In the book of Job, how was it possible for God and Satan to hang out together? How could God be so casual in allowing Job's children and servants to be killed?

Email Received:

I'm a long time Christian and am dealing with some issues. So I read the book of Job once more to get some insight and that's how I ended up on your page.

How is it possible for God and Satan to hang out together? I was always taught God can't even LOOK upon sin because of being so Holy; yet here they seem almost like friends. (It's almost like God says to Satan, "Hey, where have you been, buddy?" Also, how can God act so casually with people's very lives by allowing them to be killed just to settle bets, even though they've been good followers? The 10 kids didn't get their lives back, nor did the servants ever come back.

Should I just consider this a gift to them to now be in heaven with God and not sad to be killed for no reason and at so young an age? I'd love to hear a note from you regarding anything you might see where I'm making a mistake. I just hate to see the God of the universe acting more like men than like God, or is this book just metaphorical?

Ted's Response:

When you say you ended up on my page, I assume you mean you found the following email response that I wrote: Why did God ask Satan if he had considered His servant, Job? God created Satan, so they are able to interact; but they are not friends or "buddies." Everything in the Bible was inspired by God, and He is behind every word. All of it has been carefully crafted by Him to reveal to us His characteristics and His ways, as difficult as many of them are to understand.

The dialogue between God and Satan about Job was, by no means, a "friendly conversation." It was orchestrated by God to show billions of people, who would read and hear about this account throughout the ages, that Satan can do nothing without God's authorization and consent. It also is to show us that Satan is not confined to hell or to the earth, as many believe, but also has access to heaven—that is, until the battle in heaven takes place, just prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

The entire chronicle of Job did not happen because God had a grudge against Job or wanted to take vengeance on him. Again, it was for our benefit, to show us that as righteous and honorable as any man is, no one can live up to God's perfect standards. No one is exempt from punishment and discipline. Even Jesus, the only perfect man, was sentenced to humiliation, torture and death by the Father, to atone for the sins of humanity.

Furthermore, there are many creative attributes about God in the book of Job (especially in chapters 38 and 39) for us to learn about. Above all, though, what happened to Job lets us know that God, our Creator and Sustainer, is in charge of everything and has a right to do whatever He wishes to do. He is superior to all whom He has created, and all that He does points ultimately to His own glory.

God didn't make a "bet" with Satan. The entire saga of Job and his family and friends was planned beforehand by God, and He just used Satan as an active participant and the chief antagonist.

There is no indication at all that Job's children and servants were "good followers" of God. In fact, the only thing we see his children doing is frequently feasting and drinking wine together (Job 1:4,13,18). Basically, they partied a lot and, apparently, did not revere God nor include Him in their lives. As a result, their father Job frequently sacrificed burnt offerings on their behalf, since he was afraid they may have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. No doubt Job knew his children very well, so this probably was was the case.

It is not ours to know where all of them went when they died. Perhaps Job's staunch belief in his Redeemer (Job 19:25-27)—that is, the Messiah—and his burnt offerings on his childrens' behalf, or his profound sufferings as a righteous man, enabled them to enter heaven (much like the intense suffering and death of Jesus have enabled us to enter heaven after death). Whatever their fate was, it was up to God and is unknowable to us.

God's thoughts and ways are farther above ours than ours are above an amoeba's. There is no way to comprehend exactly why God does something in any particular situation. One main reason is that we do not know all of the factors that lead God to formulate all of the decisions that He makes. Another reason is because we cannot look into the future to see how that situation will be resolved.

Job had no idea what his future held, other than that one day his Redeemer would come and he would see God (Job 19:25-27). He later admitted, in questioning God for the misfortune and misery that had befallen him, that he did not understand what was happening and acknowledged that God's ways were too wonderful for him to know (42:3).

Rather than yelling and cursing at God, he humbled himself and repented of his doubts and anger at God in dust and ashes (Job 42:6). And in the second part of his life, God prospered him again and gave him twice as much as he had before (42:10). Presumably, this would not have happened if he had not experienced all of the agony and torment and had not prayed for his friends.

Similarly, Jesus said to the Father, "Not my will but your will be done" (Luke 22:42). He endured the cross because He knew that there was great joy, jubilation, and triumph before Him after doing so (Hebrews 12:2).

Our lives here are but a brief vapor. As believers, our pain and suffering, as terrible and horrific as they may be, are limited and finite. We have a magnificent and glorious future ahead of us that will begin when Jesus appears in the clouds, and it will continue forevermore. There will be no more tears, pain, or suffering ever again. Knowing that is how I endure all of the grief, sorry, anguish, and hurting that I must undergo in this life. One day, if we are steadfast believers in God and in the tremendous sacrifice of His Son on our behalf, our never-ending happiness and joy will be worth all of the affliction and distress that we must endure now.

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