God's activity in our tragedy
As I was reading Job 2 aloud last Sunday in the sermon God's words struck me. I was prepared to preach that God not only permits and allows tragedy and evil but ordains it, wills it, designs it into his plan. He plans it. Here are the words that shone from the text to me as I read:
Job 2:3–7 (HCSB) — 3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil. He still retains his integrity, even though you incited Me against him, to destroy him without just cause.” 4 “Skin for skin!” Satan answered the Lord. “A man will give up everything he owns in exchange for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” 6 “Very well,” the Lord told Satan, “he is in your power; only spare his life.” 7 So Satan left the Lord’s presence and infected Job with terrible boils from the sole of his foot to the top of his head.
Notice the text says that Satan infected Job (2.7). Satan also caused the death of Job's children and servants and the loss of his wealth in chapter 1. And yet, in recapping chapter 1, God says in 2.3 that Satan incited God against Job to destroy Job without just cause. God was against Job. It almost sounds like Satan got God to bite on his bait. Satan then tells God to stretch out his hand and strike his flesh and bones. Satan is telling God to do it. Then Satan goes out with God's permission and does it. Then Job says this adversity is from the Lord (2.10).
You can't read Job 1-2 and not see that God is more than permitting and allowing Satan and evil to happen, he's controlling and designing it for his good purposes. God cannot sin or tempt anyone to sin (James 1.13). But evil is not a distortion to God's plan and overall intention to glorify his name in the satisfaction of his people in his infinite goodness. Job is relishing in this goodness absent suffering today. So will all the saints in Christ Jesus who suffer. That's God's design, intention, and plan.