God is omniscient, which means God is all knowing. Satan is not.
A couple of years ago, I kept saying how much I wanted to do a Bible study through the book of Job. I was met with less than an eager response by friends and fellow Bible study goers. A book about suffering doesn’t seem as promising as studies about the character of God or the special task of motherhood. Now I see this desire to study and understand Job was a provision from the Lord. Recently, I’ve been reading Job again, because where else do you immediately turn in Scripture when you’ve experienced profound loss and suffering?
There is so much truth and so much to digest in just the first two chapters of Job. But here is the thing that I need to be reminded of, and the thing I think we all need to remember. Satan doesn’t know the outcome. God is omniscient, which means God is all knowing. Satan is not. Satan is a formidable enemy. He seeks to kill, steal and destroy. Sin, death and the enemy are not to be taken lightly. But I think sometimes we give Satan too much credit.
Job 1:6-12 says, One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 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.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “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. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Notice, God brought Job to Satan’s attention first. God knew the outcome from the beginning. Satan then complains that of course Job is upright because God has put a special hedge around him and blessed him. But notice what Satan says in verse 11. “But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Surely.
NIV and NAS include the word surely and although the word in absent from the ESV translation the meaning is the same. The definition of surely is as follows. Surely is used to emphasize the speaker’s firm belief that what they are saying is true and often their surprise that there is any doubt of this. Satan has a firm belief that believers are only faithful as long as they prosper. He claims, that once their prosperity is taken away, they will inevitably reject God. He used the same tactics in the wilderness with the Son of God and against many other faithful servants throughout Scripture. But Satan didn’t know the outcome, God did.
Satan has a firm belief that believers are only faithful as long as they prosper.
Friends, we live in a privileged and prosperous nation. However, let’s not be foolish to assume that hard times and suffering will never come our way. In the evening hours of February 24, 2020 my daughter was inexplicably taken away from me. It is a devastating blow and shock to our family. Satan didn’t even know the outcome. Satan doesn’t know how we will process and respond to such devastation, but God does. It brings me immense joy knowing that through the power of the Holy Spirit we have the ability to prove Satan wrong. While the enemy seeks to kill, steal and destroy our family, it doesn’t mean he will be successful.
Can I look loss and tragedy in the face and say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”? Through the enabling work of the Holy Spirit, I can. When my flesh is pricked, blood comes forth. When tragedy pierces deeply, what will come forth? Will it be complaining, anger and bitterness or will it be the Fruit of the Spirit flowing forth in praise?
When my flesh is pricked, blood comes forth. When tragedy pierces deeply, what will come forth? Will it be complaining, anger and bitterness or will it be the Fruit of the Spirit flowing forth in praise?
In the midst of a pandemic, in failing health, in unemployment, can we trust God’s sovereignty? Can we be filled with the Holy Spirit? Can we meet tragedy and dismay, with confidence and praise in God? Yes, a million times over. God is not asking us to understand our circumstances, He is asking us to trust His character. It is my prayer that Satan doesn’t gain a single foothold in our family. Let this be your prayer too. Don’t give Satan the power to achieve the outcome he desires. Let God have control and prove his unfailing love and faithfulness.