Today: [Job Eighteen] Does God Ever Collude with Satan to Bring Suffering into Your Life? In this chapter Bildad, one of Job’s comforters does at last suggest that a demon (in his view) is involved in Job’s suffering. Yet for all the remarks made by Bildad and his friends they insist that it is God authoring all of Job’s difficulties. So does this mean that they believe that God colludes with Satan to plague men on occasion? Is this true? If God brings or allows suffering does he actually cooperate with Satan to bring it about?
[Job 18:1-21 KJV] 1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, 2 How long [will it be ere] ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak. 3 Wherefore are we counted as beasts, [and] reputed vile in your sight? 4 He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place? 5 Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. 6 The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him. 7 The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down.
After Job openly ridicules his comforters in the previous chapter Bildad speaks up further deriding the suffering protagonist of our narrative. Each of the comforters at this point when they counter Job’s words begin with “when you will be quiet?”. They don’t want to hear what Job has to say. They are in love with the sound of their own voice and Job is in their view interrupting their stellar oratory of just why Job is suffering in the first place.
In verse 3 Bildad challenges Job’s opinion of himself and his friends asking “are we just beasts, to you?” To which Job could have replied “it isn’t about YOU!” Many times when suffering comes people around you will be more focused on how your trial affects them in view of the fact that they are their favorite people. After all Elipaz, Bildad and Zophar took time away from their own affairs to come and sit with Job for many days in order to purportedly help their ignorant suffering friend.
You will experience this in your lifetime very possibly. You will be under pressure and struggling with difficult problems. Your friends and loved ones will show up but very quickly it will be obvious that they are put off and offended that your suffering would be an occasion to take their attention off of themselves and put it on you. This shows us to some degree what motivated the animosity of Job’s comforters against him. They were frustrated that they were required by their own sense of propriety to acknowledge Job. They weren’t interested in Job they were only interested in their own affairs. It was irritating to them to have to come over with a covered dish to sit with Job in his trial. Thus they criticized and found fault and railed against Job for daring to interrupt their lives with his suffering. When this happens to you save yourself the trouble and show them the door rather than getting involved in their wrangling and debate disguised in false piety and concern in the name of God.
8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare. 9 The gin shall take [him] by the heel, [and] the robber shall prevail against him. 10 The snare [is] laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way. 11 Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet. 12 His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction [shall be] ready at his side. 13 It shall devour the strength of his skin: [even] the firstborn of death shall devour his strength. 14 His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors.
Bildad declares that all of Job’s troubles are a snare that his own feet (or walk of life) has caught him in. There is mention of a “gin” or demon being involved. For the first time in all these passages up to this point the possibility is suggested that a supernatural being other than God is involved in the situation Job is suffering. Bildad goes on to state that Job will be delivered over to the “king of terrors”. Is this a reference to Satan himself? Perhaps. Which is interesting because all three comforters have repeatedly stated that it is God plaguing Job because Job is in their eyes a sinner. Therefore if as Bildad suggests they believe that demons and the “king of terrors” are involved then the implication is that God is working in collusion with Satan to torment Job.
Is that correct? Does God call on Satan or work with Satan to bring suffering into our lives? Or if God does bring suffering to us for some esoteric reason how does that work? If He doesn’t use Satan then dose He inflict diseases, poverty, and difficulty upon the godly himself? How does this get done. If God uses Satan to teach us, love us, give us a message or punish us then there is no true distinction between the kingdom of light and the domain of darkness. It would all be some sick cosmic joke of which the suffering are the tormented brunt of. This could not be the case in view of God’s own representation of His character in the scriptures:
[Luk 11:11 KJV] 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if [he ask] a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
[Jas 1:17 KJV] 17 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.
These verses plainly indicate that God does not afford Himself the right or privilege of perverting His own character for any reason. God is a good God. Just as we would not plague our own children in order to teach them something neither will God do so. God is a good God. He does not use disease, death, disaster or poverty for any reason whatsoever in His dealings with His children. These things may occur in our lives from time to time but of the many reasons why this takes place God’s providence is not one of them. This is not who God is and this is not what He does.
15 It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because [it is] none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation. 16 His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off. 17 His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street. 18 He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world. 19 He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings. 20 They that come after [him] shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted. 21 Surely such [are] the dwellings of the wicked, and this [is] the place [of him that] knoweth not God.
Bildad is basically telling Job that a demon has moved into his home and that God is the landlord. As Job has cursed their children with blindness Bildad now curses Job’s children (of which all are now dead) and goes further to seek out nephews and nieces and declares they will die to. Hatred and resentment in the heart of a so-called friend is seldom satisfied with any level of suffering in the lives of others. Man’s appetite for disaster in the lives of others is measured today in the multi-billion dollar news industry. Many would seldom start their day without finding out what catastrophe has befallen someone other than themselves. Where does this appetite come from? Is it because we want to get involved and help solve the problem? Or because of a voyeuristic appetite arising from a false idea of assuming that being a spectator to the suffering of others will somehow insulate us from like events?
In this chapter the dregs of human cruelty are being sounded out and while we are not quite at the halfway mark in Job we wonder just how much deeper into ignorance, deception, strive and debate these men will descend all the while Job’s suffers before them scraping his festering boils with a broken piece of pottery in a heap of ashes, dust and sackcloth.
What would you do in the place of Job’s comforters? How would you do things differently? How would you respond if your suffering friend in agony lashes out and impugns you and your children? In every exchange make it your determination ahead of time that you are going to love unconditionally. Make up your mind that if you suffer you will not tolerate Job’s comforters or enter into debate and contention. Refuse to justify yourself. Reject criticism heaped upon you by unenlightened counselors no matter who they are. Determine to go low and worship God and look for deliverance. In so doing you will fast track yourself out of the trial and into a restored place of blessing.
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