And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” (Job 1:8-11)
One day God called Satan’s attention to Job, an outstanding servant of God. Satan said Of course he’s a great servant. You think he serves you for nothing? All you do is bless and protect him. But break his stuff, take away some of those blessings you’ve heaped on him, like his children, for example, and he’ll curse you to your face..
And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12).
Shortly after this in one day four tragedies struck Job’s family, flocks and properties in rapid succession – a raid by Sabeans, fire from heaven, a raid by Chaldeans, and a desert windstorm – leaving Job’s children dead and Job financially ruined. Yet look how Job responded.
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (Job 1:20-22)
What? Job gets devastating news that his children have all been killed and his flocks and property have been demolished and he…worships! He worships in deep grief – head shaved, torn robe – yet he worships. Then he expresses this incredible truth – “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.” I came into this world empty-handed and that’s how I’ll leave. All I ever had was a gift from God and belongs to God. My life and possessions aren’t my own – it’s all from the Lord. He gives and he has a right to take away. I will worship him as good and righteous: “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” And “in all this” – in the most devastating suffering imaginable, especially the loss of your children – Job does not sin – he doesn’t turn to sin for comfort or distraction. And he doesn’t charge God with wrong.
Later God points out Job to Satan again.
And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” (Job 2:3-6)
God says “Look Satan, Job is still walking in integrity, still trusting and worshiping me even though he’s lost everything. But Satan says, “Skin for skin! Of course he’s still praising you. He’s healthy and strong. But touch his bone and his flesh – give him some real pain – and he’ll curse you to your face.” So God says, “Go for it. Do whatever you like short of killing him.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. (7-8)
Now even Job’s wife chimes in. Instead of supporting her husband in his misery, she takes up a Satanic taunt:
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (9).
“How can you praise God?” she says. “Curse God and get this over with.”
But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (10)
What an answer Job gives. “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” He knows that God is ultimately in control and that all we receive, good and bad, is measured out by his loving hand of providence. He says we’re glad to receive good from God. It’s easy to worship him when he prospers us. But what about when we are afflicted? Will we only praise God when he blesses us? Amazingly, in the throes of his sadness and excruciating pain, Job doesn’t sin with his lips, but glorifies God with his mouth.
A few years ago, this passage inspired me to write a song, “As Long As You Are Glorified.” We sang it yesterday morning in our church meeting. I hope it encouraged folks and encourages you. If you’d like, you can listen to it or purchase it at Sovereign Grace Music.
As Long As You Are Glorified
Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt
Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified
Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night
So quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart in You
© 2008 Integrity’s Praise! Music/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)