Job 1:13-19

Sermon preached on July 5, 2015 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

Last week I read in David McCullough's book,
The Wright Brothers that when Wilbur was in his last year of high school he was seriously injured while playing hockey. He received a ferocious hit in the face by a hockey stick wielded by a boy named Oliver Crook Haugh. There are some indications it was not an accident. Years later, in 1906, Haugh was executed for murdering his father and mother and his brother. It was also believed that he was responsible for possibly 12 other murders. After his execution, The Dayton Journal wrote of him,

"Oliver never was without the wish to inflict pain or at least discomfort on others."

Oliver Haugh was diabolical—wishing to hurt people. He was like the devil.

But of course the devil is much, much worse. Besides being more evil he is also much more powerful, much more resourceful, much smarter than Oliver.

But the reason I used Oliver as an example because the newspaper described his as always wanting to hurt other people. That's a characteristic of the devil and that's what we see in our text. Satan is monstrous. He is a terrible creature, filled with hatred and rage. Satan could not stand to have Job as a shining example of a person devoted to God. He wanted to take Job away from God. He wanted Job to be cast into hell. He wanted the same for Simon Peter. He wanted to sift him as wheat and destroy his faith in Jesus. (Luke 22:31-32) In 1 Peter 5:8 Peter told Christians to be self-controlled and alert,

"Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

This morning we're going to look at some of the things in Job 1 that show us how horrible Satan is. First we should understand that

Satan's attack on Job was an attack on God and His plan to save mankind.

Satan is trying to destroy the plan of God for the salvation of mankind. Satan's attack on Job was similar to his attack on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He could not stand to have Adam and Eve happy in the Garden of Eden having dominion over the earth on God's behalf, bringing Him glory through their work. Adam and Eve were made in God's image and Satan wanted that image to be defaced and destroyed. He wanted to ruin God's plan for the creation of the earth.

In the land of Uz Job was the outstanding display of God's grace. In Uz Job was a great witness to God and His plan for salvation. Everyone around him could see the burnt offerings that he offered. Job knew that the punishment for sin was death. Job's offerings testified to that fact. Job knew about the great and powerful eternal Redeemer who was to come and who would save Him. In Job 19:25–27 he declared,

"I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end
he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes—
I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!"

Job was a shining light to God's grace in Uz. Satan's attack on Job was nothing less than an attack on God's work in saving mankind.

Satan's activity in the world is, as John Frame puts it, John Frame, (Systematic Theology, p. 775)

"always to fight against God's kingdom."

In attacking Job he was attacking the land of Uz. He wanted God' grace to be obliterated there.

One of his great strategies is

to attack God's most faithful servants like Job.

He knows that if he can get them to sin, it will do great harm to God's cause.

When prominent people fall, it does great harm to their cause. For example, a couple of years ago cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted that he had used performance enhancing drugs during the years that he won the Tour de France. His admission was devastating. The fact that he used drugs damaged his reputation. Many people who had great admiration for him lost all that respect because they discovered he had been lying to the public for years. He was stripped of his seven Tour wins and banned from racing for life. His admission has made people skeptical about cycling and lose interest in it. Not only that, but Lance's ability to raise money to fight cancer has been greatly compromised. And that's an even greater tragedy.

Now if an ordinary cyclist had been caught cheating, it wouldn't have been such a big deal. But for a champion, a seven time Tour de France winner, to have such a downfall—that had huge ramifications.

It's the same way with Christianity. When David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband murdered—it gave the enemies of the Lord an opportunity to blaspheme. It hurt God's cause.

A few weeks ago I read that B.G's grandson resigned as pastor of a megachurch in Florida because he admitted to having an inappropriate sexual relationship. Before he sinned he had a great ministry. Now God's enemies are mocking him. People who were not interested in Christianity before now have another reason not to be interested. It's a disgrace to the gospel.

And he's not alone. When I read about his fall from grace—the first paragraph noted that he was the third pastor of a Florida megachurch to resign recently because of adultery. Many of you know that M. D. resigned from Mars Hill church because there accusations that he was very much of a bully.

All these things hurt the spread of the gospel. Satan knows this so he attacks Christian leaders. If you look at the New Testament you'll see that Satan attacked Peter. He attacked Paul. There are whole passages devoted to this.

