This is the third in Peter Davey’s series on The Life of Job. You can find the Introduction and the second part: Job’s Wife by clicking on the links.
Job’s professed innocence often raises the question: “Why did God allow him to suffer so terribly?”
Even Job asks “Why have you made me your target?” (7.20; 16.12)
The usual translations seem to confirm that God has drawn satan’s attention towards Job not once but twice! ‘Have you considered … Job … there is no one … like him…” (Job 1:8 and 2:3)
Reading from Young’s Literal Translation however allows a different understanding: ‘… the Lord asked Satan (YLT) `Have you set your 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?’ (Job 1:8; 2.3)
Instead of holding Job up as a target for Satan the Lord is asking him why Job has become an object of his attentions, thereby revealing that He is fully aware of Satan’s behavior and activity.
Satan reveals his daily occupation: ‘roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.’ (1.7; 2.2) As the apostle Peter warns he ‘is poised to pounce…’ ‘…’looking for someone to devour’ (1Peter 5.8 MSG/NIV)
Authority and Order
So the question becomes: “Why doesn’t God stop him?” To answer this we need to return to the Garden of Eden (Gen 1-3) where Adam was given the divine mandate to ‘Rule over … every living creature that moves … (1.26,28). Instead of ruling over satan (the snake) and obeying God’s instruction Adam succumbed to temptation, thereby surrendering his authority. (Rom 5.19 ‘disobedience’ = (lit) ‘hear alongside’)
From that moment on satan became the ‘prince of this world’ (John 12.31; 14.30; 16.11), the ‘ruler of the kingdom of the air’. in truth ‘the whole world (cosmos) is under the control of the evil one’ (Eph 2.2; 6.12; Col 1.16; 1Jn 5.19)
God’s words to satan ‘… all that is his is in your hand…’ (Job 1.12 (YLT) is not giving him permission to attack Job it is recognizing the order of things. However by limiting his activity God retains the final authority! (Job 1.12; 2.6; 1Cor 10.13).
Jesus came and took back what Adam lost (Matt 28.18: Jn13.3 see also Heb 2.5-9) and we live in the tension of awaiting its full completion. (Heb 2.8; Rom 14.10-11; Ph 2.10)
Job maintains his confidence in God’s faithfulness and justice; ‘let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless’ (23.10; 31.4-5).
Throughout every situation Job refuses to ‘speak evil … speak no lies’ (27.3-6)
He remained confident in his innocence and his belief that ultimately God would justify him!
Peter has used the New Living Translation (NLT) and The Message (MSG) and Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)
Peter is married to Jill and together they have been in Christian ministry since the early days of their marriage. They have four grown up children and dozens of grandchildren and are a great addition to the Jubilee family in their example and wisdom of years.