Lectionary Ravings: Doing a Job on the Lord of Darkness

"The angels of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the devil also came with them." (Job 1:6)

I had always pictured a conference table full of angels and somewhere below, perhaps on intercom, vile Lucifer, voicing his challenge to God as to whether the servant Job was truly righteous. And with this assertion — that Satan had the ear of God — follows libraries of explanation about this first scene in the story of Job. St. Gregory I the Great of Rome wrote that the devil "was in the Lord’s sight, but the Lord was not in his sight."

Still, Job stood accused, and so do we. And the closer we get to the Way, the harder he is going to tempt us. "The devil accuses the righteous before God ‘day and night’ (Rev 12:10). With God’s permission, he pummels our minds with evil thoughts and weakens our bodies with pain and illness, ever seeking to influence us towards evil," says the Orthodox Study Bible’s notes. Job was hit with a direct Satanic attack. And he was a very righteous man. I do not suppose for a second that I could prevail in righteousness if I were beset with similar tortures.

But we must learn to differentiate between the Lord of Darkness’ evil influence on the world and the wicked inclination of the human being given free will. What delusion we are under when we utter, "The devil made me do it!" Free will made us do it! God gave us free will and we chose to walk the other way. For the most part, the devil doesn’t need to be around when humans have the controls. We’ll do the dark one’s bidding all by ourselves. Unless, of course, we have Job’s patience and perseverance, and most of all, faith.

About Pete Mladineo

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