The Biblical story of Job is well known. It centers around Job’s suffering at the hands of an unseen enemy. Pretty typical in terms of how we all feel about our daily existence. There seem to be forces at work behind the scenes, beyond our control.
Character and Crisis
The opening dialogue between God and Satan begins in a surprising manner. It starts with God asking Satan: “Have you considered my servant Job?”
What is important in this opening scene is that Job is already a good man. He is faithful, a father and husband of good character. He is already excelling at life, succeeding in every way that really matters, namely righteousness.
Satan’s response? “It’s not fair. You have tied my hands behind my back. Job only serves you because of the good things he gets in return. Job is merely a shrewd spiritual consumer.” At Satan’s behest, God removes the “hedge of protection” and Satan proceeds to heap upon Job horrific circumstances. To see if his faithfulness, his character, is a product of true devotion or favorable outcomes. Death, loss and even rejection by friends become Job’s new normal.
Throughout the entire book it is clear God’s fatherly approval never wanes. At the story’s end God makes clear how thoroughly He has and continues to approve of His faithful servant. Job perseveres, and never says anything bad or wrong about God – in contrast to his friends (who did not suffer in the story).
Why did God authorize Satan to decimate Job’s circumstances? Are we mere mice caught between two cosmic kitties?
Take a look at the following verse:
“.. this grace was given, that I [Paul] should preach…the unsearchable riches of Christ… that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to ______ ” – Ephesians 3:8, 10
What goes in the blank? In Paul’s preaching of the “unsearchable riches of Christ”, to whom is the church showing God’s “manifold” or many-faceted “wisdom”? Unbelievers? The world? Believers? Nope. None of those. The blank is properly filled with “Principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”
We are the opposite of insignificant mice–we are the teachers of God’s wisdom to the angels and demons who occupy the heavenly places! How in the world can we teach God’s wisdom to beings who can see God, interact with God, hear God, and are taught by God? At least one reason seems to be this: we can walk by faith and they cannot. Like us, Job did not see or know about the goings on in the heavenly places.
Here is the mind-blowing perspective the Bible offers: Within the difficulties of life lie “unsearchable riches of Christ” for those with eyes of faith. When we live with the faith of Job, we gain the reward of Job, to come to know God in ways we could not otherwise have conceived. In this reality lies infinite treasure. It is through faithful perseverance that we gain both “unsearchable riches” as well as teach God’s manifold wisdom to the gawking angels.