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.
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.
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