At the zoo, separated only by a few inches of thick glass, we can observe a fierce Bengal tiger with our children standing by eating ice cream, oblivious to the danger behind the glass. We’d never feel safe enough to bring our children into the jungle, where tigers roam free, but the zoo’s safety measures allow us to enjoy a fun, safe day with our family. If God has placed the enemy of our soul behind even greater captivity, shouldn’t we feel just as safe as a child at the zoo?
In Job, God speaks to Satan of Job, who was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” (1:1) Satan mocks this, stating Job only serves God because of all God has given him. “Stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” (1:11) God replies, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” (1:12) God obviously seems to be like Satan’s zookeeper, allowing him only a certain amount of freedom. The story progresses and we see Satan take Job’s children and all his wealth. To this, Job proves his godliness, declaring, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (1:21) Scripture tell us, “Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” (1:22)
God and Satan discuss Job once more, but this time, Satan desires to affect Job’s health, arguing, “‘But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.’’ (2:5-6) Satan proceeded to cover Job’s body with sores, from head to toe. At this point, Job’s wife is upset at all the loss they’ve incurred and contends, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (2:9) Again, Job remains sinless, asking, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (2:10)
According to this account in Job, God holds the enemy of our soul in a cage, only allowing him to go so far. Yes, 1 Peter 5:8 warns, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” but whatever Satan does, he needs God’s permission to do it. “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.” (Psalm 135:6)
Just as a tiger still lurks behind protective glass, Satan continues to work within his cage. Revelation 12:10 says he’s “the accuser of our brothers and sisters,” and Jesus states in John 10:10 that he “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Yet, should we be paralyzed with fear? Any good earthly father would never take his dear children into the jungle to play with a wild, untamed tiger; how much more does our heavenly Father protect us, His precious children?