No, that is not a misprint. It is supposed to be Uz, not Oz.
Uz is the ancient land where Job lived. Yes, that Job. The one who lost everything.
It is in the land of Uz that God pulls back the curtain for us to see how things really work on earth. He shows us the backdrop against which the acts of our life are played out.
I’m of the opinion that the revelations made in the book of Job are not of a one-time incident. I believe God gives us the information in this book so that we can understand how it is for every person.
Three main characters are in this drama: God, Satan, and Job. There is certainly a supporting cast of characters, though all of them are definitely not supportive in the sense of trying to lift Job up.
There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from all of the forty-two chapters in the book. But I’m going to limit my observations to what can be learned in the first two chapters about Satan, God, and Man. I’ll present my ideas as collections of things we learn about each one of them. It would be helpful to you if you took the time to read those chapters.
What About Satan? (part one)
First of all, Satan is accountable to God. In verse seven of chapter one God asks him to give an accounting of himself. I don’t think this was because God didn’t know what Satan had been up to. If we believe God is all-knowing, then that would include knowing about Satan, too.
I think God asks Satan what he’s been up to reinforce to Satan that he had to answer to God.
Remember, Satan’s Achilles heel, the thing that led to his downfall, was pride. With all the power that God gave Satan, it would be easy for him to feel he could do anything he wanted.
I’m glad Satan has to answer to God. I need to remember that. It’s easy to look at all the destruction and chaos in this world and believe that Satan is winning the war; that his influence is more powerful than any good that exists.
And when the destruction and chaos touch us personally, we feel like asking, “Who’s in control?”
It’s encouraging to me to know that periodically God grabs Satan and says, “Hey you. I’m in charge here. Not you. Let’s talk about what you’ve been up to.”
After God demands of Satan to give an accounting of himself in Job 1:7, Satan responds, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
In his answer to God, we learn our second thing about Satan. Satan is constantly prowling across the earth. He is indefatigable.
My spirit weakens at times. It is part of my humanness. Whether it is struggling to pay bills, worrying about children and grandchildren, body aches and pains, or seeing those I care about in pain, my resolve is sometimes shaken.
Satan knows this about me. That is why he is tireless, hoping I will give in to him. Nothing gives him more excitement that to see a weakened spirit or a head bowed in defeat. He knows he has a foothold.
Having won a battle he digs in for the kill shot. He wants nothing better than to devour my soul. That is his sole occupation – the ruin of men’s souls.
Satan is consumed with chasing down the wounded. The Apostle Peter gives us this apt description, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8.)
Contrary to popular myth, lions do not chase down the biggest and strongest to prove domination. They pick out the weakest of the heard and drag them down to be destroyed. They have a sixth sense about which ones will be the easiest targets.
He is constantly lying in wait, looking for an opening.
We should not underestimate our opponent.
A third thing we learn about Satan in these two chapters is that he is allowed in the presence of God. I don’t know how to explain this or how to rationalize it with the idea that there is nothing evil in heaven and that God cannot tolerate the presence of evil. It raises lots of unanswerable questions like, is there another place, outside of the boundary of heaven, that God meets Satan? I just know that Satan is in God’s presence when he is summoned.
A fourth thing we learn about Satan that is quite stunning is that Satan talks to God about us. There was quite a long dialogue between God and Satan about Job. Once you read that conversation it becomes clear that Satan knows me by name. He knows details about my life. He knows what is important to me. That’s a scary thought.
A fifth thing we learn is Satan asks God’s permission to have us in his grasp. He is so eager to get his talons in us he will ask permission from the very one who cast him out of heaven. Jesus points out this very thing we he tells Peter, just before the betrayal, “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31.) Satan wanted Peter! Satan wants you and me!
A sixth thing we learn about Satan that reveals a lot about his brazen personality is that He teases, tests, and tempts God. Listen to what he says, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:9-11.) It’s as if Satan is playing “I Dare You” with God.
(I’ll have more observations about Satan in my next article on “The Land of Uz.”)