When reading the book of Job, we come to a conversation between the Lord and satan in which the Lord has permitted satan to prove Job’s integrity. In this conversation, the Lord mentions that all Job has is in Satan’s power. What does that mean, and what is satan’s power? I want to review each passage of this sanctioned but unwarranted attack, find the lesson in the passage, and examine the strategy to overcome future attacks.
Job 1:1, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power;”
The first “power” we are going to review is in Job 1:15, “And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took [the cattle] away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” Strong’s 7614 defines Sabeans as people from Sheba, a territory in southwest Arabia. These are probably the descendants of the son of Jokshan and grandson of Abraham (Genesis 25:3), who is referred to here, who led a predatory and marauding kind of life in the country bordering on that of Job. (Compare Ezekiel 38:13, “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?”) (Ellicott’s Commentary). The Sabeans were the principal people of Arabia in ancient times. The plundering habits of all the Arab tribes are well known, even at the height of their prosperity, they made excursions for the sake of plunder into Arabia Petraea (or modern day Jordan) and even Syria. Yea, they have slain; rather, they slew, or they smote. The servants; literally, the young men; in this example the labourers who were engaged in ploughing, and would be in duty bound to resist the carrying off of the cattle.” (Pulpit Commentary).
The first power granted was to steal away the ones working to produce a harvest and murder the young shepherds. Satan may not physically destroy the young servants in a church, but he is looking for an opportunity to discredit and mar their reputation. This type of attack frustrates young men and women trying to do their best and causes them to repeat the same mistakes repeatedly. Those who are not quite so committed fall away either due to lack of example/leadership or seeing the struggles of those who hold to a higher standard than themselves. To overcome this power, young men and women must make up their minds that the daily journey will be more profitable for them than the immediate satisfaction. Hold to Christian principles and do them every day. Offense will come, along with struggles, but a determined young person speaks blessing to the storm.
Verse 16 reveals the next attack, “While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” “The fire of God” is undoubtedly lightning (compare Numbers 11:1-3; 2 Kings 1:10, 14; Psalm 78:21). This Satan, under permission, might wield, as being “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), Jesus mentioned that He beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18): but there is, no doubt, something very extraordinary in a storm extending over the pastures occupied by nine thousand sheep, and destroying the whole of them. Perhaps the damage done was equal to that which followed on the seventh Egyptian plague (see Exodus 9:18-26). This lightning storm literally devoured them. (Pulpit Commentary).
The intense, condensed heat and electrical current have split great trees and consumed hardened material amid a downpour. Even the most established saints are not exempt from sudden and intense attacks of the adversary. Those great trees, like pillars, planted by rivers of water, prospering, bringing forth their fruit, never withering, can be susceptible to random, intense devastation. In these times, we are made overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). God will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5); hold to that; trust that. In these times, it is our testimony that will see us through. Our testimony is a beautiful tool for helping someone who is going through a similar situation, but Revelation 12:11 tells us that the word of their testimonies made these people overcomers. God has brought you through before, and He will do it again. Write your testimony down and refer to it in times of crisis.
Verse 17, “While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” The Chaldeans were probably early settlers in Babylonia; or the tract nearest to the Persian Gulf. From a remote date they were a settled and civilized people; but no doubt originally they had the same predatory instincts as their neighbors. And fell upon the camels, perhaps the most valuable part of Job’s possessions. Three thousand camels would be regarded as a splendid capture by any body of Asian marauders. (Pulpit Commentary). The domesticated camel was used to traverse rough, inhospitable terrain such as that between Mesopotamia, where Abraham was born, and Canaan, where he and his offspring eventually settled. Additionally, possession of camels endowed them with a special advantage over those who did not, particularly in economic and political terms. This conforms to the Genesis image of the Patriarchs as wealthy, respected individuals. (PATRIARCHAL WEALTH AND EARLY DOMESTICATION OF THE CAMEL, Author: Stephen Caesar MA, Category: Patriarchal Era 2166-1876 BC, Created: 19 February 2009, https://biblearchaeology.org/research/chronological-categories/patriarchal-era/3444-Patriarchal-Wealth-and-Early-Domestication-of-the-Camel).
Your possessions, or stuff, are a prime target of the enemy. We stress over money, causing anxiety, and work all our lives to get more. When there is not enough or something unexpected happens, tensions run high, blame is assigned, and our efforts concentrate on how to buy our way out of the situation. Dave Ramsey’s website acknowledges money as the number one issue married couples fight about, and it is consistently a leading cause of divorce (Rachel Cruze, 7 Steps to Stop Fighting Over Money, ramseysolutions.com, 4 JAN 2024). Pay your tithes and offerings, be a good steward of the resources God has blessed you with, and pray for direction in future situations. We are blessed in so many ways that go beyond fiscal accumulation. Plan accordingly, do not let debts become delinquent, and be thankful.
