Judges through Poets 12a - Job: Satan and the Reasons for Suffering

The term Satan means ‘the adversary’. The word can be used to describe a general enemy of evil.

Zechariah 3:1-2
‘He showed me Joshua the high priest and the Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him’.
Here the word Satan stands for a definite article as it does in Job.

The devil is satan and satan is the devil. See Rev 20:2
‘He laid hold of the dragon… who was the devil and Satan’

Job 1:7 Satan has been ‘roaming about on the earth’. This means ‘stirring things up’. The word is similar to that of whipping.

Satan’s work is to attack the sons of men. Evil and sin do not only come from inside a man but from the devil as well.

Job 1, 2 and 42 are written in prose narrative. The rest is written in poetry. The prose narrative shows us that this was meant to be a historical account.

The foundation of scripture is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. God is all-powerful. There is nothing that he can’t restrain.

Daniel 4:34-35
for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?’

Proverbs 16:9
‘The mind of man plans his ways but the Lord directs His steps’

Psalm 16:3
‘Our God is in Heaven and He does what He pleases’

See also Psalm 33, 135, 24, Isaiah 40

Satan was only able to strike Job because God permitted it.

Evil things happen to the believer and the unbeliever for different reasons.
1) The Suffering that comes upon the believer

a) God uses suffering to help the believer exalt in Christ and not in self.
2 Cor 12:7-10
‘So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’

b) God uses suffering to increase our perseverance and joy.
James 1:2-4
‘Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.’

1 Peter 1:6-7
‘In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’

Romans 5:3-4
‘More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope’

c) Suffering helps the believer to follow the model of Christ; to suffer as He suffered

Christianity teaches that the believer is victorious through suffering. The cross always comes before the crown.

‘Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.’
1 Peter 4:12-13

d) God uses suffering for discipline and training in holiness.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14
‘When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’

Psalm 78:31-35
‘the anger of God rose against them, and he killed the strongest of them and laid low the young men of Israel. 32 In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe. 33 So he made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror. 34 When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly. 35 They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer.’

2) The suffering that comes upon the unbeliever
a) Suffering can acts as a warning to repent
Acts 16:23- 30
‘ And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’

See also Paul’s conversion experience in Acts 9.

b) God uses suffering to punish hardened unbelievers as a foretaste of Hell
Any sermon on the gospel ministers grace or stores up judgment for the listeners.

See Romans 1:18-32.


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