Did God ruin Job? (Job 2:3)

Pop quiz: Which Biblical character has attracted the most comments on this blog? Yes, it’s Job, which tells me that the story of Job-who-lost-everything is one of the most divisive in scripture.

For the past eight years, I have maintained that God was not complicit in the ruin of Job. God did not rob him, kill his kids, or make him sick. Nor was God involved in the devil’s schemes.

Yet some folk take umbrage with these claims. They seem to prefer a God who robs, steals, and kills. You know, just like Jesus did.


If you have just joined us, I encourage you to check out the other articles in my Job series. You will find that, contrary to popular belief, God does not give and take away, and Satan is not God’s sheep-dog.

And before you ask me about a certain scripture, please check out the 40 or more Job references in the Scripture Index. You may find your question has already been answered.

A reader recently asked me to explain this scripture:

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. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” (Job 2:3)

Seems pretty clear right? God ruined Job for no reason at all because Satan goaded him into doing it.

Wait, what?

Let me get this straight: Job was minding his business and God was minding his business when Satan showed up and tricked the latter into ruining the former.

Of course that’s not what happened! (Although Satan would love for you to think that’s what happened. How perfect for him, that he has duped millions into thinking that God makes people sick. What a devilish coup!)

Here are three bad conclusions you might draw from this verse: (1) God ruined Job, (2) for no reason, (3) because Satan incited him to do so. Let’s consider the first: Did God ruin Job? Job certainly thought so: “God Almighty! He’s ruined my life!” (Job 27:2, MSG). But Job was wrong.  “It is unthinkable that God would do wrong.” (Job 34:7,12)

So who afflicted Job? “Satan afflicted Job” (Job 2:7). If Job two verse three leads you to believe that God was behind Job’s suffering, you need to read verse seven. The scriptures plainly state that the devil was the architect of Job’s ruination.

“But God had to give him permission right?”

Nope. If the thief had permission, he wouldn’t be a thief. And if you’re thinking of what God said in Job 1:12 or 2:6, read this.

“But God lifted his hedge of protection from Job” (see Job 3:23).

What hedge? That whole “hedge of protection” fancy was promoted by the Father of Lies to keep you fearful and engaged in dead works (Job 1:9-10). “Gotta pray for that hedge. Can’t let that hedge come down or I’m dead meat.”

Sheesh and double-sheesh. You’re a child of the Most High. The devil is a defeated foe. The only way that manipulator can mess with you is if you empower him through fear and unbelief. Have faith in Jesus! If there ever was a hedge, Job’s fear-filled words tore it down, not God (see Job 1:5, 3:25). If you need a hedge, let Jesus be your hedge.

But I digress.

Job 2:3 seems to say that Satan incited God to ruin Job for no reason. In truth, it says no such thing. Here is how that verse appears in a literal translation:

And Jehovah saith unto the Adversary, “Hast thou set thy heart unto My servant Job because there is none like him in the land, a man perfect and upright, fearing God and turning aside from evil? and still he is keeping hold on his integrity, and thou dost move Me against him to swallow him up for nought!” (Job 2:3, YLT)

In other words,

You tried to trick me into destroying him, but it didn’t work. (Job 2:3, MSG)

The story of Job is not about how the devil tricked God into ruining a man for no reason. It’s a story of how God is able to take the worst suffering that life gives us – even afflictions meted out by the devil himself – and turn them around for his good purposes. It’s a story of grace and redemption that ultimately points to Jesus.

Are you suffering like Job? You will never see the Lord’s redemption if you believe that God is the author of your misery.

If you believe that God made you sick or took your kids “because you loved them too much,” you’re giving ground to the deceiver. Renew your mind, turn to Jesus, and allow the truth of his shadowless grace to set you free. Don’t agree with the devil, but allow the word of faith to rise in your heart as you confess the goodness of God over your life.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. (Eph 6:11)

Our heavenly Father did not fall for the devil’s schemes; neither should we.


