FINGERPRINTS OF SATAN
Teach me Lord, how to be confident without being arrogant, sensitive without being overwhelmed. I want to be more like Jesus.
Read JOB 24
“Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?
Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?
2 There are those who move boundary stones;
they pasture flocks they have stolen.
3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey
and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
4 They thrust the needy from the path
and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
5 Like wild donkeys in the desert,
the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
the wasteland provides food for their children.
6 They gather fodder in the fields
and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.
8 They are drenched by mountain rains
and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces[a];
they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
13 “There are those who rebel against the light,
who do not know its ways
or stay in its paths.
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
kills the poor and needy,
and in the night steals forth like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’
and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,
but by day they shut themselves in;
they want nothing to do with the light.
17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;
they make friends with the terrors of darkness.
18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water;
their portion of the land is cursed,
so that no one goes to the vineyards.
19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,
so the grave snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
the worm feasts on them;
the wicked are no longer remembered
but are broken like a tree.
21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,
and to the widow they show no kindness.
22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;
though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
they are cut off like heads of grain.
25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
and reduce my words to nothing?”
- Job 24:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
May we respond with compassion when we see the suffering that there is in this world; understanding that God’s heart is broken too.
In verses 1–12 Job reflects on the appalling suffering that is in this world. He is not alone, as we with our contemporary global news media cannot escape the faces of starving children, the victims of warfare, or the gaunt expressions of the devastated poor. For us, like Job, questions arise in our hearts. Where is God in all this? Yet we know that, although the Lord may seem to be silent, he keeps a careful watch on all that is going on (v 23). What we are seeing here are the fingerprints of an intruder in God’s creation. Satan has not appeared since chapter 2 and will not be mentioned in the rest of the book, but the signs of his malign influence are everywhere. From the uncaring judgmentalism of Job’s friends to the devastating consequences of sin and selfishness upon society, along with the awesome suffering of Job, we understand the words of Jesus, ‘An enemy did this’.1 In the book of Job, the devil’s signature is on every page.2
But Satan met his match in Jesus. The appalling suffering of the very worst that man could do to man occurred at Calvary. Job is saying here that God does judge the unrighteous; he does address the injustices and inequalities of our world, but he does so in his own time (v 24). Job contradicted the assumptions made by his colleagues that those who suffer must have sinned. The time for judgment began at the cross of Calvary and will be completed when Jesus comes again. Until then, Job must trust his own situation, together with all the suffering he sees around him, into the hands of the judge of all the earth who, in Abraham’s words, will do what is right.3 And so must we.
Pray for those engaged in the relief of poverty, suffering, and injustice. Ask God to show you if there are ways you could be involved in revealing his mercy.
Loving Lord, I pray today for lost souls. They have wandered away from you and need the gospel. May the Holy Spirit touch their hearts.
1 Matt 13:28 2 Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job, Crossway Books, 1994, p255 3 Gen 18:25
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