Tag Archives: the devil

With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (The Prologue: Chs. 1-3, Part 6)

But what about Mrs. Job? She has endured these catastrophes along with her husband. She, too, has had no peak behind God’s curtain to see that these tragedies are the result of God’s challenging Satan about his faithful servant Job. All she has seen are dead servants, deceased children, lost livestock, and grieving friends.

VI. A Word from the Wife (2:9-10)

As Job sits on the ash heap and tries to find some relief from the boils covering him from head to toe, his wife speaks. She does not come with comforting words. She does not sit with him silent. She does not join him on the ash heap and help him scrap his sores. She speaks words to him — words of death.

Mrs. Job’s question (v. 9): She asks her husband a question: “Are you still maintaining your integrity?” We do not know her heart, a heart repeatedly broken by Job’s losses and completely crushed by the deaths of her ten children. Sometimes those who observe the sufferer suffer terribly themselves. She has had no power over their overlapping tragedies. She, like Job, could only listen to the woeful reports of the surviving servants who stumbled over each other as they brought the news of the various events. And now her husband’s own body is in rebellion against him. And he sits. And scraps.

Mrs. Job’s challenge (v. 9): But Mrs. Job doesn’t just have a question. She has a direct challenge for her husband. Her challenge is exactly what Satan was looking for. Her challenge to her husband is simple and straightforward: “Curse God and die!” We can’t pretend to know her motives. We have no idea of her own walk with the Lord. But her advice is from the pit. Her challenge to her husband is precisely what the Evil One hopes will take place.

We can only speculate as to the purpose of her challenge. The finality of her words (“Curse God . . . and die!”) suggest that she thought the tragedies would end with her husband’s death. If further catastrophes were to come, at least they would not come through him! Her “solution” is for Job to end it all by ending his own life. And then, perhaps, having his ashes join those he was sitting on.

Job’s Response (v. 10): What response does Job make to this woman who has borne him ten children, enjoyed his public respect for many years, and has stood by him in thick and thin? Job minces no words. He confronts her by saying, “You are talking like a foolish woman.” The Hebrew word rendered foolish denotes moral deficiency. Mrs. Job is morally deficient in her advice to her husband — and he tells her so! She has chosen the path of submission, but not to her husband. To the devil!

Job then asks his wife a question. “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Hers was an only good God, a God who provides possessions, children, public standing. Her doctrine of God allowed no room for personal and family brokenness. As we will see, in some ways both Job and his four friends suffer from the same kind of poor theology of God.

We are then clearly told: “In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” To what does the “all this” refer? May I suggest it refers to all that Job (and his wife) have experienced, including her words of blasphemy.


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Posted by on December 19, 2022 in the book of Job


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With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (The Prologue: Chs. 1-3, Part 5)

Job has lost virtually everything. His livestock are gone. Most of his servants have been killed. His children have died tragically.  But the Lord is not finished with His loyal servant. Yet. The second chapter of Job describes the second major assault by the Evil One on Job.

V. “Skin for Skin!” (2:1-8)

We are told of another day when the angels present themselves to the Lord, to dutifully report their activities on earth. Satan is with them and has a second confrontation with God.

The Lord asks Satan two questions — the same two questions He asked him in Job 1. Those questions are: (1) “Where have you come from?” (2:2 and 1:7) and (2) “Have you considered my servant Job?” (2:3 and 1:8).

Satan’s response to the two questions is initially exactly the same in both chapters. To the first question (“Where have you come from?”), Satan answers, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it” (1:7 and 2:2). As He asks Satan His second question (“Have you considered my servant Job?”), the Lord again testifies to Job’s character. In Job 1 the Lord declared, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (v. 8). In Job 2 the Lord uses the exact same words — with the addition of the following: “And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” (v. 3). Job successfully endured Satan’s first attack — and has not turned against the Lord.

To the second question in Job 1 (“Have you considered my servant Job?”), Satan responds with a question: “Does Job fear God for nothing?” (v. 9). To this second question in Job 2, Satan responds not with a question, but with an in-your-face proverb: “Skin for skin! A man will give all he has for his own life.” (v. 4). What’s interesting is that Job has nothing left to give. Oh, there’s his wife, but we’ll look at her story a bit later.