Enjoy this article? Why not sign up to our free email list and we’ll notify you about new articles as soon they come out. No spam, we promise.

Join the grace revolution by supporting Escape to Reality on Patreon. There you will find bonus materials, exclusive content, and stories of how this message of grace is bringing freedom to people all around the world.

47 Comments on Did God ruin Job? (Job 2:3)

  1. Amen! I haven’t been able to sing that very popular Christian song for years ‘you give and take away’. Nonsense!

    • Me too….until I had the thought that He does take away, pain, sickness, disease, strife, fear etc etc (ie curses)!!! And gives us every good and perfect gift (ie His blessings)!!!

  2. Paul Ellis – When many take umbrage with the thought that God, “did not” ruin Job (the expletives, steal, kill are inclusive).

    His character won’t be changed or re-arranged__ do we choose to see Him through a prism of fear?

    Perhaps there is an element of evil (in the flesh, where it dwells) that will always presume on God. Even when they are told, Evil (in the flesh) steals, kills, destroys human lives – discerning spirits is not a gift, given the world.

    Your use of the word, “sheesh” (I’m laughing)__ the frustration of a man with the gift of Teacher.

  3. Trevor Lovegrove // August 16, 2018 at 6:51 am // Reply

    I’ve read most if not all of your previous posts about the Job confusion, and every time I seem to learn something new.
    Outstanding piece of work Paul keep going, you have changed so many lives.

  4. Michelle L French // August 16, 2018 at 6:53 am // Reply

    Amen! God is a good God!

  5. I’ve read some of your articles about Job and agree with you. A few weeks ago I was reading through a book I got on Kindle that is a collection of edited writings about grace by various Christian authors. Most are pretty good. Some I definitely disagree with.

    After reading where you had said that Satan is not God’s sheep dog, I really noticed it when I came across one of the articles in this collection where it was stated that “If the devil appears on the scene, then the devil must be His (God’s) agent.” What???? I don’t agree with that. I don’t know if I should mention what book or author that was, so for now I won’t.

    To give some context, here is what he says for a few sentences before that one.
    “All started with God, all ends with God, and there is only one with whom He has to do: From eternity to eternity all is centered in Christ. Therefore whatever intervenes in history, whether pleasant or unpleasant, must be caught up into the stream of His purposes of Grace in Christ. If the devil appears on the scene..” etc. as stated above. So what happened to Job, (or as another example, if someone decided not to accept Jesus as their Savior), that is just part of the stream of His purposes of Grace in Christ? I would have to disagree with that.

    • You mention; “…If the devil appears on the scene..”
      Here is what we know for sure; “The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” Isaiah 45:7.NASB.

      God is the Maker of all things, and therefore our Maker, which is a reason why we should always submit to him and never contend with him, as he is the Potter over us, the clay. Other wise it will be, “ Woe unto him that strives with his Maker!” verse 9.
      As God continues; “ I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host (the devil included) have I commanded.” Verse 12.
      One clear example of these scripture’s and one to relate to the “Woe” part is in 1 Corinthians 5: 4,5.
      One may not consider him a “sheep dog”, but cannot deny he is a ravaging wolf (sometimes in sheep clothing) and has the stuff to carry out Gods “calamity”, for eternal purpose’s.

      • Kathy Wilkinson // August 29, 2018 at 2:25 pm //

        God is Love and Love gives choices. God could do away with Satan at any moment but instead I see Him reminding His chosen, blameless, holy sons and daughters of The Truth when The Liar tells us God really didn’t say, or he tries to convince us it’s still based on us instead of what Jesus Christ has accomplished for us. Yes, I still get duped by The Liar on occasion, but I don’t stay stuck in the lie quite as long as I once did. I love maturing in Christ’s accomplishments for us!

