The Expository Files

Comparing Job And Peter

Job 1 & Luke 22

Although there are many lessons to learn from the life of Job, one in particular comes to mind at this time. It is apparent from Job chapter 1 that Satan has the ability to call in question the faith of a servant of God (verses 9-11). After accusing God of creating a protective barrier around Job, Satan claimed that if Job were not so protected that he would not stand against temptation. "But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face" (v. 11). Of course, we learn from the text that in all Job suffered he did not sin. The fact that Satan has the ability to call in question one's faith does not mean that he is correct in his evaluation, just that he has the ability to accuse at any time.

I am persuaded that Satan uses this same ability today just as he did in the days of Job and has through the annals of time. When Jesus addressed Peter in Luke 22:31-32, he implied Satan's use of his ability at this time. He said, "Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat" and concluded his remark by saying, "But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not". Satan desired many years before to have Job as well in order to sift him as wheat. In comparison, Satan was wrong about Job but correct in his accusation of Peter. Jesus told Peter that he had prayed that his faith would not fail. Jesus knew that Satan had marked Peter for the purpose of tempting and failure to withstand. The record reveals that the Lord told Peter he would fail and even though Peter fervently denied it, he fell through weakness just as the Lord had said he would and just as the devil had surmised.

With these thoughts in mind, the record of James contains insight to Satan's evaluation of men in the present economy. James stated, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). The command to resist the devil demands that at some point in time he will be about the business of temptation. Obviously he tempts every individual based upon his perception of their strength or weakness. Some he is correct about and some he will leave for a season. But do not be deceived, he will use these abilities and opportunities at his leisure on each and every person.

There is no denying that the trials in which Job experienced were severe. They are monumental in example of the arsenal in his grasp. We must not sink into a naive demeanor when it comes to this adversary. Peter said he "walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" (1Peter5:8). I am convinced that his walking as a roaring lion is nothing new. He was walking in the same way when he approached God concerning Job. A roaring lion is indicative of an animal hungry for the kill. Sometimes the lion gets his prey and sometimes he does not. Nevertheless, his failures make him no less of a hunter and no less vehement in his approach of his next victim. So it is with the devil. To miss the Gazelle only makes his hunger greater for the Elk. His hunger is never satiated, only challenged.

There is certain irony when comparing the Lord's statement about Job and his remarks concerning Peter. God saw the strengths and weaknesses in these men just as Satan thought he had. God praised Job as a "perfect and upright man and one that feared God and shunned evil" (Job 1:8). And yet he told Peter that he had prayed for him and that he would soon fall to temptation. Although Satan has the ability to evaluate man, God also has an evaluation of each and every individual. We are either complete, upright, bearers of God, and shunners of evil or we are weak and likely to succumb to the tricks of the devil. Job feared and reverenced God as the Creator and Judge of all. Every decision he made in our text was predicated upon his faithfulness to God. Peter loved the Lord but he was not prepared for the temptations of the wicked one. His faith was not what it should have been.

The key is preparation. To live in such a way that when Satan approaches, to be steadfast against error, not by mere intention, but by diligent practice. The success of the devil lays heavily in the lap of his next victim. Are you prepared for Satan's accusations against you? Will he be correct in his evaluation of your faith or will he flee in defeat because of your undying allegiance to the eternal God of heaven?

By Tony Ripley
From Expository Files 6.3; March 1999