Friday, October 6, 2023

Job’s First Test (Job 1:13-19)

“… the house fell on the young people and they are dead …” (Job 1:19).

The day of Job’s testing began like any other day. As in the days of Noah, the flood of trial came while people were going about their daily affairs. This should serve as a caution for each of us to keep up our guard at all times. When we least expect it, Satan is most likely to strike, but those who seek the Lord daily and prepare their hearts for whatever Providence might bring will be ready to stand their ground when the floodtide rises.

Satan sent his storm of calamity, not over the course of time, but all at once, without warning. First, a group of foreigners killed Job’s livestock and servants. “We have no reason to suspect that either Job or his servants had given any provocation to the Sabeans to make this inroad,” Henry wrote, “but Satan put it into their hearts to do it, to do it now, and so gained a double point, for he made both Job to suffer and them to sin. Note, when Satan has God’s permission to do mischief he will not lack mischievous men to be his instruments in doing it, for he is a spirit that works in the children of disobedience.”

Everything is down hill after that—first the oxen, then the sheep and the camels, in each case losing the servants who, in this covenant era, were considered members of Job’s household. Then, Job hears the saddest news of all. A storm had come and collapsed the house, leaving the dead bodies of his ten children buried in the ruins. This was the greatest of Job’s losses. Satan hoped that if any of the other calamities failed, surely this would make him curse God. “Our children are pieces of ourselves; it is very hard to part with them, and touches a good man in as tender a part as any,” Henry wrote. “But to part with them all at once, and for them to be all cut off in a moment, who had been so many years his cares and hopes, went to the quick indeed.” No doubt, an added burden to his grief was that they died in the midst of feasting. It would have been more comforting for this godly father if his children had died on their knees in prayer rather than with bottles in their hands.

Let each of us remember to be prepared in season and out and to guard our hearts against Satan’s designs to crush our spirits and undermine our faith.

Read Luke 22:39–46. How did Jesus prepare Himself for the ultimate affliction He was about to face in Jerusalem? What did He teach the disciples as He prepared to be crucified on the cross? Begin each day, starting with today, in prayer, that you might be more prepared to face the exercises of Providence and the schemes of Satan.