In our study of Job chapter two, we will look at how, when the devil cannot directly shake your faith, he will try the indirect attack by using others.
On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the Lord said to Satan, 'Where have you come from?' Satan answered the Lord, 'From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth in it.'
Once again, we see that everything in all of creation is under the direct supervision and control of God. This is the second time that the angels and Satan have appeared before God and it begins in the same manner as the first. It reminds me of the old saying "speak when spoken to" and Satan speaks to God but only after he is asked a question.
Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.'
The conversation continues as God points out that, once again, Satan was wrong in his assessment of Job. The devil had accused God of bribing Job to worship Him but, even as he lost all of his wealth and family, he still worshiped the Lord. We are reminded that Satan does not know everything as he clearly did not know what was in the heart of Job.
'Skin for skin!' Satan replied. 'A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.' The Lord said to Satan, 'Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.'
Satan still refuses to accept the fact that Job worships God for who He is and not what He has given to the man. Now, the devil knows that Job has a strong faith but he does not know its depth. Satan's next scheme is to attack the man's health in the hope that he will abandon his faith. As we see again, the devil is really trying to insult God but it is not working and you can almost feel the anger rising in Satan.
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
The devil did not waste any time but went quickly and gave Job painful sores over his entire body. It must have itched or burned so bad that he used a piece of broken pottery to scratch himself in hopes of finding a little bit of relief. To be sure, Job was in a pretty bad place and he was mourning but, still, he did not curse God and, once again, Satan was disappointed. This is the last of the direct attacks of Satan on Job and his faith stood the test.
His wife said to him, 'Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!' He replied, 'You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?' In all of this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Now, we see the first indirect attack on Job's faith and it comes from the one person that was closest to him. Even his wife did not believe that he had not sinned and brought this on himself. We see that she believed in God as she told her husband to curse Him and provoke Him into killing her man. She did not know that it was the work of the devil and she had no idea that she was being used as a tool to make her husband stumble in his faith. This reminds us that, when faced with these indirect attacks of the devil, we should not get angry with the people that he is using or hold a grudge against them because they may not even be aware of it. With his answer, he acknowledges that it is happening because it is the will of God but does not say that God is wrong for allowing it to happen. This reaction shows true humility as he accepts the things that were happening to him even though he does not know why God is allowing them to take place.
When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.
Now, we are briefly introduced to three of Job's friends and it was not the same at that time as it is today. In our era of hundreds of friends connected by the internet, it seems that the term "friend" has been cheapened to the point where it doesn't mean much. It was not that way during Job's time and these friends must have cared deeply about what had happened to Job as they traveled a good ways to see him. Eliphaz would have been a grandson of Abraham from the line of Esau and we are reminded that, through that line, came the Amalekites. The Amalekites were a nation of people that hated God and His people as they opposed the Israelites on their march from Egypt to the Promised Land. Bildad was from the line of Shuah which was the youngest son of Abraham by Keturah. We are reminded that Abraham had married Keturah after the death of Sarah (see Genesis 25:1). Zophar was a grandson of Abraham's brother Nahor.
When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
These friends arrived and were speechless at the sight of their friend and simply sat and mourned with him in silence for seven days. They would have last saw their friend living in wealth and health and now they were probably in shock at the appearance of the man before them. This all seems good but we must remember that the devil has not given up with his schemes of indirect attack. Even though he had failed with the use of Job's wife, he is going to turn up the heat through these three friends.