Job was called a perfect and upright man, who loved God, hated and refused to do evil. He was rich–lots of animals and servants–and he cared for his children, offering sacrifices for them in case they had sinned.
And then Satan came along.
In one day, all of Job’s animals and most of his servants had been wiped out. Worse yet, his children were killed, all ten of them.
Satan’s a jerk, isn’t he?
But get this: God brought the subject of Job up.
The angels, I guess, had gathered together “to present themselves to the Lord” (Job 1:6). Satan showed up as well, and God asked him where he’d been. “Roaming all over the earth” was (basically) the answer (side-note: read 1 Peter 5:8). Then God said:
…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?Job 1:8 (KJV)
He brought him up! And (no disrespect to God here) it sounds like He’s bragging. “Have you noticed My servant Job? There’s no one else like him on earth; he’s a perfect, upright man, who loves and fears Me and hates evil?” (I’m really not trying to be disrespectful; this is just how I imagine it.)
And Satan replies, “Well, why wouldn’t he serve You? You’ve protected and blessed him. Take away what he has, and he will openly curse You!” I can picture him sneering at God, scoffing, being all dramatic and rude…
It’s almost like God and Satan made a bet. Like, “Okay, let’s see what happens if we take away Job’s stuff.” And we know the outcome of that bet:
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.Job 1:20-22 (KJV)
God brought it up. And He knew what would happen. He knew what Satan would do, knew the pain it would cause Job, knew the choice Job would make: to not curse God, but to worship Him and bless His name.
He knew the choice Job would make! Job had free-will, could do whatever he wanted, but he would choose to keep serving God. And God knew he would.
Maybe that’s why He mentioned Job to Satan. Not to, ya know, put Satan in his place, but to bring about His purposes. To accomplish His plan. To give other people throughout history the chance to hear the story of Job, and be encouraged and challenged to trust God even in the trials. To show us that He is in control, not that rude, bratty accuser.
And even if Job hadn’t made that choice–had instead decided to turn his back on God–God would have still loved him. And maybe He would have still allowed it to happen, as an example of what not to do.
God knows the choices we will make. Long before we do. And He. Still. Loves. Us. Still gives us free-will, the freedom to make whatever decision we want. Still gives us the chance to do what’s right, to repent and be forgiven when we don’t.
If that’s not mind-blowing and pulling-tears-to-your-eyes and making-your-heart-swell-because-of-His-awesomeness-and-love, then I don’t know what is. 🙂