Daily Words of God: Knowing God | Excerpt 139
Dialogue Between Satan and Jehovah God
Job 1:6–11 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, and Satan came also among them. And Jehovah said to Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have not You made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.
Job 2:1–5 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, and Satan came also among them to present himself before Jehovah. And Jehovah said to Satan, From where come you? And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? and still he holds fast his integrity, although you moved Me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life. But put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face.
These two passages consist entirely of a dialogue between God and Satan; they record what God said and what Satan said. God did not speak much, and He spoke very simply. Can we see the holiness of God within His simple words? Some will say this is not easily done. So can we see the hideousness of Satan in its replies? Let us first look at what kind of question Jehovah God asked of Satan. “From where come you?” Isn’t this a straightforward question? Is there any hidden meaning? No; it is just a straightforward question. If I were to ask you: “Where do you come from?” how then would you answer? Is it a difficult question to answer? Would you say: “From going to and fro, and from walking up and down”? (No.) You would not answer like this. So, how then do you feel when you see Satan answering in this way? (We feel that Satan is being absurd, but also deceitful.) Can you tell what I am feeling? Every time I see these words of Satan, I feel disgusted, because Satan talks, and yet its words contain no substance. Did Satan answer God’s question? No, the words Satan spoke were not an answer, they did not yield anything. They were not an answer to God’s question. “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” What is your understanding of these words? Just where does Satan come from? Have you received an answer to this question? (No.) This is the “genius” of Satan’s cunning schemes—not letting anyone discover what it is actually saying. Having heard these words you still cannot discern what it has said, even though it has finished answering. Yet Satan believes it has answered perfectly. How then do you feel? Disgusted? (Yes.) Now you begin to feel disgust in response to these words. Satan’s words have a certain characteristic: What Satan says leaves you scratching your head, unable to perceive the source of its words. Sometimes Satan has motives and speaks deliberately, and sometimes governed by its nature, such words emerge spontaneously, and come straight out of Satan’s mouth. Satan does not spend a long time weighing such words; rather, they are expressed without thinking. When God asked where it came from, Satan answered with a few ambiguous words. You feel very puzzled, never knowing exactly where Satan is from. Are there any among you who speak like this? What kind of way is this to speak? (It is ambiguous and does not give a certain answer.) What kind of words should we use to describe this way of speaking? It is diversionary and misleading, is it not? Suppose someone does not want to let others know what they did yesterday. You ask them: “I saw you yesterday. Where were you going?” They do not tell you directly where they went. Rather, they say: “What a day it was yesterday. It was so tiring!” Did they answer your question? They did, but they did not give the answer you wanted. This is the “genius” within the artifice of man’s speech. You can never discover what they mean, nor perceive the source or intention of their words. You do not know what they are trying to avoid because in their heart they have their own story—this is insidious. Are there any among you who also often speak in this way? (Yes.) What then is your purpose? Is it sometimes to protect your own interests, sometimes to maintain your own pride, position, and image, to protect the secrets of your private life? Whatever the purpose, it is inseparable from your interests, linked to your interests. Is this not the nature of man? All who have such a nature are closely related to Satan, if not its family. We can put it like this, can we not? Generally speaking, this manifestation is detestable and abhorrent. You also now feel disgusted, do you not? (Yes.)
Looking again at the first passage, Satan responds again to Jehovah’s question, saying: “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan is opening an attack on Jehovah’s assessment of Job, and this attack is colored by hostility. “Have not You made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side?” This is Satan’s understanding and assessment of Jehovah’s work on Job. Satan assesses it like this, saying: “You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.” Satan always speaks ambiguously, but here it speaks in certain terms. However, these words, though they are spoken in certain terms, are an attack, a blasphemy and an act of defiance to Jehovah God, to God Himself. How do you feel when you hear these words? Do you feel aversion? Are you able to see through to Satan’s intentions? First of all, Satan repudiates Jehovah’s assessment of Job—a man who fears God and shuns evil. Then Satan repudiates everything Job says and does, that is, it repudiates his fear of Jehovah. Is this not accusatory? Satan is accusing, repudiating and doubting all Jehovah does and says. It does not believe, saying, “If You say things are like this, then how is it that I have not seen it? You have given him so many blessings, so how can he not fear You?” Is this not a repudiation of all that God does? Accusation, repudiation, blasphemy—are Satan’s words not an assault? Are they not a true expression of what Satan thinks in its heart? These words are certainly not the same as the words we read just now: “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” They are completely different. Through these words, Satan completely lays bare the contents of its heart—its attitude toward God and its loathing of Job’s fear of God. When this happens, its malice and evil nature are completely exposed. It loathes those who fear God, loathes those who shun evil, and even more so loathes Jehovah for bestowing blessings on man. It wants to use this opportunity to destroy Job, whom God raised with His own hand, to ruin him, saying: “You say Job fears You and shuns evil. I see it differently.” It uses various ways to provoke and tempt Jehovah, and uses various ploys so that Jehovah God hands Job over to Satan to be wantonly manipulated, harmed and mishandled. It wants to take advantage of this opportunity to destroy this man who is righteous and perfect in God’s eyes. Is it just a momentary impulse that causes Satan to have this kind of heart? No, it is not. It has been long in the making. God does His work, God cares for a person, looks upon this person, and all the while Satan dogs His every step. Whomever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ploys to tempt, disrupt and wreck the work God does, all in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is this objective? It does not want God to gain anyone; all those that God wants it wants for itself, it wants to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they join it in committing evil acts. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive? You often say that Satan is so evil, so bad, but have you seen it? You can only see how bad man is. You have not seen in reality how bad Satan actually is. But have you seen Satan’s evil in this issue concerning Job? (Yes.) This issue has made Satan’s hideous countenance and essence very clear. In warring with God, and trailing along behind Him, Satan’s objective is to demolish all the work God wants to do, to occupy and control those whom God wants to gain, to completely extinguish those whom God wants to gain. If they are not extinguished, then they come to Satan’s possession, to be used by it—this is its objective. And what does God do? God says only a simple sentence in this passage; there is no record of anything more that God does, but we see there are many more records of what Satan does and says. In the following passage of scripture, Jehovah asks Satan, “From where come you?” What is Satan’s answer? (It is still “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”) It is still that same sentence. This has become Satan’s motto, Satan’s calling card. How is this so? Is Satan not hateful? Surely it is enough to utter this disgusting sentence just once. Why does Satan keep repeating it? This proves one thing: Satan’s nature is unchanging. Satan cannot use pretense to conceal its ugly face. God asks it a question and this is how it responds. Since this is so, imagine then how it must treat humans! Satan is not afraid of God, does not fear God, and does not obey God. So it dares to be wantonly presumptuous before God, to use these same words to brush off God’s question, to repeatedly use this same answer to God’s question, to attempt to use this answer to confound God—this is the ugly face of Satan. It does not believe in the almightiness of God, does not believe in the authority of God, and is certainly not willing to submit to the dominion of God. It is constantly in opposition to God, constantly attacking all that God does, attempting to wreck all that God does—this is its evil objective.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique IV