      • So true, and good for you Kathy, as we are to flee from such, 1 Corinthians 10:14, 1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22, James 4:7. Yet there are those that do not and judgment comes. If we judge ourselves we wont be judged 1 Corinthians 11:31, as we are also to examine ourselves 2 Corinthians 13:5. That one mentioned in 1 Corinthians did not and was judged. God is love and does not Cease to love, even when we are dealt with, for “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:” Rev. 3:19.
        I don’t claim to understand it all, but I know the spirit is more important than the body, but if one wants his body to line up with their saved spirit, it can (3 John 1:2) and will only through the renewing of our mind (soul), Romans 12:2, through grace teaching us, Titus 2:11,12. Thanks

      • Kathy Wilkinson // August 30, 2018 at 7:26 am //

        Context to scripture is so important. I read what some were doing in participating in the Lord’s supper.

        Since the Holy Spirit has made His home in us as Christ followers with a new heart, we are no longer comfortable doing some of the things we did before living after the flesh, rather than the spirit, in trying to get our godly needs for love, acceptance, worth and security. Knowing that Christ is the only One who can completely satisfy these needs is liberating! Judgment from God to me living under the New Covenant is reminding me of who He’s made me in Christ by faith received, to lean on Him to trust Him to meet all my needs and that His grace is sufficient for me to mature in this truth. There is now, therefore NO CONDEMNATION IN CHRIST JESUS.

      • It is by Christ that sin is condemned, thus by the condemning of sin, death was disarmed, the death of our spirits. But not so with our bodies, these are still dying and subject to being, “…chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”1 Corinthians 11:32. Of which such chastening, “we all are partakers” Hebrews 12: 7-11.
        Why would Paul say; “If we live in the Spirit ,let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), unless he knows we can walk in the flesh, yet not without chastening from a loving Father.
        Our spirits are secure, yet only our bodies, (our actions, walk) are then to line up with our confessions, “Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”2 Timothy 2:19.
        True, His grace is sufficient for us, if we “deny ungodliness, and worldly lust” which this grace teaches us to do.
        You mentioned that context to scripture is so important, and true, and to get a true context of 1 Corinthians 11 one must understand what he shared just prior in chapter 10. “ Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Corinthians 10: 9-11.Written for us, examples! Thanks

  6. Hi Paul… Way before even hearing of Job, I heard and received that, “God is love” I John 4:8. I also heard that, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten, (taken out of) Son, so the World could be saved… not condemned John 3:16-17. God’s adversary, the devil is the one who condemns and destroys… God blesses and saves. We are blessed to know this is the Truth of God’s Word, whether OT or NT.
    For a short time, I prayed God’s hedge of protection around myself; my family and circumstances until, I realised that the “hedge” is always in place and is the love that God has for me… the love that God is for me and the rest is a snare of the devil. Now I take time to give thanks to God, knowing that His love and grace are always protectively in place, and sufficient for me. This is similar to the armour of God which, once put on, should never be removed. We do not have to receive God’s love every day or put on the spiritual armour every day… just once is sufficient and then give thanks to God, which is worship.
    God will never remove His love and grace protection from anyone, but through rejection of Jesus, (which is sin) we are quite capable of doing this by our own choice and actions.

  7. I have fallen into the trap of assuming horrible things will happen to my children if I love them too much… Thank you for pointing out that doesn’t happen!

  8. Makes perfect sense – ‘it is unthinkable that God would do wrong’.

    Thanks for this post – keep going

  9. If I think God harms, or causes harm, then I have created a god in my image.

  10. Excellent !!!

  11. Andries Marais // August 17, 2018 at 3:37 am // Reply

    Job – Amen! … as divined
    Theology 101:
    God is good. God can only do good. It is impossible for God to do evil.
    Satan is evil. He can only do evil. It is impossible for him do good.

