Online Bible Commentary
Winning at Life
Job 1:6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." 9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "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. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." 12 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. (NIV)
The angels and Satan came before the Lord in Heaven (v. 6). The word translated “angels” means “sons of God” in the Hebrew. The word “Satan” means “adversary, accuser, and slanderer in the Hebrew. The all caps word “LORD” is a reference to the Hebrew word “Yhwh”, pronounced and written in English as “Yahweh”. It is the Patriarchal name for God, the sacred name, and is used more than twenty-five times in the book of Job. Whereas the word for “God” used in “sons of God” is the Hebrew word Elohiym, meaning “mighty one, great one, judge.”
When the Lord asked Satan where he had been, his answer was “roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it" (v.7). This is what Satan does. He roams around creating havoc wherever he sees an opening. He knows each of our weaknesses and that’s where he hits. He especially seeks out the righteous, those who he has not been able to penetrate with his demons. Christians are his number one prizes. The closer we draw to God the more Satan hates it and the more powerful the attacks.
God then volunteers Job, as the target for Satan’s arrows (v.8). God knows that Job has been obedient to Him and has avoided sin. He describes Job as being “blameless and upright.” The tragedies that will befall Job are not the result of sin in his life. Sin does often bring tragedy as a result of the consequences of one’s sinful actions. Also, God does punish sin. But in Job’s case God hands him over to Satan for the purpose of refining and purifying him.
Satan responds to God’s offer by claiming that Job only worships God because he has been greatly blessed by God with material riches and protection (v.9-10). He knows that God has placed a “hedge” of protection around Job, his family, and all that he owns (v.10). God has told Satan to be hands off when it comes to Job. This is an example of the relationship between God and Satan. Satan fears God and knows that he is powerless in the midst of God. Satanists believe that Satan has all the power, but Satan is a pawn in the hands of God. Satan’s only power comes when God removes his hand of protection. When a person, or a country, turns their back on God, He will give them their wish and turn them over to Satan.
Satan continues by telling God that if God took away Job’s blessings Job would no longer worship God but would curse Him instead (v.11). God then calls Satan’s hand and offers all of Job’s material riches, his family, everything he has except for the life of Job himself (v.12). God has plans for Job, and thus does not offer him up to Satan. God is allowing Job to be refined in order to prepare him for the plans He has for him.
This passage gives us insights as to how Satan works. Satan is very much real, and creates havoc wherever he goes. He may leave us alone at times, and then other times he may attack with a vengeance. None of us are immune to Satan’s attacks or those of his demons. But some are more susceptible than others. The only protection we have comes from God. When we draw closer to God, He draws closer to us. As we become more obedient to Him through obedience to his word, the Bible, we reduce the power of Satan upon us. When we read the Bible and obey it we become spiritually stronger, and more able to ward off the arrows of Satan.
Also, God rewards our obedience with the blessing of peace. We sometimes call this “winning at life.” In life, we are doing everything we can to find the peace that we all really want, but wrongly look for in things of the world. Job was blessed greater than anyone else in his country, but his peace did not come from his possessions or his family. God is the only One who can give us peace. Job had this peace in his life. It was only because of that peace that he was able to stay true to God through the trials to come.