Job Chapter 1: The Adversary

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The Adversary

Suddenly, without warning or introduction, we see into the very throne room of God. It is as if a veil was drawn aside for us and we are allowed to see into the world of the spirit. We see the Lord seated on His throne and surrounding His throne is His council of Holy Ones. It is evidently some sort of audience day where all of the angels come in to report on their various duties.

Satan comes in along with everyone else. He is known as the Adversary and Accuser. He enters in his capacity as the Prince of the power of the air, who accuses us before our God day and night.

When he enters, he comes in boldly and unchallenged. The Lord asks him, “Where have you come from?” Satan answers, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth.” You can almost hear the arrogance and disrespect in his words. Unlike Job, Satan has no responsibilities. All he has to do all day long is go gadding about in the world. He is a restless, shiftless, roving hoodlum. Like the delinquent kid who comes slinking home in the wee hours of the morning. When asked by his father what he had been up to, he answers evasively, “Just cruisin’ around Pop. What’s it to ya?”

The adversary describes his occupation as going back and forth; walking up and down. The original idea in Aramaic is in the heat of haste. This illustrates Satan’s usual intense cunning and planning. He has been hurrying through the inhabited earth, as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour or as an unclean spirit seeking rest and finding none.

You will find this same feverish spirit within everyone under Satan’s dominion because the scripture tells us the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest . . . there is no peace . . . for the wicked.

Don’t miss Satan’s own admission of his character, and note the difference between his feverish heat of haste and the peace that Jesus possessed during his work here on earth. The devil rushes around with restless energy through the realms he has betrayed, causing chaos and unrest wherever he goes. Jesus walked in calm peace through the world he came to save. With it, he brought rest, blessing and life wherever he went.

No feverish heat of haste ever comes from God, and the closer you get to Him; the more you partake of His Divine Nature, the more you will experience the calm restful power that so strikingly manifested itself in Christ Jesus. On the other hand, if you’re experiencing unrest and wander in a feverish heat of haste, open your eyes and realize that your confidence isn’t in the Son of God and in His power.

Since Satan is no longer in his place in the order of God, he is nothing more than a wandering star, aimless and dissatisfied. He has no joy in heaven or earth—except in tempting others and bringing them into the same torment as himself.

Here’s another interesting point. There seems to be an odd informality about this interview between God and Satan. While it is true Satan must present himself to the Lord, as servant to Master, once these two are together, they don’t seem to stand much on ceremony. Instead, they come straight to the point. Satan sauces, and the Lord boasts. Even in such a sketchy dialogue we are left with the distinct impression these two know each other—in fact, they obviously know each other only too well. The Lord knows Satan through and through, and Satan too, after his own perverted fashion, knows the Lord like the back of his hand. Frankly, this is precisely the way things stand between archenemies. After all, these two have cased each other since who knows when.

But who, exactly, is this ancient rival of the Lord, and what is he doing among the holy angels before the heavenly throne? From the sound of things, he seems just to blunder in right off the street, almost as if he owned the place! Surely, this is one of the deepest and most inexplicable situations. It isn’t just the fact that such awesome power and privileges are given with such seeming casualness on this cosmic hooligan, but the man who suffers so monstrously at Satan’s hands is kept entirely in the dark regarding the very existence of his spiritual enemy. Nowhere in the long and exhaustive dialogue between Job and his friends do they even broach the idea of a personal, supernatural evil. The whole subject is a locked room. The first two chapters is the only place Satan is mentioned, and even here, as elsewhere in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word isn’t even a personal name but rather a title or office. Literally it is “the satan,” a term meaning as I mentioned already, “accuser” or, as he might be called today in a court of law, “the Prosecution.”

Just as the term “Christ” (or “anointed one”) does not come to assume personal weight until the advent of Jesus, so only in the New Testament does the shadowy figure of “the satan” step fully out of the wings. The revelation of the personification of evil remained blurred until Jesus met Satan face-to-face in the wilderness, and then proceeded to expose the Devil’s dark identity and all his evil works before the world. Ever since then this work of unmasking the face of evil has continued, and is due to climax in the revelation of what the New Testament calls “the man of lawlessness”—that figure who in some unthinkable way is to be the incarnation of Satan, the very son of the Devil, just as Jesus is the incarnate Son of God. You could summarize the whole story of the Bible as the gradual unveiling of the profoundly personal character of both good and evil.

The strangest thing about these first verses is that they seem to take us back to a time when Satan presumed to occupy the rightful place of Christ as the favored son. We go back to a time when Satan apparently had the very ear of God and could ask Him for whatever he wanted. This picture gives new and pointed force to Jesus’ triumphant assertion in Luke 10:18, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven!”

If Job was kept in the dark about these things, it could only have been because the personal knowledge of Satan, this breathtakingly cunning and powerful enemy of his soul, would simply have been too terrifying, too searing a knowledge for any human being to have carried with them. Certainly not without at the same time having the full revelation of the saving victory of Jesus Christ on the cross and of His ascent to the right hand of the Father. The New Testament refers to the satan as a roaring lion—it doesn’t say he was a roaring lion, only that he is acting like one—seeking to devour those he can. Picture the “Humble Bumble,” from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer story. After his teeth were pulled, he was as gentle and a pussy cat! The satan is a fraud. He is walking as a roaring lion and doesn’t have the ability to devour everyone he chooses to devour—only those he can devour. Words mean something!

If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.

Other Bible Studies and Commentary are available at Doulos Studies.


2 thoughts on “Job Chapter 1: The Adversary

    Shani said:
    January 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    This is great, I would like to use it in my small group at church.
    Who wrote it, so I can quote them?


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