Front Page
Meditations Contents
Series Theme: The Anguish of Job
Series Contents:

1. Setting the Scene

2. God the Initiator

3. Satan the Destroyer

4. Mishaps of Life

5. Responding to Disaster

6. Even More

7. Options

8. Friends

9. Job's Lament

10. Be an example

11 to 20

31 to 40

41 to 50

51 to 60

61 to 68



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. 4

Meditation Title: Mishaps of Life 


Job 1:13-19   One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"


This passage is a bit of a handful and so we'd better check what it says first. Job's family are having a get-together at the oldest brother's house while Job is obviously at home. Then things start going wrong:

Crisis no.1: Sabean raiders steal the oxen & donkeys and servants killed.

Crisis no.2: Lightning kills sheep and shepherds.

Crisis no.3: Chaldean raiders steal the camels and kill the camel keepers. 

Crisis no.4: A tornado hits the house and kills all Job's children.

Now two thoughts immediately come to mind. The first one is that this sort of thing is the content of a nightmare. It's usually only in nightmares that everything goes utterly wrong and you feel totally helpless to do anything about it. The second thought is that when everything goes seriously pear-shaped my wife and I immediately go into suspicion mode and wonder what we're doing right that it has caused Satan to pay us so much attention. When just one thing happens you take it on the chin and cope. When more than two things blow up under our feet, we become aware that this is more than coincidence. We have a saying that sometimes Satan over-reaches himself, and shows his hand. Most of the time he is subtle, coming like an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14), and often he simply tries to hide himself so you won't realise that you are under attack. There are other times when he comes like a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8) and seeks to scare you with fear. Some times, however, he comes blatantly and destructively as in these instances.

Now you might think that this is an assumption because the passage above doesn't actually mention Satan. Yes, it is an assumption because, in what has just gone before it, the Lord has given permission: “everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (v.12). Now observe in passing that Satan has been limited in respect of what he has been allowed to do. He can touch “every thing” but not Job himself. So, the natural logic of the flow of the text is that Satan is permitted by God to attack Job's possessions and so what follows is the outworking of that.

Let's consider the nature of these four attacks. Two of them are what we might call ‘natural disasters' (lightning and tornado) and two of them are the acts of men. Thus we see first of all that Satan is granted delegated power (it's from God) to affect the weather. Of course most of us immediately write off such things when they happen – lightning strikes, floods, hurricanes etc. – we write them off as ‘natural' disasters with no meaning, purely freaks of nature. Yet behind the story of these catastrophes here, there is purpose. It is not very clear yet, but God has virtually instigated this by prodding Satan and Satan has used the power given to him to destroy, and God never does anything out of spite and He is not capricious and He is, please remember, a God of love who sometimes takes the mishaps of life in a fallen world, to bring about His greater purposes which will be (ultimately) for our blessing.

Two of these attacks involve human raiders. Did Satan have to ‘make' these men do this? No, it is far more likely that he simply whispered into their minds that here were some easy pickings and their natural sinful inclination did the rest. It is very easy for Satan to lead sinful men into doing more sin; that's why the apostle John was able to say, “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 Jn 5:19)

Now this might sound quite depressing if we thought that Satan got his own way and all that life included was disaster. Of course life is very far from that and in fact, life is full of God's blessings, yet because it is a ‘fallen world' and men and women reject God, He uses Satan in a variety of ways. For example, to reveal men's hearts (1 Chron 21:1), to bring judgement on unbelievers (Rev 9:11), to bring discipline to believers (1 Cor 5:5), to maintain humility in our lives (e.g. 2 Cor 12:7), and to develop faith & righteousness in our lives (1 Peter 1:7). These are just some of the ways that the Bible shows that God uses Satan. To describe Satan as a ‘servant of God' is, I believe, incorrect because that implies willing, friendly co-operation, whereas Satan's activities are always revealed as hostile to God's creation.

Something further to be remembered in all of this, is that whatever is going on we know “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes.” (Rom 8:28). So whatever is going on, the Lord will be working for the good of His children. We need to remember that, even though we may be Christians, we are still citizens of a particular country and if that is under God's judgment we will find ourselves having to cope with the things that are part of that overall judgment. Jeremiah is a good example of that, a man who was God's mouthpiece and an obvious believer, faithful to the Lord, delivered out of exile when Jerusalem fell (what provision by the Lord!) yet taken away by the rebellious exiles and last seen prophesying going over the border into exile in Egypt! Daniel was God's mouthpiece in the Babylonian court in exile, while Ezekiel was God's mouthpiece with the common people in exile.

So when mishaps happen, they may be because of our own folly, they may be Satanic attack through which we will learn, and they may be just because we live in a fallen world in a country that God is dealing with. However, in all of these things, the crucial thing for us as Christians today, is to remember that Jesus IS Lord, and that he is seated at his Father's right hand (1 Pet 3:22) and is ruling in the midst of his enemies (Psa 110:1,2). As children of God perhaps one of the things we should be constantly asking is, “Lord, what is the bigger picture?”