Do you remember being in school facing tests regularly? How did you handle them? I had test anxiety and abysmal study skills. When I became a teacher, I was very sympathetic to students who had trouble studying or remembering material or had test anxiety. The youth in our Sunday school class often talk about the pressure to perform well on tests in high school. And the more a student’s worth is performance-based, the higher the anxiety to perform exceptionally well. However, students can accomplish good grades through good study habits without too much fear. Some new Christians are anxious about pleasing God because they feel tested and judged by Him—baggage from a former religion or ideas about the Lord. But God isn’t always testing us, and when he does, it’s our hearts that he tests since all we do comes from our hearts. Fortunately for us, God knows that we rely more on our conduct and accomplishments than our faith in him because of our sin nature—until we have matured. He also knows that Satan and the world strongly influence us, enticing us to depend upon our circumstances for our well-being. These distractions from true faith in Christ make us anxious and fearful. However, by studying God’s Word for preparation, we are conquerers for Christ. If there were no tests, trials, or temptations, we would have no victories in and for Christ. The Old Testament saints would have had no conquests. One particular Old Testament man in the Bible underwent an intense testing period. No one knows how long Job suffered under his testing, but it was probably a matter of months or years. The bottom line is that God singled out Job for Satan’s tests because of his faith. And Job worshiped and blessed God before the Lord restored his health and possessions and replaced his family. Will we also honor and praise God when we feel tested? How much more should we praise God, we who are blessed by our victories through Christ?
God Singled Out Job for His Witness
“The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?’ Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.’…Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'” (Job 1:8-10, 20-21) “In the wake of his loss, Job embodies both grief and trust in the Lord. In contrast to what Satan suggests will happen, Job cries out from a posture of grief and worship, ‘blessed be the name of the Lord.'” (1) (See Job 1:1-2:10.) “It is God, not Satan, who singles out Job for testing. Satan does not dispute Job’s integrity but argues that Job’s conduct is motivated by what he gets out of it rather than by a sincere attachment to the Lord. Satan also insinuates that the only way God can get people to worship Him is by bribing them with protection and prosperity.” (2) God never bribes anyone, being perfectly sovereign and righteous. He does not accept our worship of his provisions but tests our hearts for true faith in Christ as our spiritual provision.
Job Proved His Blessedness
“We brought nothing of this world’s goods into the world, but have them from others; and it is certain we can carry nothing out, but must leave them to others. Job, under all his losses, is but reduced to his first state. He is but where he must have been at last, and is only unclothed, or unloaded rather, a little sooner than he expected…See how Job keeps his eye upon the First Cause…The Lord is righteous. All we have is from his gift…may the malice and power of Satan render the Savior more precious to our souls, who came to destroy the works of the devil; who, for our salvation, suffered from that enemy far more than Job suffered, or we can think.” (3) When God singled out Job for Satan’s tests, Job worshiped and blessed God. We are blessed by significant victories over sin through Christ and are also called to worship and praise God. If we depend only upon our wisdom or experience to overcome the devil, Satan will certainly use that against us. Only God’s holiness, his Spirit, indwelling us, is our blessed hope. “Satan does not deny any part of Job’s character, nor directly charge him with anyone sin; which shows what a holy man Job was, how exact in his life and conversation, that the devil could not allege any one thing against him; nor does he deny that he feared the Lord; nay, he owns it, only suggests there was a private reason for it…he insinuates that Job’s fear of God, and serving him…was not out of love to him, or with any regard to his will, or his honour and glory, but from selfish principles, with mercenary views, and for worldly ends and purposes: indeed…godliness has a great gain along with it, the Lord bestows everything, both in a temporal and spiritual way, on them that fear him; so that eventually, and in the issue, they are great gainers by it.” (4) May we be so holy and prepared for God’s tests!
Satan Took Everything From Job—or Did He?
“Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'” (Job 1:20-21) Here is some food for thought from the Reformation Study Bible, especially in light of the state of the financial markets reacting to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: “Job utters a wisdom poem that portrays the discernment of quiet submission to the secret will of God. Everything belongs to the creator who gave it…The word ‘blessed’ is the same word used in verse 11 for ‘cursed.’ By employing it here, the author is emphasizing how Job, though grief-stricken, has frustrated Satan’s predictions in verse 11.” (5) Job “thought once he should have died in the midst of all his prosperity, and left a large substance to his children; but now all was taken away, and for the present had no hope or expectation of a restoration…[be men] cannot carry anything out of the world with them, either riches or honour, but must leave all behind them, (1 Timothy 6:7) which may serve to loosen the minds of men from worldly things, not to set their eyes and hearts upon them, nor to put their trust and confidence in them; and good men may part with them, especially at death with pleasure, since they will have no further use of them, and will have a better and a more enduring substance in their stead.” (6)
Satan’s Defeats Bless Christ.
“The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; all outward enjoyments, all the good things of this world, are the Lord’s, and at his dispose; Job ascribes to God, not only the giving, but the taking away: he does not attribute his losses to second causes, to the Sabeans and Chaldeans, to the fire from heaven, and the wind from the desert, but to God, whose sovereign will and overruling hand were in all; these were but the instruments of Satan, and he had no power but what was given from God; and therefore to the counsel of his will, who suffered it…Job, instead of cursing God, blesses him, and proves the devil to be a liar, as he was from the beginning; and shows his superiority over him through the power of divine grace; this evil one could not touch him…and his designs defeated.” (7) Even more than Job, we are blessed by our victories over Satan’s schemes and the world’s temptations. If these did not exist, if God didn’t test us, we would not need such victories, and Christ’s witness would not grow the kingdom of God. Is God testing your faith in him as the financial markets wobble, the supply chain falters, and gas prices skyrocket? Or when people all around you are continually sharing their opinions about world events? There is a future time when all God’s children will live in a perfect world. Our blessings here depend on the immense contrast between God and everything and everyone opposed to him. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted.” (Psalms 89:14-16)
Related Scripture: Genesis 3:19; Numbers 12:7; Job 2:3; Psalms 3;3; 34:7; 49:17; 72:18; 90:3; Ecclesiastes 5:15, 19; 12:7; Romans 11:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Timothy 6:7; James 1:17; 1 Peter 5:6.
- “English Standard Version Study Bible Notes,” Job 1: 1:9–21, (digital edition), Crossway, 2008.
- “The Reformation Study Bible,” Job 1, Reformation Trust Publishing (Ligonier Ministries), Sanford, Fl., 2015.
- Henry, Matthew, “Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible, Job 1:20-22, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/job-1.html
- Gill, John, “John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible,” Job 1, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-1.html
- Reformation study Bible, Ibid.
- Gill, Ibid.
- Gill, Ibid.
March 17, 2022