The story of Job gives us a peak into the council room of heaven like no other book in the Bible. We read where Satan joined in on a heavenly meeting. God pointed out Job as a “blameless and upright man who feared God and turned away from evil.” Satan started doing what he does best, accusing. He said, “He only serves you because you have put a hedge about him. If you touch all that he has he’ll curse you to your face.” At this point it’s on! God tells Satan he can do anything to him except kill him.
Without going through all the details here we see Job loses just about everything he has: his oxen, donkeys, sheep, servants, camels and his sons and daughters. This all happened in one day mind you, and the Bible tells us “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not so sure this would be my first reaction. Job truly did understand something most of us have yet to learn and that is God is the only true power in the universe and everything that comes into our lives is there because God means it.
I can here the objections now. Someone will say, “Louie, what about the devil then? Isn’t he the enemy that causes all these destructive things?” I would say yes in one sense he does, but as we can see here God is still God and he set up boundaries for Satan that he could not cross. Let’s read a little further.
After Job lost all of his possessions and children Satan once again comes to God to ask for more room to get at him. He says to God, “If you just let me touch him he will curse you to your face.” God lets him at Job but tells him he has to stop short of taking his life so Job now finds himself covered in boils head to toe.
At this point his wife comes to him and says something that sounds very familiar to we that have been privileged to the conversation between God and Satan. Jobs wife is now being operated by the enemy. She says to Job, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God, and die!” But he said to her, “you speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Wow! What a thing to say! Do you mean we are to receive evil from God?
You see Job understood one thing and that is God is the only God. He has no rivals. He is the one who said, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no God.” After the first two chapters of Job we don’t hear of Satan again. Jobs friends come to console him and they never once talk of Satan’s influence in the tragic events in Jobs life. I suppose you could make the argument they didn’t even know there was a Satan; I’m not sure about that. What I’m getting at is even though such awful and tragic things happened in Jobs life he always understood God was in it.
According to the scriptures we know Satan is the one that brought about the calamity but we also know God is in charge of it all. So in a sense God didn’t do the evil but at the same time he set Satan loose on Job. The real issue here is not assigning blame rather understanding God is still in charge and he will bring glory from it all. I once heard “The devil is still God’s devil.”
Seeing God in everything that comes into our lives is key to keeping our peace. Living by faith in Jesus Christ doesn’t always mean we are going to feel at ease or have clear skies all the way but we can know God is working even in the darkest night.
Another story, found in Genesis, teaches us this same principle. Joseph was mistreated by his own brothers, thrown into a pit and sold into slavery. If that’s not enough he was then falsely accused by his boss’s wife, put in prison and forgotten. Eventually he was released and rose to a high position in the Egyptian kingdom just in time to provide for the very brothers that had such evil intentions toward him. At the close of the story, when his brothers come groveling to him in fear, Joseph says, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Joseph had come to see God had been the one to orchestrate each and every step of his life in order for him to be there for his brothers.
Of course the ultimate picture of receiving evil from God is the cross. Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, went to the cross completely innocent of any wrong doing on our behalf. In fact Isaiah tells us “But the Lord was pleased to crush him, putting him to grief…” Just like we would Jesus had a struggle with this as we see in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed three times for his Father to come up with another way, but in the end he said, “If I must drink this cup then your will be done.” Jesus received evil from God in order to bring about our salvation.
I must admit I don’t understand all there is to know about this subject matter, but I do know once we learn to see everything in our lives as coming from the hand of a loving Father rather than an evil, hateful devil it is much easier to take. Never forget God is still God and he is never caught off guard. He is actively engaged in every aspect of our lives working it all out for our good and his glory.
Written by Louie