Satan then issues a challenge to the Lord: “But now stretch our your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (2:5). These are virtually the same words the devil used in chapter one when he said: “But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (1:11).

The Lord’s response to Satan’s challenge in chapter one was ““Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (1:12). The Lord’s response to this second challenge from the Evil One is: “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” (2:6). The Almighty has the power to limit the evil that Satan does.

Satan’s Hasty Attack (2:7): The Evil One wastes no time in carrying out his vicious attack on Job’s person. Somehow he had the power of disease and he covers Job from head to foot with painful sores. It is as if Job’s own body has become his enemy.

I’ve had a boil — one boil — and it was miserable! What is Job’s response to this second attack? We read in verse 8- “Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.” We are not merely spiritual creatures. We are physical beings with physical needs. And Job tries to alleviate his suffering, sitting among the ashes.

How much worse can Job’s life become? Well, we haven’t yet heard from his life-partner, his wife.



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Posted by on December 17, 2022 in the book of Job


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With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (The Prologue: Chs. 1-3, Part 4)

We read in Proverbs 15 that “Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
 and good news gives health to the bones.” (v. 3). The four messengers that have met with Job had only darkness in their eyes. What human being could stand up under the four tragedies that Job has experienced? He has lost all his livestock, most of his servants, and all ten of his children. He does not know that his trials are the result of a divine/Satanic challenge. And he will never know . . . in this life.

IV. Job’s Response to His Four Tragedies (1:20-22)

We read of Job’s reaction to Satan’s four-fold strike in verses 20-21 —

“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
 and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
 may the name of the Lord be praised.'”

When we read that Job “got up” (v. 20), it is quite likely that he had been on his face in the dirt, wailing in grief at the deaths of his ten children. His absolute brokenness is shown by the tearing of his robe and the shaving of his head. Then he resumes his place on the ground, but “in worship” (v. 20). Notice: not “in bitterness” and not “in anger at the Almighty.” But “in worship.”

When he puts his grief into words, he says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” The nakedness of Job’s soul reminded him of the nakedness of his entrance into the world. And, in no uncertain terms, Job acknowledges that his tragedies occurred under the sovereign oversight of the Lord. He does not blame nature or enemy armies or even Satan. It was the Lord “who gave”; it was the Lord who “has taken away.” Both blessing and loss are ultimately to be attributed to the divine hand.

Rather than cursing the Lord — the end goal which motivated the Evil One’s longing in verse 11 — Job responds with a doxology. He declares, “May the name of the Lord be praised.”

What empowers a man who has lost virtually everything to invite the onlookers of his tragedy to praise the name of the Lord? This is obviously a man who has walked closely with the Lord for a long time. Through ten pregnancies he has witnessed the naked entrance of his children into the world. And he reflects upon his own birth, coming into God’s creation with nothing. He makes no demands upon the Lord. And he does not anticipate any changes to his own nakedness when he departs this vale of tears.

In reflecting upon “all this,” Job testifies that he “did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (v. 22). It should be an obvious truth that charging God with wrongdoing is a sin. He is holy and perfect and all His ways are righteous. If Job had been able to look behind heaven’s curtain and had seen and overheard the conversation between God and Satan, a conversation that focused on his life, would he have nonetheless praised God for His sovereign volunteering of Job’s life and family for this series of tests? But Job received no such opportunity and he has to deal with the reality that has viciously confronted him. But, we must ask, when his friends later begin to assault him with their apparently irrefutable accusations, will he continue to not charge the Lord with wrongdoing?




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Posted by on December 15, 2022 in the book of Job


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With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (The Prologue: Chs. 1-3, Part 3)

In our discussion of “The Prologue” (Chs. 1-3), we have seen the celestial challenge issued by the Lord regarding his faithful servant Job. Satan wastes no time in leaving God’s presence to go and attack Job’s possessions.

