Job is the oldest book of the Bible and is where more inaccurate theology comes from than any other book in the Bible. In Job, we get ideas such as God places us in the hands of the devil, God gives and takes away, God uses sickness, death, pain, and suffering to teach lessons, and that God lets us experience pain and suffering which are the results of experiencing God’s wrath for sins we have committed.
The most inaccurate belief concerning Job is that God placed Job in the hands of Satan. This could not be further from the truth, but its deception is powerful and is still being taught today.
Job 1:8 (KJV): And the Lord said to Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
In Hebrew, the accurate translation of what God is saying in Job 1:8 is: “Have you set your heart on Job?”
If you do not want to research the Hebrew translation yourself, here it is in Young’s Literal Translation (YLT):
8 And Jehovah saith unto the Adversary, `Hast thou set thy heart against My servant Job because there is none like him in the land, a man perfect and upright, fearing God, and turning aside from evil?’
God, being omnipotent, does not need to ask questions. God acknowledged that Satan already had his mind made up and chose to target Job. If you look at a few other biblical examples, God has a pattern of asking questions to which He already knows the answer. For example, in Genesis 3:9 God asks where Adam and Eve were while they hide. In Genesis 3:11, God asks Adam and Eve who told them that they were naked; in 3:13 God asks them what they did. In Genesis 21:17 God asked Hagar why she was crying. In 1 Kings 19:13 God asked Elijah what he was doing. In Jonah 4:4 God asked Jonah if he had a right to be angry. I could go on. The point is the original language of Job 1:8 accurately depicts God asking a question to which he already knows the answer (because He knows everything), and that He does so many times in the Bible.
Most people fail to recognize that after God asked Satan if he had set his heart on Job, God defended Job in the same breathe! God did this because He already knew Satan’s intent, otherwise why would He stick up for Job? God said that there was none like Job, and that he was righteous and feared God and escheweth (departs from) evil! Now this is important: Rather than handing Job over to Satan, God stuck of for Job and was his advocate just like it states in 1 John:
1 John 2:1 (KJV): My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
The next verse that gives us inaccurate beliefs is Job 1:12:
Job 1:12 (KJV): And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.
The word “behold” gives people the perception that God allowed Satan to attack Job. However, the way that “behold” is used in the Bible is what is called a demonstrative particle. Demonstrative particles are used to explain an object or act that is already in existence rather than the explanation of the origination of an object or act. An example of this is when Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds to tell them the news:
Luke 2:9-11 (KJV): And, lo, the angel for the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (10)And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (11)For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
It is clear that in Luke 2:10 when the angel used the word “behold”, he was informing them of Christ’s birth in the past tense, meaning it already happened. Here is another example in Genesis:
Genesis 1:29 (KJV): And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Genesis 1:29 makes it even clearer that “behold” is expressing something that already happened because following it are the words “given” and “which is upon”, which are both past tense. It already happened. So when God is saying to Satan: “Behold, Job is in your hands”, we know God did not give Job into the hands of Satan, rather Job was already under the power of Satan.
How did Job place himself in the hands of Satan?
Despite Job living a righteous life he lived in fear. Job was credited as being righteous because of the condition of his heart. The problem was with his inaccurate beliefs which enabled him to live in fear because of his inaccurate knowledge of God. You can have a righteous heart, but all it takes to give the enemy a foothold in your life is an inaccurate belief of God. This is evident in Job 3:25:
Job 3:25 (KJV): For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
In order to understand what Job feared, we will go back to chapter 1:
Job 1:5 (KJV): And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, it may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
Job lived in fear of his children sinning. He would get up every morning and offer burnt offerings on their behalf. This was Job’s social construction, his inaccurate belief. This would be the same today as if a parent prayed to God every morning asking for forgiveness for any sin’s that their children may have committed. This is not how a relationship with God works. In fact, this would not be considered having a relationship with Christ because the parent would be attempting to have the relationship with Jesus on the child’s behalf. This is what Job was indirectly trying to do for his children and was due to inaccurate beliefs. Job thought that if he offered burnt offerings on behalf of his children it would act as atonement. This is why social constructions can be so destructive, especially when they are inaccurate. Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Job did not have the Old Testament to refer to so his knowledge was passed down from his family or culture. Even though the excuse of ignorance could be plausible with Job, he still was able to communicate with God and had the ability to seek direction in regards to his family.
In our next discussion (Job: What Really Happened, Part 2), we will see that God does not ‘give and take away’, and we will discuss the loving and protective nature of God rather than the common, inaccurate portrayal of God as a God who takes away.