The book of Job in the Bible is one of the most outstanding works in all literature. But what if Job lived in the United States today? And what if Satan’s greatest strategy for attacking our faith were to make us rich, rather than poor? To give wealth, not take away. Before you wish you had more money, consider this remix of Job.
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There was born to him no children, but he adopted two sons and one daughter. He had a flip phone and had never Tweeted. He possessed a small apartment and a Geo Tracker and he used food stamps, so that this man was among the poorest of all his people of the West.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 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?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not made his life hard for him and his whole house? You have cursed the work of his hands, and he has barely been able to eke out an existence, so that he lives in desperation, depending on you for even his daily bread. You shout to him through his pain. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, multiplying the work of his hands, getting him to forget that he is an undeserving sinner, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only don’t stretch out your hand to increase his health or abilities.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were starving together, praying for help in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The old John Deere tractor was plowing and people from Caterpillar suddenly showed up with new combines and plows and millions of dollars of other farm equipment. They started giving gifts to anyone they laid eyes on, including all your children, and I alone have escaped without a gift to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were fasting and praying in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, the people from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition showed up and began to build them a mansion. They were just finishing up the home theater, when I alone managed to escape the blessing to tell you.
Then Job arose and tore his t-shirt and shaved his beard and fell on the ground and worshipped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return. The LORD took away, and the LORD has given; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
In all this Job did not sin or forget about God.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 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 bless him without reason.” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Grace for grace! All that makes a man miserable he will take for his faith! But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh with kindness, and he will practically forget you altogether. Give him education, entertainment, equality, and fast food, and he will forget your grace. Show him how good and naturally talented he is, and he will not depend on you anymore, but take the credit for himself.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only don’t make him a billionaire.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with health, wealth, and prosperity, from the sole of his foot to the crown on his head (and he did indeed give Job a dazzling crown). And he took a bottle of oil and shampoo with which to groom himself while he sat in his jacuzzi.
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity and belief in God? Forget the Almighty! It’s obvious you don’t need him anymore! Lose God and live it up!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive evil from God, and shall we not receive good?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Job’s three friends show up, take one look at him in all his blessedness, and say he must have done something right to deserve all this grace. One says it was Job’s talent that provoked the grace; another says it was his godliness; and another says it was his poverty that untethered the Almighty’s mercy. All conclude that he has a ton of talent and that God wants to use him to change the world.
But Job argues with them; he can’t believe that God would actually bless him because he is such a sinner.
So Job challenges God’s graciousness, demanding God to justify himself for giving all this stuff to him. After all, Job knows he is a poor, miserable sinner who does not deserve grace or any good thing from God.
Then God shows up and basically says, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” God first displays his unmerited graciousness to Job in all his creation, before taking Job to the cross of Jesus Christ, where the full fury and majesty of his love for poor, miserable sinners was poured out. Job is left speechless.
Job finally answers the LORD, the LORD rebukes the friends, and the LORD restores Job’s former miseries.