“You must spare his life.

In the epic battle between God and Satan for your soul, you should remember that it is a rigged fight.  There is nothing fair about it.  Satan is fighting with one arm tied behind his back.

When Satan received permission from God to tempt Job to turn away from God, he must have rubbed his hands in hellish glee and excitement.  Ever since his fall from the angels in heaven Satan has looked for opportunities to get back at God, trying to prove him fallible, eager to show that God’s plan is flawed.

Satan’s vehicle for trying to accomplish this has always been mankind.  Mankind stands as the pinnacle of God’s miraculous power of creation, barely below the angels of heaven.

But as remarkable a creation as mankind is, mankind is flawed.  The power of choice, being “free moral agents” it is called, is what sets us apart from all the rest of creation but also provides a toehold for Satan.  In that place called “choice” we are able to reach toward God or turn our back from Him.

It’s in that crevasse of “choice,” that point of hesitation as we decide how we will perceive life, that Satan slips in and slings the sharp scythe called “Loss.”  Like he is walking through a field of ripened wheat, Satan’s arm arches high over his head.  The edge of the scythe glints in the sun.  Suddenly Satan’s arm sweeps toward the ground with the ferocity of a tornado.  The follow through of the sharp blade sends it skyward in the other direction.  In its wake, the brittle stalks of mankind topple to the ground severed from their roots by:

  • Death of a child, a sibling, a parent, a spouse, a dear friend
  • Divorce from the spouse they’d hoped to build a life with
  • A devastating disease
  • Business gone bankrupt
  • Career that never took off
  • Loss of a job and little opportunity of finding another
  • Worldly possessions lost in a fire or a storm

For thousands of years Satan has believed that if our lives are filled with enough loss, we will become lost.  That is the mission that continues to consume his every move.

Loss produces feelings of

  • Despair
  • Doubt
  • Disbelief
  • depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Hopelessness
  • Uncertainty

So when he asked for permission to attack Job and God said yes, Satan was certain he would win.  However, Satan must have gnashed his teeth when God put a qualifier on him.

God tells him, “Everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (emphasis mine).  God also tells him, “He (Job) is in your hands, but you must spare his life.”

Why the restraints?  Why put a leash on Satan?  Because God does not want us destroyed.  He knows us better than we do ourselves and “he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” (I Corinthians 10:13).

Why God allows Satan to attack us is the subject for a separate article.  For this one, I think it’s important for us to remember that all of the chaos Satan creates in our world is nothing compared to how much he could cause if not for him being on a leash.

It’s the choke collar on Satan that saves us.

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