And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”  Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason?  Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”  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 1:8-12 ESV)
To say that the story of Job is a tragedy is an overwhelming understatement. He was wealthy beyond comparison, but in one single day, his livestock were destroyed, his servants were slaughtered by raiders, and his ten children were crushed to death in an accident when their house collapsed. Furthermore, Satan was allowed to afflict him with loathsome sores that so disfigured his features that his own friends could not recognize him. But in the midst of such monstrous suffering and loss, what is clear is that although Satan afflicted him, God was the one who permitted this evil to befall Job.
It is sobering for us believers to know that when the Enemy of our souls seeks our destruction, his work and activity is restricted by the LORD our God. He cannot touch our possessions so long as the Lord’s hedge of protection surrounds our lives. He cannot touch our health unless the Lord allows him to. The God who dwells in heaven and does all that he pleases rules even over the demons and they cannot lift a finger without his express command. But if all that God ruled over, was demonic activity, this would not be encouraging. The great encouragement to us as believers is not that God rules over Satan’s activities but rather that he rules over them AND uses them to serve his good and glorious purposes. All throughout the Bible, we read of the Lord’s power to redeem that which is evil for the greater good. In Romans 8:28, we are told that for those who are called according to God’s purpose, all things—ALL THINGS without exception—work together for good. What man meant for evil in condemning Joseph to prison, God meant for good in saving his chosen people from a devastating famine. The wickedness of Satan that inspired Judas to betray his Lord was ultimately used by God to accomplish the magnificent work of eternal redemption through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross!
The incredible harm done to Job, his steadfastness under trial coupled with God’s restoration of him at the end of his trial was not only under God’s control, but served God’s brilliant purpose in giving a model of hope to countless believers throughout the ages who have found courage in God to praise His Name in the midst of their severest afflictions. No man or demon—whether Job or Satan—could ever have imagined that God would use this horrendous tragedy to write canon Scripture that would serve as words of encouragement to millions upon millions of God’s followers as they walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Believer, do you think about the fact that the greatest schemes of the Evil One in your life are under the sovereign control of God? Do you realize that whatever harm Satan inflicts upon you has been permitted by a God who loves and cares for you? Do you believe that Father of lights who gives good and perfect gifts to his children intends to use what is evil in your life for ultimate good and for His glory?
Though Satan prowls around like a roaring lion who seeks to devour us, he is ultimately God’s unwitting servant. What he intends for evil, God uses to accomplish good—ultimate good. And in that we can always rejoice.