living being, but a symbol of evil”. An additional 19% said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. That means essentially 6 out of 10 Christians don’t believe the enemy is even real, much less that he is out to destroy their lives.
In Job’s life, satan used wicked people, atmospheric conditions and disease as the agents to kill and destroy. He continues to do the same today. Satan got an entrance into Job’s life through fear over his children and his continual sacrifices on their behalf.
You might say, “Barb, how do you know fear had anything to do with all of these things happening”? Job himself tells us. For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me, (Job 3:25).
Because I was afraid of something awful, and it arrived: what I dreaded came to me (Common English Bible).
…and my worst fears have all come true (CEV).
You will always attract the thing you are afraid of.
Do you see the spiritual connection between fear and bad things coming to you? You will always attract the thing you are afraid of. Ephesians 4:27…neither give place to the devil, (primarily in your mind and mouth). If faith is the substance of things hoped for and faith comes by hearing the word of God (Heb. 11:1, Rom.10:17), then the opposite side would also be true. Fear is the substance of things not hoped for and not desired and fear comes by hearing the words of the devil.
In Job 3:25, he was speaking his fears. Even though God had put a hedge of blessing around him, the devil had lied to him telling him he was going to lose it all. Ecclesiastes 10:8 sheds more light on this. …whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. Job’s fear broke the hedge down and a serpent bit him. GOD DID NOT TAKE THE HEDGE DOWN. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came, (Job 3:26). He continually made sacrifices for his children but did not have faith in those sacrifices.
…whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. Ecclesiastes 10:8
Remember, Job could not read the Bible and find out that satan was behind his problems. This is why it took a while for him to realize it.
In Job 6:4, he makes another false accusation against God, For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. But in verse 23, he has figured out that he is in the enemy’s hand but refers to the devil as “the mighty”. He says to his “friends”, Or, Deliver me from the enemy’s hand? Or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?
He also realizes that his mouth and words had something to do with his calamity. Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forcible are right words! (Job 6:24-25).
Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forcible are right words! (Job 6:24-25).
In Job 42, he also realizes that he spoke things he did not understand and repents before God. …therefore have I uttered that I understood not… I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes, (vs.3,6).
Job got his speech straightened out and then God reproves his “friends” for their folly. …for ye (Eliphaz and Temanite) have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job, (Job 42:7-8).
Job’s “comforters” missed it just like Job did but they did not admit it. And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before, (Job 42:10). God was accused of doing many things to Job, but this is what he really did. God is the one who blessed Job to begin with. Satan stole it, and God restored it back, double.
God is the one who gave Job riches and possessions and God is the one who restored twice what he lost.
If the Lord turned his captivity, then who had him captive? If God did not have him captive, then it had to be the devil. People will say, “But God allowed it”. At that time, satan had Adam’s authority over the earth and Job had none. God could not legally, nor physically stop these things from happening, because His Word to Adam was out. God could not break His Word or satan would have caught Him in a lie.
But as New Testament believers, Jesus has taken back Adam’s authority from satan in great conquest, and given it back to us. If we allow satan to wreak havoc on the earth, or in our lives, then God will “allow” it. If we don’t resist satan with the Word of God, then we are allowing fear to come in, we are allowing him to steal our peace of mind, or anything else we have that he wants.
II Timothy 2:26 says we must recover ourselves out of the snare of the devil.
Job did not intentionally charge God foolishly concerning his trouble. When he said, the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away… (Job 1:21), he really thought it was true. He said this and other accusations in ignorance. It is true that this statement is in the Bible, but it was not a true statement. God had it recorded for our reproof, correction and instruction, (II Timothy 3:16-17). It needs to be used for that purpose only.
The book of Job was written for our profit and instruction so that we don’t make the same mistakes.
But whoso hearkeneth unto me (wisdom) shall dwell in safety, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. Proverbs 1:33
Remember these points:
- Job was the wealthiest man of the east.
- God did not take the hedge down around Job.
- God did not give satan permission to attack Job.
- God did not put Job in satan’s hand.
- Satan had free run over the earth and Job had no authority over him.
- What Job feared, came to him.
- Job finally realized his words had something to do with it.
- God restored to Job twice the children, riches and possessions he had before satan’s attack on him. VIF