I answered a question today about suffering asked by a person where I was interim pastor not long back. I’m posting it for contemplation about God’s will… Satan’s attacks… and believers processing life events and difficulties.
Regarding your question. My first thought is, do you have my book? If not, I’ll send you one, just let me know. That’s what it is about. There’s a section or two that I’d refer you to, but I’ll have to track them down myself. (Note: I’ve cut/pasted a few passages below to save you time looking for them).
The answer can be long, but I’ll try to be brief (HA! Right…). You wrote: “Why did God allow Satan to do the things to Job? God has complete control over Satan but he allowed such severe pain to Job. Is it because He is God and He can do as He pleases? I know He loves us and allows things to happen to us for a reason. Is this the same thing for Job?” Roxie, here are a few thoughts for consideration…
First, a few things so we have a solid foundation:
1. God is sovereign. He can do whatever He wills BECAUSE He’s God. Is 46:9-10!! That one point informs and conforms our heart in all things… with #2 below!
2. HOWEVER, everything God does is with purpose to: A) Glorify Himself always, B) Conforms us to the image of Christ (Ro 8:29), C) Is always right and loving, D) Is ultimately GOOD for His Children, and E) Lays up treasures for His children in heaven.
Because of points A through D we often cannot comprehend or understand God’s ways with our finite minds (Ro 11:33-36; “Just because we don’t see how something CAN be good doesn’t mean it ISN’T good!”). Even if He told us, we wouldn’t understand any more than a 3-year-old understands why a parent tells them to do things. The ability to comprehend isn’t there.
Indeed, these are “for a reason” you stated as part of your question. I put them here because I want you to nail down some of “the reasons” God does whatever He does. Memorize “the reasons!”
3. We are given in Scripture exactly what God decides is enough for us to: A) Worship Him, B) Glorify Him, C) Live a life of joy and peace (2 Peter 1:3-11).
4. Job’s story is for us to “Trust in the Lord with all our heart and do not lean on our own understanding” (Pr 3:5); “Walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7); et al.
5. If Satan had been able to know what would result from his attack on Job, he’d never have done it! THUS, Satan is finite… NOT all knowing… NOR all powerful!
6. You nailed it when you asked, “Is it because He is God and He can do as He pleases?” Well yes… BUT… God doesn’t do anything randomly or “just because He wants to” (See #2 above!! Memorize the reasons!).
Now, you asked… “Why did God ALLOW…?” I suggest God didn’t “allow” Satan to go after Job, but goaded Satan into going after Job AGAIN. Thus what is written in Job 1:8-12…
The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless & upright man, who fears God & turns away from evil?” 9 Then Satan answered the Lord & said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him & his house & all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, & his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand & touch all that he has, & he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
*NOTE* The Job event is about GOD’S GLORY, not Job. Satan wanted to “prove” God is only worshiped because He gives “stuff” to His people RATHER THAN being worthy of worship because He is God.
Job 2:3 The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless & upright man, who fears God & turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” 4 Then Satan answered the Lord & said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out your hand & touch his bone & his flesh, & he will curse you to your face.” 6 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”
Aside: Have you contemplated that Satan still has access to God… IN HEAVEN?!
Satan had tried to get at Job, but couldn’t! Because God protected him. Then, God told Satan what he could do and NOT do. So… Satan had been prevented from attacking Job by God… God goaded Satan about it… Satan REQUESTED access to Job… God granted it BUT CONTROLLED WHAT SATAN COULD DO!
Note! Job was never told about the heavenly conversations between God and Satan in this life! God address Job’s attitude (See Job 38-42. Pertinent passages below):
Job 38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Job 40:1 And the Lord said to Job: 2 “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” 6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 7 “Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 8 Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
Job 42:1 Then Job answered the Lord & said: 2 “I know that you can do all things, & that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 ‘Hear, & I will speak; I will question you, & you make it known to me.’ 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job 42:10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came to him all his brothers and sisters & all who had known him before, & ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy & comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him (That’s another whole study!!!) And each of them gave him a piece of money & a ring of gold. 12 And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning… 16 And after this Job lived 140 years, & saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man, & full of days.
Consider that basically the same thing happened with Peter as found in Lk 22:31-32…
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers (God’s purpose in Peter’s test, failure, & return).
Satan still goes before God. He still accuses. Jesus still prays. God is still in control. The only issue is, like Job, we aren’t aware of the heavenly conversations. Peter was told, and still failed (Briefly). BUT he did “turn again” as do all God’s children. You… me… every believer!
Roxie, thank you for asking this question because I (!) needed this study myself as a reminder for me about God. Seriously… thank you! I hope this answers sufficiently the questions you have.
THIS IS AWESOME AND IT IS SO GREAT TO HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN. GOD BLESS.
Absolutely the best explanation of the suffering of Job and of our struggles today. Thank you Brother. Ron for your answers and this blog.