One could hardly imagine if Satan could ever be honest. As the father of deception and one who will hold this title until his final destruction (John 8:44, Rev 20:7-10), to be consciously honest even for once would seem impossible.
Notwithstanding, Satan has among his sophistries the art of capitalizing on the truth. In Luke 4:34, 35 (see verse 41 and Mark 1:24) we seen Satan been forced to confess Jesus’ true identity (see Testimonies Volume 8, pg. 208) and Jesus telling him to be quiet.
We may wonder why Jesus rebuked him for being honest about his true identity, except that we know Jesus recognized Satan’s actual motive. A similar incident occurred during the ministry of Paul and Silas in Philippi, where a woman met them and cried out, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.”(Acts 16:17). For some time, the inspired record tells us, Paul had been grieved by this woman’s negative influence, which is why he eventually commanded the demon to depart from this woman (verse 18). According to Ellen White; Satan through this woman hoped to “mingle his sophistry with the truths taught by those (Paul and Silas) who were proclaiming the Word of God. (Reflecting Christ 218).
The fact is that Satan intended not to be simply honest about either Jesus’ or Paul and Silas true identity. Rather, he meant to focus on but a part of the truth as a means of thwarting God’s plans.
A similar incident is found in the book of Job.
Among the many lessons found in the story of Job is the lesson of how Satan gets caught in his craftiness (Job 5:13). In Job 1:6-12, a meeting opens between God and the representatives of the created universe, in which Satan participated because after Adam’s fall he had become the representative of this earth—a position Christ would retake on Adam’s behalf following the victory of the cross (PP 67; DA 761). In Job 1,6-8, we hear God acknowledging the presence of Satan, asking of his mission at the meeting, and in extension, attesting to the righteousness of Job.
Satan replied; “Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 1:9-11). Thus what the omniscient saw to be extraordinary, unconditional, and very commending, Satan saw to be normal, conditional, and denigrating.
Satan caught in his craftiness
In the incidents recorded in Luke 4:34, 35 and Acts 16:17, 18, as noted earlier, Satan chose to capitalize on the truth about Jesus, as well as the mission of Paul and Silas. But in Job 1:9-11, it is quite evident that Satan, in his zeal to refute God’s true testimony about Job, unconsciously alluded to least three (3) truths presented in the Bible.
1. The truth of God’s protection for the righteous
Concerning Job, Satan said to God; “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?” Here he acknowledges the fact that God’s protection is always sufficient for His people, and that this restricts Satan in carrying out his wiles concerning them.
The Bible in so many instances reveals God’s unswerving protection of His people (Psalm 91, 1Sam 2:9, 2 Sam 22:3-4, 2 Thess. 3:3, Isa. 43:1,2, etc.). In the destruction of Pharaoh’s host (Ex. 14:24-28), in the deliverance of the three Hebrews from the fiery furnace and Daniel from the den of lions (Dan. 3:23-26 & 6:20-23), in King Saul’s pursuit of David (1Sam. 19-30), etc, we are given vivid examples of this reality. Genesis 39:5 offers an example of how God’s protection extends beyond the people themselves to their belongings and associates (Acts 16:26; 27:24). In Genesis 39:5, “The LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake”. For the sake of Paul and Silas, all the prisoners were loosed (Acts 16:26) and for Paul’s sake the lives of all that sailed with him were saved (Acts 27:24). These two facts about God’s protection of His people have been outlined in the argument of Satan against God.
2. The truth of God’s blessings for His peoples
When Satan said to God concerning Job, “Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land” (Job 1:10), he acknowledged the fact that man is indebted to God for all his bounties. Elsewhere the Bible teaches: “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18), “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich” (Proverbs 10:22). “”The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up” (1Sam 2:7). These are but a few of the numerous Biblical affirmations of God as the only Source of true blessings. God’s blessings to Joseph in Potiphar’s house (Gen 39:2, 3), and His blessings to Obed-edom and his household as a result of keeping the ark of the covenant for a time (2 Sam 6:11), offer examples that validate this fact.
3. The truth of the immutability of God’s will
Returning to the story of Job (Job 1:9-11), we could sense Satan lamenting about the fact that God’s purpose to protect and bless Job has prevented Satan from carrying out his plans concerning Job. No wonder God needed to give Satan permission before he could touch Job, as he knew he couldn’t come near any of God’s saints without God’s permission (vr 11-12). (See also Isa 46:10, 14:24, 27)
Conclusion: No Other Evidence
In the words of the hymn, “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place” (Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, no. 523): “I need no other evidence”. Indeed! We need no other evidence. If there ever existed assurances in the Bible upon which Christians can rest their confidence in God in all matters of life; these three facts—made evident by Satan himself in his acknowledgement of the restrictions God places upon him—would be sufficient.
Unfortunately, most Christians—despite these assurances—still hold doubts, and claim God’s promises but rarely. Satan’s greatest fear was that he could not exploit Job because Job was experiencing God’s immutable blessings and protection! How many there are who covet God’s endless blessings and absolute protection would save themselves from needless anxiety if they only acknowledged this truth! How they will spare themselves of unnecessary burdens if they would recognize that a true and consistent fellowship with God will secure them the blessings and protection they yearn for.
Francis Owusu-Bahanene currently serves as youth director of the South Ridge Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sunyani, Brong Ahafo, Ghana. He is a businessman and entrepreneur, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Integrated Business Studies from the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Ghana.