By Li Zhi
I believe that everyone knows well the story of Job. When his property was all taken away, his servants were murdered and his children had their lives taken, Job still revered God and shunned evil and didn’t sin with his tips. Moreover, he said a famous saying that cowed Satan, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). No matter whether God gave or took away, Job praised God’s holy name and willingly obeyed in the presence of God, creating a beautiful and resounding testimony for God. But Satan was not yet convinced and it continued to attack Job, causing him to be covered in sores. Despite this, Job still didn’t abandon God. The Bible records, “And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die. But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:8–10). The testimony of Job is worthy enough to be admired and emulated by the later generations. I really liked reading the Book of Job, which increased my faith, but there was one thing that I didn’t understand. God knew that Job had fear and reverence for Him and stayed away from evil, so why did God allow Satan to tempt Job and subject him to such great suffering? What isin this matter? Recently, through reading a book, I came to understand a little about God’s will …
First, God testing Job was to verify his reverence and obedience to God.
That book says, “And what did God do when Job was subjected to this torment? God observed, and watched, and awaited the outcome. As God observed and watched, how did He feel? He felt grief-stricken, of course. But, as a result of His grief, could He have regretted His permission to Satan to tempt Job? The answer is, No, He could not have. For He firmly believed that Job was perfect and upright, that he feared God and shunned evil. God had simply given Satan the opportunity to verify Job’s righteousness before God, and to reveal its own wickedness and contemptibility. It was, furthermore, an opportunity for Job to testify to his righteousness and to his fear of God and shunning of evil before the people of the world, Satan, and even those who follow God” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II”). After reading this passage, I understood that God allowing Satan to tempt Job was to test Job’s reverence and obedience to Him. After years of God’s work on Job, whether it be Job’s humanity, faith in God, knowledge of or reverence to God, they had all become perfect. At that time, God was going to test Job, and He used the service of Satan to subject him to trials. That gave Job an opportunity to testify to his reverence and obedience to God before Satan and all people. Through this, Satan was utterly convinced and acknowledged God’s words are the truth, and thereby it was humiliated and defeated. Meanwhile, that enables us humans to have discernment on the essence of Satan—not only wickedness and despicableness but also the utmost foolishness. Amid these two times of Satan’s attacks, Job bore resounding testimony, which proved that he was a man that feared God and shunned evil, and which particularly made Satan utterly convinced and not dare to tempt him any longer. In the end, Job escaped the bondage and constraints of Satan, lived in the light of God and gained true release and freedom. That wasof Job.
Similarly, as weand follow Him, God will also put us into different tests based on our own statures. This means that we will encounter Satan’s temptations and through them we can verify whether we are true believers in God. Take me as an example. I, after believing in God for several years, already understood some truths through reading God’s words, and I was resolved to bear witness to God. But when unpleasant issues continuously happened at my home—my child was ill, my husband was injured at work, and then I got into a car accident—I felt weak inside and even complained, “I sincerely believe in God. Then why did these unfortunate things befall me?” Through praying and seeking guidance from God, I remembered the testimony of Job, and I suddenly saw the light. It turned out that these things I encountered were the battles of the spiritual world and that Satan’s temptations came upon me. Satan tried to use these environments to make me deny God and betray Him and achieve its aim of consuming me whole. Yet from God’s side, that was also God testing me to see if I had true confidence in God when facing unpleasant matters. At that time, I finally realized that my stature was really small, and that my faith in God was not true faith and couldn’t stand His test at all. When only something unpleasant happened to my family, I complained against God—there was no comparison with Job’s obedience and reverence to God. In the past, when nothing happened to me, I resolved before God that I was willing to obey His orchestration and arrangements and bear witness to Him. However, only through the revelation of these trials did I realize that that was not my real stature, and that I didn’t have any obedience or reverence to God. I still needed to keep working hard at pursuing the truth, diligently pray and draw near to God and read God’s words more. Only by taking God’s words as a weapon to battle with Satan could I overcome Satan’s temptations. Afterward, I relied on God and got through those gloomy days, and not until then did I truly comprehend God’s kind intentions. God arranging these situations to test me was His love and salvation of me. I truly saw my stature and deficiencies and was inspired to pursue the truth. Thank God for saving me!
Second, God testing Job was to allow man to know Satan’s wickedness and despicableness.
