Chapter 1:13-22 (ESV) - Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another 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.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
Then 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.”
In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Question to consider: How is Satan’s actions a mockery of God’s righteous judgment?
If you’ve been through my studies in books like Zechariah, you would know that I believe what the prophets called “The Day of the Lord” has a threefold manifestation. The first was the day of God’s wrath against His own Son on the cross as He bore the sin of mankind. The second was the day of God’s wrath against the city of Jerusalem in AD 70 which ended the age of the earthly temple. The third is the day in which Christ will come back to judge the living and the dead. All of these can be considered the Day of the Lord because it was a deserved judgment against sin. I would argue that God carried out His Day of wrath through His holy angels, and their judgments were made manifest in the earth through: natural disasters (earthquakes, lightning, etc), the sword of an enemy (the Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, etc), and disease.
In today’s passage, the events are described as “a day” rather than “the Day of the Lord” because Job was not receiving God’s judgment for sin. However, I believe the Devil (that malevolent demon) used the Lord’s means of judgment against Job as a mockery of God’s righteous anger. God may have allowed Satan to act against Job knowing the depth of his faith, but Satan wanted to make sure everyone would think that God was pouring out His wrath upon Job. The evidence of this will be shown as we go through the conversations Job will have with those acquainted with him.
If Satan’s cruelty in mimicking God was not enough, he chose a day in which all of Job’s children were celebrating their eldest brother’s birthday. We learned a couple of days ago that Job’s, “sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.” Since they were meeting at the eldest son’s house, we can assume it was for his birthday. The only solace we have in this would be the knowledge that Job would have gotten up earlier that day and offered burnt offerings on their behalf.
Job’s reaction to the news demonstrated that he did not buy into Satan’s deception. He knew that he had done nothing to deserve judgment. He may not have known that it was a satanic act of malevolence, but he was able to rest in the knowledge that if the Lord chose to take these things from him, it was done for good because God is good.
The time to learn of God’s goodness and arm ourselves against the things of this world is before we encounter times of difficulty. We are fortunate to have a great cloud of witnesses to the goodness and faithfulness of God through the scriptures and history. If the testimony of Job is indeed the first written account of scripture, it would mean the only thing Job had to establish this faith was personal experience and anything he might have gleaned from the descendants of Jacob— which would be limited if Job lived in Edom.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the great cloud of witnesses You have given us through the generations to help us understand Your goodness. Please build up our faith so that we may be able to stand firm in it when we experience times of difficulty. Amen.