Once in a while we get a peek above the clouds. And, when we do, we don’t find an old man pulling levers. Instead our wonder is enlarged and our sense of understanding is challenged. Job 1:6 and 2:1 are two different moments like this.
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves
before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.”
What is this gathering? Who is there? Why do they meet? Many have called it the Divine Council. Wikipedia says “A Divine Council is an assembly of deities over which a higher-level god presides.” It draws this definition from a multitude of religious backgrounds of which the Hebrew has the most references.
It turns out that our Bible mentions this sort of thing a number of times. Psalm 82:1, 6; 1 Kings 22:19-23; Ex 15:11; Isaiah 6; Rev 4… Dr. Michael Heiser offers some helpful explanation (click here) as well as Dr. Tim Mackie of The Bible Project. (Podcasts on “Theme: God”)
There seems to be a world of the unseen that is connected to what we do see. There is more to the story! Isn’t this hinted at in Eph 6:12? “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
If our experiences on earth are linked to real things in heavenly places then things like spiritual warfare seem more tangible and prayer seems more important. If my challenges in life are linked to supernatural things then asking for help from the supernatural King of kings is my best option.
When God questioned the accuser in Job 1 & 2 about where he had come from, the answer was “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” What is that? Interesting that this same sort of language is used of God in 2 Chr 16:9, Jer 16:17, Zech 4:10, Heb 4:13. Are the heavenly hosts watching us?
I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about this topic. But I do think that the book of Job is calling us to pay attention to this reality.
The challenge in the opening pages of Job concerns Job’s motivation to follow God. The accuser says that Job follows only because God has protected him and blessed him. He proposes that if God took away all his stuff, that Job would curse him (1:11; 2:5).
The LORD stands behind Job, continually describing him as “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” (1:8, 2:3) God seems to imply that Job does not follow merely because of the good results. He implies a purity… a heart for what is right and actions that match.
It makes me think. Why do any of us follow? Like the soils Jesus spoke of, it seems that some may start out following for the stuff and then dry up or get choked out. But the ones that continue, do so for a deeper reason. They have been gripped by the love of God. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 Jn 4:19) But sometimes our problem is that we have forgotten our first love (Rev 2:4). We start out properly motivated but after a while, we turn our gaze to something else… career, popularity, a pretty face… the list goes on.
Why did Job follow? Why do we? Reminding ourselves of the reason can be powerful! The opening pages of Job call us back to our first love. They remind us that there is a battle far bigger than our immediate view. Our devotion to Jesus may have a much greater impact than we ever imagined. Could it be that there is an enormous drama being played out and our lives are simply a single line of the larger story? Could our lives be lived before an audience larger than we could imagine?
A shepherd and his journey