Job 1:6-8


Sermon preached on June 14, 2015 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

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.

One of the summer jobs I had when I was a teenager was driving a truck delivering goods for a wholesaler. A salesman would travel around to grocery stores and other smaller stores, get orders and the next day I would deliver them. The orders would consist of cases of soda, boxes of candy and pastries. Before I left the warehouse, I would load the truck with everything that was ordered. If the orders called for 54 cases of soda, that's how many cases of soda I put on. The same for the candy and everything else. Someone else would check everything I put on the truck. I was so naïve at the time. At first I thought they person checking what I put on the truck was just helping me. Then one day I realized that the checker was there to prevent stealing. It never even dawned on me that people would steal. So the goods that I took were double checked as they went on the truck. The ideal run was when I returned to the warehouse with all the orders delivered and an empty truck. But once or twice during the summer, I returned with a case or two of soda or other stuff left over. We had either miscounted in loading the truck or I had miscounted in delivering to a certain store and had shorted them. So there was a check at the end, too. I shouldn't have had anything left in the truck. If a customer later call and said they were short a case of soda, we would know that it was where I had made a mistake.

But the point I am making is that there were checks on both ends. There was an accounting at the beginning and at the end.

The picture we have in our text is something like that. The heavenly host is called before God. The picture is like that of the kings of the earth calling their counselors and servants before them for an accounting—either before or after sending them out. The sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord. We read, (Job 1:6–8)

"One day the angels came to
present themselves before the Lord,
and Satan also came with them.
The Lord said to Satan,
'Where have you come from?'
Satan answered the Lord,
'From roaming through the earth
and going back and forth in it.'
Then the Lord said to Satan,
'Have you considered my servant Job?
There is no one on earth like him;
he is blameless and upright,
a man who fears God and shuns evil.' "

The main point of doctrine that we see in our text is that (Calvin, Sermon 4)

God is in charge of the world and that nothing happens which is not under his control.

This is an important teaching about God's power and one that can be very helpful to us if we impress it on our hearts and minds. Yet it is a difficult notion for us to grasp. From our viewpoint very often it seems that God is not in control of everything. After all, we make decisions and we are responsible for them. We freely go against God's commands and sin. We are responsible for our sins. Other people do the same thing. In our day and age it's like everybody does what they want to do. The popular conception is expressed in a line that's repeated in some of the Terminator movies,

"There is no fate except what we make."


But the Bible tells us although human beings sin freely, that God is in control, that He uses human decisions to bring forth His righteous plans. Joseph's brothers hated him and freely sold him into slavery. Yet when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers he said, (Genesis 45:7)

"God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you
a remnant on earth and to save
your lives by a great deliverance."

Romans 8:28 also tells us,

"And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose."

Human decisions are encompassed in God's plan.

Our text shows us that even Satan is not autonomous. Although he is evil and hates God. Although he is seeking to destroy mankind—He is subservient to God.

We must take this truth and impress it upon our minds. God is the Almighty. He is sovereign. He reigns.

There are two things in our text that show us the truth of this point.

First of all,

the angels are referred to as 'the sons of God'.

We don't see this in the NIV because it paraphrases the term 'sons of God' as 'angels'. But a literally it's, (ESV)

"Now there was a day when
the sons of God came to present
themselves before the LORD."

The term 'sons of God' is used various ways in the Old Testament. It sometimes refers to men and sometimes to angels. In the book of Job the references are clearly to angels. This is clear from our text and also from Job 38:7 where God asked Job where he was when He laid the foundation of the earth, (HCSB)

"while the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

Now one of the things that is significant about this phrase is that it refers to, (Christopher Ash, p. 38)

"beings whose existence is derivative from God."

They are created beings. They are glorious, majestic, wonderful creatures—but they are not Gods. We see this from Psalm 89:6–7. It says,

"For who in the skies above
can compare with the Lord?
Who is like the Lord
among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones
God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome
than all who surround him."

The heaven beings are not independent of God. They do not have life in themselves.

In that sense they are like human beings. Perhaps that's why the term is used of both human beings and angels. They both derive their life and moment by moment existence from God. In Acts 17:25–26 it says of God,

"And he is not served by human hands,
as if he needed anything,
because he himself gives all men
life and breath and everything else.
From one man he made every nation of men,
that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and he determined the times set for them
and the exact places where they should live."

Our lives, our existence, is in God's hands. In Acts 3:15 Jesus is called the,

"author of life…"

God upholds all things. He sustains all things. (Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3)

Isaiah chapters 44-46 details God's relationship to the so called other 'gods'. The point that those chapters make is that there is only one God and that no one can compare to Him. He is the first and last. Apart from Him there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6) There is no God besides Him. He is the One who made all things. (44:24) He foils the plans of false prophets. He overthrows the learning of the wise. The kings of the earth are in His hand. He makes known the beginning from the end. His purpose will stand and He will bring to pass what He has planned. He alone is God.

Ezekiel 28 pictures Satan as the King of Tyre. Satan was the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. He was a guardian cherub, as God ordained. But when he sinned he could not stand against God. He was driven in disgrace from the mount of God. (verse 16) God threw him to earth and make a spectacle of him. (verse 17)

So it is with Satan in Job 1. He comes among the heavenly host. He was one of them—someone who is completely dependent upon God for his existence.

Secondly, we see that the sons of God came together to present themselves before the Lord.

It doesn't say that they were ordered to do this. But that is what we should understand. They are members of the divine council, God's heavenly council. Christopher Ash writes, (Job, p. 38-39)

"The expression 'to present oneself' or 'to stand before' means something like 'to attend a meeting to which one is summoned' or 'to come before a superior ready to do his will.'"



