Job’s suffering began when the Lord allowed Satan to take away the man’s wealth and children (Job 1:11–12). The enemy sought to prove that Job’s love for God was shallow and superficial, that it was based on what the Lord could give him and not on the character of God Himself. But Job’s love for and trust in our Creator was so great that he willingly submitted himself to God’s sovereign providence. Whether the Lord gives or takes away, His name is to be blessed. Job recognized that God was in control, that He had the right to do with His servant as He saw fit (vv. 13–22).
Sometime after this, we learn in today’s passage, the “sons of God,” angelic beings including the fallen angel Satan, appeared before the Lord again. In the ensuing dialogue between our Creator and the devil, God was the initiator, asking Satan where he had been and whether he had seen that Job’s service to the Lord was not grounded in what he could get from God (Job 2:1–3). Instead of admitting defeat, Satan claimed that the Lord did not let him do enough to Job. Charging Job with a shallow faith, the devil then said that Job would serve God only as long as his health was spared (vv. 4–5). Purposing to vindicate Job and the depth of his faith, God allowed Satan to afflict Job’s body (v. 6).
Let us for a moment consider the larger purpose of the Lord in Job’s sufferings. Yes, His goal was to vindicate Job’s trust in Him. Yet as one commentator has said, the Lord uses human beings to validate key truths about Himself. In this case, we should note that the truth God was seeking to demonstrate was that He is His own reward. In other words, Satan’s charge against Job was ultimately a charge against God Himself, a charge that our Creator is not beautiful or worthy enough in Himself to satisfy His people but that He gives them good things because that’s the only way to keep them on “His side.” As God seeks His own glory above all else, purposing to share it with no one, He could not let such a charge stand (Isa. 42:8; 48:11; 66:19). Job’s perseverance when all that he had was the Lord would prove that God was sufficient as Job’s reward, that the Lord and His kingdom were glorious enough to satisfy him and, indeed, all people (see Heb. 11:13–16).
At this point in his trial, Job’s wife demonstrated her lack of understanding of God as His own reward, calling upon her husband to curse the Lord and die. Yet Job did not waver, refusing to commit such a grave sin even in the midst of his great pain (Job 2:9–10).