Book of JobAs we continue through the (sometimes quite depressing) arguments between Job and his 3 “friends” – I thought I would take a moment to share some great insights on this book from a pastor friend of mine out of Rhode Island – Pastor Troy Edwards from Victorious Word Christian Fellowship, Pawtucket, RI:

 

Why Job Was Unable To Do Anything About The Devil
(and why that is not true of us today)

 Some have taught that Job is not a literal person. They say this book is allegorical or simply a book of poetry. Some have even gone as far as to say that this book does not belong in the Bible.  Other Bible books show that Job is a literal and real historical figure just as Daniel and Noah were.

 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD … Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness. (Ezek. 14:14, 20)

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.       (James 5:11)

 Job’s Dilemma is often blamed on the Sovereignty of God. Even worse, Job is made out to be a pattern of how Christians are supposed to react to the devil.  Today’s lessons will debunk this false teaching and help Christians to understand the New Testament Pattern for dealing with Satan’s strategies against us.

 

Insight From Others

     Tony Evans: By accusing Job of serving God for gain, Satan was slandering both Job’s character and God’s character. Remember, everything our enemy does is ultimately directed at God. The devil hates God and wants to anything He can to injure God’s reputation so that He does not get the glory due Him.  The devil can’t touch God, so he seeks to destroy God’s glory by attacking His people. This is why the devil is regularly in God’s presence, accusing and slandering the saints to hinder God’s glory and keep us from being blessed. (The Battle is the Lord’s, p. 175)

 

Lessons We Learn From Job

Satan (not God) is the accuser who is always looking for a reason to slander both us and God.

Satan (not God) is the initiator of the problems of life. It was HIS suggestion that God inflict him (though God allowed Satan to do it).

God is the one who desires to deliver people from captivity to sickness and poverty (Job 42:7)

Job had no High Priest/Intercessor as we have today in Jesus (Heb. 4:14, 15; 7:25; Rom. 8:34). Job complained about this (Job 9:33)

Job shows us that no matter what we are going through, we should never become bitter with God, but praise Him and watch for the OUTCOME (James 5:11)

 

James 5:11

(ALT)  Indeed, we consider the ones enduring to be fortunate. You heard of the patient endurance of Job and the outcome [brought about by the] Lord; observe that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

(GNB)  We call them happy because they endured. You have heard of Job’s patience, and you know how the Lord provided for him in the end. For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion.

(GW)  We consider those who endure to be blessed. You have heard about Job’s endurance. You saw that the Lord ended Job’s suffering because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

(WE) God blesses those who take their troubles quietly and keep on believing. You have heard about Job’s troubles and how he took them. And you have seen what the Lord did for him at the end. The Lord is very kind and helps people.

 

Job 1:8

Some seem to interpret this passage as if God had intentionally brought Job to Satan’s attention. We believe a different understanding is in order:

And Jehovah saith unto the Adversary, `Hast thou set thy heart against My servant Job because there is none like him in the land, a man perfect and upright, fearing God, and turning aside from evil?’ (Young’s Literal Translation)

And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you set your heart against My servant Job, because there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil? (Modern King James)

 

Job 1:8 – Commentary

A number of scholars, commentators, and translations point out that the literal meaning is “set your heart on.”

Barnes: Margin, “Set thine heart on.” The margin is a literal translation of the Hebrew. Schultens remarks on this, that it means more than merely to observe or to look at – since it is abundantly manifest from the following verses that Satan “had” attentively considered Job, and had been desirous of injuring him. It means, according to him, to set himself against Job, to fix the heart on him with an intention to injure him, and Yahweh means to ask whether Satan had done this.

Though the Calvinist author (and Hebrew Scholar) John Gill believes (in my opinion, wrongly) that God was bringing Job to Satan’s attention, he concedes that the literal Hebrew states:

     Or, “hast thou put thine heart on my servant” (p); not in a way of love and affection to him, to do him any good or service, there being an original and implacable enmity in this old serpent to the seed of the woman; but rather his heart was set upon him in a way of desire to have him in his hands, to do him all the mischief he could, as the desire of his heart was toward Peter (Luke 22:31)

     “Considered” is a very strong word. It means, Hast thou been watching him? Hast thou been examining him? Hast thou been going round and round the citadel of this man’s soul, trying to find some way to break in?” – G. Campbell Morgan

      …. God enquired of Satan further: “Have you noticed my servant Job?” Of course Satan had noticed him! And God knew this too. He knew that Job had been the target of Satan’s intense observation. The latter must have thought many times to attack him – Stephen Kaung (associate of Watchmen Nee)

 

God Giving Satan Permission to Inflict Job – Job 1:12

There is no doubt that there are times that Satan is not allowed to act without express permission from God, however, we should not teach this as some universal rule concerning Satan’s acts – Job 1:7; 2:2; 1 Pet. 5:9, 10

Michael L. Brown, A Semitic scholar wrote: That he [Satan] receives divine permission to carry out his nefarious schemes …. Cannot …. Be interpreted as broadly indicative of either the nature of God or His general plans for His people …. (Israel’s Divine Healer, p. 169)

 

Job 1:12 compared to Job 3:25

Could Job have opened the door for Satan to attack through his fear? Some seem to think so.

