Job 1:22 (CSB)
22 Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.
In this passage we quickly get to the event that sets the stage for the rest of the book. We are also presented with a number of curious scenes, as well as one of the greatest pictures of obedience in scripture.
We are first introduced to a presumably heavenly scene, in which the “sons of God,” and the Satan, come before God. We could immediately stop here and get hung up on who the “sons of God,” and the Satan are. Suffice it to say, it seems that God has a sort of council which he presides over, and is comprised of at least one member who seems to be opposed to God, or at least God’s created people. This opponent, “the Satan” (in the Hebrew, which I do not speak, but there are enough commentaries and notes that we can be assured there is a definite article there, or a “the”), may or may not be the Satan, the Devil, or simply another divine being (angel?). For an interesting book that dives into this spiritual council, and the nature of divine beings in general, I would refer you to The Unseen Realm by Michael Heiser.
But we do not need to be hung up on that point right now, as a general understanding of the scene is sufficient to move along. The Satan, or the accuser, lives up to his name and challenges God by suggesting Job has been protected and blessed by God, and this is the only reason Job remains loyal and obedient to God. And in response, God gives the accuser carte blanche with job, with the one caveat that he cannot touch Job.
What happens next is a whirlwind of calamity and disaster. Job goes from being a great and rich man to being childless and destitute in seven verses. All his livestock is either stolen or burned, his servants are killed with the exception of the four that manage to escape the calamity and report back to Job, and his children, while feasting together, are killed in one fell swoop.
So who is responsible for these disasters? We saw in Job 1:12 that God said the accuser ad “power” over “everything [Job] owns.” So it seems logical that these disasters are the direct result of the accuser. This has significant ramifications though: it suggests divine beings other than God have some sort of power to manipulate and control people (in this case the Sabeans and Chaldeans), as well as, at a minimum, control fire and cause it to be a “great” blaze, and possibly even call fire, or lightning, itself, and to control (and cause?) wind. We can bog down here as well, but we will press on since whether it is the work of the accuser, or God, Job’s response stands either way.
Job’s reaction is a tremendous picture of faith and obedience that all believers should be inspired by. We certainly pray to never be in the same circumstances, but when we do experience calamity and disaster in our lives, we hope to have the same reaction as Job does here. We see Job express his grief through tearing his robe and shaving. But then we something amazing: Job falls to the ground and worships God! Rather than cursing God, or at least questioning God, Job recognizes God’s sovereignty and worships him. And Job is unaware that he is a “test” of sorts, the subject of this divine challenge taking place, yet he recognizes that God is in complete control, and whatever happens is up to his sole discretion, whether he initiates it or not. And just to be sure, the passage ends with the clear statement that Job places no blame on God, and that he avoided the sin of being disobedient, or coming against God. What a tremendous picture in the middle of unimaginable tragedy of where to turn and place trust!
Lord, thank you for the picture of Job’s complete and total recognition of your complete and total sovereignty! I pray that we would be saved from the experience of Job, but even more importantly, I pray we would submit to your authority to do as you will, at all times, no matter the impact it has on our world. Amen.