Job 1:9-12

Sermon preached on June 28, 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.
One of the sad facts about some boxing champions of the 20
th century is that when they died they were either broke or in debt. They made lots of money during their career—but they ended up spending all of it. With some of them, part of their problem was their entourage. Wherever these champions went they were surrounded by a crowd of friends. But the problem was that many of them weren't really his friends. They were like parasites, living off him. They'd burn through his money. When the money was gone—so were the so-called friends.

Is your relationship with God like that? Are you in it for what you can get out of him? That's what Satan said about Job. Satan said that Job was serving God only because God made it worth his while and that if Him took certain things away from him, Job would curse God to His face.

I've seen something like this at Ogdensburg Correctional Facility. I've had men start attending the services and they would seem to be all excited about Christianity. They would tell me that they had been in the facility for awhile and that they were going to the parole board in a couple of months. They would ask all of us to pray that they would get released. They were really pinning the hopes on getting released. But with some of them it didn't work out. The parole board hit them with another two years. And that would be the last I would see of them at Bible Study. They were all into God because they thought God was going to get them paroled. But when they didn't get released—they forsook God.

Jesus spoke about this situation in the Parable of the Sower. Some seed fell among thorns. It sprang up quickly but was then choked by the thorns. Jesus described the thorns as, (Mark 4:19)

"the worries of this life,
the deceitfulness of wealth
and the desires for other things…"

Satan's accusations against Job are like that. He suggests that Job's godliness is superficial. He suggests that Job has discovered the prosperity gospel and that God has made it work for him. Job has found that if he honors God outwardly, God will make him richer and richer. God has blessed him with children. He has a great family. Why wouldn't Job be godly? Satan says that Job is pious not because he actually loves God or thinks that God is worthy of worship in Himself. No. Satan says that Job is pious because it has led to prosperity for him. (Ash, Job, p. 43)

But what's interesting about Satan's accusations about Job is that he's also accusing God. He says to God, (verse 10)

"Have you not put a hedge around him and
his household and everything he has?
You have blessed the work of his hands,
so that his flocks and herds
are spread throughout the land."

Satan is telling God that He has secured Job's devotion by bribery. He has shielded Job from harm. (Francis I. Anderson) The implication is that even though Job is a hypocrite, God had enabled to appear pious.

At the end of the conversation God gives Satan permission to test Job. All that Job has is placed at Satan's disposal. He tests Job and his accusations are proved to be false. God receives glory and honor through Job.

The great truth that our text teaches us is that

hardship and trials are one of the ways that our faith is tested and proved genuine and through which God receives glory, honor and praise.

Our text exhibits the truth of 1 Peter 1:6–7. Peter told Christians that they were shielded through faith until the coming of the salvation which is ready to be revealed in the last time. He said,

"In this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while
you may have had to suffer grief
in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith—
of greater worth than gold, which
perishes even though refined by fire—
may be proved genuine
and may result in praise,
glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed."

When our faith is proved real through trials God is glorified.

Before Job was tested Satan and the fallen angels didn't know Job's true character. I'm doubtful that the heavenly host knew it. From Satan's accusations we can gather that he didn't know the depth of God's grace toward Job. Neither the angels of heaven nor Satan and the demons are omniscient. Their knowledge is limited. They don't know everything. They are in the dark about many things.

They didn't know that Job was going to remain faithful to God. They don't know that you're going to remain faithful.

But God knows if you're going to be faithful. I also believe that many of you who are Christians know that you're going to remain faithful to Him when temptation comes. Or a better way of putting it is that you know that God is going to remain faithful to you no matter what comes your way. You know absolutely that He is never going to leave you or forsake you. The Spirit who lives in you assures you of this. As Romans 8:16 says,

"The Spirit himself testifies
with our spirit that
we are God's children."

God knows and you know. But before testing comes no one else knows.

But the angels and demons know what we are in ourselves. They know that we're corrupt and that there is no good thing in us. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:14,

"We know that the law is spiritual;
but I am unspiritual,
sold as a slave to sin."

And a few verses later he wrote, (Romans 7:18)

"I know that nothing good lives in me,
that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good,
but I cannot carry it out."

A little later in that chapter Paul summed up his condition by saying, (Romans 7:24)

"What a wretched man I am!"

The angels and demons know this about us. They know we can't stand on our own. They know what we are in ourselves. They know that we're sinners. They know that we have a sinful nature. They know that our sinful nature is opposed to God and His commandments.

I believe that's why Satan was so confident. He assured God that Job would curse Him to His face.

The demons know that God hates sin. You know the famous saying,

"God hates the sin but loves the sinner."

There's some truth in that, it is true in some circumstances. But it's much too narrow and it doesn't cover all circumstances. The situation is more complicated than that. For instance, Deuteronomy 18 tells us that not only is sin detestable to God—but those who sin are also detestable to Him. It says, (Deuteronomy 18:10–12)

"Let no one be found among you who
sacrifices his son or daughter
in the fire,
who practices divination or sorcery,
interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
or casts spells, or who is a medium
or spiritist or who consults the dead.
Anyone who does these things
is detestable to the Lord, and
because of these detestable practices
the Lord your God will drive out
those nations before you."

Not only is sin detestable to God—but sinners are detestable to God.