Skipping down to verse 19, “And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” The desert winds are often very violent. Generally, they are laden with heavy clouds of fine sand, which cause intolerable discomfort and thirst. They resemble the hurricanes or tornadoes of the West Indies. The “house” was not the solid structures of heavy timber, brick, and stone to which we are accustomed, but light fabrics of planks and palisades, thatched mostly with reeds. Houses of this kind, when the rain descends, and the winds blow and beat against them (Matthew 7:6), readily fall. (Pulpit Commentary).
My first instinct to this reading was to lean toward the “great wind” of gossip, backbiting, and complaint. Malicious in its intent, these winds stem from attitudes of bitterness and jealousy. Left unchecked, they can easily tear down the reputation of their subject, leave the wielder empty and alone, and even destroy the house, either our own home or the House of God. To defeat this curse, we must develop a blessing tongue and work toward genuine joy and support for those around us. Rejoicing with others at their accomplishments may take some work at first, but the sooner we put this principle into practice, the easier it will become. Blessing those that curse you, and praying for them that despitefully use you (Luke 6:28) seem to go against everything that this world stands for, thanks be to God that we are not of this world (John 17:16). Jesus held His peace in the face of His accusers (Matthew 26:63) and then genuinely petitioned the Father for their forgiveness (Luke 23:34).
The next power is revealed in Job 2:7, “So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” Perhaps an extreme form of leprosy, in which the skin becomes clotted and hard, with painful cracks and sores underneath. (Ellicott’s Commentary).
Sickness and disease are all around us. Here, we see disease weaponized against Job to torment him further. God is a healer, but not every illness gets healed. What purpose would suffering or living with an infirmity fill? I can’t answer for God. We pray, anoint with oil, and use our measure of faith to trust for healing. I believe Jesus paid for our healing, and at the same time, He paid for our salvation. We believe that we have salvation and that He saved us. It is time to apply equal faith toward healing in Jesus’ name. Jesus came into a city and healed every sickness; whoever believes will also do those works. They will do even greater things than Jesus accomplished (John 14:12). The only requirement? Belief.
Finally, we read in chapter 2, verse 6, “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” The purposes for which God was allowing his faithful servant to be tried in the furnace of affliction would have been frustrated by Job’s removal from the earth. The lesson of his example to living men, and the lesson of his story to all future generations of mankind, would have been lost. (Pulpit Commentary).
The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). Your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Evidently, satan can kill if given the opportunity. Regarding Job, the explicit instruction that he received was “save his life.” The spiritual death of the garden has been reconciled and no longer holds us captive. Jesus paid that penalty, and we are no longer our own (1 Corinthians 6:19). When Satan attempts to take our life, Jesus reminds him, “They do not belong to you!” Thank you, Jesus, for the cross and the redemptive power of the blood!
What is Job’s initial response to all of this? We find out in Job 1:20-22, “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
The resultant of the trials we read in Job chapter one sees Job renting his mantle and shaving his head. This procession is typically an act of repentance in the Old Testament. Job recognized a supernatural influence in preceding events and reverted to asking for forgiveness. Job is the same man who continually offered burnt offerings for each of his children just in case they “have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” (Job 1:5). Job repented, not sure of anything that he had done to displease the Lord, but “just in case” he had perhaps “cursed God in his heart.”
Job also fell down upon the ground and worshiped. What an incredible example of what the Bible calls “integrity.” Integrity is defined as moral uprightness, the state of being whole and undivided, and the condition of being unified. Job was not privy to the conversation when the sons of God presented themselves before the Lord, but he assumed responsibility, repented of any wrongdoing, and worshiped the Lord.
In summary, we have discovered what powers satan has been afforded. He is a master of libel, deceit, accusations, attacks, anxiety, complaining, jealousy, sickness, and destruction. Each of these so-called powers is a craft he has been perfecting for millenniums. I am thankful that God, in His mercy, has given us “power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19). To review our strategy for overcoming the assaults of satan, we should remember these seven things: 1. Keep your daily devotion 2. Remember your testimony and write it down 3. Trust God’s provision 4. Bless others with your words 5. Believe Jesus for healing, and 6. Remember your life is valuable to God 7. Worship in every situation, good or bad. Keeping these principles in your arsenal will help endure any attack and situation to the Glory of God. When the battle is over, worship the Lord for the victory; He is worthy!