Let me say at the outset that I believe Scripture teaches us that Satan doesn’t always have to ask God for permission to do something, yet God is SOVEREIGN (in complete control over His creatures and creation) and He won’t allow Satan to do something that would hinder His sovereign purposes.

Let’s read Job 1:6-7, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it’” (NKJV). Here we have a clear example of Satan acting on his own without asking God’s permission. We don’t know the details of what Satan did but we know that he was able to “roam the earth” without seeking God’s permission. But we also learn here that God “summoned him to heaven to give an account of his actions” so this tells us that Satan 1) had to obey God’s summons, and 2) had to give an account of what he was doing. This shows us that even though Satan is the arch-enemy of God (and mankind) he is indeed “limited in what he can do.” Before we go on, it should be said that God is all-knowing (see 1st John 3:20) so He already knew exactly what Satan had done.

Now let’s read Job 1:8-12, “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?’ So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘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!’ And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person,’ So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” Here we have a clear example of Satan having to ask God’s permission to do something. God granted him permission but He gave him a limit. Again, God is sovereign and was in complete control of what Satan was about to do.

If you read the whole book of Job, you will see that God did have a very definite purpose in allowing Satan to attack and afflict Job. In short, God used Satan to TEST JOB. At first Job remained faithful and trusted in the Lord. But in time Job’s faith faltered and in pride he became self-righteous and blamed God for afflicting him for no reason. Job “passed the TEST initially” but “failed the TEST eventually.” God also used Satan to GLORIFY HIMSELF. As I just noted, at first Job’s faith was strong and after losing his possessions, servants and family he was able to say, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). How many of us would be able to respond to such loss? I doubt that most of us what have such faith to give God the glory in a trial so devastating. And after losing his health he was able to turn to his wife (who had encouraged him to “curse God and die”) and say, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity” (2:10). God was surely glorified by Job’s responses to these heavy afflictions and thus we read, “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (1:22) and “In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (2:10c). I should add that Job’s faith was no doubt strengthened through this trial, so God also used Satan for MAN’S BLESSING. If my reader is a true believer in Christ, we too will be afflicted by Satan at times to TEST OUR FAITH, but by God’s grace we can “win the battle” (see Ephesians 6:10-11) and “pass the test,” and if we do, it will surely BRING GLORY TO GOD and WE WILL BE BLESSED. So, even in this, Satan serves a purpose according to God’s Master plan! He can do nothing to thwart God’s purposes!  (DO)  (534.3)