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Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job." -- Job 1:8
How very uncertain are all terrestrial things! How foolish would that believer be who should lay up his treasure anywhere except in heaven! Job's prosperity promised as much stability as anything can beneath the moon. Doubtless, the man had round about him a large household of devoted and attached servants. He had accumulated wealth of a kind which does not suddenly depreciate in value. He had oxen, asses, and cattle. He did not have go to markets or fairs and trade with his goods to procure food and clothing. He carried on the processes of agriculture on a very large scale around his own homestead, and probably grew within his own territory everything that his establishment required. His children were numerous enough to promise a long line of descendants. His prosperity wanted nothing for its consolidation. It had come to its flood-tide: where was the cause which could make it ebb? Up there, beyond the clouds, where no human eye could see, there was a scene enacted which heralded no good for Job's prosperity. The spirit of evil stood face to face with the infinite Spirit of all good. An extraordinary conversation took place between these two beings. When called to account for his doings, the evil one boasted that he had gone "to and fro on the earth, and ... [walked] back and forth on it" (Job 1:7), insinuating that he had met with no hindrance to his will, and found no one to oppose his freely moving and acting at his own pleasure. He had marched everywhere like a king in his own dominions, unhindered and unchallenged. The great God reminded him that there was at least one place among men where he had no foothold and where his power was unrecognized, namely, in the heart of Job. There was one man who stood like an impregnable castle, garrisoned by integrity, and held with perfect loyalty as the possession of the King of Heaven. The evil one defied Jehovah to try the faithfulness of Job by telling Him that the patriarch's integrity was due to his prosperity, and that he served God and shunned evil from sinister motives because he found his conduct profitable to himself. The God of heaven took up the challenge of the evil one, and gave him permission to take away all the mercies which he affirmed to be the props of Job's integrity. God allowed him to pull down all the outworkings and buttresses and see whether the tower would not stand in its own inherent strength without them. In consequence of this, all Job's wealth went in one black day and not even a child was left to whisper comfort. A second interview between the Lord and his fallen angel took place. Job was again the subject of conversation. The Great One, again defied by Satan, permitted him even to touch Job in his bone and in his flesh, till the prince became worse than a pauper. He who was rich and happy was poor and wretched, filled with disease from head to foot, and reduced to scraping himself with a miserable potsherd to gain a poor relief from his pain. Let us see in this the mutability of all earthly things. "He has founded it upon the seas" (Psalm 24:2) is David's description of this world. If it is founded on the seas, can you wonder that it changes often? Put not your trust in anything beneath the stars. Remember that "change" is written on the forefront of nature. Do not say therefore, "My mountain stands firm: it shall never be moved." The glance of Jehovah's eye can shake your mountain into dust, the touch of His foot can make it melt like wax and be altogether up in smoke. "Set your affection on things above ... where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:2, 1). Let your heart and your treasure be "where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:20). The words of Bernard may help instruct us: "That is the true and chief joy which is not conceived from the creature, but received from the Creator, which (being once possessed thereof) none can take from thee: compared with which all other pleasure is torment, all joy is grief, sweet things are bitter, all glory is baseness, and all delectable things are despicable." This is not, however, our subject this morning. Accept thus much as merely an introduction to our main discourse. The Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job?" Let us deliberate, first, in what sense the evil spirit may be said to consider the people of God. Secondly, let us notice what it is that he considers about them. Thirdly, let us comfort ourselves by the reflection that one who is far above Satan considers us in a higher sense.
First, then, in what sense may Satan be said to consider the people of God? Certainly not in the usual Biblical meaning of the term "consider." "O Lord, consider my trouble"(Psalm 9:13). "Consider my meditation" (Psalm 5:1). "Blessed is he who considers the poor" (Psalm 41:1).