III. Bad News, Followed by Bad News, Followed by Bad News, Followed by Bad News (1:13-19)

In ways we do not understand, God has given Satan power over invading armies, “the fire of God,” and the wind. The first of the bad news comes as Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house (v. 13). Another normal birthday celebration, no doubt. Exactly the kind of festive environment which drove Job to offer his burnt offerings for his children, just in case they had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. There is no indication in the text that the sons and daughters had done this. There is no hint that the tragedy coming upon them was punishment from the Lord

We do not know how much time has passed between God’s giving Satan permission to “strike everything he has” (v. 11) and this first catastrophe of the attacking Sabean army. All we know is that it was a regular day in which the oxen were working and the donkeys were grazing and they were all stolen by an invading army. Some of Job’s large number of servants, who no doubt put up some resistance, were killed in the raid. But, as was often the custom with victorious military incursions, one servant’s life is spared so he will fearfully go and report the defeat. We can only assume that of Job’s five hundred yoke of oxen and his five hundred donkeys not one was left by the unprovoked Sabean marauders.

Such a monetary loss was catastrophic, but Job has no time to grieve the theft of his livestock or the massacre of his servants. This terrible news about the invading Sabean army is just the beginning of Job’s troubles. As this left-alive messenger is telling the story of this invasion, he is immediately interrupted by a second messenger.

This second bearer of bad news rushes in and blurts out something about “the fire of God.” Perhaps a huge lightning storm took place and wiped out Job’s sheep and the attending servants. This had to have been a massive cosmic event to burn up seven thousand sheep! Again, the attending servants lost their lives along with the destroyed sheep. Satan is not into having the sheep captured, but consumed, burned up, incinerated.

But the bad news just keeps coming. With the two servants perhaps still giving details about their respective disasters, a third messenger bursts in and blurts out his report. He speaks of another invading army — three raiding parties, in fact — which “swept down on your camels and made off with them.” (v. 17). Rather than being destroyed, these 3000 camels are herded off and their attending servants are “put to the sword.” This solitary servant is left to report the tragedy to Job.

Satan’s campaign to “strike everything that Job has” is a resounding success. Apart from Job’s wife, there is only one item left on his demolition list: Job’s children. As messengers one, two, and three are vying for Job’s attention to their reports, a fourth bearer of bad news interrupts the gathering. His report begins with the well-known details about the customary feasts Job’s children often enjoyed. I can well imagine that Job is thinking, “No, please, not my children!” But the destroyer this time is not an invading army, but “a might wind” from the desert. That mighty wind struck the four corners of the house of celebration, preventing any egress of escape. The house collapsed on all of the ten children “and they are dead,” says the servant. No mention is made of other servants who died in this fourth disaster. Perhaps the reporter left out that detail. But he was left alive to report the worst possible news any father could receive.

And with that fourth report of disastrous news, Job is alone in his grief. How he begins to respond to all this tragedy is the topic of our next post.



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Posted by on December 13, 2022 in the book of Job


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With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (√The Prologue: Chs. 1-3, Part 2)

As we continue our examination of “The Prologue” (Chs. 1-3), the scene shifts dramatically from earth to heaven. The curtain is pulled back as it were and we listen in on a conversation between God and Satan!

II. A Celestial Challenge (1:6-12)

God’s messengers, spirit beings called angels, report to the Lord and He singles out Satan for a challenge. Asking him, “Where have you come from?”, God requires the devil to give an accounting of his activities. Satan’s response is: “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth in it.” (v. 7). We are reminded of Peter’s declaration of the devil that we are to “be alert and of sober mind [because our] enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8).

Ours is no stationary adversary. He roams, he prowls, he’s looking for his next meal! Amazingly the Lord does not say to Satan, “Stop it! Stop your roaming!” No, the Lord issues a challenge to the devil: “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.” (v. 8).

What an endorsement of Job’s character! These words are the same as those which introduced the book, that Job was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” (v. 1). Again we are reminded that whatever calamities eventually come Job’s way, they are not punishment for his sins.