  12. Just Love it when you say Sheesh…. !… Praise the Lord… :)#

  13. Jenny Beauchamp // August 17, 2018 at 8:50 am // Reply

    I think as a believer, lead by the Holy Spirit, we need to look for Jesus and as we behold Him, we see a glimpse of ourselves (mankind). I read the entire book of Job in one sitting (it helps) and saw that Job is Jesus (on earth and at the cross) and that we/mankind are a picture of Job also. Elihu is a picture of the Holy Spirit (truth, helper, etc.) and God is God who never gives and takes away. We live in a dark and fallen world (thank you man/Adam–flesh birth) and should expect nothing less than what Job experienced—–unless we are born again in Christ! I love the book/story of Job. Thank God for His covenant with His only begotten Son Jesus Christ and that we are adopted into the perfect and finished work! Amen and Amen.

  14. Crystal Brazelton // August 17, 2018 at 9:41 am // Reply

    Very insightful post but still wondering about something… why did God save Job and not his family? If there has to be casualties, wouldn’t most of us say, “let it be me, and not my wife and family?”
    ?? Any thoughts???

  15. John W Reed // August 17, 2018 at 2:28 pm // Reply

    Amen Paul! Questions can become obstacles to receiving the truth. I see this illustrated with the healing of the leper. Lord, you can heal me if you’re willing. Jesus touched him and he didn’t receive, but when Jesus said I am be healed, he was. For me the question/obstacle for receiving Grace was what about eternal security? When God answered my question, showing from the Word unconditional eternal security I was able to readily receive Grace in its fullness. When it came to healing, wholeness, and God’s all the time goodness, Job was the question, roadblock. Well, what about Job? If God is so good what about Job? God showed me exactly what He showed you. God didn’t have anything to do with sickness, pain, destruction, or death. People need to read Job, God points the devil out to Job at the end, the Leviathan, the king of all the children of pride. When I saw it was the devil solely responsible and not God, I readily accepted and received the truth that God is always good and never bad and not both!

  16. Kathy Wilkinson // August 18, 2018 at 10:11 am // Reply

    Help me with Job 42:11 …and they sympathized with him and comforted him over all the calamities that the Lord had brought upon him. (Amplified Bible)

    Thank you.

    • Please check out the Archives > Scripture Index > Old Testament.

    • Kathy Wilkinson – It is remarkable at least, the amount of energy & time people freely invest; focusing & judging others & Satan [our enemy: sin in our flesh; not removable this side of Heaven; saved or unsaved] vs focusing on the promises of Yahuah (Abba Father).

      Rom 8: 13-16 – We are commanded to look away from this age to an Age to come – focusing on the One Only Yahuah (GOD).

      Analogy of a man who tells the pastor: I see so much hypocrisy, gossiping & just down right non-Christian behaviour in the Church. The pastor said, when you come next, take a full glass of water, walk through & around those gathering that day. Later he asked the man, what did you see? The man answered, I couldn’t see any of them really, I was focused on not spilling the water…

      • Kathy Wilkinson // August 22, 2018 at 6:30 am //

        Thank you Steve for helping me to set my mind on what really matters that will bring me perfect peace and joy!

  17. I can’t imagine a better hedge than being in Christ.

    • I’m with you LJP… in Christ Jesus we have the greatest 24/7 everlasting protection and provision that can ever be. What’s better than God’s Word forming a hedge of protection around us and over us? Answer is… being permanently positioned in God’s Word. Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.

      • I became aware in early adulthood that “God is taking care of me even when I don’t know that I need taking care of.”
        This became part of my prayers and perspective on life. He’s demonstrated it in so many ways over many years. There’s so much behind the scenes that I know nothing about.

        The genius of God’s mind, and the complexity of His planning are incomprehensible, but I want to have greater respect for, and admire that regularly.

        It has helped me to deal with setbacks and disappointments, and to hang onto God (to believe) in traumatic and lonely experiences.
        It’s the perspective that He is greater, and His power is now far surpassing any events, past and future.
        It has helped me now in my circumstances to be impressed with Him, and not with the evil one.
        It has helped me hold onto my security in Him (Isaiah 54:17).

