Doctrinal Matters: Bible Interpretation
Satan, Job, and a False Implication
The Bible describes Satan as the accuser of the righteous, who has accused them before God day and night (Revelation 12:10). In one of the most vivid scenes portraying Satan’s accusatory nature, the patient patriarch Job bore the brunt of Satan’s slander. The sons of God had come to present themselves before God, and Satan came also. God asked Satan if he had considered Job, a righteous man who hated sin. In answer to God’s question, Satan retorted: “You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Job 1:10-11).
Satan’s comments seem fairly easy to understand—God had blessed Job with physical and financial blessing and it was due to those blessings that Job served God. But, if one is not careful, he or she will miss one of Satan’s false implications embedded in the statement. Satan subtly implied that it is easier for a man to serve God if he is rich and his possessions are increased, than it is for him to serve God if he is poor. Unfortunately, this idea has been maintained by many in the past and the present. In truth, however, Satan’s implication is false. It has never been easier to follow God if a person is financially wealthy. On the contrary, wealth often has great potential to have a negative effective on a man’s relationship with God.
First century listeners to Jesus were quite shocked to hear that such was the case. After the sad refusal of the rich young ruler to sell his possessions, Christ made some startling comments. He said: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). When Christ made this statement, His hearers “were astonished beyond measure, saying among themselves, ‘Who then can be saved?’” (vs. 26). Jesus explained that it was possible for such to happen, but it was not easy.
In Job’s case, Satan had done everything he could to tempt him with riches and physical wealth. God allowed Job’s wealth to accumulate and Job proved he could do what few have done—serve God faithfully as a rich man. Satan’s attempt to lure Job into sin with riches had failed, and he realized that the man’s soul was not for sale.
The idea that riches and physical blessings make serving God easier is a false notion and Satan knew it. So did God. And so should we. Let us all “be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).