What was the controversy between Satan and God in Job?

The story of Job starts with a dialogue between Satan and God when the sons of God met with Him (Job 1). Satan was not one of the “sons of God.” He only joined as a representative of fallen humanity.

The Controversy Between Satan and God

The controversy started when the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”  So Satan answered … “Does Job fear God for nothing?  Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? …  But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face” (ch. 1: 8-11).

Satan insinuated that God’s servant worshiped God for selfish reasons. He claimed that he did it to gain material blessings. Satan tried to refute the idea that true worship is motivated by love and gratitude to the Creator. He rejected the concept that God’s children love and worship Him because He is worthy of their love and trust.

God Accepted the Challenge

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person” (ch. 1:12). And He lifted His protection from His servant’s possessions, permitting him to demonstrate that he was equal to the test. The Lord desired to show that men will serve Him from pure love. It was necessary to prove Satan’s lie as untrue. Yet, through it all God would overrule for purposes of mercy.

Satan’s Attack

Satan, in a very short time, destroyed all of Job’s possessions (ch. 1:13-17) and children (v. 18). Upon hearing this devastating news, God’s servant tore his robe and shaved his head in mourning. But he didn’t lose his faith and worshiped the Lord saying: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this the godly man did not sin nor charge God with wrong (v. 20-22). This statement has become the classic expression of Christian acceptance.

Filled with fury about Job’s blameless response, Satan again shamelessly said to the Lord, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.  But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life” (ch. 2: 4-6). Immediately, Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck the godly man with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head (v. 7).

Job’s Response to His Misfortune

At this point, Job’s wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this the godly man did not sin with his lips (ch. 2: 9,10).

Although God’s servant didn’t understand why the Lord allowed these things to happen to him even though he was a righteous man, he didn’t lose his faith in the Lord’s goodness. By faith, he rose from the pits of discouragement and hopelessness to the heights of full trust in the mercy and the saving grace of God. And he declared: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him… He also shall be my salvation… I know that I shall be vindicated” (ch. 13:15-18).

And he further affirmed “my redeemer lives” (ch. 19:25-27). This statement signified that he understood God’s character. He saw in spite of his confusion that the Lord is “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth… forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” (Exodus 34:6, 7).

The godly man was the target of a sad situation that he could not understand. Because of it, he was greatly discouraged and spoke words of sadness (Job 32:15). He had questions about suffering but the Lord answered him “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (ch. 38: 4). The Creator wanted to show him how limited his knowledge really was and that there was a bigger picture that he was not aware of. In all of this, God’s servant kept his full trust in God (ch. 13:5).

God rewards His Servant

God’s servant passed the testing trial. And for his faithfulness, the Lord healed him and blessed his latter days more than his beginnings. The blessings that had seemed to be gone forever, returned, more brilliant than ever. He was blessed with even greater possessions (ch. 42:12) and was given seven sons and three beautiful daughters (v. 13).

Thus, the man who was close to his death continued to live for nearly another century and a half (v. 16,17). And his family, property, friends, and status were regained. But even greater than these blessings was the experience in which he had come face to face with God.

Satan’s accusations refuted

The great controversy between Satan and God ended with Job’s triumph. His conduct was a clear denial of Satan’s insinuations (v. 11) and a clear vindication to the character of God. To the question, “Does Job fear God without regard for selfish gain?” Job responded “Yes.”

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories God

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