  18. Jenny Beauchamp // August 31, 2018 at 12:37 am // Reply

    I believe we can see all of God’s work (through Jesus, the Word) in the memorial of the old testament. And as we see Jesus, we can see ourselves. And it seems to me the message is the same over and over. I recently read about David and his covenant with Jonathan and then the life of Mephibosheth (Jonathan’s son). If you look at Mephibosheth and how he became lame (while running from King David), we can see mankind has been running from God. Now all the while, M did not know that David would bless him because he had a false image of who David was and instead listened to all the others speak death to him. Mankind is hiding from God because they have a false image of Who He is and they seek to listen to others (the blind leading the blind-all being lied to by the enemy). We are all lame and blind until the only One-Jesus, opens our eyes and heals us. God calls us and chases after us (through the Holy Spirit) intending to only bless us, and praise Him for that. All we need to do is be still and turn to Him. Jesus made it so with His perfect sacrifice, perfect obedience to the Father! David eventually found Mephibosheth and blew his mind. God through Jesus Christ and by the power of His Holy Spirit found me and blew my mind and continues to do so each and every day! Be encouraged; He loves us beyond our imagination and longs to bless us and hear us proclaim His goodness, His unconditional love and grace in His Life in us. It is His joy to bless us and accepting this is our true strength in this world! Cuz when we truly know that God is for us and always caring for us in every situation, we can live in the now and have no fear what may come our way! This is why we need to gather, to remind each other of the truth-In Jesus, Amen.

    • Amen Jenny, God’s goodness is mind blowing for sure. Any revelation, scripture interpretation, must be judged in the light of Jesus being the exact image of the Living God.
      Our minds need healing from the harshness of religion so we can see God’s goodness and be made well (repent).
      Bless God there are many preaching this message of A Good Father God.

  19. It’s mumbo jumbo! God who infinite and all
    powerful does indeed ruin people, personal ly
    and professionally, he did it to me. I attended Church regularly, received the Sacraments,
    help those less fortunate but like the story of Job, which is a sick joke if you think about it, he ruins His own because He can. Murderer s
    drug dealers, etc He doesn’t punish. Only those who worship and pray get beat down

    • “When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off…. The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows. And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked ( 2 Timothy 3:12), and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!”
      Ecclesiastes 8: 11-14 NLT.
      This is saying, we reap what we sow, and God will bring this to pass, even though it seems he does not care, he does and it is not safe to do wrong, no matter what some may “feel”. Don’t be deceived, be assured, he does punish, he will repay! Romans 12:19.
      God has servants for the purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. Even if they escape them, and some do, they cant escape him! Romans 13:4.
      But, it does not need to come to this, as he is patent, does not want anyone to perish, as this is why He sent Jesus 2 Peter 3:9.

      Hope these scriptures help you understand, as these are the words of the greatest and wisest man of all the world’s history, King Solomon. He was Gods preacher of truth and wisdom. But for this wisdom to be understood, one must believe and follow it!
      “But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” Luke 7:35. NLT
      Don’t give up on believing.

  20. Hi Paul. I live in Mexico and preaching the Gospel of Grace to the spanish speaking community. I love the way you answer the “hard questions” religious people use, specially the forever used story of Job to blame God for everything that goes bad.
    Keep up the good work!! It´s always refreshing to find somebody that is preaching the true Gospel!! Keep on well representing Jesus.

    • Thank you, Mike. You may be interested to learn that my most popular book, The Gospel in Ten Words, is about to be printed in Spanish. I’ll post updates on FB in the weeks to come.

  21. Cool! looking forward to it!! Thanks for your quick reply

  22. 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. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” (Job 2:3)
    I strongly believe whosoever wrote the Bible book of Job had limitation in his revelation.
    Saint Paul said, “we know in parts and we prophesy in parts… We see through a glass darkly” 1 Corinthians 13:9,12.
    I’m very convinced this writer was suppose to have seen beyond what he saw. This guy must have taken his personal understanding or thoughts about God’s character and mix it up with the revelation he received from God, and then penned it down.
    Thanks Dr. Paul you’ve been of great help to me.

