As I read through the early chapters of Job, I had my familiar reactions of feeling bad for Job’s miseries, being impressed by his faith, and thinking, “with friends like this, who needs enemies?” This time, however, a new thought hit me, “Why is Satan absent from their commentary?” We know that he was the source of Job’s pain, yet he is never “blamed” for any of it. Why not?
I discussed this with a friend who pointed out that the prevailing mindset of the time was that God was sovereign and did whatever he wanted to do. Anything that came into one’s life – good or evil – was from the hand of God. If you were good, God rewarded you; if you were bad, God punished you. The idea of their being a third, powerful, influential force was not considered. These words not only explained the absence of Satan in the conversation, but gave me a new insight as well.
Throughout the Old Testament Christ is not identified, but foreshadowed through prophecy, the sacrificial system, the Tabernacle/Temple and good leaders (for ex., Moses as deliverer and Boaz as Redeemer). Similarly, Satan is not specifically identified but foreshadowed through negative experiences, evil deeds, evil rulers (like, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar) and oppositional people (Canaanites, Hittites, Philistines).
In the fullness of time, God revealed his eternal plan to overcome the power of evil through His Divine Deliver, Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Acknowledgment of Christ and submission to him was to replace the immature and ineffective worship system.
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. (Colossians 2:16-19).
With the revelation of Christ, also came the revelation of the architect behind the evil – Satan. From the beginning of mankind, the loving, provisional, powerful and protective presence of God has always been opposed by Satan’s oppositional efforts to kill, steal and destroy God’s people.
But so what? Are these just theological ramblings? Far from it!
We need to know that:
- Being “good” is not good enough. We don’t have the capacity to sacrifice enough to fulfill the requirements of a Holy God.
- Our only hope of salvation is in the Deliverer/Redeemer Jesus Christ.
- Our every effort to do the right thing will be continually opposed by an enemy who desires nothing less than our destruction.
- The simplistic thinking of “if I’m good, good things will happen” ignores the reality of an evil, homicidal enemy.
- This enemy can only be defeated in our lives through the faithful application of the word of God and prayer (2 Cor. 10:3-6; Eph. 6:10-18).
Don’t be naive! Know that you are a spiritual battle for your soul. Our enemy is present and powerful, but our God is greater (I John 4:4).