We see it used that way in Exodus 19 when God told the people to be ready on the third day, that He was going to appear before them on Mount Sinai. On the morning of the third day there thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain and the sound of a trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. We read, (Exodus 19:17)

"Then Moses led the people
out of the camp to meet with God,
and they stood at the foot of the mountain."

The same word is used. They presented themselves before the Lord. He summoned them and they came.

We see it used that way in Deuteronomy 31:14 as well. We read,

"The LORD said to Moses,
'Now the day of your death is near.
Call Joshua and present yourselves
at the Tent of Meeting,
where I will commission him.'
So Moses and Joshua came
and presented themselves at the Tent of Meeting."

The word is also used in Zechariah 6:5. Zechariah saw four chariots coming out from between two mountains. Zechariah asked what was up with the chariots. The angel answered me,

"These are the four spirits of heaven,
going out from standing
in the presence of the Lord of the whole world."

They had stood before the Lord to learn what He wanted them to do and once they received their orders, the powerful horses,

"were straining to go through the earth."

They were exceedingly anxious to do what God told them.

Angels do God's bidding. Psalm 103:20 says,

"Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding…"

Who do His bidding. Literally it's,

"who do his word…"

C. F. Keil and Delitzsch F., Commentary on the Old Testament say of the angels,

"Their life endowed with heroic strength is spent entirely—an example for mortals—in an obedient execution of the word of God."



What's interesting in this regard is that

Satan came among the angels.

He, too, is a servant. The name, Satan, means adversary, opponent, enemy. He hates God. He hates God's people. Nevertheless, he is merely a servant.

Some understand this passage as if Satan's appearance was unexpected, like Satan was a gatecrasher. Since Satan is evil, since he is fallen, it is assumed that he cannot be a member of the council and that he must have come uninvited.

But that is probably not correct. Verse 6 tells us that Satan came 'among' them, and this could me that he came as a member of the group. A parallel passage to this in 1 Kings 22:19–22. The prophet Micaiah was before King Ahab and he said to him,

"Therefore hear the word of the Lord:
I saw the Lord sitting on his throne
with all the host of heaven standing
around him on his right and on his left.
And the Lord said,
'Who will entice Ahab into attacking
Ramoth Gilead and going
to his death there?'
One suggested this,
and another that.
Finally, a spirit came forward,
stood before the Lord and said,
'I will entice him.'
By what means?'the Lord asked.'
I will go out and be a lying spirit
in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said.'
You will succeed in enticing him,'
said the Lord.' Go and do it.' "

A lying spirit, an evil spirit, was among the host of heaven.

Revelation 12 tells us that it wasn't until Christ's ascension into heaven that Satan was cast out of heaven. So it is quite believable that until then, Satan was still a member of the heavenly council. Christopher Ash writes, (Job, p. 40)

"Satan will oppose Job and yet will do so in a way that strangely and paradoxically will eventually be seen to serve the purposes of the Lord."



John Calvin says, (Sermons on Job, sermon 4)

"The Holy Spirit wanted to show us that not only the angels of paradise, who willingly obey God and are fully inclined to do that, are answerable to him, but that the devils of hell, who are his enemies and rebel against him to the extent they can, who try to deface his majesty, who connive to distort everything, must also, like it or not, be subject to God and give him account of everything they do. They undertake nothing without his permission. That, then, is how Satan appeared among the angels."



Christopher Ash writes, (Job, p. 41)

"The Bible portrays for us a world that lies under the absolute supremacy and sovereignty of the Creator, who has no rivals, who is unique, such that there is no god like him. And yet he does not govern the world as the sole supernatural power. He governs the world by the means of and through the agency of a multiplicity of supernatural powers, some of whom are evil. That is to say, 'the sons of God' represent powers that are greater than human powers and yet are less than God's power. They include among their number the Satan and his lying and evil spirits."



Like the others, Satan comes as a servant. He is a reluctant servant. He does not serve God's purposes willingly. Nevertheless, he is no more th an a servant.

What does this mean for us?

First of all, realize how there is no one like God. He alone is God. He is the only power.

He is the Almighty. No one can compare with him. No one can withstand Him or thwart His will.

This means that we, the people of Jesus Christ, are safe. We need to take the truths of Romans 8:35 and John 10 and believe them. Romans 8:35–39 says,

"Who shall separate us
from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution
or famine or nakedness
or danger or sword?
As it is written:
'For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep
to be slaughtered.'
No, in all these things
we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that
neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

In John 10:27–29 Jesus said,

"My sheep listen to my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life,
and they shall never perish;
no one can snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me,
is greater than all;
no one can snatch them
out of my Father's hand."

What is the battle between God and Satan like? It is a battle between equals? No.

In the 50's there was a great contest between President Truman and General Douglas MacArthur over the running of the Korean War. Truman was president. MacArthur was a popular general. Who was going to win. Truman had more power. He won.

But we shouldn't even think of it like that. The battle between God and Satan is not like the battle between two who are powerful in their own right. No. A more accurate portrayal would be of a battle between President Truman and a private who had delusions that he was General MacArthur. That would be more accurate. But even that gives too much to Satan.

Secondly,

how thankful we ought to be for Jesus, our Good Shepherd.

Satan hates us. He seeks to destroy us. But our Savior is all powerful and is absolutely committed to us.

Lastly, for those of you who are not Christians,

you need Jesus.

You need protection from the one who hates you, Satan. Only Jesus can protect you and save you. Go to Him today.