Christian Psychologist David Stoop, Ph.D comments on Job 3:25: Imagine the scene in heaven as described in the opening chapters of the book. Satan goes to God, and God comments on his servant Job. Job is a man who fears God, and God points that out. But Satan reminds God of the hedge he has built around Job. But the hedge isn’t there! His protection is gone! Job has been busy trimming the hedge with his worries.

Each day he has gone out and tried to make the hedge a little straighter, a little neater. But he has never been satisfied with his work, and he has trimmed until the hedge is gone! His worried Self-Talk has trimmed the hedge, giving Satan an opportunity to attack, Job’s Self-Talk is irrational! (You Are What You Think, p. 40)

 

Albert B. Simpson, founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance:

Fear is dangerous. It turns into fact the things we fear. It creates the evil just as faith creates the good, “What I feared has come upon me” (Job 3:25), is the solemn warning of Job. Let us therefore be afraid of our fears lest they should become our worst foes (Christ In The Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 485)

 

Some believe and teach that Job only began to fear AFTER the initial trials. Other scholars and commentators believe that Job was in constant fear long before the trials:

Matthew Henry: Even in his former prosperous state troubles were continually feared; so that then he was never easy, (Job 3:25,26) … He was afraid for his children when they were feasting, lest they should offend God (Job 1:5), afraid for his servants lest they should offend his neighbors

Adam Clarke: Literally, the fear that I feared; or, I feared a fear, as in the margin. While I was in prosperity I thought adversity might come, and I had a dread of it. I feared the loss of my family and my property; and both have occurred.

Stephen Kaung (associate of Watchman Nee): Job had attained somewhat and had gotten somewhere, but hidden deep within him was a secret fear. And this fear he finally though unwittingly revealed much later on …. Does this secret apprehension disclose that the knowledge of God in Job was imperfect? …. He was afraid as to how long this blessed state could continue. (The Splendor of His Ways, pp. 33, 34)

David Wolfers (A medical doctor who spent 20 years studying Job): I feared a horror and it came to me, and that which I dreaded is upon me. Is this perhaps related to Job’s Prologue fear that his sons may have cursed God in their hearts? Or is it simply the insecurity which so often accompanies great happiness and prosperity? …. Job is thus seen clearly to be in a continuing state of fear. (Deep Things Out of the Darkness: the Book of Job, p. 97)

 

Job is seen to have actually MEDITATED on this fear:

(Brenton)  For the terror of which I meditated has come upon me, and that which I had feared has befallen me.

(AB) For the terror of which I meditated has come upon me, and that which I had feared has befallen

(ERV) I was afraid that something terrible might happen to me. And that is what happened! The things I feared most happened to me.

 

Job 1:21

Many cite this passage to make a case for a meticulous sovereignty teaching in spite of reading chapters 1 and 2 and seeing Satan behind it.

Job is to be commended for proving the devil wrong by praising God in spite of what happened to him, but this does not mean that his theology of God was correct.

 Beautiful as this is, it is only partly true; because it assumes that all our evils and losses are ruled by the Lord. It is true that He rules; but, He also over-rules. He rules our good, and over-rules our evil. Job’s words manifest wonderful resignation, but it is only religion. Such sentiments can be expressed, and yet the speaker may not know either God or himself; and he may be wholly destitute of a broken heart …. E.W. Bullinger

 In some passages of Scripture Job actually makes statements about God that most would not endorse today (Job 9:23, 24; Job 24:1, 12; Job 10:8, 16, 20; Job 30:18, 21; 16:7-9)

…. I suggest we ought not to take Job’s sentiment that the Lord gives and takes away (Job 1:21) any more authoritatively than we take his sentiment that “God pays no attention to [the] prayer of wounded victims (Job 24:12) …. To discover the proper attitude that believers should take in the face of unjust suffering, we need to center our attention on the person and work of Christ. He never encouraged accepting evil as coming from God. He rather taught us to revolt against it as coming (ultimately) from satan ….” – Dr. Greg Boyd

Why Job Could Not Do Anything About The Devil

Job knew nothing about the devil’s existence:

Job did not have a Bible (like we do today) giving him knowledge of spiritual warfare.

There is no excuse for Christians to be ignorant of the devil’s existence or his strategies today (Hosea 4:6; 2 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 6:11)

 

Jesus had not yet won a decisive victory over the devil during the time of Job:

We can declare Satan a defeated foe today because of Jesus’ victory over him (John 16:33; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8; Col. 1:12-14; 2:15; etc.)

(WE) Anyone who does what is wrong belongs to the devil. The devil has done what is wrong from the beginning. That is why God’s Son came. He came to stop what the devil does.

Since the world is under Satan’s control (1 John 5:19), he had access to Job. Jesus now has all authority in Heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18)

 

There are no promises of authority over the devil given to Job (or any other Old Testament Saint) as is given to New Testament Believers:

Aside from Job’s ignorance of Satan’s existence, Job had no promise of delegated authority given to him as we do today.

New Testament believers are given a number of promises of authority over Satan and demons that Job never had (Mark 16:15-20; Luke 10:17-20; etc.)

 

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