And the LORD said to Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth…
Here Satan appears in a very prominent and privileged position. He is the accuser rather than the tempter. At all events, he has a range of influence which suggests most terrible possibilities. We must remember that we are perhaps reading a symbolical drama, and must not take every line of it with dry literal exactness, as necessarily descriptive of actual historical events. Nevertheless, it suggests truths of great and lasting importance.
I. SATAN IS AT LARGE. He was at large in the days of Job, and he is so now. The days have not yet come when Satan is to be completely bound and made quite powerless for harm. We need therefore to be watching, for when we are most off our guard he is most likely to appear.
II. SATAN IS IN MOTION. "Going to and fro in the earth." He is not always tempting us. He left Christ "for a season" after the great forty days' temptation (Luke 4:13). But if he leaves us for a time, it is to return again - no one can say how soon. One of his devices is to surprise us with novel temptations.
III. SATAN IS WATCHFUL. His eye was on Job. He had found that perfect and upright man, studied him, and laid deep plans for attacking him. Satan is indeed the old serpent, cunning and capable. There is no weak place in the armour that can possibly escape the vigilance of our horrible foe.
IV. SATAN IS SUBJECT TO GOD'S JUDGMENT. He appears in Job as privileged to present himself among the sons of God. The complete rebellion and utter fall of the prince of evil is not yet seen. But even where that is recognized, as in the New Testament, the Judge of all the earth must be able to call his rebellious creature to account.
V. SATAN IS NOW RESTRICTED BY CHRIST'S VICTORY. He cannot range at large so freely as before. Jesus Christ lived on earth, wrestled with him, and flung the foul fiend to the earth. Our Lord has bound the strong man, and robbed his house (Mark 3:27). It is true that the bondage is not yet complete. But the powers of evil are crippled wherever the light of Christ shines.
VI. SATAN'S RANGE DOES NOT EXTEND ABOVE THE EARTH. He wanders to and fro - in the earth. A wide range, but limited. Here we are tempted by the spirit of evil But no temptations can enter heaven. We have but to hold out faithfully through our earthly pilgrimage, and there will be rest from the assaults of our great enemy when we pass to the home of the victorious.
VII. SATAN'S RANGE SHOULD BE EQUALLED BY THAT OF THE MESSENGERS OF THE GOSPEL. If he thus wanders, so should the Christian missionaries. Wherever the bite of the serpent is found, there should the healing balm be sent. Sin is world-wide, so also are the grace and power of Christ. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.