Then to 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.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.
Notes to the Leader: This study is unique in that it will look at two very different but related elements of Christianity, Satan and the freedom of choice. The topic of Satan is often avoided because of the stereotypes of the “devil” or just the general apathy for discussing the “evil one,” a negative power out to destroy the very soul of each person. However, Satan is real and we should get to know him. You will in this study.
Also, the idea of free will or freedom to choose eternal life will be touched upon. All this will be done through a study of the beginning verses of the Book of Job.
The Book of Job is considered both by secular and religious scholars to be one of the finest pieces of literature in the history of human writing. It is a mixture of prose, poetry and drama. This story is, in a sense, a contest between Satan, Job & God.
Describe in your own words, the characteristics of God that would allow for the conditions set forth in the story of Job?
- Confidence comes to mind, both in God’s own understanding of His absolute power and in Job.
- God sets limits on Satan’s ability to impact Job.
- God retains Job’s free will to choose each step of the way.
Whose integrity is at stake here: Job’s? Satan’s? God’s? What exactly is being tested?
- God needs no test. He knows He is absolute.
- Satan’s power is being tested.
- Job’s faith is being tested.
Section One: This Man Called Job
Have someone in your group read Job 1:1-5
What can you determine about Job and his character?
- Morally healthy, spiritually mature, upright, wealthy, a person of position, a good family man, a leader among his people, etc. God affirms this same opinion twice (Job 1:8, 2:3). Don’t confuse Job’s morality with sinlessness. Job himself admits he is a sinner (Job 6:24).
Is Job a good father?
- His interest in the moral health of his children seems to indicate so (Job 1:4).
- Job serves as a spiritual priest for his family and regularly gathers them for worship (Job 1:5).
Note: In these times, wealth was considered a reward from God for those of righteous character. Job was considered the “greatest man of the East” and, by his holdings of land and cattle, was considered very wealthy. Hence lies the conflict of this biblical story – whether or not God rewards the righteous with prosperity.
Section Two: Discussions In Heaven
Have someone in your group read Job 1:6-12
Who’s present at this most noteworthy command performance?
- The sons of God. These are the angels, specially created beings who are under the sovereign authority of God.
- Satan. The term Satan means adversary or opposer. He is one of the sons of God; he is real, evil and personal.
In the conversation between the Lord and Satan in chapters 1 and 2, we can learn some important facts about our enemy. How many can you come up with?
Take time here and write these down on a whiteboard or easel for your group to see. This may be the only time that they really spend time thinking about who Satan is.
- Satan is not equal to nor on the same level with God, but a created being. – Verse 1:7; 2:2
- Satan is not omnipresent. – Verse 1:7,12; 2:2,7
- Satan’s sphere of influence is limited to earth, where he roams to and fro like a hungry lion, preying on unsuspecting victims. – Verse 1:7; 2:2; 1 Peter 5:8
- Satan is man’s accuser. – Verse 1:9-11; 2:4
- Satan is insolent and arrogant. – Verse 1:9-11
- Satan’s goal is to undermine faith and separate people from God. – Verse 1:11; 2:4
- Satan is permitted by God, according to God’s plan, to attack us. – Verse 1:12; 2:6
- Satan’s ability to hurt us is limited. – Verse 1:12; 2:6
- Satan’s goals can be frustrated by human choice. – Verse 1:22; 2:10
- Some of what God is doing in our lives is a demonstration directed toward Satan. – Verse 1:8; 2:3
- Tragedy and disease are inflicted by Satan, not by God. – Verse 1:12; 2:6-7
What is the premise that Satan is making to God concerning Job?
- Job would not be as faithful to God if he weren’t paid so well for it! Take away Job’s wealth and his righteousness will also leave.
Do you think that God already knew that Job would be safe against Satan’s attack?
Read Genesis 1:26-28 God has created human beings with freedom of choice. While there is risk in this design, we are free to make decisions which brings sin and its consequences on themselves and creation.
Why do you think that we were created with this freedom?
