Did you ever hear about the testimonies at church where people would say, “The devil’s been on my back all week…bless His holy name…”
Or hear sermons about how Satan can’t touch us?
I’ve told my kids that we have Jesus and that we’re safe. At night, if they’re scared, I tell them no harm can come to them here…we have angels around us and God is watching over us.
This is true…
But harm can come to us.
Horrific things happen every day to people who trust God.
Do you ever feel like you are being bombarded with one thing after the other? It happens to all of us.
We are tested.
Let’s go to the book of Job. Did you know that Satan had to get permission from God to mess with Job?
Job 1:6-12 (NIV)
6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.
7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.
10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
If you’re not familiar with the rest of the book, disaster strikes everywhere Job turns. He loses everything, his children, his cattle, his servants…
Everyone is gone, except his wife.
When Job finds out he has lost it all…
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
21 And said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
The Bible doesn’t say how much time passed~ it just says another day~ but the whole scenario happens again with Satan swaggering to God that he’s roaming around the earth. Again God brings up Job, who is still walking blameless and with integrity.
4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life.
5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.
8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
Can you imagine anything worse? While grieving and trying to get through it, Job is covered with painful sores…every inch of him. It actually does get worse: His wife turns on him and says, “Curse God and die!”
Job wishes he could. His three friends come and try to philosophize about why this is all happening to him. There must really be sin in his life for God to do such a thing to him. They all take their turns telling him what is wrong with him.
Job tells them they are miserable comforters. (Job 16:2)
Throughout the book, when Job can get a word in edgewise with his “friends,” he pleads with God to hear his case. He doesn’t mince words. He gets angry. He feels alone. He feels like God has disappeared from him forever…that he’s been rejected. Later, he remembers how wonderful his life was…when he had God’s favor.
Finally, around chapter 32, his three friends hear his side of the story and realize he truly is blameless before God. A younger man, Elihu, has come on the scene somewhere along the way and he finally speaks truth to Job. It takes him a while to get it all out. Chapters 32-37, Elihu refutes what the other three have said and talks of the awesomeness of God.
Then God speaks. In Job 38 and 39, God doesn’t mince words. You should read these chapters when you’re questioning God’s ways. Here
is a preview:
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-
7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?
When Job speaks to God again, it is with a contrite heart.
1 Then Job replied to the LORD :
2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
God continues to speak to Job through chapter 42 and then tells Job’s 3 friends that He is angry with them for misprepresenting Him. He asks Job to pray for them and tells them He will accept Job’s prayer so they will not have to pay for their mistake.
Then Job was blessed even greater the latter part of his life than ever before. He had tons more sheep, oxen, camels, and donkeys. He had 7 sons and three of the most beautiful daughters in the land…coincidentally, Job gave his daughters an inheritance, along with his sons. I like that about him. Among other things. He lived 140 years after his tests and died old and happy.
There are always so many questions for me when I read about Job. I usually have more questions than answers, but a few things always stand out…
Satan had to ask permission to touch Job.
God sets the boundaries for how far Satan can go in ruining Job.
Job is allowed to rant, rave, and be angry.
God still says Job did the right thing.
While I used to lament the fact that Job lost his first family…who would want a second family after losing the first? Now that I’ve lived a little, I know how it is to lose someone and I know how it is to be grateful for what you have when you’re left standing. I can’t even imagine the pain, but I think by the time he got through it, he was just happy to be alive.
I think Job came face to face with God and recognized his own smallness.
He was grateful.
So what do I tell my children when they are scared, knowing that something actually could happen some day…something actually will happen that isn’t good? I still tell them God is with us and we have angels around us, protecting us day and night. I tell them to trust God. He is the only one who knows best.
I pray for that hedge that Satan mentioned to God and that God won’t let Satan touch us. I figure if Satan knew about the hedge, it must be powerful…because Satan sure doesn’t know everything…bless his silly, puny little name.
What are your thoughts on this story and how does it relate to us?