Testing the tenacity of faith
And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
During the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th and 20th centuries, apartment construction to house workers stacked one unit upon another, with little thought to noise insulation or reduction. It was normal, therefore, from below to hear one’s upstairs neighbor taking off his work boots in the evening. The first removed, it fell to the floor. Someone underneath could clearly hear the first shoe land. Shortly thereafter, the second shoe would fall. Thus our colloquial saying, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
How bewildering to hear Satan upping-the-ante, demanding yet another shot at God’s beloved servant. Surely (Satan insists) the infliction of a debilitating disease will dismantle Job’s allegiance to God. The enemy’s objective is for Job to rise up in the face of God with embittered anger.
From Christopher Ash’s Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (p.45):
Satan has a ministry; it is the ministry of opposition, the ministry of insisting that the genuineness of the believer be tested and proved genuine. It is a hostile and malicious ministry, but a necessary ministry for the glory of God.
Robbed of health through Satan’s injurious hands, Job now sits in hour-by-hour agony, stripped of physical capacity. The other shoe dropped, we wait to hear whether or not Satan has correctly assessed the limits of Job’s trust. Will God be glorified through a dazed, broken servant?