The Misfortunes of Job (Part 1)
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' So Satan answered the LORD and said, 'From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.' Then 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, one who fears God and shuns evil?' So Satan answered the LORD and said, 'Does Job fear God for nothing? 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. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!' And the LORD said to Satan, 'Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.' So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD" (Job 1:6-12).

"Sons of God" is a difficult Old Testament phrase. In this context, it refers to angelic beings. It appears that Satan himself is an angel (cf. Jude 6; II Pet. 2:4). His name means accuser or adversary (cf. Rev. 12:7ff; Zech. 3:1). These verses shed some light on I Peter 5:8.

God asks the devil if he had ever examined Job in-depth. God affirms that there is no one like Job on the Earth. Friends, what better commendation is there than for God Himself to praise you? May we always strive for the praise of God and not men (cf. Gal. 1:10).

Satan's response is harsh and critical toward God and Job - "Does Job fear God for nothing?" (Job 1:9). Evidently the devil is well aware of Job and has failed in his efforts to attack Job personally, his family, or his possessions. God was blessing Job richly and Satan had not been able to touch him previously. It should be understood that God can and does limit Satan's influence.

Satan's words are a slap in God's face. He thinks men only do what is right when it is profitable to do so. He is convinced that God would not be praised by His creation unless He "bribes" them with blessings. The devil believes that every man has his price; every individual has a breaking point where they will forsake God and curse Him. God does not subscribe to this way of thinking. There are some, like Job, who will be faithful no matter what the devil is allowed to throw at them.

God permits Satan to remove the so-called "hedge." Satan is here allowed to do whatever he wants to Job's family or possessions. Let it be noted that even though Satan is granted this authority, he is still clearly being limited by Jehovah (cf. I Cor. 10:13). God gives us the power to overcome any trial or temptation!

In our next lesson, we will continue studying the first chapter of Job.