Before we consider that verse, let’s read verse 3, “Then 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, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause” (NKJV). If you read 1:8 you will see that the Lord had said the very same thing to Satan about Job being “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil.” Satan’s response at that time was: “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face” (verses 9-11). The Lord replied by saying, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So, Satan was allowed by God to inflict Job by taking everything from him, including all his children and all of his possessions. What a trial this was for Job and yet he “passed the test,” for he did NOT curse God to His face! Because of this God could say to Satan (as we saw in 2:3), “And still he holds on to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”

Now we are ready to read verses 4-5: “So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” Satan was not convinced of Job’s integrity so once again he asks for God’s permission to inflict Job, but this time he desires to “touch his bone and his flesh”; in other words, he wants to “touch Job’s body with afflictions.” The words “skin for skin” was an ancient proverb that taught that a man would be willing to “sacrifice someone else’s skin to save his own skin.” Thus Satan implies that Job proved the truth of that proverb (by sacrificing his children’s lives without cursing God), yet if “his own skin was touched” he would surely curse God to His face. Perhaps my reader knows what happened next. God met the challenge with these words in verse 6, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” Satan was allowed to afflict Job’s body short of taking his life. As we read on we learn that Satan “struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (verse 7). To add “insult to injury” Job’s wife came to him and tempted him with these words, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” What a trial this must have been for poor Job. I believe his wife’s suggestion that he do the very thing that Satan desired was more painful that his rotting flesh. Yet we marvel at Job’s reply to her in verse 10, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

How is it with us, dear fellow-believer? I am sure there are times when God allows Satan, in His sovereignty, to afflict us. And sometimes it may be a physical affliction, as in the case of the Apostle Paul when he was given “a thorn in the flesh….a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself” (see 2nd Corinthians 12:7). Do we react like Job (and Paul) by “accepting adversity from God” without complaint? This is a challenge to my own heart and I’m sure to all of my readers. The key to Job not succumbing to Satan’s desire and cursing God was seen in four short words in 1:8 and 2:3, for the Lord said of Job that he was “one who fears God.” He was always aware of God’s presence with him and he always stood in awe of Him with a reverential fear that led to trusting Him with all of his heart. (301.5) (DO)