The Bible records, “And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have not You made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face” (Job 1:8–11). “And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life. But put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face” (Job 2:4–5). And that book says, “Through these words, Satan completely lays bare the attitude toward God and the loathing of Job’s fear of God that it holds in its heart. When this happens, its maliciousness and evil nature are completely exposed. It loathes those who fear God, loathes those who shun evil, and even more so loathes Jehovah God for bestowing blessings on man. It wants to use this opportunity to destroy Job whom God raised with His own hand, to ruin him, saying: ‘You say Job fears You and shuns evil. I see it otherwise.’ It uses various ways to provoke and tempt Jehovah God, and uses various ways so that Jehovah God hands Job over to Satan to be wantonly manipulated, harmed and handled. It wants to take advantage of this opportunity to exterminate this man who is righteous and perfect in God’s eyes. Is its having this kind of heart a momentary impulse? No, it is not. It has been long in the making. God works, God cares for a person, looks upon a person, and Satan dogs His every step. Whoever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ways to tempt, harass and wreck the work God does in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is its objective? It does not want God to have anyone; it wants all those that God wants, to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they commit evil acts alongside it. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive? Normally, you often say that Satan is so evil, so bad, but have you seen it? You can only see how bad man is and have not seen in reality how bad Satan actually is. But have you seen it in this issue concerning Job? (Yes.) This issue has made Satan’s hideous countenance and its essence very clear. Satan is at war with God, trailing along behind Him. Its objective is to demolish all the work God wants to do, to occupy and control those whom God wants, to completely extinguish those whom God wants. If they are not extinguished, then they come to Satan’s possession to be used by it—this is its objective.” From the means that Satan adopted to tempt Job, we can see that each time when it abused him, Satan grew more and more wicked and contemptible. First, in just one night, Satan made Job lose a mountainside of livestock, all of his immense wealth and all of his children. Yet despite this, Job still didn’t abandon God. But Satan was unwilling to give up, and began a second round of attacks upon Job. It put forth its hand to harm his bones, had his body covered with sores and used his wife and friends to attack and judge him. We can see from these facts that Satan is so evil and despicable. It doesn’t allow man to love and follow God. It uses various means to attack and afflict those who sincerely follow God, and looks for opportunities to thoroughly destroy our faith in God and reverence for Him, so that we will wallow in the mire with it and follow it in alienating and betraying God. This way, it will be able to completely control and toy with us in the palm of its hand, making us betray God along with it and ultimately be punished and destroyed by God.
These facts about Satan’s harming Job allow us to see through Satan’s tricks and intentions, so that we will be able to forsake and betray it and won’t fall for its schemes. For example, when many brothers and sisters were enthusiastically expending for God after first starting their belief in God, misfortunes unexpectedly befell their families. At that time, the unbelievers around them sneered, “Since you believe in the true God, why does your family meet with bad things? Look, we don’t believe in God but have better luck than you.” Then we developed doubts of God, “Right, why do we believers suffer disasters?” Besides, when some brothers and sisters who spent for God were arrested and imprisoned by the CCP government, the evil police mocked them by saying, “Why don’t you let your God come save you?” Hearing this, we generated misunderstandings about God, “I’ve been spreading theand expending for God. Why doesn’t God protect me?” … We had come across so many such temptations, but we never understood why these unfortunate things befell us, and thus we were filled with conceptions and misunderstandings about God in our hearts. All this is caused because we lack true faith in God and knowledge of Him and are unable to see through Satan’s cunning schemes. Now, it seems that all the situations that we encounter are the battles of the spiritual world, just like Satan accusing Job. Satan tries to use its evil and despicable way, through many unfortunate things, to make us develop misunderstandings of and barriers to God and even betray Him, so that we will return under the domain of Satan and continue to be controlled and afflicted by it. That shows us Satan’s treachery and evil. God allowed Satan to tempt Job, and also allows it to tempt us, with the aim of letting us have discernment about Satan’s wickedness. In so doing, no matter how Satan tempts us in the future, we will be unlikely to blame or betray God, and will be able to stand witness and follow Him resolutely.
Thank God! Through this period of reading the Book of Job and pondering why God allowed Satan to tempt Job, I’ve known that the disaster Job was faced with was a battle in the spiritual realm. Therefore, if I am tempted by Satan in the future, I’ll be able to see through its schemes and understand God’s kind intentions, and have resolve to stand firm in my testimony to God and put Satan to shame.