Please read Job 1. When we read Job with the proper spiritual insight, it reveals tremendously important things to us. We are able to catch a glimpse of the greatness and majesty of God. We 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 at our beck and call, ready to run at our command. No, He 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 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?
And yet that is the situation described here. In our text, 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.
Have you ever wondered what’s going on behind the scenes about you? Have you ever queried as to what Satan is saying about you now, if he’s asking permission to get you? Well, if that is what you’re thinking, the counsel of scripture is, “Do not worry; live one day at a time, making God and heaven your aim (Matthew 6:25-34).” For the thing Job tells us is that, if Satan had his way, we all would always be in this kind of difficulty. Satan would tear us apart all the time because he wants to get at God, whom we serve. But God’s protecting hand has been over us. If we enjoy any degree of peace and contentment, it is because the hand of God has been like a hedge about us, protecting us and giving us great and wonderful things. Therefore, our attitude 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 the future holds some kind of testing like this (and no doubt, it will), it is only because, as Paul has reminded us in I Corinthians 10:13, “He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take.” He knows what we can bear, and He will not put us to the test so severely that it will destroy our 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.
Our faith may be tested in many ways. But when we are stretched by circumstances, we must learn to give thanks and rest in the enduring strength from the indwelling life of Christ.