Today: [Job Two] Did God or Satan Smite Job? In this chapter Satan returns to God hoping to further assault Job after destroying his wealth and his family. Once again he comes among the sons of God. Who were these sons of God that Satan came in with? How does Satan gain access to God’s throne? Is he a fallen angel or is Satan merely a member of the animal kingdom? Was Job sinless? Was it God’s fault Job suffered? All of these questions will be answered in today’s study.
[Job 2:1-13 KJV] 1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 3 And the LORD said unto Satan, 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? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
In chapter one we see Satan coming before the throne of heaven in the company of the sons of God. Who were these sons of God? Were they angels? There are references that suggest angels are referred to as “sons of God”. In Gen. 6:2 we read that the “sons of God” (or angels) copulated with the daughters of men to contaminate the human genome. This resulted in God destroying the human race save Noah and his family. These angels were punished for their crime and denied access to humanity according to Jude v. 6 which is actually a quote from the book of Enoch.
Having addressed this possibility we also know that we are also called sons of God. In fact the term sons of God appears 58 times in the bible and only a handful of those instances could be construed to apply to angels, fallen or otherwise. The majority usage of this term refers to either Jesus as incarnate God or to born again men and women.
Satan came to the throne among the sons of God because he has no intrinsic entitlement to approach or have an audience with God. There are two possible reasons for this. The most common belief is that Satan is a fallen angel who disobeyed God at some point and participated in a revolt against God involving a third of the host of heaven. This is one possibility and it is also the most commonly held belief about the Devil and where demons come from.
Another consideration arises when you take the subject of the devil as a topic and apply what is known as the “law of first mention” which is an interpretive principle highly revered in theology that states:
“The Law of First Mention may be said to be the principle that requires one to go to that portion of the Scriptures where a doctrine is mentioned for the first time and to study the first occurrence of the same in order to get the fundamental inherent meaning of that doctrine.”
Now when we apply this to studying what the bible says about Satan what can we find out?
[Gen 3:1 KJV] 1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.
This is the first mention of Satan in the bible. What does it tell us? Is he a once glorious angel now turned rogue? Or is he a beast of the field with the ability to communicate with men? If you were Satan which would you rather be thought of? A member of the animal kingdom rebelling against your masters Adam and Eve? Or, would you rather mankind believe that you were a majestic angel who successfully revolted against God and established a counter kingdom in opposition to the throne of heaven?
Whatever be the case we never see Satan appearing before God unless it is among the sons of God. The sons of God may refer to angels but we absolutely know that it refers to born again men and women. We can conclude from that it is possible that Satan might have an interest in contaminating our prayers and our communication with God in order to gain access to God’s throne in order to wreak havoc in the lives of men. In fact this might be the only way he does anything in the earth.
4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. 6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he [is] in thine hand; but save his life. 7 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. 8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
Here we see that Satan is provoking God to put sickness on Job. Many people will use this verse to suggest that even in our day and for His own purposes God will put disease and sickness upon us. This is incorrect and it isn’t what happened in this passage. Remember that Satan is a liar – even the father of lies. Everything he does is intended to tell a lie. In asking the question he does so in such a way as to infer that God does smite men with sickness. Notice however what the Father says in return: “behold he is in your hand…”
Therefore we can see that while Job was upright in his relationship with God there was something about him that made him vulnerable. He was so vulnerable that God put a hedge around Job to protect him from assault by Satan that Satan was apparently surprised to find he was denied access to carry out. Satan complained to God in chapter one that he was unable to carry out his attacks against Job because of something God did to protect him. So there must have been something about Job that attracted Satan and led him to believe he had a right or would be successfully in assaulting him. What might that be?
One indication of a vulnerability in Job’s life that Satan would want to exploit is seen in Job 1:5. It says that Job daily made sacrifices to God because he was concerned, perhaps he feared that his children would celebrate and feast and curse God in their hearts. That is one thing we know if we are going to get into fear and unbelief in any area of our lives it will be in regard to our children. Job was no different. He feared calamity upon his children because he saw in them an irreverence toward God. He had apparently been unable to instil in his children his own piety and constantly worked through prayers and sacrifices to stave off the consequences of his children’s lack of respect for the Almighty. In the next chapter (3) Job states this plainly:
[Job 3:25 KJV] 25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
So while Job plainly loved God and pleased God there was a fear in him that the enemy had a right to exploit except God kept a hedge around him that Satan exploited once God lifted the protection. Why would God do this? Because His spirit will not always strive with man. The fear of the Lord is clean. The fear of anything is unclean – an unclean spirit. There was uncleanness in Job because he feared, and that uncleanness made him vulnerable to Satan’s attack.
9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. 11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. 12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. 13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that [his] grief was very great.
We must never forget in reading Job that this was a family matter, what happened to him. Everything that Job suffered and went through played out under his own roof and in his own family. His own wife bereaved and bitter urged him to simply curse God and die which he would not. In fact in all the struggles of Job and his suffering he refused to charge God foolishly. In other words he may not have understood what he was going through and he may have thought what he was facing may have originated with God but he was very cautious in his words to make that accusation.
Christian theology on the other hand is replete with interpretations of what happened to Job that attributes the whole affair to God’s doing. Very few teachers will look at Job and say “God didn’t do this – Satan did…” In other words theology gladly and willingly accuses God of what happened to Job in spite of the clear language that it was not God smiting an otherwise perfect man but rather it was Satan taking advantage of fear and family problems in the life of an otherwise godly person.
In the midst of the chaos and upheaval in Job’s life he is visited by 3 friends who come to comfort him – Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. These men are elders in their community and greatly respected peers of Job. They will be joined later but a man by the name of Elihu. These men often are criticized for being false friends but it is obvious that they loved Job. Would you stop what you are doing and go and sit in silence for 7 days with a suffering friend? Very few of us if any have ever done this. These men upended their lives to support and succor a suffering Job. At the same time they cannot rise above their own flawed thinking about why these things are happening as we will see in subsequent chapters.
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