  23. Jenny Beauchamp // September 7, 2018 at 4:36 am // Reply

    Very insightful post but still wondering about something… why did God save Job and not his family? If there has to be casualties, wouldn’t most of us say, “let it be me, and not my wife and family?”
    I’m not sure what to tell you, but that Jesus saves us and prior to Jesus’ death (and resurrection) noone could be saved (from eternal separation and hell). The new covenant does not start until the book of Acts. Yep, even the gospels (the letters about the good news) show that Jesus was walking under the law, showing it in “HIS TRUTH”, fulfilling it, and removed it. When I say “showing it in His Truth”, I mean magnifying it to it’s true glory for us to see. It is the law that convicts man to show them their need for the Savior-Jesus. Hence, Moses law says thou shalt not commit adultry, but Jesus said if you lust after a woman, you have already committed adultry (you can put any one of the laws there, murder-but anger itself breaks the commandment regarding murder). It is when He died and resurrected, that the new creation was born (the new covenant began). Think about your own last will and testament. Your kids or beneficiaries don’t get your stuff until you die. Same thing with Jesus Last Will & Testament. Yes, some of us would say “take me, not my kid”. But I don’t see anywhere in the scriptures where that was an option. Sometimes, we (me included) can overthink and overquestion the scriptures. Keep in mind that God knew all, but we did not and do not! My best answer or encouragement is to tell you to ask God Himself. I know that He longs to share with us and I look forward to hearing what He shares. Remember it is God who sent His only Begotten Son and He said yes, it will be Me, instead of you and me. Blessings!

    • Your, “take me, not my kid”. does not figure in here with God, as “every one of us shall give account of himself to God”, Romans 14:12.
      Every man has to give account of his own life, and not that of another. His children had to have their own faith, not coat tail their parents. God saw Job perfect, not his children, thus Job’s concern; “may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts”, Job 1:5.
      If you question anything, it should be, Why did not Job raise them to be perfect, upright, fearing God, and eschewing evil too? Proverbs 22:6.
      Yet, as pertaining to his description of being “perfect”, he must have done so, but the old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but cant make it drink” applies here and again,
      as far as their mother goes, (what child is not influenced by their mother) and her contribution to child raising, she advised Job; ”Curse God“! Yeah, the “rest of the story”!

      • Jenny Beauchamp // October 3, 2018 at 12:05 am //

        Thomas Howard, I wrote to encourage a sister and I inserted her question there. I agree about shirt tailing our parents, but I also think it goes the other way too. Job cannot take blame if his kids and wife were without faith. My kids have veered off the path I taught them, but I expected it and actually welcome it, as the day is coming when they will have their own walk with God in Christ and be “eye witnesses” with their own testimony. I knew they would need to test everything I ever said or showed them. Not to say I’m not still there for them and try to guide them when they will allow it. I very distinctly remember coming home from college and asking my mom how she knew God was real. I too had to find out on my own and I thank Him that He lead me. Now I have a personal relationship. Blessings!

  24. Bro paul ellis, i read an articles by … Your thoughts.

  25. Paul,why do we Christians get sick? I mean, if sickness is result of sin- Christ saved us from sin. Or is it because our bodies are not redeemed yet. If so,why they are not yet?

  26. Excellent.
    🤔…..I like Dr. Jim Richards take on Job 2:3 “Have you set your heart on my servant Job?”

  27. “The only way that manipulator can mess with you is if you empower him through fear and unbelief”. So the thing that authorized Satan to attack Job’s life was fear and unbelief (Job 1: 5; 3:25). Question: If today’s believers sometimes manifest fear and disbelief are they giving Satan authority over their lives that could cause misfortunes like or different to those of Job?

    • If you refuse to receive the grace of God because you are captive to fear and unbelief, then you are going to have a hard time experiencing the grace of God. If you allow your mind to be constantly stressed and anxious, you may even make yourself ill. This is why it is so important to guard our hearts and be established in the righteousness of Christ.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.