Job’s trials begin

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Job trial

Wednesday 12/20/23

Title: Job’s trials begin

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Job’s trials begin

Job 1:1-22, 

This is our third week into Job. The first week was nothing more than a lengthy introduction. The purpose of this was to orient you with this book and prepare you for some of the unique challenges it presents.

Last week we read the entire first chapter, but spent the bulk of our time in the first 5 verses. These verses demand attention because they are the ones setting the pace for the next two chapters, if not the rest of the book.

Once we got to verse 6 however, things quickly went south.

I freely admit that I got hung up on the “sons of God” issue. For which I blame Teri. 

I say that jokingly. 

In fact, I feel indebted to her for informing me of what had been sparked in various parts of the body of Christ due to some ridiculous media coverage a few months back. 

Evidently the media decided to try and convince us that aliens from space were living among us and buzzing around in our skies. Oh, and running into things lol. 

Since the notion of aliens is honestly not consistent with scripture, many pastors connected these sightings with angel sightings. I think you can see where this is heading.

Most of these sightings were supposed to be of the “fallen” variety of angels. This was all that was necessary to stir back up an old, fringe believe about the “sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6. I call it a “fringe” belief, because there is zero record of the Jewish nation believing anything like this until about 200 years before Jesus came. This was during the intertestamental period of God’s silence with Israel we just covered after Malachi.

The belief of course is that the “sons of God” were in reality angels rebelling from heaven in order to come marry and mate with human females. These angels were somehow termed “sons of God” even though they had fallen through rebellion against God. 

Supposedly the children born of this monstrous union such were nephilim. This is in spite of the fact that these nephilim are clearly stated to have been in existence before and after the “sons of God” married and procreated with the “daughters of men– Genesis 6:4.

It has been my experience that where strong opinions are held, logic need not apploy.  

Now all of this is utter nonsense, and I addressed that way back in 2017 when we began our trek, ‘Thru the Bible’. It was in two lessons entitled, “The Sons of God Part 1 & Part 2. I am also in the process of writing an article for our website before year’s end to address the whole topic in one place.

So let’s just say, that portion of last week’s teaching took WAY L O N G E R than I anticipated. AStributing to is length were questions you all had, quizzical looks on your faces as I was teaching and my being quite uncertain that you were understanding nearly any of the nuances of why the “sons of God” here in Job are not likely the same as the ones in Genesis

SO, the verbal recording of that teaching will never see the light of day. 

It will be our little dark secret since I re-recorded the message for clarity and brevity. 

If you have not listened to updated version then I strongly urge you to do so. Also I encourage you to work through the information in the post from last week as well which retains much of that information.

As it is, last week we did read the rest of chapter 1.

  • We examined the verbal exchange satan had with God.
  • Clarified that the Hebrew does NOT portray God as pointing Job out to satan.
  • We ended with satan having obtained permission to attack Job’s blessings along with what and how he attacked them.

Let’s reread that so it is fresh in our minds before addressing the theological implications of this passage.

“So satan answered the LORD and said, 

“Does Job fear God for nothing?  (10)  Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  (11)  But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

Identifying with Job

As we progress through this book it is only natural to identify with Job.

Human suffering and trials are something we identify with and we cannot help but take it rather personally. From that very human vantage point, we greatly limit our vision and ability to grasp what is actually happening and THAT is the mistake the devil wants you to make.

If he can get you to believe it is all about YOU, then he’s won!

Furthermore, if you make the mistake of reading this book as if it is all about Job, then the devil scores again in terms of your resulting theology.

I want you to notice something about satan’s words to God. If you look at what he actually said, we see that while Job is certainly the verbal focus, he is NOT the main subject!

“So satan answered the LORD and said, 

“Does Job fear God for nothing?  (10)  Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  (11)  But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 

Satan is claiming that the only reason Job honors and fears God is due to God securing his long term respect by blessing all he possesses. Then satan suggests that if God would simply stretch out HIS “hand” and curse – Job’s loyalty would evaporate. 

