“Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, 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.” (Job 1:9-10 KJV)
My Bible reading plan has taken me into another pass through the book of Job. I really enjoy reading this particular book as despite the very rough circumstances that Job must live in; it reveals some very rich conversations. Many very real questions are asked and hard conversations are had. Questions that tug down deep with many people. As a bonus we see this story progress here on Earth rather than in Heaven. The gnawing question to me is, why attempt to strip the rich guy and beat him up in the hopes of him denying God? I would think the greatest success has been had time and again in getting people to disavow God by giving the poor a shot at either fame or fortune.
A poor man most easily relates to the hatred of the rich man and is most willing to identify that wealth with “cheating” often because he imagines the “cheating” that he would be willing to do to obtain what the other guy has. Hard work, investing over time, maintaining a good character, and giving generously seem to many poor the quickest way to remain poor. Managing who you will allow in your circle of friends and who is spam, who you will like and who you will de-friend, keeping the money in your wallet rather than in the offering, and excluding ideas to the contrary seem more like the formula for success. When Job announces at the end of the very first chapter that it is the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away (see Job 1:21), can someone so full of envy, jealousy, or a heart hardened with covetousness even hear what it is that Job is saying?
Perhaps that is part of the poison that Satan brought in his accusation against Job. Was he really upset at Job’s wealth thinking that was the real reason for his righteousness? Or was he just espousing what an envious person wants to hear? The mind could go in circles on such curiosities, but the simplicity of the command that God does give and the righteous man does know is to love our neighbors as ourselves (see Leviticus 19:18). This includes no matter what your neighbor has or does not have. One might even add in jest to not covet what your neighbor has least you get stuck with it too. In truth, love is a very light yoke. It can be given freely and no remorse is felt for giving it. The only hint of sadness is seen when the gift of love was never noticed.
“And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.” (Mark 12:33-34 KJV)