Slightly Obsessed #218: When the Hedge Comes Down, Part 2.
Satan said, ‘Does Job fear God nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?
But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.’
– Job 1:9, 10a, 11
Behind the Veil
The book of Job is one of the few glimpses given mankind behind the veil into the interaction between God and his created beings. And the revelation is an astounding one. Not only is Satan not in hell, he has access to both heaven and earth. Satan tells God that he has been roaming about on the earth, which immediately suggests 1 Peter 3:8: “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” He roams the earth looking for human weakness he can exploit to cause pain and destruction.
But it isn’t Satan who brings up Job, but God. “Have you considered My servant Job?”
Satan seizes the bait and is lured into the fight. God grants permission to Satan to strike Job’s family and possessions in a series of losses inflicted by the sword, fire, and wind.
Job responds in the traditional expressions of grief and yet does not blame God. In fact, he falls to the ground and worships Him. His trust in the face of incomprehensible tragedy is staggering.
That’s not the end of it, though. Again, Satan appears before God. Again, God prods the devil into focusing on Job. This time, God grants the adversary permission to afflict Job’s body.
Finally, Job can take no more. From the depths of his anguish come the questions. If Job could have only read the first chapter of the book that bore his name, he would have understood God wasn’t being evil or cruel. He had not forsaken Job. On the contrary, He had singled out Job because of his reverence and diligence toward Him, to display his faith and to pull back the veil on suffering to generations of believers after him who would ask the same questions.
Job sees none of this.
All he sees is his world crashing down upon him. The crucial moment comes when his wife unknowingly steps into Satan’s carefully crafted trap, urging him to make the prediction a reality.
Curse God and die.
But in his darkest moment, when all he thought he knew about God had been lost in a pit of pain, Job refuses to turn on his Lord. Without knowing it, he has won the battle with that decision, revealing both the power of God to keep His own and the fragrance of a faith released under the heel of injustice.
Though Job passes the test, he still has more to learn before the restoration comes. It’s not enough for God to simply see Satan shut down. It’s not about Job passing a test. God has a deeper lesson for the man He loves so much.
Now God speaks.
When He is done, Job understands. He understands.
Job’s declaration rings throughout history for us who have followed. From his suffering comes this encouragement for us today:
When trial has burned everything we love, God brings from the ashes a new song.
Next week: When the Hedge Comes Down, Part 3