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
Oddly, Old Testament believers never put Satan in the limelight the way certain Christians do. He gets “rebuked” for causing sniffles and shingles, and blamed for the cranky boss or sullen teen. Spiritual warfare is no laughing matter, but spiritual-warfare “junkies” paint the devil on so many walls there is no room left for God’s handwriting. Isaiah and Ezekiel both wrote explicitly about Satan, but did not blame Israel’s ills and trials on him. Rather, they cited their people for spurning God’s Word and for ruling from the self-will enthroned on sin-hardened, culture-conditioned hearts.
The blameless man from the land of Uz suffered every crushing calamity that can be visited on a human being. In the end he said to God, “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” To his credit, Job didn’t sign up for the guilt trip his friends stridently urged him to take. In fact, he called them “wearisome and miserable comforters,” and asked, “Is there no limit to windy words” (Job 16:2-3)? If we read God’s speeches beginning in chapter 38, we recognize that the wind of the Holy Spirit gently blew a penitent Job to his knees. Then He raised him to unprecedented new heights of joyous servanthood. (Part 2 of 2)
Comment: The Book of Job is hailed as a literary masterpiece, belonging to the genre of “speculative wisdom” or “wisdom literature,” alongside Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. It addresses the universal question: If there is a God, why do the innocent suffer? Some swear by Buddhism for answers, others by Rabbi Harold Kushner’s huge bestseller in 1981, When Bad Things Happen To Good People. Some swear off sifting the opinions of Amazon’s ***** reviewers. Ezekiel mentions Job twice, linking him with the righteousness of Noah and Daniel (14:14;20). James confirms that he was a real person, not simply the imaginary poster child of a philosophical discourse. “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (5:11). It isn’t known who wrote the Book of Job, but what matters is that the Holy Spirit inspired it and His authorship is easily discerned. That is precisely why some of the wisdom I treasure came from the very mouths of his lousy comforters. Take Eliphaz in Job 5:26, “You will come to the grave in full vigor, like the stacking of grain in its season.” I relish this promise and as an octogenarian pushing ninety, I’m privileged to recognize the blessings of maturity that allow me to offer my weekly writings as “vine-ripened,” Jesus being the Vine. I peeled that sticker off a tomato and stuck it to my desk lamp. How could I not end my tribute to Job and rejoice in his vindication by quoting him directly? “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold…” (19:25-27) Job 1