Can you see it? This is an accusation against God! 

But what is he accusing God of and what is the basis or purpose of this accusation?

This seems to me to brush up against the heart of what we believe scripture reveals was the reason behind satan’s initial rebellion in the first place. It also greatly resembles the way satan excited rebellion in the Garden of Eden

In the Garden of Eden, satan called God’s goodness, faithfulness and benevolence into question. His goal was to encite mankind to rebel against God and it worked. 

Now here, satan is largely doing the same thing, only in a different way. In the Garden he addressed mankind, here satan is addressing God.

He is suggesting that without these blessings held over mankind’s head, God has ZERO leverage with man.

So man does not truly respect God. There is nothing in man’s obedience which confirms why God should rule over creation or why He should be trusted. 

God only rules because He is holding all the cards!

Now satan knows he cannot attack God directly so he attempts to do so by inciting God against Job

God of course does not take the bait, but satan gets the next best thing. He gets a chance to test his theory by attacking Job’s possessions. His goal being to prove that the best and most righteous man on earth only respects God because of the blessings that brings.

Satan’s stake in the game

As you know, this works very well within our “assumed belief” that satan’s rebellion was the result of jealousy and pride over God’s unchallenged position as Sovereign over all. 

I say “assumed belief” because the truth is that what is generally accepted as the origin of satan and the description of his fall are all taken from Isaiah 14 & Ezekiel 28 which strictly speaking, do not clearly state that Lucifer is indeed satan.

It is a strong insinuation to be sure, but it is never absolutely confirmed in scripture.

We don’t have time to cover all of that right now, or we will get derailed from our  immediate passage of Job chapter 1, once more. So just remember that the basic idea is that satan’s rebellion was a challenge against the justness of God being the One Who rules and reigns over all Creation.

Of course satan lost his standing before God and was cast out of God’s kingdom. However, IF that question was the force behind satan’s rebellion we have no record of it ever being answered.

Having nothing but scripture to guide our beliefs, it seems as if the question was still lingering unanswered in the air of heaven after satan was cast out. 

If that is true (are you seeing the multiple assumptions everyone makes about this?)… IF that is true, then God had to judge satan, that much is clear. As well as any angels who may have rebelled with him. 

The questions is, what is satan’s judgment to be predicated upon?

God’s claim that satan’s accusations were unwarranted? That is too self-serving for a God of justice to allow as the justified answer to the question.

As I just pointed out, God is a just and so it seems to me that God would have required OF HIMSELF a means for proving the justice of His rule. 

That is why I believe God created this natural universe which man was placed in and over. 

We were created in God’s image yet, lower in power and might than the angels.

Though we used to teach that the passage in Psalm 8:5 said that we were created a little lower than God. Psalm 8:5 is where David, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, stated that we were created a little lower than the angels.

The word “angels” there is in fact Eloheem אֱלֹהִים and while it most certainly can refer to the one true God, it can also refer to false gods, or even any number of a variety of spiritual beings.

According to the translation notes in the New English translation, this word, in this context could refer either to God or to the angels. However, when we see this exact same passage quoted in Hebrews 2:7 & 8 the Greek word which is quite destinctive for angels is employed. This offers perfect certainty that what the Holy Spirit was saying through David in Psalm 8:5 was angels.

Now it is likely that such a lower state is only for our duration here on earth.

According to scriptuire we are destined to shine forth with the glory of Jesus Himself, having been perfectly conformed to His image. As such it can hardly be imagined that we would not in that day far outshine the most glorious of angels in every way.

That is something however, which we will have to wait to see.

So, at Creation we were placed in an environment where we could not see God and therefore all of our trust and devotion to Him had to come about through inference and communication leading to relationship and trust.

In order for it to be a fair example, man also had to have an option other than obedience. So God created the tree, placed it in the center of the garden and then told man not to eat from it.

If all I said before of satan’s rebellion is accurate and the reason for man’s creation, then it adds a much deeper dimension to satan’s motives and strategies in attacking man. 

He has a lot at stake here!

He has to demonstrate that man has no basis for trusting God and that in fact he WILL NOT, if given a fair choice.

So satan is constantly attempting to pull us away from relational trust in God, by encouraging us to reevaluate why we worship Him.

The best and most straightforward way to accomplish this of course is to cause the righteous to suffer trials and persecution.

All of this is addressed in one way or another in 1 Peter 1:3-9.

It says, “(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  (4)  that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. 

It is reserved in heaven for you,  (5)  who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

(6) This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials.”

Why? Because you are receiving blessing from God, but it must be demonstrated that it is God you love and not simply what He gives.

“(7)  Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  

(8)  You have not seen Him, but you love Him. You do not see Him now but you believe in Him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,  (9)  because you are attaining the goal of your faith – the salvation of your souls.”

Now to be sure, the salvation of the soul was not in view for Job in terms of blessings. His blessings were all very natural, but the reason for his allegiance and devotion WAS able to be placed on trial and that was the stated purpose in satan seeking permission to test Job’s faith.

God’s answer to satan

So what was the answer God gave to satan?

“(12)  And the LORD said to satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” 

God uses a play on words here, using satan’s own words back at him. This is also done the second time He has this conversation with satan

Satan had originally tried to get God to stretch out HIS hand against Job. God now tells satan that Job is literally, in his “hand” which means his power. 

But then God gives the restriction that the same “hand” cannot touch his person. 

So in essence God says, Job is in your hand, but your hand cannot lay a hand on his person! 

“So satan went out from the presence of the LORD.”  

Now this presents the key to the trials and suffering presented in the life of Job, only it does not point out how.

God warns satan that he is picking a fight he can’t win. Satan implies that Job’s devotion to God was entirely self-serving and if challenged would reveal Job’s true heart.

Satan attempts to provoke God into cursing Job, but God does not buy it. He simply gives permission for satan to test Job’s devotion – but with limits.

That this is the way things work are confirmed by many scriptures. Two of which are found in James 1:13-18 & 1 Corinthians 10:12-14,

“(13) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself tempts no one.  (14)  But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires.  

(15)  Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.  

(16)  Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters.  (17)  All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.  

(18)  By His sovereign plan He gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.” -James 1:13-18


“(12) So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall.  

(13)  No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.  

(14)  So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” -1 Corinthians 10:12-14

So what is happening here?

Satan seems as if he is still pressing his original accusation against God. He is challenging God’s right to reign by calling into question Job’s allegiance and devotion to Him. 

We are not clearly told in scripture why satan is free to tempt and test us, but there are many things which suggest this as his allowed role. The assumptions we have made regarding satan’s fall and its direct connection with our creation supplies a possible reason for his involvement with mankind and his freedom to tempt and try us. I cannot stress enough however, that these proposed reasons are based upon assumptions – not known facts.

Satan seems to be focused upon proving that all God really has, the only reason why anyone would serve Him, was not due to merit, but power!

So here, if satan could demonstrate that Job, the most righteous man on the planet, ONLY serves God because he benefits from it – not because God intrinsically deserves it, then it helps to prove his case.

What would NOT demonstrate God’s rightful position is protecting Job from that testing! 

As the accuser of the brethren, satan has a right to tempt us away from our allegiance towards God. 

God however, is still sovereign and faithful. He will only allow this temptation to go so far! 

We have some “clues” as to why the level of temptations and trials can escalate to genuine suffering, especially prior to Christ, but not anything that produces a “one size fits all” answer.

Now let’s dive back into the text.

Job 1 – Job loses almost everything!

“(13)  Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house;  (14)  and a messenger came to Job and said,

“The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them,  (15)  when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”  

Job appears to have been a farmer and perhaps a herdsman as we will see in a moment. Job seems to have used his oxen to plow fields for planting. This was no doubt for food, but quite likely for part of his livelihood as well. 

Here in this first attack, Job loses at least part of his means of provision in terms of farming and hired hands.

“(16)  While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”  

So whether for milk, or for wool or both Job was also a herdsman and so in this second attack he lost that means of income and immediate provision as well.

“(17)  While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”  

Here in this third attack, Job loses his camels

Camels were likely valuable animals in that they not only provided milk and a type of wool as well as meat, but also a reliable means of transportation across the deserts.

In all three examples Job loses valuable servants as well.

“(18)  While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house,  (19)  and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”  

In this final and most sober of attacks, Job loses his children – all of them!

(20)  Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.  (21)  And he said: 

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”  

(22)  In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

So here we have a LOT that happens to this man. It would be easy enough to side step some of this by pointing out that even Job suspected that his children were ungodly, but that does not address all that happened.

Included in this series of tragedies were Job’s servants and cattle.

As I said, we do not know with 100% certainty what was going on here, but we do have plenty for some well educated guesses based upon what we know in scripture.

Job’s means of income would certainly be fair game in an attack against his integrity. If you remember, satan’s first accusation was Job’s allegiance was due solely to his blessed life. 

So naturally what would be the focus satan’s primary attack? His means of livelihood!

What about Job’s children?

As I said, Job’s children were obviously of the character where their God fearing father, who knew them, feared that all that was necessary to lose their tongues and curse God was enough alcohol. 

As such it really isn’t that much of a coincidence that what we see these children doing when tragedy struck, was partying together again!

But the question really is, why would satan be allowed to kill Job’s children in order to test Job’s resolve?

Well, my opinion is that they were simply an already easy and legal target. 

One thing we see throughout scripture is that except in times of war, godly lives were always spared except for martyrdom. 

In the book of Hebrews we see people being martyred as those who would not accept deliverance by rejecting and cursing God. 

Beyond those two exceptions God seems to always deliver the godly and protect their lives. He does so in this book as well with Job

Job’s children however, seem to be ungodly and therefore already in satan’s hand and I think that is one thing which is clearly suggested in this narrative. Man has a freewill and as such can choose to submit to God directly or to satan by following their own desires. Either choice has implications which cannot be avoided and should not be ignored.

Your devotion places you in one kingdom or another. That is why the entrance into God’s kingdom is a faith-filled confession of Jesus as your Lord, followed by actions which confirm the honesty of your claim. This places you in His kingdom and within his sphere of safety. Therefore the word “salvation”. We are saved from the kingdom of darkness, from satan’s clutches and from sin and death.

If on the other hand we choose rebellion against God, that kingdom already exists and its founder according to scripture is satan. So to align yourself with rebellion is to surrender to the lord of the kingdom of rebellion.

In either case you are in the hands of one ruler or another.

So by free will choice, Job’s children were not of God’s kingdom. As such there is much lateral freedom satan had with their lives. This is not to suggest that he could do just anything he wanted with them, because God is still Creator, Owner and Judge. So even the attack and subsequent death of Job’s children had to be cleared by God, it simply is not mentioned in the text.

Their deaths were a judgment that was likely due anyway. Being children of the most godly man in the world and yet having hearts like they did, takes a certain amount of hardening and resolve. 

We know from scripture that accountability before God is not experienced equally by all. 

One person grows up in a godly environment and might well fall under judgment if they live ungodly far sooner than one who was not familiar with God at all. 

We know that with knowledge comes both accountability and responsibility.

All of these things can be added up without any unwarranted or extraordinary assumptions being made.

So in this case it seems to me that satan was holding this “ace in the hole” of claiming the lives of Job’s children for a time when it might best work to his advantage. 

Were Job’s servants just pawns?

What of his servants though? Ah! That is the real issue and the one that stands to make most people angry. It is however a certain truth that we MUST embrace if we are to align with and understand scripture.

So that is where we will pick up nect time!


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!