“One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.”
~Job 1:6 (NRSV).
For every exhortation to bring our praises and thanksgiving before the Lord of Glory there is the opposite charge to condemn the rites of Satan. This is an encumbrance upon every Christian—not to be afraid of the father of lies, but to strongly resist him, never underestimating the lengths this heavenly rogue will go to in knocking us off balance.
The scene that is Job chapter 1 shows us four roles of Satan as he interacts with the world against God. These things we should know about. Forearmed is forewarned. (This chapter is thick with theological enigmas that are beyond my present scope.)
Satan is The Accuser
We should not be in doubt about this fact: there is literally no goodness in Satan. He is against any and all purposes of God. He accuses God in our minds and our hearts—“God doesn’t care... God’s silent... God’s weak...” (all of which are untrue) and he also accuses us directly, to our faces and through others; getting us or them to believe lies.
The Lord is the opposite reality; great in goodness.
God is our confirmer. Never accusing, only confirming, God is steadfast and sure, always trustworthy and true. We trust God’s Spirit to cause us to reflect—confirmed of what we need do to engage further with God’s will.
Satan is The Wanderer
Satan roams and scowls. David McKenna says, “Satan epitomizes the ultimate of evil, when alienation, aimlessness, and anxiety—the essence of hell—obsess the soul.” Wherever Satan goes he’s up to no good and there is no intent beyond havoc.
The Lord is the opposite reality; God roams only with intention. There is a purpose to everything so far as God’s concerned. We can know this personally via the purposes God’s placed in our hearts.
Satan is The Cynic
Doubt is a key weapon of the liar. It is Satan’s job to challenge truth and to cast doubt even on the incontrovertible. Satan’s cynicism is based on his innate and insidiously powerful jealousy. He’s setting himself against God and every person set on good. Satan hates good and anyone involved in good. Cynicism is a chief weapon he also gets others to use to undermine good.
The Lord is the opposite reality; God is the quintessential advocate. He believes in us and loves us with a love that actively believes in us. When we begin to count our blessings we very quickly see this.
Satan is The Tormenter
Ordinarily, in comparison to God, Satan’s impotent and not omnipotent like the Lord. Ever scheming to make up for this lack, however, Satan’s scraping the bottom of the moral barrel—he’s doing anything that will create chaos, dissonance, madness and insanity. Interestingly, God allows Satan (literally, “hassatan” or “the satan”) a role in the testing of Job. Otherwise, Satan had no power.
The Lord is the opposite reality; God is our peace. God never has any motive to trick us or cause us pain. God is healing—if we follow his will.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
General Reference: Derek Thomas, The Storm Breaks – Job Simply Explained (Welwyn Commentary Series) (Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 1995), pp. 29-32.