Job 6:1-7 ESV
Then Job answered and said:
“Oh that my vexation were weighed,
and all my calamity laid in the balances!
For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
therefore my words have been rash.
For the arrows of the Almighty are in me;
my spirit drinks their poison;
the terrors of God are arrayed against me.
Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass,
or the ox low over his fodder?
Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,
or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?
My appetite refuses to touch them;
they are as food that is loathsome to me.
Everything happens for a reason. Donkeys don’t bray unless they’re hungry. Oxen aren’t noisy as long as they’ve been fed. Job cried out in great distress, because his vexation and calamity were heavier than all the sand on the seashore. Eliphaz believed the reason Job had lost his health and wealth was because of sin. Job insisted on his innocence.
However, Job was also mistaken in that he believed God was responsible for his suffering. This is a common, but false, idea.
Even today, I meet Christians who believe God has made them sick to teach them some kind of lesson, or bring them closer to Him. Whenever hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters occur, popular ministers attribute these calamities to the wrath of God. Some Calvinists might reason that God must behind these catastrophes because He’s sovereign.
Let’s be clear. God is capable of such acts, and the Bible records multiple instances of His wrath. However, not every instance of suffering is related to divine justice. Job understood this much, because he held fast his integrity to the end. However, he still held on to this “God is sovereign, and therefore responsible” mentality.
The Bible is clear. Not only was it Satan, not God, who made Job sick, but it was Satan, not God who incited brigands to steal some of Job’s livestock; it was Satan, not God, who devoured the rest of his livestock with fire from heaven; it was Satan, not God, who sent the wind that knocked a house down, killing Job’s children.
This is obvious if one reads the text without the blinders of traditional ideas (such as the idea that Satan has no power to affect the weather). God gave Satan permission to do all these things. And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord (Job 1:12, ESV). And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life” (Job 2:6, ESV). God was still sovereign; although He permitted Satan was to attack Job, Satan was given clear boundaries.
Some would argue that because God was ultimately in control, He was still responsible for Job’s suffering even if He did not directly inflict it. I think this confuses the difference between causing suffering and passively allowing suffering.
Some would still cry foul because blameless Job had suffered at all. Why would God allow the innocent to suffer? We might never know. However, what we do know about God is that He is the greatest concievable being, that He is omnibenevolen, and that He is all-knowing. He must, by His very nature, have a morally sufficient reason for allowing Job to suffer.
It is Satan who is our Adversary (that is what Satan means). He is the enemy, and we must never blame God for suffering or evil. The true source is either Satan or other human beings used by Satan. By the way, if you are human (and I would guess that most, if not all, the readers of this blog are), you’ve certainly been used at some point to inflict evil on someone else.
Let’s stop serving the devil, and serve the sovereign God who works all things for together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).