There is a great lesson for you here.

You need to be praying for Christian leaders.

We are blessed in this country to have some excellent Christian leaders. Their books, sermons and blogs do much to promote the truth of the gospel of Christ. How thankful we ought to be for them. How we should be praying for them, that God would give them more grace that they would be able to withstand Satan's attacks. Satan targets them.

But you also need to be alert. Satan also attacks ordinary Christians in ways that he attacked Job. Consider what he did to Job.

Satan took away what is most precious to Job.

Are you prepared to lose what is most precious to you.

Satan killed Job's children. Satan took everything he could from Job. He took what he loved most—his children.

Someone might object and say that Satan didn't take Job's wife. It could be that she was as dear or more dear to him than his children. I'm not sure why Satan didn't kill Job's wife. It could be that when God told Satan not to lay a finger on Job himself, that his wife was included in that prohibition. A man and a wife are 'one flesh' and it could be that Satan wasn't allowed to touch her.

Or it could be that Satan didn't touch her because he planned to use her against Job. He had had success in using Eve to get Adam to sin and perhaps he didn't touch Job's wife in order to use her weaken Job and get him to sin. Indeed, in chapter 2, after Job lost his health, she said to him, (Job 2:9)

"Are you still holding on to your integrity?
Curse God and die!"

So if Satan was allowed to harm Job's wife the fact that he didn't do it wasn't because of any mercy or compassion—it was because he was going to use her for his evil purposes.

But he did kill Job's children. He didn't just take one of Job's children. He didn't take just some of them. He took them all—all at once. He wanted Job's faith to fail. He wanted Job to curse God and he would allow himself not limits in this pursuit.

Satan has no mercy. He has no compassion, no kindness. If he leaves people alone for awhile it's not because he loves them or cares for them. No. It's either because God won't let him harm them or because he's planning on using them for evil in the future.

The lesson for those of you who are not Christians is that you need

you need to realize the evil of your great enemy.

You need to realize the danger you are in. You need someone to save you from him.

One of the great characteristics of the world today is that they don't see the danger they're in.

They're like Balaam on his way to see Balak when Balak called him to curse the Israelites. God was angry with Balaam and sent his angel to stand on the road to kill Balaam. Balaam couldn't see the angel. He was totally unaware of the danger he was in. But the donkey could see the angel in the road with a drawn sword in his hand. So the donkey went off the road into the field. Balaam beat the donkey to go back on the road. Next the angel stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on each side. To avoid the angel, the donkey pressed close to one wall crushing Balaam's foot against it. Balaam beat the donkey again. The third time, the angel stood in an even more narrow place, so that the donkey couldn't pass except by going close to the angel with the drawn sword. The donkey laid down under Balaam and wouldn't proceed. Balaam beat the donkey again.

Then God opened Balaam's eyes so he could see the angel. The angel told him that except for the donkey's actions, he would have killed him— (Numbers 22:32)

"because your path is a reckless one before me."

You who are not Christians, your path before God is a reckless one. God made you to serve Him and you're not doing that. He made you to be a blessing to other Christians, and you're not doing that. How long will God be patient with you? You need to go to Jesus for protection, for salvation. The image of the lion that the Holy Spirit uses is apt. Satan is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. He wants to destroy you completely.

The kindness that God is showing you right now is designed to lead you to repentance. Don't show contempt for it. In Romans 2:4 the apostle Paul made that exact point.

"Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness,
tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness
leads you toward repentance?"

You need someone to save you from this evil one.

The third thing that shows the evil of Satan is the quick succession of attacks.

The devil has no mercy. That's evident from our text. Satan attacks Job, and in a period of a few short hours Job goes from being on top of the world, with many possessions and a great family—to having no possessions and losing his children. Job learned about it in a matter of minutes. The blows come in rapid succession. The phrase,

"While he was still speaking…"

that is repeated three times. The bad news came in waves of quick succession—like being hit with a hammer, not just once but four times, with the last blow being the most crushing. Job had no time to recover from one blow before another came. Tremper Longman III, writes, (Job, Baker)

"One can only imagine the horrible psychological effect of hearing this news in rapid succession."

Satan has no mercy. How hard this must have been on Job. The first three blows were hard enough. But the fourth was devastating. Satan ups the pressure. It's like he has Job on a torturing rack and he is increasing the pressure as much as he can.

