‘Hidden Hand’ Meditations No.4: And Satan?
Job 1:12 “The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
I suggested in the previous study that one of the ways God helps bring about His purposes in a hidden way, is simply to put acceptable suggestions into our minds, suggestions that produce an active response in us. More often than not these are positive responses in positive people, but I have to suggest that the Bible also indicates that the Lord allows Satan to do the same thing – whisper into minds – for bad people.
To justify this suggestion, I turn us to the examples seen in the first two chapters of Job. Job is a righteous man (Job 1:1,8) and so the Lord wants to reveal to us the true depth of his righteousness and so allows Satan to come against him (Job 1:12). But how does that come about? We aren’t told that Satan’s hand was raised against Job but that is what is clearly implied. What actually happens? Sabeans attack his property and steal Job’s cattle and donkeys (v.15) and then, a little later, some Chaldean raiders (v.17) came and stole his camels. Did Satan MAKE these marauders come, did he overcome their free will? No, I suggest it was much simpler than that. When he sees unrighteous people, people in rebellion against God, people out for themselves regardless of others, I would suggest it is a simple thing to whisper into their minds something like, “Hey look at that rich and privileged character, Job. Why should he have all that, and you have nothing. Why don’t we just go and help ourselves to some of his stuff, we’re much stronger than him, he won’t be able to do anything about it,” and so they do!
Another similar example is found in respect of Ahab’s false prophets of Baal. The prophet Micaiah reveals that God has allowed a deceiving spirit (1 Kings 22:19-22) to lead the prophets to bring a false prophetic assessment about the battle that Ahab and Jehoshaphat are facing against the Arameans. These prophets were already deceived and so it only took a little nudging from this spirit (fallen angel?) to lead them to give Ahab reassurance. The proof of the story is revealed when Micaiah gives a true prophecy of disaster for Ahab (v.23) and Ahab, still wanting to go against the Arameans, tries to second guess God’s judgment by going into battle in disguise. Nevertheless, he is hit by a stray arrow and dies from the wound. In both cases we see the Lord using Satan or his minions (other fallen angels) to lead further astray those who have already gone astray, for His purposes. It is little wonder that the apostle John speaks of, “the whole world” that, “is under the control of the evil one.” (1 Jn 5:19). It is so only so far as God permits it and as far as fallen, rebellious, sinful people allow it and go along with it. Us? Read Jas 4:7. Hallelujah!