The LORD said to Satan, “Whence have you come?” Satan answered the LORD, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” Job 1:7
Does he not sound like the perfect busybody who minds other people’s business and his own store with finely honed dedication? We marvel at the easy conversational tone in which a plot was hatched against the most blameless, upright man in the land of Uz. Make it the “land of us” and learn Job’s luminous line of obedience that steals the oppressive shadows from his ordeal: “But it is still my consolation, and I rejoice in unsparing pain, that I have not denied the words of the Holy One.”
Satan made his official debut in Genesis as a low-profile snake. Eden was a paradise of exquisite creature comfort and communion with God. The fatal conversation that led to our primeval parents’ expulsion began with the casual line: “Oh, did God really say that?” In sharp contrast, the Book of Job features a brazen Foe who actively patrols our planet and plainly speaks his mind. For sure he is no boogeyman costumed in cultural perceptions. Neither is Satan a mere symbol for evil. He was created an angel, named Shining One, to serve God in heaven. Monstrous pride cost him his celestial home. So he took his act on the road in the “land of us.” As the dialog proves, he is a creature of intellect, will, and emotions. Is that why he is on the prowl to gain mastery over ours? (Part 1 of 2)
Comment: Please bear with me if I have just decided that some comic relief is in order. The next- door neighbor at our cabin was the quintessential busybody who made the rounds daily, trying to stick her nose into everybody’s business. When I invited the social butterfly in my old Hollywood neighborhood to spend a weekend in the mountains with me, she was all aflutter with happy anticipation. She called herself Mrs. Swamp for fun, although she was the very elderly Caroline Marsh with very poor eyesight. On the way to Twin Peaks I told her about the neighbor in the cabin below ours, who was highly pregnant with her forth child. The moment we arrived at “Swiss Bliss,” Mrs. Busybody, also elderly and rather rotund, came flying out of her door to greet us at the car. The delighted Mrs. Marsh said in her best squeaky little-old-lady voice, “I understand that congratulations are in order! Are you hoping for a boy or girl?”
That brings me to Job’s seven boys and three girls and their birthday parties Not once have I heard a sermon or commentary alluding to those, so I’ll happily explain their significance to me. “And his sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them” (Job 1:4). In their patriarchal society men and women didn’t mingle, but Job raised sons who invited their sisters to celebrate birthdays with them, sending for them out of sheer courtesy and familial affection. More endearing still is the fact that of the seven sons and three daughters born to him in his latter years, he only disclosed the names of his girls. “And in all the land no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers” (42:13-15).