Indeed, the nature of the attacks must have been troubling to Job as well. The first attack was by evil raiders, the Sabeans. The second was fire from heaven which burned up the sheep and Job's servants. The third was from the evil Chaldeans. The fourth was a mighty wind that struck the four corners of the house. Two were from men, two seemed to be from God. John Calvin notes, (Sermon 6 on Job 1)

"At this point, Job was motivated to say, 'What does this mean? Men are against me, and God has also set himself as my enemy, for where does the lightning from heaven come from and from where such violent winds?' It is said that the winds are God's messengers (Psa. 104:4). They carry out his commands, as if they were his heralds. It is said that the fire of heaven is a sign of his presence. So Job could have concluded, 'Here is God, warring against me from one side, men from another. Both heaven and earth are arrayed against me. Alas! What will become of me?' Job could have felt he had been cast into the pit of despair."

There's a great lesson for us here about our faith.

We need to be clear on this. Who is the object of your faith? What is the foundation of your faith?

The basis of your faith is not in other people or in certain circumstances. For example, if the apostle Paul's faith has been based in other people, other Christians, when everyone who was with him deserted him, his faith would have been shattered, destroyed. He wrote in 2 Timothy 1:15

"You know that everyone in the
province of Asia has deserted me,"

But his faith was not in other Christians, it was in Jesus. So when everyone deserted him, it didn't destroy Paul's faith.

In the same way, the basis of your faith is not to be in how God treats you. If you believe in God because He makes it worth your while—and bad things happen to you—it will destroy your faith. You'll curse God. You'll abandon Him.

Job's faith was not in how God treated him. As Job said in Job 13:15 about God,

"Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;"

The object of our faith is Jesus Christ. The foundation of our faith is the promises of God's Word. Jesus is true and faithful. His Word is true. His promises are true. Look to Him. Look to His Word when you are under attack.

If you do that, you'll be able to stand against Satan's repeated blows.

It's not enough for us to withstand the first attack from Satan. It's not enough to withstand the second attack, or the third or fourth. We must be prepared for multiple blows and we must be prepared to stand before them all.

For example, when you think of Samson with Delilah—what's your overall impression about Samson? It's that he failed. Delilah found out the secret of his strength, cut his hair off and delivered him over to the Philistines. They gouged his eyes out and made him their prisoner.

But the fact is that Samson stood against the first three temptations of Delilah.

He told her the secret of his strength. He stood against her first three temptations. The first time Delilah asked Samson about the secret of his great strength Samson told her that if he was tied with seven new bowstrings, that have never been dried, that he would become as weak as other men.

But she tested him and found out that he hadn't told her the secret of his strength. She asked him again. He then told her that if was tied with ropes that had never been used, he would become weak like other men. But she tested him again and found that he had not told her the secret of his strength. So she asked him again and he said that if his hair was braided and tightened with a pin, he would become like other men. But again, she found out that he really hadn't told her. Then we read, (Judges 16:16)

"With such nagging she prodded him day after day
until he was tired to death."

She wore him down. He gave into the temptation to tell her.

Satan did that with Balaam. Balaam told first messengers that he couldn't go. But then what happened? (Numbers 22:15–17)

"Then Balak sent other princes, more numerous and
more distinguished than the first.
They came to Balaam and said:
'This is what Balak son of Zippor says:
Do not let anything keep you from coming to me,
because I will reward you handsomely
and do whatever you say.
Come and put a curse on these people for me."

So Balaam gave into the temptation.

Christian, Satan may attack you again and again. He may take away the people that are most precious to you. In spite of all that you need to stand firm. Always focus on Jesus, who He is, what He is like, what He has done for you. Remember His Word and His promises and apply them to your situation.

Lastly, how thankful to God we ought to be that God puts a limit on what Satan can do.

Satan hates us. Satan is strong and powerful. He is experienced and cunning. Yet in spite of all that, we are safe. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us,

"No temptation has seized you
except what is common to man.
And God is faithful;
he will not let you be tempted
beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted,
he will also provide a way out
so that you can stand up under it."

What a Savior we have in Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd. He will watch over us, protect us, and bring us to glory. Praise Him. Rejoice in Him. Lift His name high.