Have you ever known someone who is simply beyond criticism? No one finds fault with that person because there’s just not any to find? These people aren’t perfect, of course, but for the very most part of their day, and inside the greatest percentage of their thoughts, these people exist in in a perpetual place of honor.
That was Job. He was above reproach. He was a man so forthright that the Bible uses the word “blameless” to describe his integrity. His honesty qualified him for the unique descriptor of “upright.” Job feared God. He shunned evil. There was no smear campaign that could affect Job. He had no enemies.
Well, actually, he had O.n.e.
“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.”
Yeah. Satan had definitely considered God’s servant, Job. He had so considered him, in fact, that he was compelled to present himself before God with a suggestion. “Just let me at him.” That was the evil gist of Satan’s vile request. Let me destroy the man. I’ll show you what your upright servant is really made of.
The one who restlessly filled his days going to and fro on the earth, walking back and forth on it had zeroed in on the man from Uz. He could take the man’s goodness no longer. Satan wanted Job to go down. If Job had no riches, if Job had no fame, if Job had no family, surely then, Satan surmised, Job would do what no one could ever imagine him doing.
Satan wanted Job to curse God to his face. Not just curse. Not just curse God. Curse God to his face. (Job 1:11)
Well, Job didn’t do it. Even when his wife offered a suggested that he curse God and die at his own hand, Job told her she was speaking as a foolish woman. No way, said Job. (Read the rest of Job’s story here.)
As my granddaughter and I memorize this 18th verse together on our way to 66, what I want her to understand is three-fold.
First, Satan’s goal to destroy Job was secondary to his desire for man to despise Almighty God.
Satan’s request shows us something really important. His main goal was not to destroy Job’s health, wealth and status. He didn’t really approach heaven’s throne for permission to whack away at the fabric of a single man’s integrity. If we look a little deeper, Job was merely the ultimate pawn in the game Satan thought he had a chance of winning against Almighty God. If he could get Job to be so distraught at his circumstances, at his lack, at his trials and tribulations, he might be able to persuade the upright man to curse the God who had given him everything in the first place.
Second, what the Enemy wanted to do to Job, he desires to do to everyone who fears God and shuns evil.
From Beth Moore’s book When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, we read her poetic writing about a person named Had. It describes the process of a believer letting down his or her guard, getting caught in the Enemy’s trap and being given a new name by the One who set the snare.
People looked up to me. And life looked good from up there. I felt good about who I was. That was before I was Had. Strangely, I no longer remember my old name. I just remember I liked it. I liked who I was. I wish I could go back. I wish I’d just wake up. But I fear I’m wide awake. I’ve had a nightmare. And the nightmare was me. Had.
If I could really talk to you, if you could really listen, I’d tell you I have no idea how all this happened. Honestly, I was just like you. I didn’t plan to be Had. I didn’t want to be Had. One day I hadn’t, then the next day I had.
Oh, I know now where I went wrong. I rewound that nightmare a thousand times, stopping it right at the point where I departed the trail of good sense. The way ahead didn’t look wrong. It just looked different. Strange, he didn’t look like the devil in that original scene. But every time I replayed it, he dropped another piece of his masquerade. When he finally took off his mask, he was laughing at me. Nothing seems funny anymore. I’ll never laugh again as long as he’s laughing.
If only I could go back. I would see it this time! I’d walk around the trap camouflaged by the brush, and I would not be Had.
Third, we serve God, not because of what he gives us, but because of who he is.
Can’t we see that Satan is still up to the same old scheme? No telling how many times he has approached the throne of God and again asked to destroy one of us. He’s still restlessly roaming the earth, going to and fro upon it, looking for the next one of God’s upright children to zero in on for the countdown.
Just let me at her, he says. Oh, I can take him down easy, he devilishy declares.
And what do we do? We let our guard down while things are peaceful, while there’s money in the bank, while the kids are little and healthy, while our spouses still sleep beside us every night.
That’s when Satan is the busiest. He’s setting traps and betting against us. He wants us to lose all that we hold dear, all that we love on this earth, for crying out loud.
But he wants one thing more.
Just like Job, Satan wants you and me to curse God to his face. He wants us to forgo the future plans that God has for us while we wrestle with the current ones that we don’t understand. He hopes we’ll go through a hardship, be tempted and sin, undergo severe trials, and then blame God for it all. He thinks we can be Had.
Oh, Lord, help us. Give us the strength of Job.
Encouraging intentional adventure, but not into unprotected territory,
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