In the book of Job, “the Satan” makes an appearance again. In chapter 1 there is a gathering of the heavenly beings who “present themselves before the Lord” (Job1:6) and Satan shows up as well. Then comes the interesting exchange between God and Satan starting at verse 7:
“The Lord said to Satan, ‘where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘from going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”Let’s be clear, God already knew what Satan had been up to. He already knew he had been wandering around looking at what sorts of problems he could cause on earth. Asking the question allows us to become aware of what Satan is up to because Satan has to answer, even if the answer is purposely vague. He’s giving the impression that he has just been taking a hike, walking around but his nature is to sow discontent. Satan was truthful in his answer as far as he went with the answer. But as my Gramma used to say, “a half truth is not truth!”
Then God takes a different tact. He brings up Job, a man that God describes as blameless and upright who fears the Lord and turns away from evil. Satan responds with a yabut starting at verse 9:
“Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hand, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”What is he saying here? Like a whiney child, he is saying “yabut, that’s only because you have given him all this stuff and you protect him, but if you let me at him and let me take his stuff, I know your precious little human will turn on you and curse you to your face!”
How does God respond? He agrees to the challenge but tells Satan that he can’t hurt Job. So Satan orchestrates and manipulates the attacks on Job’s “stuff”, livestock stolen, servants killed, children killed and he makes sure that he leaves one survivor from each event that can run and tell Job about what happened. Satan fails though, because Job does not curse God. He’s upset, he’s distraught but he doesn’t curse God.
So, in chapter 2, we get to listen in on the conversation between God and Satan, again. God basically says “told ya! You took all of his stuff but he still did not curse me.” And Satan responds with his second yabut in Job 2, verse 4:
“Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.”Once again, God agrees to the challenge with one condition. Satan is not allowed to kill Job. We’re told that Satan inflicts “loathsome sores” on Job from his feet to his head. Still, he doesn’t curse God. When that doesn’t work, guess who shows up on the scene? Jobs “friends”. And we learn later on in the book that with friends like these, who needs enemies? Satan couldn’t take him out directly so he goes the covert route by sending the “concerned friends” to come sit with Job.
The yabut pattern is nothing new for Satan. We know that he used it in the Garden of Eden when talking with Eve. If you go back to Genesis chapter 3, listen to how he starts the conversation:
“Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?’ The woman said to the serpent ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’ But the serpent said to the woman ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil..”Yabut, did God really mean that? Did he really tell you that you couldn’t have that? Yabut you know if you eat of this tree, you won’t die, you’ll just have as much wisdom as God! Look at the shiny object, Eve, you want it now don’cha? The twist, the turn and the spurn! The things that the yabut is made up of!
We also know that he tried this with Jesus in the desert. Read the beginning of Luke, chapter 4 and you can see the yabut pattern yet again. Yabut, if you really are the Son of God you can turn this stone into bread. Yabut, if you will just join my side, I’ll give you the whole world. Yabut, if you really are the Son of God you can jump off this building and the angels will save you. And Satan took it up a notch by quoting what was written in scriptures. When Satan failed with the direct assault it says that he left, waiting for a “more opportune time” to try attacking him once again.
Here is the most important thing to remember. Satan still wanders the earth, he still attempts full frontal attacks, and if they fail, he will resort to the Yabuts. A yabut could be self-doubt, it could be a word from a friend or family member, and usually they hit during times of severe stress. A half truth is spoken, words and meaning are twisted and the outcome is meant for you to either reject or get angry, in other words to spurn!
Let’s say for example, you want to start a new career or business. You have done your research, prayed about it, weighed the pros and cons of pursuing this particular path and you have decided to go ahead with it. Maybe you lost your job due to downsizing or the poor economy and you think now is a good time to try something different. You feel at peace with the decision. One day, you are in a conversation with someone and you mention what you plan to do. This person says “oh, I had another friend that tried that and they failed miserably. Lost their home, their family and the dog. Bad idea if you ask me!” The yabut statement they are making is yabut, someone else already tried it and failed. What makes you think that you can pull it off?
So, what was the full frontal attack? Losing your job. So what is the next line of attack? The oh so subtle Yabuts. New year, new century, different set of people, same pattern! Yabuts can stop you in your tracks if you let them!
How deep is your faith? How much do you trust God? This is what Satan chooses to test. He did it with Eve, he did it with Job and he did it with Jesus. The pattern continues to this day. That’s why it is so important to focus on your spiritual life, your faith walk, because there will be times of testing.
In Psalm 1, we are reminded to meditate on the law day and night. The Wesley Study Bible notes say that the word meditate, as it is used in this Psalm, literally means “to mumble or utter its words under one’s breath.”
Deepen your faith by studying God’s word. Meditate-have some verses of scripture deep inside of you. At some point in time you will face a yabut moment. Discern and respond. Trust God. Deepen your faith because that faith will carry you through when you need it the most!