“Covid-19” is a term that we all know too well. This virus has spread throughout every country and like a surreal science-fiction movie has resulted in a massive world-wide crisis with many infections, death and drastic government policies that have closed down the world physically and economically.
At the beginning of April 2020 there were over 1.2-million infections, 65,000 deaths and what is shocking is that all this happened in a very short period of time, just a few months.
Epidemiologists say we have not reached the peak of infections in many countries around the world, the worst for some places in the world is still to come.
What this pandemic shows is global human uncertainty. There are so many unknowns and differing opinions that it is not surprising then that people in many parts of the world live in anxiousness and fear.
The loss of life in this pandemic is tragic for any family and we can never minimize that sorrow- but, there is also anxiety from loss of jobs, business shutdowns, leaving an uncertain future ahead for many people. Christians are affected just like anyone else.
Many in these crisis times people ask questions, questions like: Why this? Why now? Why so severe? Why me? Why not someone else?
When this happens we ask questions of God – and who He is, and the nature of his being. We bring God down and place Him in the dock, and we demand an explanation. And for some God is tried and tested and found lacking, and some teeter on the precipice of apostasy.
It is also in times of crisis and suffering that people, even Christians, can face the same condemnation as Job’s friends – received from God because Christians are “not speaking what was right.”
Can this not be a better time to study the certaintly of the Word of God. And particularly the Book of Job. I would encourage you to read ahead as we take on this study on Sunday evenings.
And we have to approach this Book about suffering with great humility, realizing that we may not know the specific answers to specific cases of tragedy.
Yet, the prologue of Job in chapter 1 and 2 is for our benefit.
The book carries his Job’s name, but Job was not part of these celestial dialogues of God. He knows nothing of this great Palace appointment between God and Satan.
But we are given prime seating in God’s Palace – to look behind the scenes, and get glimpse through the haze and mists of how God providentially works in the Universe, specifically in the terrible suffering in one particular individual’s life.
I am thankful that Matt skillfully covered the introduction and verses 1-5 of Chapter 1 – last week – and I would encourage you to listen to that excellent exposition on Job the Man.
Now Verses 6-12 suddenly change the scene. They now “beam us up” and take us into the Palace of God. Here the central purpose is to make us observers of an important celestial conversation between God and Satan.
As we step into the throne room of God, into his Providential Palace – before we take our seats and witness the divine proceedings – let us hang our hats on four pegs – and call them 4 Covid19 Lessons From Job
Lesson 1.God’s Sovereignty (6)
Lesson 2.God’s Electing Grace (7,8)
Lesson 3.Satan’s Opposition (9-11)
Lesson 4. God’s Permission (12)
- LESSON1 – GODS SOVERIGNITY (verse 6)
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
The Palace Room
Imagine receiving an invitation by a Supreme King – to come to his Palace and be part of one of his lavish and spectacular councils.
You will get to sit in the best of seats as you witness many dignitaries of great power and status coming before this King to present themselves, and seek His counsel. It is an awesome and terrifying sight. Soon you realize you will be privy to secret Divine Decrees that will affect the rest of one individuals life!
We cannot fail to recognize the importance of this heavenly Palace, it really is the key to comprehending the Book of Job.
Then as we sit in our prime seats and observe the proceeding at Palace of God – we see another being singled out as entering the presence of God.
Your text might say and “Satan came among them.” OR “Satan also came among them.”
It seems to be a normal occurrence for Satan to come among the sons of God.
In the original It says – “and the Satan also came among them.” There is a definite article before the word Satan.
The term “the satan” means “the adversary.”
You can see this sense in Numbers 22:22 in the story of Balaams donkey.
“But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as an adversary (the word – satan) against him.
1 Kings 11:25 tells us that Rezon was Israel’s adversary (satan) through the life of Solomon.
In Psalm 109:6 it takes on an additional meaning – it says
“ 6 Appoint a wicked man over him,
And let an accuser stand at his right hand.”
“Accuser” is the word SATAN.
So “the satan” means “the adversary”, “the accuser,” “the prosecuting attorney”.
But obviously in this text it is not only talking about a beings role here.
