Consider what the Bible has to say about Job. Job 1:1-3 reveals he was blameless, upright—he shunned evil and feared God. A successful businessman, he had ten children and owned a great deal of livestock. He was so wealthy, he “was the greatest of all the people of the East.”
But even while living a blameless life, Job lost it all, because God allowed him to be burdened with perhaps the greatest trial ever given to any man, other than Jesus Christ. If ever a person could protest the unfairness of life, it was Job. However, confronted with enormous, almost unspeakable torment, without any understanding as to why it was happening or how long it would last, he refused to cry foul (Job 2:10).
Have we ever had one of those days, where everything that can go wrong does? The alarm clock dies in the middle of the night (so you oversleep); the door knob comes off the bathroom door trapping you inside; the toaster burns your breakfast; you cannot find your keys, but when you do, the car will not start, making you late for work, and the boss threatens to fire you; the air conditioner quits; the toilet backs up; and while arguing with your spouse, you crunch down on a cracker and break a tooth!
As bad as that may seem, such trials are actually quite frivolous in light of what Job was experiencing. After Satan challenges God concerning him (Job 1:11), the story continues with four reports of increasingly tragic news. First, a band of rebels had stolen Job's oxen and donkeys and killed many of his servants. Before Job could finish digesting the bad news, another man rushes in, exclaiming that “fire of God” had burned up Job's sheep, killing even more servants. Directly on the heels of that messenger, a third man rushes in to report that the Chaldeans had conducted a violent raid, stolen all the camels, and killed even more servants (Job 1:13-17).
Job must have wondered what was going on!
But as awful as the news was, the worst was yet to come. While Job was still reeling from the tragedies he had heard so far, a fourth messenger declares abruptly that all his children had been killed.
We can only wonder at the emotions Job felt as he listened to this most distressing message. For those who have lost a child, there is an immediate state of unbelief, a heartfelt denial that such a thing could be true, while deep down realizing that it is. Then, a dark, unfathomable well arises, filled with emptiness, anguish, anger, and many other intermingling emotions that would cause even the strongest to exclaim in indescribable grief, “This is not fair!”
How many of us could lose everything as Job did—all that we are proud of—and avoid accusing God of being unfair? At times, our torment can give way to discontent or displeasure with God or the human governments He empowers. It can overwhelm and dominate our minds and thoughts. To a lesser extreme, even a cursory viewing of the nightly news can spawn thoughts of grievance and outrage against God.
In such moments of weakness or vulnerability, Satan loves to catch us off guard. If we leave God's sovereign will out of the picture—even momentarily—we leave ourselves open to our adversary's ability to fill our minds with thoughts of inequity that seem so easy to justify.
But as we should learn for our own benefit, God will occasionally remove a portion of our protective hedge, just as He did with Job, allowing Satan to get at us to do the things he thinks will hurt us the most. God does this to humble us. All Satan's malignant hatred for God and man is displayed in what he did to Job—and what he may do to us as the end approaches, especially in view of the fact that he is targeting God's called-out ones (Ephesians 6:12-13; I Peter 5:8).
Geoff Preston (1947-2013)
It's Not Fair!
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Job 1:18: