Since I teach on why God allows evil, I often talk about Job. I have learned that many Christians have missed a major lesson of that book, if not the major lesson. Although many rightly conclude from Job that we should be humble when it comes to why God allows this or that suffering, there is something else amazing found in the book’s beginning.
In the first chapter we learn that Job is the wealthiest man in the world, renowned, and that he worships God.
But then we are told of a great contest in Heaven.
One day the angels presented themselves before the Lord and Satan came along with them and the Lord asked 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. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” (Job 1:8-11)
Here Satan contends that Job only serves God because God has given Job everything he wanted and that If God didn’t give Job what he wanted then Job would rebel.
Well, the Lord tells Satan that Satan can destroy all the things Job enjoys. Soon disaster kills his family, marauders steal his possessions, Satan afflicts him with boils, and Job’s wife tells him to “curse God and die.”
And here’s the question I ask my students: “what was the only thing that Job had to do to humiliate Satan in front of God and all God’s servants?”
The answer is simple: the only thing Job had to do to humiliate Satan in front of God and all the beings of the heavenly realm was to continue to honor God. As long as Job honored God, he humiliated Satan.
Satan would be humiliated because it would not only prove him wrong but, even more importantly, it would prove that some beings will serve God even if their lives are miserable.
And this would justify God’s final judgment of Satan! After all, why did Satan rebel? Isn’t it because Satan thought he deserved more? The implication is, “If you gave me everything I had ever wanted, then I wouldn’t have rebelled either.” Isn’t it Satan’s underlying argument that no one will serve God if He deprives them of what they value? Satan certainly believed that was the case with Job.
So, like Job, when our life gets very hard, if we get fired, or our finances tank, or we get cancer, but we still honor God then we too humiliate Satan.
And, of course, all of us, unless we die first, will get life threatening news which can be our finest hour! What I mean is that our finest hour isn’t getting a promotion or sitting on the beach in Kauai; our finest hour is when we get life shattering news, and our family and friends and acquaintances and the Heavenly host are watching, and we continue to honor God anyway!
When we do this, when we honor God in hardship, then we too humiliate Satan.
Eph. 3:10: “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.”