Didn't God gamble with the Devil over the "Godliness & faith" of Job. God sits back and allows Satan to utterly destroy everything that Job has, his home, his wealth, his family, his heath, everything. Just to prove a point.
Our understanding of this comes down to two conversations between Satan and the Lord:
"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied.... "But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." - Job 1:9, 11-12
God praised Job in verse 8 as "blameless and upright," indicating no one on Earth was like him. But the exchange strikes us more as an "I dare you" challenge than what we would consider a gamble. The lives of Job and his family were the "chips" in the middle -- and Satan indeed played aggressively, not once but twice:
"Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." - Job 2:4-6
The devil caused a lot of collateral damage, with ten children and an unknown number of servants killed.
But note God put limits on this "game" - first ordering the protection of Job's body, then his life. And did Job really do what Satan predicted? If the devil expected Job to curse God and switch sides, we've found no verse indicating he did. Instead....
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. - Job 42:5-6
The rest of Job 42 shows God blessed Job even more at the end, than at the beginning. And Satan can't really claim the dead children and servants as its own, because....
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out -- those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. - John 5:28-29
For many Christians, this time of year is a reminder of God's power to resurrect the dead. It started with people healed by Jesus, then in a more glorious way with Jesus Himself -- and eventually will include the rest of mankind.
We're welcome to your thoughts on the story of Job. What lessons has that book taught you? Leave a comment, and we may go deeper in a future post.