Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing?
Satan's suggestion is obvious enough. Job is religious; but Job is prosperous. Cast down his prosperity, and his religion will come down too like a house of cards.
I. TRUE RELIGION BRINGS GREAT REWARDS. As a matter of fact, Job was making the best of both worlds. While he was fearing and serving God, God was blessing and smiling upon him.
1. Religion often brings earthly prosperity. It is frequently true that "honesty is the best policy." God shows his love in very evident ways to many of his children, blessing them "in basket and store." When a good man is prosperous in business or home it is only right that he should acknowledge the kind hand from which all his happiness comes.
2. Religion always brings heavenly prosperity. It must be well with the soul that is near to God. He who owns Christ does most certainly possess a pearl of great price. Even the poor man in his adversity is rich with spiritual treasure when he has the love of God in his heart.
II. THE RELIGION WHICH DEPENDS ON REWARDS IS NOT TRUE. Job got much through his service of God, or rather along with that service; for all he had was of God's free grace, not of desert. But if he had only been religious in the spirit of the hireling, working for pay, his religion would have been rank hypocrisy. This is true of future as well as earthly rewards. It applies not only to the tradesman who goes to church that he may please church-going customers; it is true also of one who is a slave to "other-worldliness," and who behaves like a fanatical Mohammedan when he rushes forward to certain death in battle, inspired by the expectation of flying immediately to a paradise of houris. Self-seeking in religion is always fatal. It is natural to look forward to the rewards which God promises; but it is fatal to all devotion to make the pursuit of those rewards our chief motive. The true servant of God will say -
"And I will ask for no reward,
Except to serve thee still"
III. IT IS POSSIBLE TO RENDER DISINTERESTED SERVICE TO GOD. The accuser did not believe this; he spoke with Satanic cynicism. There are people who pride themselves on being men of the world, and who deny that there is any such thing as disinterested generosity. Possibly the reason is that they judge all men by their own low standard; or that they have not the eyes to see the best side of life. With all their boasted keenness of vision there is a whole realm of noble living which is entirely beyond their ken. The Satan-spirit can never understand the Christ-spirit. Now, the great problem of the Book of Job lies in this. That book is to prove the falsity of Satan's base insinuation. It is to show to the astonished accuser that disinterested devotion is possible. It is to prove, in the extreme instance of Job, that a man may lose all the apparent rewards of religion, and yet not give up his religion; that he may suffer grievous adversity and yet not renounce his God. Job is a magnificent illustration of this truth. But behind Job is God, and the real secret is that God can and does inspire disinterested devotion. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?