|Series Theme: The Anguish of Job|
1-10 roughly cover Ch.1-4
11-20 roughly cover Ch.4-7
21-30 roughly cover Ch.8-11
31-40 roughly cover Ch.12-15
41-50 roughly cover Ch.16-21
51-60 cover Ch.22-33
61-68 cover Ch.34-42
Meditation No. 3
Meditation Title: Satan the Destroyer
Job 1:9-12 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
In the previous meditation we briefly touched on Satan. Now we need to consider him more fully. We saw him appear in the courts of heaven to account for what he had been doing. Now we have a problem when it comes to Biblical chronology and Satan. In the book of Revelation we find the following: “The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” (Rev 12:9) Now that was part of a major prophecy, which is what the whole book is, and we are not told specifically WHEN that has happened or will happen. There are those, therefore who maintain that Satan no longer has access to the halls of heaven because he has been cast out of heaven.
However when John was writing his letter he wrote, “if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One,” (1 Jn 2:1) which implies there is a prosecuting counsel or accuser who still challenges our position and he is answered by Jesus who is our defence advocate. However, if we read on in Revelation, we find, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” (Rev 12:10) which, together with the verses that follow, suggest that Christ's work on the Cross has undermined the work of Satan so that now his activity limits him to the earth. It is perhaps a moot point, for he continues, it seems, to accuse people directly, even if he doesn't do it in the courts of heaven.
But there is something about the nature or character of Satan that we need to consider. It seems that wherever he is mentioned he is either tempting (Gen 3), accusing (Zech 3) or destroying by one means or another. Now was he always like that? The answer has got to be, no. If God MADE Satan evil, it means angels don't have free will and if that was so then a third of them could not have rebelled (Rev 12:3,4,7-9) and been cast out of heaven. So Satan clearly has free will and he has clearly chosen to rebel against God. So what happened? There are those who suggest that a prophecy in Isaiah actually refers to Satan: “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God…. I will make myself like the Most High." (Isa 14:12-14). If that is so then the reason for his fall was pride. Possibly if that prophecy did refer to him it was declaring what would happen as a result of the Cross which Revelation 12 also refers to.
And so it seems that Satan's present disposition is to oppose God and to come against people (part of God's creation) and seek to either lead them out of relationship with the Lord, or to destroy them so that they cannot ever come into a relationship with the Lord. His pride, it seems, means that his intentions are always this way inclined. But the Lord knows this and uses him for His own purposes, so now we find the Lord drawing Job to Satan's attention, knowing that Satan will act negatively in respect of him. Now the Lord has said some very positive things about Job (which we'll look at in a later meditation) and Satan's response is essentially, well you can only say those things because you've blessed him and he feels good towards you. Take those things away and he'll sing a very different tune!
So here is the crux of the matter. Will people only love and obey God when they are blessed? It is as big an issue today as it was then. Do you praise the Lord because you feel good or simply because you know He is worthy of praise? To take the other side of the coin, can you still bless the Lord when everything seems to be going wrong? Be warned, this is not a simple battle that is coming up. We've seen that Job is a good man, a godly man but he is going to be sifted by the arguments of his three ‘friends'.
You may be walking well, but how do you cope when 'friends' in the form of atheists come and mess with your mind, challenging your thinking from all angles – or do you make sure you never read or listen to any other point of view? We are going to learn much in these studies that will help us sift the truth.