But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. —Job 2:10 ESV
Did you notice that in the two heavenly scenes God handed Job over to Satan’s power? But when Satan had done his work of taking Job’s wealth and family, Job said in 1:21, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job says that it was ultimately the Lord himself who took away his family and wealth. Then the inspired writer of the book makes a comment to avoid a misunderstanding. Lest anyone say that Job should not have attributed Satan’s work to God, he writes (v. 22), “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” It is not sin to say that what Satan did, God ultimately did, because God rules Satan.
Similarly in the second heavenly scene God says (2:6) to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.” Then verse 7 makes it very explicit that “Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord, and afflicted Job with loathsome sores.”
But again in verse 10 Job says, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” In other words Job again goes all the way up to the sovereignty of God over Satan and says that his sickness is from God. Satan may have been the nearer cause, but ultimately it is from God.
And again the inspired writer warns us not to criticize Job here. He writes at the end of verse 10, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” It is not a sin to say that a sickness that Satan causes is “from the Lord.”
Job’s rock of refuge and hope when everything else seemed to be crumbling was the absolute sovereignty of God. Which leads me finally to . . .
Three Personal Implications
1. Let us join with Job and affirm with all our hearts the absolute sovereignty of God.
Let us say with the psalmist (115:3), “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.” Let us say with Daniel (4:35), “He does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What doest thou?'” Let us make the absolute sovereignty of God the rock on which we build our lives and our church.
2. Let your tears flow freely when your calamity comes.
“Job arose, rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell upon his face” (1:20). The sobs of grief and pain are not the sign of unbelief. Job knows nothing of a flippant, insensitive, superficial “Praise God anyhow” response to suffering. The magnificence of his worship is because it was in grief, not because it replaced grief. Let your tears flow freely when your calamity comes. And let the rest of us weep with those who weep.
3. Trust in the goodness of God, and let him be your treasure and your joy.
Even if God had let Satan take Job’s life, we know what Job would have said. He would have said Psalm 63:3, “The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life.”