These chapters are deeply precious to me. When I was 19, my father died of cancer. Through the Holy Spirit’s power and comfort, the words of Job resounded in my heart the morning of my father’s passing. Only a person in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit who treasures God more than anything can say, “Lord, you give, and you take away; blessed be your name.”
God is Ultimate, Not Satan
Of the many matters to think about from the first three chapters of Job, I chose to focus on one reality, namely, God is ultimate, not Satan. God created all things and has always been (John 1:1). Job curses his birth, yet God was the one who knit him in his mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Job is richly blessed with land and goods and family, yet God is the one who granted those blessings (Acts 17:25).
God granted Satan permission to harm Job. Hear that again: God gave Satan guidelines for what he could and could not do to Job. For no reason other than to see someone curse God, Satan incites God’s attention and permission to afflict a man who fears the LORD.
God’s upholding and governing the universe according to His good purposes is called providence. God is most intimately involved in ordering all things according to His will. By knowledge of God’s providence and trust in the LORD’s faithfulness, Job did not curse God with wrong.
“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”
And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him.
Our perception of what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ can so often be influenced by our worldly perceptions and desires. God, who is the essence of good, has only good purposes for His children (Psalm 84:11), but this goodness is often shown through hardships, struggles, and suffering. Nothing displays God’s good providence in suffering more clearly than the cross of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. Beloved, God’s providence must be a sweet comfort for our souls if we are to worship Him with our lives by showing that He is trustworthy and more valuable than anything this world has to offer.
For further thoughts on God’s Providence, you will find these 10 videos from John Piper very helpful. DesiringGod recently posted these videos in light of Piper’s recently released book, “Providence”. My soul has been refreshed by some of these videos over the past few days.