For years, I avoided studying the book of Job as I studied the Old Testament. There was a part of me that didn’t understand why our loving God would allow such horrific trials to happen to His servant. I guess I was also worried that if I studied it out, I might start to incur those same trials upon myself and I certainly didn’t want that!
As I have learned more about God’s character and His love for me, I have become curious again about what lessons He has for us in this challenging book. I hope to share some of what I have learned and maybe encourage you in your relationship with God as a result.
Job Didn’t Walk in the New Covenant with God
There is a key difference between a believer’s relationship with our Father God, and Job’s relationship with God. Job was one of the first books of the Bible written, and there was no mention in the book of Job about Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, or about the first covenant that was made between God and man through Abraham. Job is, however, mentioned in Ezekiel 14 along with Noah and Daniel, so he must have predated the later history of Israel. There is also no other mention anywhere else in the Old Testament about Job, so it is fair to conclude that he didn’t walk in the Old Covenant relationship with God that the nation of Israel walked in through Abraham. Job’s relationship was instead a very “transactional” relationship with God. He turned his worship of God into a business arrangement, in which he worshipped God and gave sacrifices to Him, and God protected him and his family. He was, in a sense, earning the favor of God by his own righteousness.
Because of this, Job’s life was still under Satan’s authority because of sin. Job was not perfect. He was born into sin just like we all are because of the original sin of the Garden of Eden. This is why God replied to Satan in Job 1:12,
Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.
Satan had some authority over the lives of humans before Jesus came and stripped him of it when He fulfilled the law to the fullest, giving that perfect record to believers in His Name by His death and resurrection.
Jesus Disarmed Satan
Colossians 2:13-15 states,
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He [God] made you alive together with Him [Jesus], having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
We can see clearly here that the power Satan had in the lives of humans was wrapped up in the ability of people to perform the righteous dictates of the law. Satan alluded to Job’s habit of doing so in Job 1 when he accuses Job before God of only doing what he needed to do to obtain God’s favor and blessing.
Job had learned to relate to God by working to earn His favor. Because he wasn’t perfect, he still had sin to atone for in his life, and he wasn’t able to thwart the justice and payment for sins that living under self-righteousness demands. He just couldn’t be completely perfect, no matter how hard he tried. As a result, Satan had authority and power to bring misery into his life.
Thankfully, on the cross, Jesus completely disarmed Satan and his demons, stripping him of any ability to reinforce the principle of death for sins in our lives! Jesus has already died, once and for all, and paid the consequence for our rebellion so Satan has no more authority to bring evil to our lives. Now, he may try from time to time to steal, kill, and destroy, but if we will trust in God and proclaim His word over our situations, His faithfulness will answer the attacks of the enemy. Paul reminded the Colossians, and he reminds us as well, that although the devil has some power—he has no authority in our lives anymore and we can rebuke him at his outset and see him flee from us as in terror!
Knowing who we are in Christ is key for us to walk in the protection and provision we have in Him. The devil runs around like a roaring lion, trying to get us to flinch and back down because we don’t know our authority. Let’s turn the tables on him and stand our ground, knowing that God loves us and will never leave us nor forsake us.