The book of Job belongs to the early epochs of human history. According to various chronological bible event outlines the book of Job can be located after the 8th chapter of Genesis.
As I was reading through Job Chapter 1, I struggled to ward off the feeling that there were some hidden treasures in the text that I was missing by a stretch. So, I went over the chapter a number of times. The following are what came out of the not necessarily exhaustive and yet beautiful excursion.
In the Author’s Eyes (Moses) Job’s Net Worth is Material, in God’s Eyes Job’s Net Worth is Spiritual
In verse 3 , it is Moses the author of the book of Job speaking, (Job 1:3) Moses enumerates and quantifies the net worth of Job in material terms. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
In verse 8 it is God speaking and He also takes time to quantity and qualify Job’s net worth.
8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
The radical and striking difference between God’s perspective and the author’s perspective is hard to miss. In Moses terms, Job’s net worth is material, in God’s terms Job’s net worth is spiritual.
God does not esteem nor value humanity the way humans do. The circularized and corrosively materialistic society we live in esteems humans on the basis of material factors and prosperity indices. On the other end,God has another view.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
Perhaps the above is a no brainier, but the key question to consider is, which of the perspectives do we allow (either consciously or subconsciously), to impact our life trajectories? God’s view or the world’s view? The answer to that lies in the matter of where we belong.
Look at John 17: 14-16
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Jesus and His faithful disciples were in this world but not of this world. If we are heaven ward our lives will be shaped by our consciousness of God’s view and How much He values us else we will wander and pander to the dictates and expectations of fellow earthlings. God is the only being with an accurate concept of who we are and what we are worth. At the cross, He did not over spend, He paid the exact price commensurate with the value of each soul.
The Devil is not the Opposite-Equal of God
Verse 6: 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
There is a lot that stems from that verse but for this scope I just want to focus on this fact:
While in terms of character indeed the Devil represents every thing that God stands against however Satan is not necessarily the opposite of God in matters of magnitude and strength. Many people tend to confuse the Devil as the opposite-equal of God. When we practice juxtaposing opposites we think light versus darkness, tall versus short, big versus small, etc. It does not necessarily follow that Satan is the opposite of God in the nomenclature of opposites. God has no opposite in terms of size and magnitude. He simply has not match.
Simply: the devil is not an equal of God hence when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord Satan came also among them. Just like all other beings coming to present themselves Satan had also come to submit, albeit in his perverted and subverted way. Nonetheless, He came to God, God did not go to him. His original place is that of service to God and nothing more. While he can surely devour, His power must never be overstated and in the presence of Jesus Satan stands no smidgen of a chance. Remember he actually purported to ascend above and set his throne above that of God but as a matter of fact He was cast down.
Like all Megalomaniacs Satan Suffers from a Chronic Self-Concept Illiteracy
Verse 7: And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Verse 7 is interesting. Satan could have simply stated that he was coming from planet earth: period. But in his maladjusted quest to flex he decided to go ballistic about the detail of his territorial latitude and liberties. His response explicitly references lateral dominion (“to and fro”), and vertical dominion (“up and down”). In a nutshell Satan is saying he is coming from planet (earth); a planet he has since captured since Adam handed the dominion over to him through disobedience to God. A planet he has absolute control in and over and by extension; a planet where everyone does his bidding as opposed to the will of God. Do not forget that in the bible times and language to walk to and fro in a sense of surveying the land is a
symbol of dominion.
Genesis 3:17 “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.” In the case in point Abraham was to, “walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it” for God would give the land to him (dominion). The devil is thus posturing as a despicable prince of darkness with unlimited to access to planet earth until God calls His attention to Job.
In verse 10 Satan charges God for putting a hedge around Job. Here is something from Satan that we can say “Amen” to. God places Satan in a position where he has to put his proverbial tail between his legs and eat his own words by inadvertently confessing that actually; he doesn’t have unlimited control as implied in his “up and down”, “to and fro” vainglorious rave. Like all megalomaniacs, egomaniacs and narcissists; Satan suffers from a chronic self-concept illiteracy. He has no accurate sense of his realistic power and control. He claimed unfettered and undeterred vertical and horizontal spherical dominion yet he had to confess failure to access the life of a mere individual whom God had protected.
God is Awesome as Charged
In verse 10 Satan continues, “thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.” What does the Church say? “Amen”.
It is profound that God did not deny these allegations. So friend, it is true that God blesses the work of our hands, and our substance will be increased by Him in the land. To the allegations Satan leveled to God, in a sense God pleaded, “Awesome as Charged”.
Here is a question to ponder: How did Satan know that God had put a hedge around Job? The notion that Satan had actually attempted to harm Job prior to this encounter is not far fetched if you think about it. The additional take home is therefore that: God protects His own. The Devil had to ask for permission to rattle Job. In fact in verse 11 He asked God to harm Job as he (we can safely presume) had failed. This sets the stage for a more dramatic unfolding of the Devil’s hideous scheme from whence we can observe the wondrous power and sovereignty of God: themes we uncover in Part 2 of Job Chapter 1 mini series.
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