"Tychicus will tell you everything." Ephesians 6:21

October 15th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Satan’s key question

While preparing to share at a men’s retreat recently, I saw how a truth from Job 1 fit into what I was asked to share.  After I shared this thought, a brother asked for my notes.  I didn’t have any written out, but felt I should write something up so others could take a look.

The question Satan asks in Job 1:9 reflects one of the most important “mega-questions” anyone could ask.

The most common perspective of the book of Job generally revolves around how the righteous suffer.  Certainly, that is a major part of the story (Job was a righteous man and he suffered much!) but I am not sure that is the primary focus of its message.  Perhaps the suffering Job endured tells us more about God’s worth than about Job’s righteousness.

Here’s some background.  Job was a blameless and prosperous man.  He is described as one who “feared God and shunned evil.”  May that be said of us!  One day, Satan appeared before God.  In the conversation, Job’s name comes up.  Look at Job 1:8-11.

And 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, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”  (ESV)

As a result of this brief conversation, Job suffered two rounds of absolute disaster.  First, all He had (over ten thousand head of livestock, ten children, many servants, etc.) was all destroyed.  Then, he experienced sever physical sickness and pain.  After the first round of disaster, “Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:22)  After the second round, “Job did not sin in what he said.” (Job 2:10)

Why was Job able to go through these two terrible times and still not sin against God?  The question the evil one asked in verse 9 and the further explanation in verses 10-11 give us the answer.

Did Job fear God for no reason?  At first glance we may answer this question with a “no.”  That is, there certainly are reasons why Job feared God.  But as Satan continues to talk, we understand his question better.

The question is really an accusation.  The charge of the accuser is this: the reason Job feared God (and we could add, obeyed God, thanked God, had a relationship with God, at all) is because God protected him and blessed him.  BUT, if God took those things away from Job, Job would certainly CURSE. GOD. TO. HIS. FACE.  That is, the ONLY reason Job had a relationship with God, and the only reason anyone would have a relationship with God.  If God stopped doing those things, then HE IS NOT WORTHY to have a relationship with at all!  The accusation of the evil one is that God, in and of Himself, is not worthy to be known, walked with, followed, or loved.  The only reason anyone would follow Him is because of the “toys” He gives us.  If He were to take the “toys” away, then, surely, there is no reason to have a relationship with Him at all!

Another way to ask this question is:  “Is God worthy of a relationship because of the stuff God has given us, or is He worthy of a relationship, in and of Himself?”

The rest of the book is Job’s answer to that charge.  In essence, Job says, “I am in a relationship with God, not because He protects me from bad things, not because He gives me good things, as grateful as I am for those things.  But I walk with God because of who He is.  My walk with Him is not based upon what happens to me, but on His character and nature.”

For those of us who follow God, and have enjoyed His protection and blessing, if we are going to have an ongoing healthy walk with Him, it is essential for us to come back to this place regularly.  Is God worthy to be followed simply because He gives us good things, or because He is, in fact, good?

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