Eastern Lightning

God Allowed Satan to Tempt Job for the Purpose of Perfecting Job’s Faith

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约伯俯伏祷告1 Job falls down and prays

The word in Job 1:8 is the first conversation between Jehovah God and satan we have read in the biblical records. What did God say? The text records as follows: And the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and shuns evil? This is God’s evaluation of Job before satan. God said that he was perfect and upright and feared God and shunned evil. Before his conversation with satan, God had determined to use satan to tempt Job, that is, to deliver Job to satan. The purpose of doing so, on the one hand, was to prove the exact accuracy of God’s searching and evaluation of Job and to put satan to shame through Job’s testimony. On the other hand, it was to perfect Job’s faith and fear of God. So, when satan came before God, God “came straight to the point” and asked satan directly, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and shuns evil?” God’s question contains such meaning: God knew that satan roamed everywhere and often spied on his servant Job and often tempted and attacked him. It attempted to crush Job by a certain means to prove that Job’s faith and his fear of God were untenable, and it also looked for chances unscrupulously to afflict Job and cause him to forsake God, so that it could take him away from God’s hand. However, God searched Job’s heart and saw that he was perfect and upright and that he feared God and shunned evil. God told satan by questioning that Job was a perfect and upright man, one that feared God and shunned evil, and that he would never forsake God and follow satan. Hearing God’s evaluation of Job, satan became more exasperated and was even more impatient to take Job away. This was because it never believed that man was able to be “perfect and upright” or believed that man could “fear God and shun evil,” and it also hated man’s perfectness and uprightness and hated anyone who could “fear God and shun evil.” Just as satan answered Jehovah in Job 1:9-11, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have not you made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? you have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” God well knew satan’s malicious nature and also deeply knew that it had harbored the intention of afflicting Job for a long time. So, here, by telling satan again that Job was “a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God and shuns evil,” God was to get satan to submissively do what he wanted it to do—to show its true colors—to attack and tempt Job. That is to say, God purposely emphasized that Job was perfect and upright and feared God and shunned evil, and used this means to stir satan to make an attack against Job because of its hatred of and annoyance at Job’s “being perfect and upright and fearing God and shunning evil,” thus letting satan be shamed by Job’s “being perfect and upright and fearing God and shunning evil,” so that it could be utterly shamed and defeated and would never again doubt or accuse Job’s being perfect and upright and fearing God and shunning evil. Thus, a trial from God and a temptation from satan would be inevitable. And the one who could bear God’s trial and withstand satan’s temptation was only Job. After that conversation, satan was allowed to tempt Job. That was the first round of attack from satan. Its target was Job’s possessions. Because satan accused Job as follows: “Does Job fear God for nothing? …you have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land,” God allowed satan to take away all that Job had. That was God’s intention of conversing with satan. But God made a requirement of satan: “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only on himself put not forth your hand.” (Job 1:12) It was the condition God made after he allowed satan to tempt Job and delivered Job into satan’s hand, that is, the bottom line God set for satan, ordering it not to do harm to Job. God acknowledged Job’s perfectness and uprightness and believed that Job’s uprightness and perfectness before him could withstand the test and was beyond doubt, so he allowed satan to tempt Job. Yet he set a limit for satan: satan was only allowed to take away any property of Job, but not to put forth its hand on him. What does this mean? It means that at that time God did not completely deliver Job to satan, and it was allowed to tempt Job in any way or means, but was not allowed to harm Job himself, not even a hair. That is because man’s everything is governed by God and man’s death or life is decided by God, and satan has no such right. After God said the word to satan, satan went anxiously. It went to tempt Job by various means. Soon, Job lost his flocks and herds all over the hills and lost all the possessions God bestowed to him…. God’s trial came upon Job just like that.

Although we know from the Bible the origin of the temptation Job underwent, did Job, as the “one concerned,” know about that? Job was only a mortal, and of course, he did not know the story that happened behind him. However, his fear of God and his perfectness and uprightness made him aware that it was God’s trial coming upon him. He did not know what had happened in the spiritual realm or what God’s intention was behind the trial, but he knew that no matter what came upon him, he should hold on to his perfectness and uprightness and hold fast the way of “fearing God and shunning evil.” Job’s attitude and reaction to these things were seen very clearly by God. What did God see? He saw Job’s heart of fearing him. That is because from the beginning to the end of Job’s undergoing the trial, his heart was always open to God and was laid before God, and he never gave up his perfectness and uprightness or forsook and departed from the way of “fearing God and shunning evil.” That was what God was most gratified with. Next, let’s see what temptations Job underwent and how he treated the trial. Continue to read the scriptures.

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