The events of the book of Job probably took place between 2000 and 1800 b.c., during the era of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”
Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”
“All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.
Any person who is committed to God should expect Satan’s attacks. Job, a blameless and upright man who had been greatly blessed, was a perfect target for Satan. Originally an angel of God, Satan became corrupt through his own pride. He has been evil since his rebellion against God (1 John 3:8). Satan considers God his enemy. He tries to hinder God’s work in people, but he is limited by God’s power and can do only what he is permitted (Luke 22:31-32; 1 Timothy 1:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:23-26). Satan is our enemy because he actively looks for people to attack through temptation (1 Peter 5:8-9) and because he wants to make people hate God. He pursues this goal by using lies and deception (Genesis 3:1-6).
From the conversation between God and Satan, we learn a great deal about Satan. (1) He is accountable to God (Job 1:6). God knew that Satan was intent on attacking Job. (2) Satan can be at only one place at a time (Job 1:6-7). Satan’s demons aid him in his work; but as a created being, he is limited. (3) Satan cannot see into our minds or foretell the future (Job 1:9-11). (4) Because Satan can do nothing without God’s permission (Job 1:12), God’s people can overcome his attacks by trusting in God’s power. (5) God limits what Satan can do (Job 1:12; 2:6). Satan’s response to the Lord’s question (Job 1:7) tells us that Satan is real and active on earth. Knowing this about Satan should cause us to remain close to the one who is greater than Satan—God himself.
Although God loves us, believing and obeying him does not shelter us from life’s calamities. In our tests and trials, God calls us to remain faithful and continue following him. How do you respond to your troubles? Do you ask God, “Why me?” or do you say, “Use me!”? Commit yourself to being faithful no matter what happens.