But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.Job 1:11
This book will help us more than any other book in the Bible to catch a glimpse of the greatness and majesty of God. We will see what we desperately need to see—that God is not just another man, great in power and authority, whom we call, influence, and command. God is not a heavenly bellboy, ready to run at our command. No, God is in charge, and He will always be in charge. If we are going to deal realistically with life, this is the way we must see Him.
We sometimes hear that this book of Job is the record of a great battleground between God and Satan and that Job is caught in between. Though there are aspects of this in the book, is this not a strange war, in which one side must get permission from the other before it attacks? What kind of battle is that?
Can you imagine a German commander during World War II stepping up to General Patton, saluting him, and saying,
Here, General, we would like permission to bomb your troops, destroy your tanks, and wreck all your plans! I'm sure General Patton's reply would have been unprintable and unrepeatable!
And yet that is the situation in this book of Job. Satan comes to God and asks permission to do something against Job. Now that is not a battle; it is not warfare; it is a test. That is what we need to see. Job's faith is the subject of a very rigorous test. Satan is the one who brings it about, but God permits it.
You may be thinking,
I wonder what's going on behind the scenes about me? I wonder what Satan is saying about me now and if he's asking permission to get me! If that is what you are thinking, my advice is,
Do not worry; live one day at a time. For the thing this book tells us is that if Satan had his way, every one of us would always be in this kind of difficulty. Satan would tear us apart all the time if he could--not because he is angry with us but because he wants to get at God, whom we serve. But God's protecting hand has been over us. If we can sit here in any degree of peace and enjoyment, it is because the hand of God has been like a hedge about us, protecting us and giving us great and wonderful things. Therefore, the attitude of every human heart ought to be,
Thank God for what I've got! Thank God for where I am now. What the future may hold, only He knows.
And if it holds some kind of testing like this, it is only because, as Paul has reminded us in 1 Corinthians,
He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
He knows what you can bear, and He will not put you to the test so severely that it will destroy your faith. But there are implications in every test that go far beyond the superficial aspects of the situation. That is what we need to remember. And as this remarkable book unfolds, we will see some of the things that God brought to the attention of Job.
Lord, thank You that You have placed a hedge about me and that with every test comes the strength to endure.
Our faith may be tested in many ways. When we are stretched by circumstances, do we give thanks and rest in the enduring strength from the indwelling life of Christ?