Nothing Happens In All Of Existence Without The Express Prior Permission And Knowledge Of Almighty God
6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 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.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 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. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
The Lord God Almighty is the only non-created being ever to exist. He has existed before time, matter and the angels. And in that, God and God alone has ultimate sovereignty and authority over all that has been created. John the apostle tried to show this in the very first verse of his gospel:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The interesting part about translations is that they don’t always capture the full meaning of the original. In this particular case, the Greek work for “was” is En, and the verb is conjugated as “was continually (with no beginning)”. This speaks of the eternity of Jesus (who is the Word of God), and of God, with whom He is:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
God reveals something very powerful in this passage. ALL of the demons, and even Satan himself, are created beings:
- The devil can be in only one place at a time
- As a created being, he is subordinate to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As such, he was required to present himself before God to give an accounting of his activities and whereabouts.
When faced with trials and tribulations, we don’t have all of the facts. In the case of Job, God highly praised him before Satan. Scripture speaks of our trials in a favorable way:
- Trials produce perseverance, which makes us complete, lacking in nothing
- Trials are to be put in the joy column of our spiritual accounting ledger (the Greek word “count” in James 1:2, hEdEsasthe, is an accounting term as well as an imperative command!)
- Trials are a way that we identify with Jesus, for the student is not greater than the teacher
When faced with trials, we must remember that God may be praising us as well, and the trials can be a testing of that praise. If so, we should count it as joy, for if God is praising us, we have truly received the highest praise possible.
And as we suffer through trials, we must remember that they are sovereignly allowed in our lives. Nothing happens to any of us without God’s notice or express prior approval. In this passage, Satan complained to God that he had placed a hedge of protection around Job and his possessions. It was only until God permitted Satan the authority to harm all that Job had been provided by God that he was able to do anything.
As we are going through our trials, we must remember that God is sovereign, and that nothing escapes His attention. Additionally, we must remember that He is the one who has sovereignly approved or appointed our trials. And while these trials may not directly benefit us (with the possible exception to produce perseverance), they will be used to bring glory to God. And they may well be used to open the eyes of some who, in seeing the sincerity of our faith and trust in God through the most grueling and difficult circumstances, may see that our faith is not in vain.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I remembering that God is with me as He allows the trials of my life to destroy that which keeps me from drawing close to Him?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are glorious and beautiful to behold. Help me to remember Your goodness as I am struck down by sickness and foes. Help me to remember Your sovereignty as You allow unseen spiritual forces to assault and harass me. Help me to remember Your faithfulness when You allow me to be dragged through the valley of the shadow of death. Help me to persevere, and praise you as Paul did after he was severely beaten and placed in prison. In all things, help me to remember that You and You alone have approved these trials. Help me to not despise Your discipline, though the trials that You have appointed may not end until I am rejoined with You in Heaven. For You are good in all that You do, Lord God Almighty, and none may lay a charge against You. In all this, help me to remember Your character, for if man had done this, it would be bearable to be found worthy of suffering disgrace for Your name. When there is no one who can be identified as being responsible for the trials – no one I can pray for – it is unbearable. This I ask in Jesus Name, Amen.