The Fellowship of Suffering: Who is Satan?

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.”[1]

We come to a very intriguing and challenging passage of scripture. We are introduced to Satan in the true story of Job and the role Satan plays. There is a spiritual nugget to consider here, however, by way of introduction. Job was a man of great character and integrity. He feared God and was known as a man who honored the Lord. However, as we will soon find out, Job was dealt a heavy blow. He loses everything he worked for and everything he loved dearly. The lesson we see here is that ill fate does not just fall on the wicked. Every human being is subject to a world that has been cursed by sin. Therefore, tragedy may strike us at any moment. Just because you are living right, it does not mean that you are immune from tragedy. The lesson we learn from the book of Job is not why we suffer, rather, it is how we navigate through the inevitable sufferings that we will face in this life. The source of our suffering is not only our own sinful nature, but also the originator of all that is evil: Satan.

Who is Satan? Verse six describes Satan presenting himself before the throne of God. We can derive from scripture that Satan is an angelic being. The phrase ‘sons of God’ has brought great debate amongst Bible scholars. However, it is most widely agreed that ‘sons of God’ refer to angels. We use the term ‘angels’ lightly to describe all created beings in the spiritual realm. Jesus Christ is referred to as the only begotten Son of God and believers in Christ are also referred to as ‘sons of God’. However, in this particular passage we conclude that ‘sons of God’ is a reference to angelic beings. It is apparent that there is a set time in which these angelic beings gather in the presence of God to give an account or a report of their doings. As one commentary states, “We may gather, perhaps; from this place and ch. 2:1 that there are fixed times at which the angelic host, often sent out by the Almighty on distant errands, has to gather together, one and all, before the great white throne, to pay homage to their Lord, and probably to give an account of their doings.”[2] Matthew Henry says, “They came to give an account of their negotiations on earth and to receive new instructions.”[3] Satan is found to be present at these meetings. The fact that Satan was among them testifies to the fact that Satan still has access to the throne of God even though he is probably an uninvited guest. Satan’s presence always comes with an ulterior motive. Satan is an angelic being created by God. However, as we know, Satan rebelled against God and brought many others with him. Satan, along with those he took with him are referred to as ‘fallen angels’.

What Satan Does. As the most powerful of the fallen angels, it is important that we examine the things that Satan does.

Satan is a Roamer. In verse seven, we see God asking Satan where he came from. It was almost as if God was saying, “What are you doing here? You don’t belong here. You don’t deserve to be here.” Satan responds to God by saying he has been “going to and fro in the earth,  and walking up and down in it.” 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”[4]Satan is constantly searching for those that he can attack. He roams around on the earth like a lion hunting his prey. There are several things we need to understand about Satan as he roams the earth looking for prey. (1) Satan is looking for the vulnerable. Satan pounces on those who are clueless. He seeks out those who don’t understand what he is capable of. He goes after those who have their head stuck in the sand and has no clue of what is going on around them. (2) Satan is looking for those with an open door. There are times when we open the door for Satan to attack. Unknowingly, there are times when we give Satan an invitation to invade our lives. Doors are open to Satan through the things we allow in our homes, through the things we feed into our minds, through the activities we participate in, through the places we go, through our unfaithfulness to the small things, etc. Satan is looking for every opportunity to cause havoc in our lives, and sadly, most of us opens the door and invites him in. (3) Satan is looking for the weak. If you are not spending time with God in His Word and in prayer every day, you are spiritually weak. It is those who are spiritually weak that Satan uses to do his bidding of bringing harm to the body of Christ. Those who are weak spiritually are easy prey for Satan. Those who open themselves up by being vulnerable, opening doors for Satan to enter, and being spiritually weak; are free game for Satan.

Satan is the Accuser. In verses 7-11 God asks Satan if he has noticed Job. It is as if God is asking Satan, “Have you tried to attack Job? Have you been working on a scheme to make Job fall?” You see, Job was untouchable. Satan could not lay a hand on Job because Job never gave him the opportunity to do so. Therefore, all Satan could do was come up with some twisted way to convince God to give him permission to attack Job. Therefore, Satan brings an accusation before God concerning Job. He accuses Job of living such a holy life because of the things that God had given to him. Then it is as if he accuses God by adding that if God had not blessed Job so much then Job would not be as loyal as God says that he is. Revelation 12:10 says, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”[5] It is important to note that the event described in Revelation 12 is in the future. It has not happened yet. Satan, to this very day, is accusing those who have put their faith in Christ. He is constantly brining up accusations against us. But, the good news is that we have an advocate and His name is Jesus. No matter how much Satan accuses us, we maintain a right standing before God because of the blood of Jesus. Matthew Henry wrote, “God knows all the malice of the devil and his instruments against his servants; and we have an advocate ready to appear for us, even before we are accused.”[6]

What Satan Cannot Do. In verse 12, we see God giving permission for Satan to attack Job. He removes the wall of protection He had around Job and allows Satan to enter. The lesson we see here is that Satan cannot touch those who are in right fellowship with God apart from receiving special permission. I do not believe that Satan must ask for permission to attack every believer that he seeks to go after. If you open yourself up to Satan, you will get what is coming to you. However, for those who, like Job, fears God and walks with God daily, Satan cannot touch them without permission. This brings us to a question that we struggle with deeply. Why would God give Satan permission to attack Job? I believe part of the reason is the fact that the righteousness and glory of God was attacked. Satan accuses God of making things easy for Job. He basically tells God, “I cannot touch him as long as you have this wall around him. You will never know, God, if Job is really faithful to you unless you tear that wall down.” Remember, this was a very public meeting. All the angelic host was there witnessing this conversation between God and Satan. Therefore, so that His glory is not trampled on, God gives Satan the permission to move in and attack Job. Did God have to do this? Of course not. His glory would have been no less glorious if He had kept that wall of protection around Job. Yet, for a reason unbeknownst to us, God gives Satan permission. Perhaps, it was to test Job and to make his faith stronger. Perhaps, it was to teach a lesson or open the door for some new truth to be revealed to the angelic host that had gathered. Whatever, the case, God was certainly just in His decision, if anything, for the simple fact that He is God. However, the bottom line here is that Satan cannot touch you apart from God’s permission, if you are in right fellowship with God. There may be attacks that come against you, but Satan will never get the victory as you are walking with God. If you are walking with God, then God will always be there to protect you. He may allow some battles. He may allow some struggles that will make you stronger. However, He will never abandon you. Satan is a powerful foe. We have not even skimmed the surface of who Satan is and what Satan does. However, we can be encouraged by the fact that Satan is a defeated foe. You and I have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Even if we must suffer for reasons unknown to us, we can rest assured that we will be victorious.

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Job 1:6–12). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Job (p. 3). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[3] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 655). Peabody: Hendrickson.

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., 1 Pe 5:8). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 12:10). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 656). Peabody: Hendrickson.

One thought on “The Fellowship of Suffering: Who is Satan?

  1. Pastor, your revelations and writings are always so helpful to me in my walk with God’s Holy Word. Thank you very much for them. I pray Our Father strengthens and guides you Pastor always harvesting souls for His Kingdom. God Bless.

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