Job was a good man. God trusted him. Day by day he offered sacrifices for his sons. "It may be that my sons have sinned," he said. Job. 1:5. He was prosperous and enjoyed the blessing of God. Then came "a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them." Verse 6, A conversation is recorded between the Lord and Satan that concerned Job. The Lord says that Job is a good man, which Satan does not deny, but urges that Job is God-fearing merely because it pays him to be so. He states that if God will take away His mercies, Job will curse God. The statement is in the form of a challenge, and God accepts it. Satan is given permission to take away Jobís property and otherwise to cause him sorrow, but not to touch Job himself, Satan immediately proceeds to do what he is permitted to do. Jobís property is all swept away, and his children are killed.
When this happened, "Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, Naked came I out of my motherís womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." Job 1:20-22.
Satan is defeated, but he makes another attempt. At the next meeting with the Lord, without admitting defeat, he claims that he had not been permitted to touch Job himself. If he had, he claims, Job would have sinned. The statement is again a challenge, and God accepts it. Satan is given permission to torment Job but not to take his life. He immediately departs on his mission.
All that the evil one can do, Satan does to Job. But Job stands fast. His wife counsels him to give up, but he does not waver. Under intense physical pain and mental anguish he remains steadfast. Again it is recorded that Job stood the test. "In all this did not Job sin with his lips." Job 2:10. Satan is defeated and does not appear any more in the book.
In the succeeding chapters in the book of Job we are given a little insight into the struggle going on in Jobís mind. He is greatly perplexed. Why has all this calamity come upon Him? He is not conscious of any sin. Why, then, should God afflict him? He, of course, does not know of the challenge of Satan. Neither does he know that God is depending upon him in the crisis through which he is passing. All he knows is that out of a clear sky disaster has come upon him till he is left without family or property, and with a loathsome disease that nearly overwhelms him. He does not understand, but he retains his integrity and faith in God. This God knew he would do. This Satan said he would not do. In the challenge God won.
Humanly speaking, Job had not deserved the punishment that came to him. God Himself says it was without cause. "Thou movedst Me against him, to destroy him without cause." Job 2:3. The whole experiment can therefore be justified only by considering it as a specific test devised for a specific purpose. God wanted to silence Satanís charge that Job served God only for profit. He wanted to demonstrate that there was at least one man whom Satan could not control. Job suffered as a result of it, but there seemed to be no other way. A reward was afterward given him.
Jobís case is recorded for a purpose. While we grant its historicity, we believe that it has also a wider meaning. Godís people in the last days will pass through an experience similar to Jobís. They will be tested as he was; they will have every earthly stay removed; Satan will be given permission to torment them. In addition to this the Spirit of God will be withdrawn from the earth, and the protection of earthly governments removed. Godís people will be left alone to battle with the powers of darkness. They will be perplexed, as was Job. But they, as did he, will hold fast their integrity.
In the last generation God will stand vindicated. In the remnant Satan will meet his defeat. The charge that the law cannot be kept will be met and fully refuted. God will produce not only one or two who keep His commandments, but a whole group, spoken of as the 144,000. They will reflect the image of God fully. They will have disproved Satanís accusation against the government of heaven.
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