HedgeOfProtectionSo as we begin reading in Job 1 – we are introduced to a man named Job… who lives in the land of Uz (located south of Edom and west of Arabia, extending to the borders of Chaldea). Job is described as a man who was “perfect and upright, and one who feared God, and eschewed evil”. Now – since there is no actual LAW yet (as given to Moses) – then we can surmise that the description being used for Job is not the same as would be used later on, once man is made aware of sin by the Law. So, here, Job is described as righteous in God’s eyes (according to the level of revelation he had). This is important! It doesn’t mean Job made no mistakes nor does it mean he did everything “right” – but (just like Abraham) he was doing the best that he could with the information he had available to him.

It goes on to say that he was a very blessed man – big family, wealthy and influential in the region… the “greatest of all the men of the east” (vs 3). Then the Bible gives us a better glimpse into Job’s perspective by telling us about his daily sacrifices for his children. It isn’t saying that he raised his children to know God – nor that he was being a good parent… but instead it hints that he was doing his best (with what he knew) to protect his children “in case they had sinned and cursed God in their heart” (vs 5) while partying the night before. Obviously – Job’s revelation of who God was and the effects of sin was quite rudimentary at this time.

So after being introduced to this man and his limited revelation of God – Scripture provides us with a “fly on the wall” view of what appears to be a standard practice in Heaven… that is the angels coming to present themselves before God… only this time Satan comes with them. God asks him where he has been (not as if He didn’t already have an idea) – to which Satan responds that he has been on the earth – roaming (“like a roaring lion”1 Pet 5:8). (Satan hasn’t changed – he was seeking for people to devour back then and he is still doing that today!). God remarks about Job and how well he is doing (compared to the average man at that time, as described in the account of Noah)… to which Satan reply’s by accusing Job of only loving God out of obligation or blessing’s received.

Now this is where people start to confuse things… Satan whines that God has “put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.”Job 1:10 AMP. Now this character of God should be no surprise to us – having seen Him do this over and over again! It has always been God’s desire to increase His people… and Satan’s desire to steal that increase.

Next Satan attempts to get God to afflict Job. “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.” (vs 11). Let’s be clear here – Satan is trying to get God to curse Job… but God isn’t about to do that! Satan cannot manipulate God in this way! Instead – how does God respond? He tells Satan that “all that he has is in thy power” (vs 12) – and then God limits Satan’s realm of influence over Job’s physical life.

And with that, Satan leaves to go find Job…

Now people make a giant leap of assumption that this means that God actually invited Satan to come behind this “hedge” that God had set up to protect Job – in some effort to teach Job lessons. The problem with this theory is that it doesn’t match the character of God that we have seen thus far in Scripture (or anywhere else either). God is Protector, Provider, Defender… not Destroyer. To claim the above is to read into what the Scripture says based on preconceived notions about how God, Satan, and the universe works.

So then – how does Satan gain access to behind Job’s hedge? Since it doesn’t say that God moved it – nor does Satan possess the power to move it himself (otherwise why ask God to do it?) – there must be another explanation… and I believe it is Job himself who removed the “hedge” God put into place. As we have already seen, Job was a man of limited revelation about God and the Blessing… but that fact doesn’t change the way the Blessing works! People had (and have) a choice in the matter… and those choices made bring consequences (despite whether we understand them or not). When God first spoke to Abraham – he could have ignored that voice and chosen to remain in Ur. Had Abraham decided to do that then he would not have been blessed and become the “Father of nations” as God wanted.

I believe it is the same with Job. Somehow Job had wandered out from behind this “hedge” that God had set up to protect him… and even Satan was unaware of this fact!

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.”Ecc 10:8 KJV

So God points out to Satan that this “hedge” has was using as an excuse for why Job was so blessed – had actually already been removed by Job… and that provided Satan free access to “all that he had”. With that knowledge – Satan immediately left the Presence of the Lord and sought out Job with great delight. It is then that Job begins to lose all that he had – at the hand of Satan (not God).

In fact – God would not even consider that – at Satan’s suggestion. That just isn’t how God operates.

Now before we stop here, let’s look at a place in Scripture where, one other time, Satan attempted this very same thing:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”Luke 22:31-32 KJV

This is Jesus speaking to Peter, informing him that Satan is trying to do to him what he did to Job. (Satan has no new tricks!). But the important part of this is that Jesus didn’t rebuke Satan… nor prevent (or permit) Satan from getting at Peter to “sift him as wheat”. (In fact – it doesn’t even say that Jesus responded to Satan at all!) No – Jesus simply prays that Peter will stand strong in faith… because it is in faith that we resist Satan… which sends him running. (James 4:7).

What happened with Peter is exactly what we are seeing Satan do to Job… and as we shall see – Job fails to close whatever opening Satan had into his life, instead opting to listen to his ungodly wife and ignorant friends (who had even less revelation about God then Job did!).

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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