But Satan does not cower in the presence of the Almighty. His retort to God is: “Does Job fear God for nothing?” (v. 9). He explains Job’s godliness by a kind of quid pro quo argument (something for something else). “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.” (v. 10).

This demonic accusation — that Job’s loyalty is conditional upon God’s blessing — evilly focuses upon God’s goodness toward His servant. God’s “hedge” has provided protection for Job, his family, and his many possessions. God’s blessing has been the bribe God used to keep Job loyal and godly.

And Satan is not finished with his debate with the Lord. He next issues a challenge to God: “But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (v. 11). Satan wants God to do the striking. Satan wants God to be cursed by Job.

But Satan is not in charge, even if he acts like he is. The Lord’s response to Satan’s assault is: “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (v. 12). Satan is a real and powerful adversary. But he is not God. And God gives him permission to remove Job’s possessions. However, the devil is commanded not to lay a finger on Job himself. How will a poverty-stricken Job respond to his upcoming loss of all things?

Satan wastes no time in carrying out his God-allowed attack on Job and his wealth. We read that he “went out from the presence of the Lord.” (v. 12).

This first challenge from the devil should give pause to all who have swallowed the health and wealth gospel nonsense. Is the Lord obligated to materially bless His servants? Are riches a definitive proof of God’s blessing? Should one be loyal to the Lord in order to receive prosperity? What about when that wealth wastes away or is violently removed?



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Posted by on December 11, 2022 in the book of Job


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The Wisdom of C.S. Lewis (Quotes from Brian Sibley’s Book): The Still Point of History

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. (from Mere Christianity)

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Posted by on November 28, 2022 in Jesus Christ


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The Wisdom of C.S. Lewis (Quotes from Brian Sibley’s Book): A Word from Screwtape

[T]o secure the damnation of these little souls, these creatures that have almost ceased to be individual, is a laborious and tricky work. But if proper pains and skill are expended, you can be fairly confident of the result. The great sinners seem easier to catch. But then they are incalculable. After you have played them for seventy years, the Enemy may snatch them from your claws in the seventy-first. They are capable, you see, of real repentance. They are conscious of real guilt. They are, if things take the wrong turn, as ready to defy the social pressures around them for the Enemy’s sake as they were to defy them for ours. It is in some ways more troublesome to track and swat an evasive wasp than to shoot, at close range, a wild elephant. But the elephant is more troublesome if you miss.”

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Posted by on November 26, 2022 in the devil


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The Wisdom of C.S. Lewis (Quotes from Brian Sibley’s Book): To Be Like Gods

“How did the Dark Power go wrong? Here, no doubt, we ask a question to which human beings cannot give an answer with any certainty. A reasonable (and traditional) guess, based on our own experiences of going wrong, can, however, be offered. The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting Yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. . . . What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods”—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

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Posted by on November 24, 2022 in the devil


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The Wisdom of C.S. Lewis (Quotes from Brian Sibley’s Book): Fallen Angel

To be bad, he [the Devil] must exist and have intelligence and will. But existence, intelligence and will are in themselves good. Therefore he must be getting them from the Good Power: even to be bad he must borrow or steal from his opponent. And do you now begin to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel? That is not a mere story for the children. It is a real recognition of the fact that evil is a parasite, not an original thing. The powers which enable evil to carry on are powers given it by goodness. All the things which enable a bad man to be effectively bad are in themselves good things — resolution, cleverness, good looks, existence itself. (from Mere Christianity)

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Posted by on November 22, 2022 in the devil



The Wisdom of C.S. Lewis (Quotes from Brian Sibley’s Book): Enemy-Occupied Territory

Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery.

I know someone will ask me, “Do you really mean, at this time of day, to reintroduce our old friend the devil—hoofs and horns and all?” Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns. But in other respects my answer is “Yes, I do.” I do not claim to know anything about his personal appearance. If anybody really wants to know him better I would say to that person, “Don’t worry. If you really want to, you will Whether you’ll like it when you do is another question.”

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Posted by on November 20, 2022 in rebellion


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