- Without freedom, mankind can never truly reflect the glory of God, because authentic righteousness can never be produced by automatons, tyrannized slaves, or bribed stooges. Only free beings can produce it. Love, which is righteousness at its apex, is real only if it is freely chosen or given.
Who can inflict pain? God, mankind, Satan?
- While some Scripture can lead us to believe that God afflicts His people, in Job, we learn a different viewpoint. God as creator and king of the universe is ultimately responsible for what goes on under His reign, including tragedy and pain. But God is not the tempter (James 1:13). In Job, we discover that Satan is the inflictor of pain, though he can do so only with God’s permission.
Why do you think God would allow such a test of Job and Satan to take place? Can you see any motives or good that comes from such a contest?
- God’s reasons are not explained. However, what is clear that Job was being used by God in His confrontation with Satan.
- The New Testament indicates that angelic beings – both good and bad – are learning God’s wisdom and order from watching us (1 Corinthians 11:10; Ephesians 3:8-11; Hebrews 12:1).
- We are also reminded that our battle of faith is not against people but an unseen enemy in a heavenly (spiritual) dimension (Ephesians 6:10-19).
Section Three: The Problems Begin
Have someone in your group read Job 1:13-22
What were the first series of tragedies that affected Job?
- 500 oxen and 500 donkeys were stolen and ranch hands killed.
- A flock of 7,000 sheep and their shepherds were killed by fire.
- Job’s 3,000 camels have been stolen by Chaldean marauders and the ranch hands again were also killed.
- A tornado kills all 10 of Job’s children. Only one servant is spared.
How does Job respond to all this bad news? Does he blame God?
- He is of course human and overcome with the tragedies. Job offers no angry accusations, however, at God.
Read 1:21-22 to your group for Job’s response.
Section Four: Back to Heaven
Have someone in your group read Job 2:1-6. Instruct them to look specifically at verse 2:3.
How do you interpret this dialogue between God to Satan?
- His life in shambles, Job still trusts God. Satan speaks as if it has been God who has attacked Job. God is not the destroyer. However, God accepts responsibility. This is not an easy concept to understand. We are called to trust God and His motives.
Note: “Skin for skin” is an Eastern proverb. It may be a way of suggesting that God has allowed Job to be tested on a superficial level.
What is Satan suggesting in verse 2:4?
- As you recall, God did not give Satan permission to harm Job physically (v. 1:12). Satan suggests that the way to break Job is to give him a personal affliction.
Section Five: Job’s Physical Pain
Have someone in your group read Job 2:7-10
Job’s skin erupts with sores. Elephantiasis, the very worst form of leprosy, fits the symptoms described throughout the Book of Job. Job’s pain now becomes social, psychological, and spiritual.
Job’s wife enters the story to play a key role.
Why do you think that Job’s wife said what she did in (Verse 2: 9)?
- Choose one:
- She was a second Eve, tempting her husband to curse God and die.
- She was playing the devil’s advocate.
- She joined forces with Satan.
- She was speaking out of her own pain.
- She was praying for Job’s merciful death.
- She was confused and didn’t know what she was saying.
Note: While there is little doubt that her advice was poor, we must keep in mind that Job’s wife had also lost her wealth, her children and was in the process of watching her husband die a slow and painful death. Job’s response to her shows kindness and understanding. How many of us could act the same way in similar circumstances?
What is the erroneous assumption that is corrected by these verses in Job 2:7-10?
- People of integrity do not suffer; that suffering is a result of a lack of integrity, guilt, or sin. As we can see, Job, a person of integrity, lacking guilt or specific sin with regard to his tragedies an afflictions suffered greatly.
In Job’s response to his wife, he contrasts a popular view held by people today. What is that view?
- God’s very existence and authority is questionable.
Bible Truth Being Taught
Human trials are part of an invisible conflict in which God uses people to demonstrate His glory and goodness to the angelic world.
To increase our awareness of our importance in God’s grand strategy to overcome evil.