Why did God allow Job to suffer? Why did God allow Satan to harm Job’s health and wealth? Was it all merely to prove a point?
The Book of Job is a very interesting book in the Bible. Job is described as an upright man who follows God’s commands and is “blameless” in God’s eyes. The word “blameless” doesn’t mean sinless, but rather, that he had a good standing in the eyes of God and was repentant. Another way of putting it is that Job walked with God.
The scriptures tell us Job was wealthy, happy, faithful to God, and had a great family. All was going well for Job–that is–until his life comes crashing down!
One day, Satan presents himself before God and has a conversation with Him concerning Job’s character. Satan, whom the Bible refers to as the “accuser,” tells God that Job is only faithful because God has prospered him and put up a “hedge” around him. Satan, the grand accuser, is doing what he does best: Accusing a righteous man. Satan says that if God will “touch” all that Job has, he will curse God to His face.
God allows Satan to test his faithful servant, and after two severe trials (losing all material possessions, family, and health), Job remains faithful. But this raises an interesting question: Why did God allow Satan to test such a seemingly righteous man?
Did God Allow Job to Suffer Just to Prove a Point to Satan? Why Would God Care What Satan Thought?
In God’s sovereign wisdom, He knows things we don’t know. He can see events unfold in the future that we could have never even imagined. Also, God rarely does things for one singular reason. Often times, God will achieve many things with just one event, and He may have 1,000 purposes that He accomplishes with it.
God probably didn’t care so much what Satan thought, but in His wisdom, God knew Job would remain faithful and that his story would inspire millions of faithful Christians to persevere in their trials throughout the ages.
What God Achieved By Allowing Job’s Testing
Here are a few of the things we can know that God achieved with the testing of Job:
God Used This Testing to Reveal Job’s Character:
First, these trials revealed Job’s true character. God knew Job was righteous, which is why He said to Satan,
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Satan tried to slander Job, but God knew that Job loved Him with a true love. Job’s faith wasn’t based on his bank account, his health, his family, or anything else. Job genuinely loved God.
God will indeed test us to reveal our faith and refine us, but He will never tempt us to go into sin. Satan will tempt you to sin in order to make you fall; God tests us to make us stand firmer and reveal our faith.
God Used This Testing to Teach Job and His Friends
Job was taught to be patient, and to trust God in the midst of suffering–even when he couldn’t understand it. Job didn’t understand what was wrong, but Job knew it wasn’t because of unconfessed sin in his life. Job knew his heart was clean before the Lord.
Job’s friends, on the other hand, didn’t trust Job. They didn’t understand how God could allow a righteous man to suffer. They thought troubles only happened to wicked people, and that if you suffered, you must have sinned. That is why they told Job to repent. Even Job’s wife didn’t believe him, and said:
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.
Job’s wife and friends had a fundamental misunderstanding of the way things work. Yes, sin will bring consequences and suffering, but not all people suffering right now are suffering due to sin in their own lives.
God Used Job’s Testing to Bless Him
A peculiar truth in life is that much of our blessings come from our sufferings. John Bunyan, a great Christian man, wrote one of the best-selling books of all time, “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” while imprisoned for his faith.
The Apostle Paul, under inspiration from the Holy Spirit, wrote much of the New Testament while in prison. God has used these books to inspire and teach Christians around the world.
Joseph was a slave in Egypt, but he was thrown in prison after his master’s wife falsely accused him of sexual advances. Even though Joseph must have felt as if he was enduring extreme suffering and trials, it was this same prison where he met two men and correctly interpreted their dreams. This correct dream interpretation was eventually used by God to lead Joseph to Pharaoh, who put Joseph as second in command over all Egypt. He was blessed with incredible power and wealth.
God will sometimes allow lemons to fall into our lives. Don’t fret. Trust in God–for He has the power to later squeeze them and make us the sweetest lemonade.
How did God bless Job in his trials? He gave Job double the wealth he had before. He gave him new children (and will reunite him with the ones who died in heaven), He gave Job long life, and also gave Job extreme honor by placing his name and story in the most read book in the world: The Bible. Furthermore, we can only imagine what honor and glory Job will have for eternity in heaven.
Important Things to Remember
God may allow trouble and tribulations to come into your life, but as hard as they may be, you need to trust that God can eventually use them for your good and His glory. It may not be immediate, and in rare cases, you may not even see the good before you die, but there will always be good that comes from it.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
The Book of Job also teaches us that suffering is not always the result of wickedness. Sometimes a Christian may be faithful and obedient to God, yet tremendous pain and suffering may come. Jesus Himself said,
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Suffering may come because of the fallen world in which we live. Or, suffering may come because God has a great plan in our future.
The Book of Job also teaches that trials can bring great rewards, such as greater faith and perseverance.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
We cannot always know the mind of God, but we can know God’s character. The same God who allowed Job to suffer also ends up blessing Job with double. He doubled his livestock and wealth, but he gave him the same number of children. That is because Job didn’t lose his first children, as they will be with him in heaven. So God didn’t need to double them–because they weren’t really lost.
The same God who allows a child to die of cancer in a hospital is also the God who sent His Son to die on a cross to pay for the sins of humanity, that though a child may die, through Christ he or she can have eternal life.
The same God who sent Moses into a wilderness for 40 years to herd sheep is also the God who gave Him the strength to free the Israelites from Egypt and split the Red Sea into two walls of water.
If you are going through trials right now, are you trusting God? Are you being obedient to the Lord? Do you have unconfessed sin in your life that you need to confess to God and be cleansed? If so, I urge you to repent and trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior. If not, then be faithful and trust that God will see you through. Be willing to totally trust Him even to the point of death.
Job trusted God. That is why he uttered:
Though he slay me, I will hope in him;
Related article: How many times did Satan test Job?