The demons know that. They know that God's justice demands that sinners be punished. They know that our sins cry out for punishment. They know that because of our sin—God should cast us off forever.

But I believe it was difficult for them to understand (and what Satan didn't grasp) was the depth of God's love and grace to sinners such as Job.

Indeed, the holy angels didn't understand these things at first. In 1 Peter 1:11f Peter tells us that when the prophets predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow, (1 Peter 1:12)

"Even angels long
to look into these things."

In Old Testament times, the heavenly host didn't fully understand, to use the words of Ephesians 3:17-19,

"how wide and long and high
and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love
that surpasses knowledge…"

But they began to see more and more of it. When Jesus was born—angels praised God before the shepherds. This is because

the love and grace of God to sinners though Jesus Christ is awe-inspiriting.

It's absolutely incredible. That God would love us so much that the Father would send His beloved Son Jesus to this earth to die in our place is astounding. That Jesus, the holy One, would be willing to take our sins, and in a sense make them His own so as to die for them—is stunning. That the Holy Spirit would open our eyes to Jesus and His glorious work on our behalf, that He would work faith in us and enter us in order to make us according to the glorious image of Jesus, in love, holiness and righteousness—is breathtaking.

Not only that, but God promises us that His love for us is an everlasting love. He promises us that He will never leave us nor forsake us—that His grace will never fail us or desert us.

These facts are the greatest, most significant in the universe. They need to be made known.

They need to be made known to lost sinners so that they, too, can be saved. These facts need to be made known to the heavenly host. Angels need to know them so that they will have a more accurate conception of God's perfections, so that they will be amazed and praise God like they should. The demons need to know these facts so that they will realize how wrong they were in rebelling against God. They should be ashamed of themselves and their rebellion. Their sin and rebellion against God was truly the most foolish act imaginable.

Satan was confident that Job would fall, that he would curse God because Satan no idea of the goodness of God and the depth of God's love to sinners. He couldn't seem to fathom that God's grace could be so strong in a fallen human being. He didn't grasp the stupidity of his rebellion against God.

It was right and proper that God would use Job to show Satan and the heavenly host how He loved Job and how He would not let him go—that His grace to Job would enable Job to triumph. Through Job's trial God received glory, honor and praise. God was vindicated and His enemies were shown to be loathsome, false and devilish.

For you Christians this means that

you need to be prepared for hardships because triumphing in trials is one of the ways for you to glorify God.

The heavenly host and the fallen angels, need to be given further examples of how worthy, how loving God is. One of the great truths we are taught in the book of Job is that

God is in Himself intrinsically worthy of worship and praise.

Even if we seem to get nothing out of it, it is our duty to honor and glorify God. As Job said in the midst of his suffering, (Job 13:15)

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

God is worthy to be praised. We see this theme repeatedly in Scripture. For example, In Psalm 145:3 David said,

"Great is the LORD
and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom."

In Psalm 89:6–7 Ethan wrote,

"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."

And in Psalm 27:4 David said,

"One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple."

And in Psalm 84:1–2, 4 the psalmist wrote,

"How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Blessed are those
who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you."

God is beautiful, glorious majestic, full of perfection, holy, righteous, eternal, wise, almighty—full of love and mercy. It is right for Him to be honored. As the sons of Korah said in Psalms 48:1

"Great is the LORD,
and most worthy of praise…"

Christopher Ash writes, (Job, p. 46)

"It is not self-centered of God to desire his own glory. For us it is an inappropriate megalomania; for God, it is to desire the most deeply right thing in the world. We may perhaps use a trivial illustration to cast light on this. If I suggest that I ought to be given a Nobel Prize for Chemistry, I am suggesting something deeply inappropriate, for my knowledge of chemistry is very poor. If this prize were to be awarded to me, there would be something deeply awry with the Nobel Prize committee. But if a brilliant chemist who has done seminal work suggests he ought to be given the prize, this is quite different. Indeed, if he is not given the prize there is something wrong! In a faintly similar way, the universe has gone terribly awry when God is not given ultimate glory."

Secondly, this means that

God is going to vindicate His name everywhere.

He vindicated in in Uz. He vindicated it in Israel. He will vindicate it everywhere. We ought to be optimistic about God's grace in the world.

This was a hard week for Christians in our country. The Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal. Christians, who believe the Bible and are against these changes are considered by many to be bigots and hate-mongers. It seems that in a very short time the church in our country may suffer persecution.

But we must not be cynical. Francis I. Andersen writes, (TOTC Job)

"Cynicism is the essence of the satanic. The Satan believes nothing to be genuinely good— neither Job in his disinterested piety nor God in his disinterested generosity. Faith in God's goodness is the heart of love and hope and joy and all other radiant things: cynicism is studied disbelief; and a mind turned in upon its own malice is the final horror of the diabolical."

The grace of Jesus Christ is going forth in this world. Jesus rules. God is going to vindicate His name. Satan thought that Job would fall. He thought that he could bring shame on God and His grace. He failed with Job and he will fail in our time.

Yes, we may face difficult times ahead—but we have the news that this world needs—the truth of the gospel that calls for people to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus. God's Word is powerful and effective. It will accomplish God's purposes and not return to Him void. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

If you aren't in Jesus,

you need to believe in Him now.

He's the only one that can save you. Go to Him today. Repent, turn from your sins and find life in Jesus.