“the Satan” is a particular evil being who has personhood, who thinks and talks and communicates with God.
In other texts of the OT for example in Zechariah 3:1-2 the celestial being, the personal being Satan is referred to, your text may have a capital “S” reflecting this.
- Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
This is also the case in 1 Chron 21:1
“ 1Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.”
Now as we read through Job Chapter 1 and 2 you see that “the Satan” does not simply function as the accuser, exposing human failings – but, in addition he goes out and he also afflicts Job and seeks to turn him against God as well, this is very typical of Satan’s character and actions in the New Testament as well.
AND SO in our Text – Verse 6 says – and “THE SATAN” also came among them – This then I would take to refer to Satan himself.
The same one who headed the revolt in heaven against the authority of God (Rev. 12:7–9), seduced Adam and Eve into sin (Gen. 3:1–6; 2 Cor. 11:3), tempted Jesus Christ (Matt. 4:1), warred against him throughout his entire career on earth (Matt. 13:39; Luke 10:18; John 12:31), who rules in the children of disobedience as the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), and fights against the children of light (Eph. 6:11–16).
From this Palace room we see that it is supernatural evil – is very real and evil does have a bearing on God’s providence and how this is experienced in suffering in Job’s life. Yet throughout Job the ultimate appeals against suffering are never made to Satan but brought before God himself.
In this Palace we see God is supreme over all of the events of the universe, and even Satan has to present himself just as all the other beings are required to as do and Satan like the other “sons of God” is totally subject to God.
God is there, the angelic hosts are there and Satan is there.
Ironically, one critical person is missing – that is Job himself, and this is the key to the book of Job.
Job is not given the seats we are given. The person after whom this book it titled is not privy to one of the most important meetings in God’s Palace that will affect the rest of his life.
Humbly we have to realize that this is so often the case in our own personal suffering. We like Job are not given direct access to the counsels of God as to why in a particular case or a particular season we go through terrible suffering.
The issue is not that Yahweh does not know Job, or that the Sovereign Ruler does not know the beginning from the end. God is omniscient. The issue is what Job the sufferer does not know, and what God wants him to learn through experience, and through his unanswered questions – Job will live by faith and that faith will sustain Job through the worst of suffering.
Here is another observation. From the prime seats in God’s palace that day we can also see how the Universe is governed.
We are not introduced to a celestial council of the “gods.”
In other words – the world is not governed by multiple gods and goddesses. There are not random spirits who are rather fickle and have sinful human desires and natures and who have to be constantly appeased by us in order to be friendly. Many false pagan religions teach this, but this is not what we see here.
In Job and the Bible we see that God HIMSELF is not a fickle being with absolute power. But He always operates consistently in accordance with His Holy character. He is described as Good and Just and Righteous and Holy. Evil and sin can never be attributed to Him.
Secondly, we are also not presented with a council where two massive opposing and equal powers are sizing each OTHER UP for a contest.
The universe we live in – is not a dualistic universe.
Sadly, many Christians though they may no say they believe in God, live fearfully in the world – a Covid19 world – of random chance, unsure which force – good or evil – will win out at any point in time in their lives.
But Dualism does not exist here in Job. There is one sovereign and supreme God and he remains in control.
Satan is the evil accuser and the terrible adversary but he must present himself in the Palace council. In the verses to follow it is clear he has no autonomy apart from the commands and boundaries that God himself sets (1:12; 2:6).
But Let me say even though there is not dualism – we still realize from verse 6 – that we don’t just simply operate in a visible material world.
There lies another significant world filled with angelic beings whose actions are encompassed in the Providence of God for his own purposes. We see that God will use a multiplicity of created beings, some of whom are indeed evil, to achieve His good and gracious purposes in the world and in His people
And in that celestial world which there is “one” Jesus calls “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31) and whom Paul will later call “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2), the “god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4), blinding the minds of unbelievers (2Cor 4:4).
And it would be right to fear Satan if we did not know an immovable restraint has been placed on him which prevents him from doing what he would like to do.
So in summary the first foundational pillar of God’s Providence is to know that God is supremely in control of the circumstances and events of our lives.
The second Lesson is God’s grace, His electing grace.